Sunday, February 12, 2017

A long bad weekend

I wrote that Thursday afternoon I took Ruff to see the eye doctor and besides mentioning the importance of a CT Scan to locate the suspected tumor, Dr. Haeussler ordered a reduction in the prescription for prednisone from 2 x 20mg to 2 x 10mg daily with the anticipation of cutting it in half again in two weeks. The doctor also warned about serious side effects if the prednisone was suddenly discontinued so it had the be gradually reduced.
That evening Ruff threw up his dinner about 3 hours after he ate. 

After finding out Friday afternoon the CT Scan could be done locally at the Emergency Animal Hospital in Wilder, Kentucky they told me they had to have a blood test to make sure Ruff was healthy enough for anesthesia so first thing Saturday morning I took him to Noah's Ark, in Ft. Wright, our regular veterinary clinic.

Soon as we got home I gave Ruff a late breakfast and he threw up again a few hours later. Then in the afternoon I got a phone call from one of our Vets and she told me the blood test results shows an elevation in the Alanine Transaminase (ALT) enzyme in Ruff's liver. The scary part was when the doctor told me I should bring Ruff in on Monday for a sonogram test of Ruff's liver before I go spend $800 to a $1000 dollars on the CT Scan. The implicit advice was duly noted and I told her I would be there.

For the past few weeks the prednisone has made Ruff extremely thirsty and I have been taking him out every two hours to pee. Now through all the bouts of throw up his kibble has been accompanied with huge quantities of water, too. Saturday night Ruff was again unable to keep his dinner down.

This morning I took Ruff to the Emergency Animal Hospital in Wilder and the doctor gave him an anti-nausea shot (Cerenia) to make his stomach feel better and gave him an injection of fluids under his skin and another injection of of a steroid (Dexamethasone) because Ruff wasn't able to keep the prednisone pills down. I also asked the doctor to do another blood test to have something to compare with the one our Vet did. This new test showed the ALT enzyme to be 893, more than four times the normal range. And that is the critical part that must be treated.

After getting the phone call yesterday from our Vet I did several hours of research on liver disease on a few veterinary web sites and the one encouraging piece of information I read was the liver has great regenerative powers so with proper treatment Ruff could make it through this crisis. It also looks like the prednisone may have contributed to the spike in the ALT enzyme which in turn caused the vomiting.

I wish to thank everyone who wrote to offer useful suggestions and pass on good thoughts for Ruff's recovery. I can't begin to tell you how precious Ruff is to me (and Bess) especially after losing Grandpa Axl last month.

Please keep the prayers coming. 
Since the day 16 years ago when my first male Rottweiler Nikko had spinal cord surgery to remove a ruptured disc and was sent home the following day and got up and walked to the kitchen after my wife called me out for dinner, I have been convinced that food is the greatest motivator to a Rottweiler. This afternoon I saw it again but to a lesser affect.

After I brought Ruff home from the hospital I laid out an area rug on the kitchen floor for him to lie down on. He was acting very tired and lethargic and hardly moved at all. A little while ago I went out to check on him and he was still laying in the same spot where I put him after I put the rug down. I turned my back on him and opened a pastry box to have a snack and as soon as the top of the plastic container popped open Ruff jumped to his feet. I turned around and he was staring at me with a starving, hungry look on his face. Not to make light of a serious situation, whenever anyone is eating a snack he always has a starving, hungry look because that's the way he begs for handouts and treats. But is is comforting to know his body can react like it did. I realize he hasn't held any food in his stomach for three days but the doctor said not to feed him until 6 PM. Then I will boil up some ground sirloin and rice.
First the good news. I took Ruff to our Vet for his sonogram this morning and it came back normal. Dr. Matt McGlasson did recommend waiting a week before having the CT Scan to see that Ruff's liver problems get better. That will need another blood test on Saturday. I took home a bottle of Denamarin which is a combination of SAM-e and milk thistle extract to help Ruff's liver get better.

The correction is another good thing. I read the ALT Enzyme number value wrong on the tiny print out for the blood test done yesterday. It is 693 not 893. Then I got a copy of the blood test done Saturday at our Vet's office and read that the ALT Enzyme then was 573. That blood test also showed the ALP Enzyme was greater than 2800 which was the limit the machine could register. If it is any encouragement, both of these high values are indicative of the affect of the Prednisone.


  1. Sending prayers and positive thoughts to you all!

  2. Prednisone can really wreak havoc, so hopefully that's the culprit and it's nothing serious and you can focus on his eyesight.

    1. That is what I learned at the Vet's office this morning. We will know for sure when he gets another blood test on Saturday.

      Ruff is resting comfortably and I think he is enjoying his gourmet meals. Boiled chicken breasts with rice, boiled ground sirloin with rice and today, a nice center cut pork loin. I need to find a better way to cook this besides boiling.

    2. Oh, I hate the smell of boiled hamburg and chicken, it literally makes me nauseous! I don't know if you have a Dutch oven, but I found a dog food recipe on line, hope this helps!

    3. Hi, Anon, I checked out the link and aside from the added vegetables, they are still boiling the meat along side it. When the Vet told me to feed Ruff a bland diet high in protein all he said was boil up some rice and meat. I still think a medium rare hamburger or pan-fried chicken is more appealing.

  3. Dear Nelson,

    I have not been following your blog for a while now & when I came back, am devastated to read that Axl, your faithful old boy, is gone and even more devastated to read that Ruff is also facing some health issues. Pray and keeping everything crossed that he will be okay. Can't believe that Ruff is also getting on so quickly after seeing the pics of his eyes. It was like yesterday when we were seeing his baby pics and youthful exuberance. We are getting on ourselves but so so sad to see our beloved rotties getting old.
    I had a dog many years ago with acute liver failure. She was seemingly fine until I discovered that she was not. I remember her eyes were jaundiced and her urine was brown coloured. She was given medications until she could no longer keep food down and threw up food together with the meds. She quite quickly became blind and whatever food she was given she threw up. She had to be put to sleep to stop her suffering. I wanted you to know and to look out for any of these symptoms.I am praying that this will not happen to sweet Ruff. Pls look after yourself too. Hugs to all.

    1. Hello, Angela,

      I am not going to lose another Rottweiler this year. I will do whatever it takes to save Ruffin.