Sunday, September 16, 2007

Failing Kidneys, Broken Hearts

I am still trying to come to terms with the idea that Mao's kidney failure will eventually cause me to lose him. Slightly less than 18 months ago, our vet gave me the bad news. Mao's kidneys were beginning to fail. This is common in his breed, but I had hoped we'd be in the lucky group of shar pei owners that miss this sad and painful end. He'd been so healthy and happy. He had been drinking more and peeing more, but he was playful and puppyish. I was stunned.

After the initial shock, I discovered that this is not an immediate death sentence for dogs. That with proper treatment they can live on for months or years, but in the end, the damage can't be reversed and will continue to progress. We put him on a low protein diet. We made sure he got lots of fresh water and he seemed to be doing well.

It wasn't until a few months ago, I took him to the vet dentist to discuss having a broken tooth pulled that I discovered his outward appearance wasn't quite in line with his internal health. She did routine bloodwork to find id his kidneys were in god enough shape to risk putting him under anesthetic, and found that his kidney failure had progressed. Significantly. In fact, it appeared that one of the critical values had doubled. I was once again stunned.

We took Mao back to the internal medicine vet specialist, and she confirmed it. The kidney failure was progressing. It was inevitable but it was progressing faster than we had hoped. She did a check for a kidney infection and a few days later the test came back positive. We put him on a long course of antibiotics in an attempt to solve this. We did that and he seemed to be fine again. Another interval passed and he started to vomit and lose weight. Dave too him back to the vet and his values were up, way up. We started giving subcutaneous fluids and it helped, for a bit, his values went down, but then a few weeks later, they were back up. He'd lost more weight, he refused to eat his special food, but was mad for any table scraps or food dropped by the kids. We went back to the vet. We are upping his subcutaneous fluids and reintroduced the antinausea medication. We've scrapped the kidney diet and are feeding him a special home prepared chicken and rice combo that Dave has created. He's eating and seems to be feeling better, but I know it is all a matter of time.

I am struggling to understand how I will be able to carry on without him. I'm worried that I will be so emotionally devastated that I won't be able to help the boys understand. I'm worried that my own grief will be too great, that I will break because of this loss.

I don't know how to explain to my babies, my boys, that long before I was even sure I wanted to have human children, I was honing my mothering skills on my furry little ball of wrinkles. I don't know how to tell them that he has and always will hold the honors of being the first real mothering experience I had.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i too am going through the same thing--his name is Luckyboi he is 12 years old he looks emaciated and not sure how long he has; i will be giving him intravenous fluids tomorrow with the vet and hope he will have more years--can you tell me how long thereafter after you gave him intravenous fluids? mine is sharpei too

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