01 June 2011

Top Chef vegetarian with special percentages of triglicerides edition.

We spent a long time in the vet office yesterday, the fancy vet where the specialists are. Gustavo had an ultrasound, and the good news is he doesn't have any tumors lurking around inside him. What his results did confirm is that he's got hepatatic microvascular dysplasia.

It's a long name that means he was born with extra blood vessels going to his liver that work sort of like the metering lights on freeway onramps. Maybe you don't have those by you. Around here, if you have to drive in rush hour traffic in San Jose, all these danged lights stop up traffic getting on the freeway to keep the freeway, which is already jammed, from jamming up. Good luck getting anywhere on time when the metering lights are on.

This is different than an actual liver shunt, which would just be like taking a different road altogether. The long way round. He doesn't have a different road, just a bunch of extra little onramps that are screwing up the blood flow into his liver.

I think like if you got a mitten that had 17 thumbs instead of just one.

Weirdo. Who needs all those thumbs?

And the problem is, during the traffic jams, instead of putting on lipstick or reading the paper or working on your computer which are all actual things I have seen people do during traffic jams, Gustavo's blood turns into ammonia in his brain. Which makes him go weirdo.

Mitten with 17 thumbs.

There are some very fancy and interesting chemistry words for all of this. But in a world where everybody wants to get into the carpool lane and zoom along and never hit traffic, Gustavo is always going to be start and stop and not always actually get onto the freeway due to mitten thumbs. And the more stop and start you have, the more your liver shrivels up into a crusty, horrible raisin and starts skipping work and lays around passed out on the couch and eventually loses their job and gets thrown out of the house and ends up sitting on the freeway onramp with a little cardboard sign and you can imagine how it goes after that.

So what can we do?

Put him on some maybe forever medicines. And change his food a lot. I also have many chemistry notes for this, but basically, he is going to be the biggest hippie you have ever seen. Specific amounts of tofu, brown rice, raw potatoes and cottage cheese. All the broccoli and carrots he wants. Mix this in with some of the special dog food you buy at the vet that isn't really that healthy except does actually have the special amounts and percentages for amino acid trigliceride chain of peripheral catabolism something something something.

I got to get cooking.

I know lots of people who feed their dogs glistening chunks of chickens and mammals. Defrosted necks and stomachs and leg bones fill up their freezers and get tossed to the dogs on the floor. We never did this, but Gustavo sure does love him some carne asada bits out of tacos. No more. People love giving him treats, but if you see Gustavo, just pet him instead. He will love you just the same. Unless you brought him a carrot. He can eat some of the same things as ponies. And oatmeal. And barley. And quinoa.

I feel a cooking show coming on.


Vero said...

Oh, it's good to know what you know now! One treat you might consider, and also for the cooking part, is sweet potatoes. Very good for the liver, and they like 'em (me, too!). You can buy dried sweet potato treats, or make 'em yourself.

Is the medication he's going on called Denamarin? Mia is now on that, and it's getting some of the credit for her improvement. It's expensive at the vet, but you can get it about half that price online.

Best of love to G-dog in his healing-and-getting-healthier!

Anonymous said...

If I ever met Gustavo, I would love to give him a carrot, or piece of sweet potato.

I hope he feels better really soon.


Unknown said...

Hi LH,
You said he would get "weird" - can you define that further? What's "weird" and what other symptoms did he have that prompted you to get him checked out?

Elf said...

Tracey Mays' Golden Retriever also has some odd condition where he can't have regular meats or proteins or treats. And it's always so tempting to give him some in class because he's so sweet. And big. Tracey has to remind everyone occasionally not to give him anything from your own pocket, but only from his special treats. It's a challenging life but he sure is a lot healthier and happier since they figured out whatever it was.

I hope it will be the same with Gustavo.

Jen Lindsay said...

If I ever travel up to Northern California to play some USDAA agility, I will be sure to bring some carrots for Gustavo. I am glad you have some answers. I have a friend who is Director of Nutrition for a zoo - let me know if you would like her contact email. I'm sure she'd be happy to answer any diet-related questions you may have about what to feed Gustavo. She is also on Facebook.

team small dog said...

His medicines are lactulose and neomycin.

His little weird was that he has always had these mini seizures. Not real seizures, minis. He can be snapped out of them. He stares at a spot on the floor and drools buckets of drool down on the spot. Sometimes he just stares at the spot without the drooling. He's always done some form of this, but in the last few months it got worse and worse to where he was doing it nightly, then not just in the night.

He's always liked to just stare off into space or at doornobs, things like that, we just thought he liked to stare. But when he added in the drooling, sort of weird.

It's like he's in a fog when he does it. Because there's ammonia in his brain from this liver business, we now find out. He has been getting more tired lately too, I just thought it was because he is maturing (he's 4 years old) and we are all out of shape.

But it's probably because his liver isn't helping him as much as a liver should. Because the blood is being stolen by the mitten thumbs.

Thank you for the offer from your zoo vet friend. We are pretty happy with the food ideas our vet is giving us-she is an awesome specialist in these kind of dog chemistry projects.

I will have to get him some sweet potatos-we are all having rice and broccoli and tofu tonight!

Unknown said...

I had read a journal article on high protein and how it creates excess ammonia in the brain, but in some dogs it can trigger aggression. So, with my struggles wtih my dog, I also started putting him on a white fish and sweetpotato (wellness) to limit the protein, and I also added some maletonin to boot.

Wish you all well, I'm sure you have the right plan in place for his particular condition and knowing is more than half the battle! Go TSD!!