I like my veterinarian a lot. He’s now become used to my need to understand EXACTLY what’s up with my critters. He knows that as soon as he tells me what’s going on with my animal, I’m going to go research the diagnosis.
Two of my dogs have had cases that my vet basically couldn’t figure out.
Last year, Leto my (non-samoyed) dog that I got through samoyed rescue had some digestive problems probably related to being starved. Officially his diagnosis was lymphocitic plasmacystic enteritis, which basically means that his intestines were damaged so he couldn’t heal himself. Anyway, the standard treatment is a drug called metrodiazole. Unfortunately, Leto had a (very rare) reaction to the drug. There’s a "slight chance" of neurological side effects, which means is that the dog starts staggering around. My vet had never seen the side effect in 19 years of practice. I’d read about it, so I suspected the problem. It’s scary but nothing permanent. But poor Leto couldn’t take the drug anymore.
So, when conventional medicine failed…we had to move on. My vet wasn’t optomistic, but recommended trying "medium chain trigycerides" (MCT) which sort of digest instantly. The idea was to help Leto put on weight and heal himself. After Leto also got two pills…one was Acidophilus, an enzyme which is very easy to find in health food stores. The other one is a pill with digestive enzymes in it called Super Digestaway, which contains pancreatin, ox bile extract, papain (from papaya), pappermint, ginger, pepsin, betaine HCI, bromelain, (from pineapple), and aloe vera gel. And he got (and still gets) Precise Lamb & Rice food, which he adores and seems to be easy to digest.
After a few months on this regime, Leto looks like a new dog. A healthier, larger, furrier one. The vet actually didn’t recognize him.
My second problem dog is Cami. She became extremely phobic and submissive at around 5-6 months old. I got her at 9 weeks and she was the most well-adjusted little puppy I’d ever seen. But later, she started having problems with submissive urination, lick granulomas, inexplicable fears of odd things, and other erratic behavior. I had her behavior evaluated by the Univ. of Washington Vet college and tried endless behavior modification techniques, amitryptaline, clomicalm, and acupucture.
Anyway, my vet and I both ran out of ideas. Nothing worked.
Then I read a reference to research being done on the link between thyroid and behavior. I went and found the original articles by Dr. Jean Dodds (such as http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/bizarre_behavior.htm), which explain the correlation.
I called my vet, showed him my research and we got Cami tested. Lo and behold the tests showed that she was in fact hypothyroid. She’s on medication and a much happier hound now.
We’re all a lot happier too. So the moral of the story is don’t give up. If your critter has a problem, do some research and keep your eyes and ears alert for information that can help. You might just surprise your vet too.