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Longlease Bernese Mountain Dogs

Barney has not been well!

December 25th 2006

Not quite the Christmas Day we were expecting! Barney was rushed off to the vet early this morning, out of the blue last night he did not want to eat his usual evening meal, a first time ever for Barney refusing food.

Overnight he started with this awful dry retching which gradually got worse and worse, by morning he was in a great deal of pain and very distressed and running a very high temp. 106F. Well, thank the Lord, for my vet! I phoned Ros, and this on Christmas Day Morning, she said to meet her at the surgery in 20 mins! We were able to get him stabilised and comfortable with anti-spasdomic, antibiotic and pain killer injections. Thankfully he was not dehydrated so I was able to take him home an hour later with instructions to fast him and keep him hydrated with the electrolyte solution she gave me and she would come out to me if necessary. With encouragement he did keep drinking a little of the solution every hour and I didn't even need to use the syringe or do subcutenous hydration. Boxing Day he had more antibiotics and I continued encouraging him to drink. He was already feeling much cooler and showed some interest when I fed Pixie and Spike but fluids only, liitle and often. When we saw Ros again on the Wednesday his temperature was down to normal and he was no longer hunch backed, tail down and had even jumped into the van rather than needed to be helped. Much better! Even attempted a feeble wag when he saw Ros. We did the bloodwork then and got the initial results on Friday. As expected the WBC was high and indicative of an infection (we treated with antibiotics for ten days) but more worrying was that the lipase and amylase levels were elevated, indicative of pancreatitis, further testing which we got results in a few days later, (I might have this wrong but I think was cPLI), confirmed this diagnosis. Since the attack I initially was feeding Barney just little and often with chicken breast and rice, but have gradually been introducing more foods back in over the past two weeks and he has been doing fine on them, nothing wrong with his appetite now.

Barney has pancreatitis

When Barney was first diagnosed with pancreatitis and the initial bloodwork results came back in my vet was the first to say that no-one knows just what causes this disease, and that opinions differ on how to treat it. Some vets may prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation but long term use of steroids can in fact be one of the factors causing pancreatitis but this more likely with a dog who has been treated for a while with these drugs for a condition such as arthritis. Barney did not present with any of the usual symptoms, he had not actually been vomiting, had diarrhea or previously been prone to gassy attacks or other GI tract problems. Had no allergies, was not on any medication and had not got at any fatty stuff to bring on the attack.

A previously very healthy Berner, he will be nine in April, out of the blue on Christmas Eve he refused his late night feed of kibble for the first time ever.

Thankfully this Berner is now doing very well again, the antibiotics brought his temperature back down and since then he has been eating little and often on a low fat diet, I started him off after the 48 hr fast with chicken breast and rice, little and often and have gradually been adding new foods back in. Over the last week I have reintroduced lean red meat again, all fat trimmed or drained.

His diet presently is Low Fat and consists mainly of around 50% high quality protein, and the rest made up by 25% root veggies/rice/cereals and the rest with low glycemic vegetables cooked or pureed.

We did further bloodwork on Wednesday and will get the results on Monday 22nd Jan. '07

In the meantime Barney is doing well, his appette is good and he is coming out for walks again with Pixie and Spike

22nd January, 2007

My vet just phoned a while ago with the results of Barney's bloodwork we took last Wednesday

Good news is that that the amylase and lipose levels which were the indication of pancreatitis are now back to within normal ranges! His WBC is also back to normal!

Still of concern is that two of the three liver enyme levels tested are still slightly elevated but not so unusual in an older dog, (he will be nine in April) his RBC is still the same at the lower end of normal so we will continue to monitor him and keep him on the low fat diet, feeding little and often.

We see the vet again a week on Wednesday to check his weight, he did dramatically lose weight during this Acute Attack of Pancreatitis over the Holidays but I am feeding lots of extra carbs (mostly root veggies from my garden) at the moment and he is in pretty good shape so hoping that he will gradually regain the lost weight and muscle tone.

Today he had a really good day! Is very cold here now in the UK and we have snow predicted, it had been unseasonably warm and very wet but today was a chill North Wind blowing in! All the dogs had such fun today running free in the fields, Barney was like a puppy out there running full pelt with Pixie and even play fighting with her again, so good to see this Berner Boy bouncing around again.

Vet visit next week, we will then decide whether to do further bloodwork and run a full liver function spectrum but for the moment is good news!

31st January, 2007

Not a good day!

Today was the scheduled weight check for Barney and yesterday afternoon I had thought all was going so well, he has been eating well the last few weeks and has really been back to his normal self. The last week or so he and Pixie have been chasing down in the bottom meadow and swimming in the pond, having so much fun and he has been really clowning around again

Yesterday, had his feed at 5 pm and ate the lot, chicken breast and rice, he has been on four small feeds a day the last weeks, his 10 pm feed he ate only a little!....Noooooo!!!

This morning he was a little subdued and reluctant to come with us but eventually came for a gentle stroll down the garden, we were due at the vets anyway for 4 pm so I did not try to feed him, just made sure he was drinking still. Somewhat interested when I fed the other two at lunchtime but not his usual breakneck to be first in the kitchem, hmmm! Just cocked his head and stayed where he was! Nose by this time feeling slightly warm and just a couple of times he did that awful dry retching again!

Well, the news from the vet visit, sort of good is that his weight is the same as two weeks ago, he has not lost weight though I had hoped to see some improvement here! He has been eating so very well!

Bad news is that his temp.was 105 F and he is now back on the antibiotics again

All being well, the plan here is this time to keep him on the antibiotics perhaps for three weeks, I will speak to her on Friday, pencilled in is that I may need to bring him in for furher bloodwork and discuss perhaps doing scans. Hoping for the best he is doing very well again in which case we will see her again in two weeks for a further check.

This is no way as bad as the intial attack over the Cihristmas Holidays, when Barney was in such pain, all paws crossed that we have nipped this episode in the bud.

Ros, said to feed him small amounts if he wanted them, and when I fed Pixie and Spike a while ago he was very keen and first in the kitchen. I gave just the tiniest bit of chicken breast with a spoonful of mashed potato and he is now sleeping peacefully,

Will feed him a little more later all goes well!

Had hoped that Christmas was a one off episode and we were dealing with a single attack of Acute Pancreatis but in my heart I knew that Barney had not been gorging on stuff he shouldn't have to bring this on and we were into a long term haul.

Will update on Friday after we speak to the vet again

February 19th 2007

From my last addition here re. Barney things got very bad, on the Friday he continued with the raised temperature and a very worrrying rapid heartbeat of some 160 beats per minute, ultrasound scans at that point were giving concern that something was very wrong his spleen and possibly Hemangiosarcoma, the following Monday we did further tests but showed the spleen, liver and pancreas as normal. However seemed that a mass in his chest was pushing his other organs out of place.
We could not get a clear picture at that time as that heart beat was so very rapid so became a priority to calm it down

Further x-rays taken a week later confirmed that there is a strange mass in his chest, the heart is somewhat enlarged and his windpipe is being pushed up towards his spine and would account for his other organs also being displaced.

Not an easy place to do further investigation and would entail a great deal of risk even to do a biopsy!

So I have chosen not to go further with specialist consults but to treat the symptoms here, some type of cancer at work?

Barney straight away on the cancer diet, High Protein/High Fat/Low Carbohydrate

Barney for the last week has been on medication primarily to get that heart beat stabilised, further antibiotics to get that temp and the WBC down! And the supplements I have been giving him, Essiac Tea, Cantron, probiotics and digestive enzymes.

Cottage cheese and flax seed oil for breakfast!

Yesterday we saw our vet again and was a good visit!

Barney's heart beat was down, his weight is back up to 50.2 kilos where it was when this all started!

So far so good! Yesterday Barney was Bouncy!:-))

April 5th 2007

Barney continues to do so very well, we have slightly upped his heart meds after we took bloodwork a few weeks ago, his resting heartrate is now down to 80/84 beats per minute, was 160 when we so feared for his life.

He is happily coming for walks again, does a mile in the morning up into the woods and again in the afternoon.

He is eating very well on the cancer diet and continues to enjoy the best ever quality of life.

Watch this space, Barney Boy will be 9yrs next week!

Thank you all from all over the world, your support during this time has meant so very much to us and keeps us strong,

A very, very special picture of support from Jacki's Bodhi

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