Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Diagnosis

Murphy has Lymphangiectasia.

It IS a serious disease and can be fatal, but the internist my vet consulted was fairly positive about being able to contain it - particularly in a Yorkie. She was of the opinion that Yorkies tend to fare better with it than some other breeds - I don't know whether it is true or not, but I like the positive thinking. Some articles about this condition are quite grim about the prognosis, but Murphy has not experienced too many symptoms, has maintained his weight, (give or take a few ounces), and appears to be responding to treatment, so we will just keep our fingers crossed that we can keep this under control. Right now, he's back to being his chipper little bossy self, eating well, sleeping well, and the runny poop seems to be improving.

In Googling the topic, I found a blog by the owner of a Chinese Crested who has had a hell of a time with this: Save Louie.

Right now I'm oddly grateful that Murphy's illness resulted in a granuloma that was removed surgically - if not for that growth and the pathologist's diagnosis, we might have wasted many more months of educated guesses. So while this is by no means a "happy" diagnosis, it is at least something we can try to live with - and so far, so good.


KatyaR said...

Well, it's good to have a diagnosis. I read the "Save Louie" site; poor pup, and what a battle they have had trying to save him. Let's hope that Mr. Bossy Dog continues to do well!

k said...

So, you can breathe now, right?
I'm so glad this is a gooder diagnosis; when I clicked over here today, I was afraid I was going to have to not come here to be cheered up. Oh, you know what I mean - geez.

Louie's Mom said...

Hi Catherine,

This is Louie's mom. I saw that you had linked to my blog so I wanted to thank you for that.

Louie had a rough go of it at first, but he's doing wonderfully now. This is a serious disease, but don't believe all the gloom and doom you will read about it. It can take some time to sort out all the issues, but it sounds like you got a good diagnosis early in the game, and that puts you way ahead of many people, as this is never the first thing that comes to mind with these symptoms for the vets.

I have just recently started a yahoo group to support people whose dogs are struggling with the disease. It is very new, not much traffic as of yet, but you are welcome to join us. There's a link to it at the Save Louie blog.

Hoping for all the best with dear little Murphy and I will be checking back to see how he's doing! He is such a cutie.

Catherine said...

Hey, Louie's Mom! I almost wrote a comment on your blog today, but had to go pick up one of Murphy's prescriptions and didn't get back to it. Yes, it's serious, but can be managed. Murphy is "lucky" in being diagnosed fairly early on, and with few complications. Look back to early August and see the insanely healthy, bright, happy little dog in the videos - no wonder the vets couldn't figure it out! The "tumor" was a good thing - it gave us a diagnosis. This evening he took a brisk walk, visited with a neighbor, and was as bright and perky as ever. I'm SO glad Louie is doing well - I love Chinese Cresteds!

Louie's Mom said...

Thank goodness you had that early signal that sent them in there to get something to biopsy! Louie was down to 7.5 lbs from 11 lbs when we finally had him diagnosed, and it had been six months worth of stress and worry to get us there.

From the reading I've done, lymphangiectasia seems to run in the Yorkie lines. My friend's dog that has gone nine years now with the disease is also a yorkie. Hoping that is a good omen for both of you :)

Catherine said...

Yes, the internist my vet spoke to said that Yorkies can live with it - apparently there is no genetic test for it, so it's not possible for even the most careful breeders (Murphy came from a carefully researched bloodline, not a pet shop) to screen for it. Murphy is NINE at diagnosis, and without the biopsy we'd never have named it. He was fabulously healthy until this year, and is still not "sick" - just feeling not so fabulous. I'm concerned but not too worried at this point, because I think this can be managed in this dog, now that we know what we are managing.

Louie's Mom said...

Sounds so familiar. Louie was 12. Healthy as could be right up until he wasn't.

I truly believe that early diagnosis is key with this disease, as if left undiagnosed what happens is a slow (or not so slow) wasting away, as the body attempts to compensate for the inability to process protein by leaching protein from the muscles. With a proper diet, if you are lucky, Murphy will never get to that point.

Catherine said...

Yeah, I'm hoping we got lucky with the fairly early diagnosis, and can manage it. His appetite is great, his energy fluctuates but is better than before the surgery, etc. The runny poop is still with us, but it's not "diarrhea" in the traditional sense - not frequent, but runny.

And if anybody ever told me I'd be blogging about runny dog poop I'd have laughed.

Anonymous said...

My goodness! His diagnosis weighs more than he does!

It sounds like a difficult disease, but manageable. Good luck to you, and the Murph.