Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mardi Gras diagnosis

We are in Sunnyvale, parked in front of my mother-in-law's house.

We had a great time Sunday at our friends' in San Jose, catching up with quite a few people whom we see only once a year or so. Uncharacteristically, we even stayed riveted to the TV for part of the game, with such an exciting final quarter. I was rooting for the Giants, as that was my home team for the first twenty years of my life, so it was particularly good to see them come through in the final minute.

It was past 9 when the party finally broke up, and we spent a quiet night on their street. And at 8:30 Monday morning, the vet called with Opal's results. Unfortunately, they were not the definitive results for which we were hoping. They did point conclusively to non-regenerative anemia, but none of the results could explain the underlying cause. What they did do, though, was rule out some possibilities, such as liver disease. What that left was the very real probability of some sort of bone marrow disease. The doctor did suggest one additional possibility, which required another blood test, and so we brought the dog back in to them yesterday afternoon, in the bus.

We needed to spend another night here while we awaited the results, with the possibility that the next step would be to bring her back in for a bone marrow biopsy. So after leaving the vet we came up here to Edith's, where we could borrow her car today if the dog needed another visit.

As it turns out, yesterday's test did the trick, and we now have what we think is a definitive diagnosis. Opal has "atypical" Addison's Disease, a condition in which her adrenal glands are not producing enough corticosteroids. The good news here is that she will not need to undergo a bone marrow biopsy, which is quite painful in itself. The bad news is that she will likely be on steroids for the rest of her life, and we will need to have a blood panel done regularly, possibly as frequently as every two weeks -- quite a challenge with our mobile lifestyle.

With the diagnosis finally in the bag, we are free to hit the road. We need to stop at the vet on our way out of town to pick up her prednisone, but otherwise we are done here. We will, though, have to stop somewhere for another CBC in a week. We are holding a positive thought that, with treatment, the disease will remain in the atypical phase for some time to come, rather than progressing to full-blown Addison's, which is much more debilitating.

Tonight we should be at Laguna Seca, for a quick visit with my other in-laws on our way south.

1 comment:

  1. YAY Opal. No seriously, it is so positive and good to KNOW what is going on. to KNOW, in black and white. here is the problem, and here is what we can do for a solution.

    will think peaceful things for Op

    c ya'll in DV


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