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Messages - BrookeR

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This forum is the most valuable resource I have found. So many great people helping others in similar situations.

Yes I remembered you telling me about the heartburn that you got from the Chinese herbs and that was the first thing I brought up with my vet. I also rang the specialist vet that had prescribed them. They claimed that the herbs could in no way cause pancreatitis or make things worse, but recommended to stop using them until she is better. You just never know with Pepper though.

I have given away to rescue doggies all Peppers dried sheeps ear treats and do not think she will be eating carob drops again either. Itís looking like the sweet potato crisps that I make in the oven (with no ingredients other than slow baked sweet potato) will be her only treats moving forward. She is not happy about it at all. She keeps scratching at the pantry door at night. As that is when she would get a sheepís ear.

Iím still worried about her relapsing with the dropped steroid dose (lower than we have ever been). But keeping fingers crossed.

Thanks so much for the info Jo iíll Look into it further.

So far so good with the pancreatitis. Pep hasnít had anymore spews since the day of her diagnosis. We are still just having half size daily meals and no supplements. Just taking things slowly.

We retested peps liver levels 2 weeks after the drop in dose and they had gone from 6500 to 2700. 2700 is still very high but a fair drop from what it was. Her fat levels were very high when we took her bloods.
Pep was down to 5mg per day (her normal dose that she has been stable on for sometime) and any other time we had tried dropping below this she has relapsed. So we decided to stay at this dose, continue denosyl and hope the levels may drop some more with a little more time.
Tuesday morning pep vomited when she got up and then Thursday morning she vomited again when she got up. She has had times before when she has vomited, but I didnít fell like it was the same this time. I felt something was wrong and was worried about an ulcer. Took her to our vet to stay for the day and run some tests. She tested positive for pancreatitis :(. She was really dehydrated and so had to spend the day on a drip. She had the day without eating and then yesterday was allowed small meals. She has so far kept it all down without anymore vomits. I have had to stop her steroids and only give every second day. I also have had to stop all her supplements, (salmon oil, Rose hip joint supp, sunflower oil for linoeic acid, Chinese herbs) because my vet believes giving the pancreas time to heal is the more important danger at the moment. I am very worried she will relapse. We have tried every second day pred dosing before and she relapsed. I have asked if after today we can go to 2.5mg per day dose. It is such a little dose and shouldnít make a difference but Pepper always likes to do things different from the normal so Iíd prefer try this and hope she can remain stable from relapsing drastically. We are not sure what has changed to make her get pancreatitis. She didnít eat anything different or anymore treats then normal. We are still wondering if she could have full blown Cushings now (not steroid induced).

It feels like we are running out of time and all the bads are catching up to us. Options are getting more slim. If we have a relapse there is no where to go. Her liver levels are too high to go up and I cannot afford to go back to cyclosporine or the more expensive drugs. I also donít think she could handle them at this point in her life.
She now has a permanent limp in her front leg which came after falling in a bandicoot hole. Her joints are very grindy when you lift up each individual leg now. You can feel the grinding. We had summarised that her recent drop in mood was because arthritis (normal, not poly arthritis) has caught up with her. We had planned on trialing her on tramadol to see if that made a difference. But then this happened.

We will keep fighting, but Iím just feeling quite worried and out of options at the moment.
Trying to keep positive for Pep though because she feeds off my mood.

Thanks jo. Yes I had thought about stopping the herbs. But Peppers relapse, lack
of energy and down mood all started before we began the herbs. Ordinarily we would never have started Pepper on something new when she wasnít stable. But condsidering we believe she was relapsing and we were worried about her liver, and having nowhere else to go if her liver levels went up. My vet and I decided it was best to risk trying the herbs in case they helped.
They are supposed be a natural steroid (however the specialist said they donít interfere with blood alp & alt levels?), with potential to be able to lower pred doses. Also they are meant to be good for Cushings, liver support and antii inflammatory.
i keep thinking should we stop them? But then I donít want to because what if they are helping her enough to keep her walking and not in horrible pain and enough to support her liver so we donít have irreparable damage. If we stop they will take time to build up in her system again if we want to start again. Thatís time we wonít have. But the fact that she was already down before we started them is the main reason I havenít stopped giving them to her yet.

She has been slower getting about today. So I am getting concerned that the drop in pred dose is taking affect. She did do some short bits of running chasing birds today so letís hope thatís why she seems more uncomfortable :(

Unfortunately Pepper is not doing well. She has been quite somber, slow and not her usual perky self. I took her back to our vet to get bloods done to check what was going on and her liver levels were through the roof! Higher than they have had ever been, even when she was on much higher doses of pred. I have dropped back her dose from 10mg per day to 7.5mg and started her on denosyl. We are going to wait a week and then drop back a further 2.5mg (back to the dose we were originally on). Iím so worried she is going to relapse badly, but also worried about the damage to her liver. I cannot afford to put her back on cyclosporine again so we donít really have any options. She has never got a fever again when she has relapsed. She only got the fever when she was initially diagnosed with impa. So my vet is wanting to get her back to her previous 5mg tablet of pred and if she is still in pain try tramadol. As long as she has no fever. In which case she says we would need to go with an immunosuppressant.
Other symptoms do not seem to be suggesting she now has full blown Cushings or diabetes. We think itís just the increase in pred that has caused the extreme liver levels. But she has been on much higher doses before (even though she has now been on steroids for a long period of time) we didnít expect to see results like this with the pred increase that we made. The only difference this time is she is on the Chinese herbs but I spoke with the specialist vet who prescribed them and they should not have any affect on liver levels or causing inaccurate results. They are supposed to help with liver support.

I donít know whatís going to happen. Iím hoping her liver is going to be okay while we taper her. more quickly than we would normally do with Pepper (as she is so sensitive to change). I donít know what we will do if she ends up in pain when we drop back. I donít think the tramadol will work. We have briefly tried things like gabapentin and a non steroidal anti inflammatory before when she relapsed and they didnít work. But that was when she was on no immune suppressants. This time we plan on keeping her on a low dose of pred.
After we do the next taper we will wait a bit and then retest her blood and see what her liver levels are doing. 🤞 fingers crossed we havenít cause irreparable damage 😞

One thing I forgot to mention. Just check the contraindications with cyclosporine when using herbs. I did a very quick google search on Ribes Nigrum EIE & it mentioned something about black currents. I remember checking the contraindications of different drugs/ herbs with cyclosporine before I gave it to Pepper. I thought I remembered reading something about cranberry juice, changing the effectiveness. I canít be sure though, as it was some time ago. Your vet should be able to check their Ďplumbs veterinary drug handbookí for you.

Thanks, Iíve heard of arnica (I took when I had my second child to recover quicker) but donít know the other two. Iíll have to look into them.
I was giving Pepper the Human cyclosporine drug called neoral. She was on 150mg a day. I think 100mg in the morning and 50mg of a night/afternoon.
Its worth trying natural remedies to try lessen the chemical load. They canít be expected to have the same effectiveness as the hard drugs, but Iím all for trying. Every little bit could help.

Hi Monica,
Good to hear from you. Sorry that you are also going through the same with your girl.
We had to change to cyclosporine early on due to advice from an inexperienced vet which caused an initial incorrect dosage regime wth pred. Ultimately resulting in Peppers liver reaching damaging levels. We had to change to the cyclosporine to try give her liver a break. We managed to get the cyclosporine to work for long enough to give her liver a break. But there was lots of ups and downs. Pepper responds much better to pred. We were having to give her such a large dose of cyclosporine for it to have effect.  Which ended up costing us all of our savings. She has since been able to maintain a much lower dose of pred, until this latest relapse. She seemed to have more side effects from the cyclosporine too. She is a English staffy, so a medium size dog (approx 18kg) and wonít suffer the effects of pred quiet as much as a larger dog. But she definitely shows muscle wastage. Although already being such a muscley breed to begin with that may have left her more muscle to make it not so obvious.

I have read & researched everything I can to give Pep the best chance I could. Jean Dodds book canine nutrigenomics is a great start to read. I have eliminated chemicals from our home, she also does not have any worm, heartworm, topical flea treatments or vaccines.  Pepper has lots of allergies and food intolerances & sensitivities so I have worked on her diet a lot. We did nutriscan testing and I had a balanced diet made Dr Remilliard at Pet Diets for her.
I give her probiotics, she has wild liquid salmon oil for omegas, sunflower oil for linoeic acid, Rose hip vitamin c joint supplement, a trace vitamin and mineral supplement to help balance her home cooked diet.
Now I have just started trying the Chinese herbs. I figured to give her the best chance I would try get her body in as best health as possible.

Thanks jo, I really hope they work for pep.

We are back on the roller coaster again. We believe Pepper is relapsing again (impa)  and have had to go up in Pred. 😔
I have also just started giving her (very gradually) Si Miao San, Traditional Chinese Herbs. The list of things that it has claims that it helps with is extensive and would be absolutely amazing if it ends up doing even half the things they say it can help with.
With Peppers sensitivity I have always been scared with trying things like this. Although given her age, the chronic steroid use, the worsening of her joints and now this latest relapse I have decided itís worth the risk. So far we have had no problems but Iím still working up to her correct dose.

Has anyone else had any experience with using traditional Chinese medicine? In particular Si Miao San (four marvels powder).

Sorry to hear you that and Riley have been having a hard time. It is an emotional roller coaster having a dog with an immune disorder. I have had so many ups and downs with my girl but will keep fighting for her to be as healthy and comfortable as she can be. As you would be the same, thatís why this forum is so great. Everybody understands the feeling and wants to help eachother.

I looked into using colostrum some time back for my staffy Pepper. But in the end we decided we werenít comfortable and felt the immune stimulating aspect of it was too big of a risk.
Pepper is extremely sensitive and allergic to many things, so that was another factor to worry about.

I found jean Dodds book canine nutrigenomics a good read if you havenít already read it. Pepper is on Protexin probiotics but I have been trying to find a higher quality one but thatís all that seems to be available here in australia. Jean talks about higher quality probiotics available in the states.

I have just had a phone consult with a holistic vet specialist in Sydney. They also specialise in Chinese medicine amongst other things. I discussed with them natural remedies and supplements, probiotics, digestive enzymes etc that we may be able to use going forward to try and get pepper in optimum health. Also to try help prevent cancer and some drug free options to help her joints. I am waiting for them to send me through the notes and their suggestions. Pepper will be 11 this year, so like you I am trying to get her in the best shape I can via use of supplements etc.
When I mentioned finding a better quality probiotic the specialist suggested giving pepper things to help her body better absorb and make optimum use of the probiotic. Rather than change probiotics. She suggested slippery elm and was going to come back to me with digestive enzymes and some other options.
I will let you know if they come back with anything else that may also be useful for you and Riley.
Best of luck

General doggy chat / Re: Very sad news - Pepper
« on: February 05, 2018, 11:29:16 AM »
Thanks Jo. Iím so thrilled.

General doggy chat / Re: Very sad news - Pepper
« on: February 04, 2018, 08:09:12 PM »
Pepper has done it again. My hope for expecting the unexpected from her has came true.
Her toe went down, which it shouldnít have if she had plasmacytoma. I took her back to be tested again and the results were considerably different this time. She has permenantly been on 5mg pred once a day (weight 17.8kg) for her IMPA. Thats the dose we have t been able to get below and so have accepted. When we got the plasmacytoma diagnosis we went up to 2.5mg a day (total 7.5mg once daily). After doing the second test and receiving the considerably different results we decided to do 2 more weeks at 7.5mg and then drop back to 5mg once daily. Then after a week at the lower dose retest everything again.
We have just rested her again and by complete Pepper standards of never conforming to the normal......no cancer 😁 Only Pepper could do this!
The initial tests of her lymph showed 90%+ plasma cells. Apparently a result of 30% is cancer.
Peppers two new tests showed 10%, a level that they believe is just normal for inflammation caused by skin disease. There was nothing else to suggest cancer. Multiple pathologists have looked at her results and have no explaination. 
To say I am over the moon is an understatement 😊

Hi Mel & Tara,
Its great to see that youíve joined the forum  :D
You will greatly benefit from reading through the info here and following other peopleís stories who have been through similar situations. So many lovely people with experience in these horrible immune mediated diseases, who have banded together to help each other and our furr babies.

Iím so glad to have been able to help point you towards this forum. I donít know how I would have been able to get through all I have been through with my staffy Pep if I hadnít by chance stumbled across it.
Iím forever grateful to Jo and everyone else on here for sharing their stories and for listening.

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