First thing’s first, my dog is like my kid. I don’t have kids so I don’t know what that feels like, but I imagine the feelings I have for Stinky are similar to those of having an actual human child.
I’m writing this down because multiple myeloma is pretty uncommon in the companion animal world, and if Stinky’s story helps just one dog get and earlier diagnosis than he did, something good could come from all this bullshit. And that’s exactly what it is.
I’m a Vet Tech, so, sorry if I use medically words. And also, what’s that saying? The cobbler’s children have no shoes? Yeah. As hard it is for me to admit, I didn’t do the things that I’ve been educating clients to do over the last twelve years, for my own pet. Specifically, annual blood work for any dog over the age of 6. Well, I did do blood work on Stinky in 2012 when he was 6 or 7. That’s when he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. But other than T4s to monitor his thyroid, I haven’t done any full blood work on him until July of this year when he started having issues.
One weekend in mid July, Stinky was drinking a lot and peeing a lot, but otherwise completely normal. He had started to get a little fat a while back so we cut his food back so he could lose a few pounds. He did, and I was thinking that maybe because of the weight loss his thyroid medication dose was out of whack. So, Monday I brought him to work with me to do blood work. My plan was just to send a CBC/Chem/T4 to the outside lab, but as soon as I saw his blood go into the syringe, I could tell he was anemic. So I ran a CBC in house. He was really freaking anemic. His hematocrit was 22%. 20% is when transfusion is recommended. So I told my boss……oh wait! Side note: two weeks before this happened, his doctor got a job at another clinic. I was super bummed, but not too bummed because the clinic she went to work at is literally 500 feet from my house. And I truly believe that if she had been at my work on July 15th when all of this went down, he may not have gone blind in one eye. But I keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason. I know it’s crap but it’s the only thing that keeps me from lashing out at other doctors and putting my fist through a wall.
Ok, I digress. So I told my boss about Stinky’s anemia and he got super serious and had a sense of urgency and told me that I needed to do all of his blood work in house and take x-rays of his abdomen and do a urinalysis. His x-rays were normal but his blood work was not. His globulin levels were 16.8! That’s insanely high. Normal is around 2-4. His urinalysis also showed that he had a UTI. My boss had left work at this time so I went to another doctor and showed him the results. (I was panicking a little at this point.) He seemed pretty nonchalant about it and basically told me he didn’t know why his globulins were that high but it could’ve been due to the inflammation in his bladder from the UTI. I have since had a few doctors tell me that that is incorrect. I had one doctor say “the first thing I would’ve thought about with globulin levels that high are multiple myeloma or tick born illness.” I was like “great, where were you two weeks ago?” Because nonchalant doctor told me to put him on antibiotics and recheck in 2 weeks. Well a week and a half into his antibiotics he went blind in one eye one Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday he wouldn’t even open either of his eyes and seemed like he was in a LOT of pain. So I brought him over to his doctor at the clinic 500 feet from my place because it was my day off. She had to sedate him just to get pressures of his eyes and he had raging glaucoma in his left eye and moderate glaucoma in the right. She started him on glaucoma meds and told me to go see the ophthalmologist in Maitland. That was a bad night. He wouldn’t even eat. When Stinky doesn’t eat, there’s a big problem.
So we went to the ophthalmologist and she did a thorough exam of his eyes. She found that he had hemorrhaging in the backs of both eyes, had completely blown the retina in his left eye and partially in the right, and had really bad glaucoma. I also brought his blood work with me and showed her. All of the information combined, she was really suspicious that there was something more systemic going on, so she sent me over to the internal medicine specialist. It was there that they told me they were suspicious of multiple myeloma and some more tests were needed to confirm. Long story short, I did the tests, they confirmed it, and he’s been on chemo and prednisone ever since.
He feels good other than that damn left eye. He’s had several problems with it. And there’s so much other stuff I didn’t put in here but I just wanted to get this posted. I want anyone that has a dog or cat that’s reading this, that if your pet has weird symptoms and blood work and your doctor kind of just shrugs their shoulders and doesn’t even bother to open a book or go on the internet to figure out what’s wrong, or if they say words like “I think” or “this may be it” or “this is possible” or “I don’t know”, take your pet somewhere else. QUICK. I also blame myself for not doing any research. I just thought “he’s a doctor, he should know” and I believed him. I have since learned my lesson about that.
Even through all this crap, Stinky continues to be happy and wag his tail. He has a great appetite, no vomiting or diarrhea, he’s happy for the most part, and he hasn’t lost any weight. So for now, we’re good. I’ll continue to keep this post updated.
Mr. Stankins is doing pretty good. He had a reiki session that was pretty cool. Who knows if it did anything but I’ve never seen Stinky so calm and comfortable with a person he’s never met before. He almost fell asleep with her touching him. She was supposed to come back in a week but his damn eye ruptured again so we’re waiting a little until it heals. Which, speaking of, his eye is doing great! It looks like his cornea is starting to heal/scar, which is what his ophthalmologist wanted it to do. He has an appointment tomorrow to go see her, so hopefully we get some good news.
His globulins haven’t decreased much at all, despite being on chemo every 3 days, so his oncologist wants me to give it to him every day for ten days and see how that goes. We are holding off on that at the moment until his eye is a little better. We don’t want to suppress his immune system so much with the daily chemo that his eye gets worse. I sent out blood work on him today to see where all his levels are at. Hopefully, better.
Two weeks ago when I did blood work oh him his white cell count dropped as well as his hematocrit and hemoglobin, and some other stuff was out of whack. I pulled out all the stops as far as everything I could do naturally to support him. He’s on a cottage cheese and flax oil mixture, he gets an orange slice after his breakfast and dinner because vitamin c helps with iron absorption, he gets coconut water three times a day because his potassium was low, he gets milk thistle because of the tumors on his liver, a wheatgrass pill with dinner, and he gets Essiac tea twice a day. Plus all of his meds. Last week when I did his bloodwork, his white cell count went back to normal, his hematocrit went up a little, and his electrolytes were a little more balanced. So, yay! Hopefully tomorrow when I get results they are the same or better.
My bestie, Megan made a gofundme, for me. Here’s the link if any of you would like to see/donate/share. http://www.gofundme.com/erhhz0