Thursday, May 27, 2010

What they don't tell you

Word to the wise - ask a lot about side effects. Seems that mainstream medical, whether for humans or for pets, really don't like to talk about the side effects of medical procedures. They want to tell you about the positives, not the negatives.

The negatives we're talking about in Vida's case aren't life threatening, but knowing what to really expect, for me, is reassuring.

I want to be told that her hair will slough off in cruddy patches, that the skin will heal, but the hair probably won't come back. Pretty obvious, you'd think, to tell someone that their dog will have a big bare patch where the radiation was done. This is just an aesthetic issue in the end, but during the process it's nice to know what to expect so you don't waste time peering at it every other day.

Today I took Vida to see her holistic vet. I'd scheduled this appointment a couple of weeks ago, and knew that it would be just after she'd finished her prednisone, so the timing seemed good to assess her condition and plan ahead for upkeep.

I didn't know that I would be needing help in figuring out what the HECK was going on with her since stopping the pred last week. Her digestion has been bad, her appetite waaay off, her energy low, her eyes watery... basically she looked sick and miserable. I was worried that her adrenals weren't working properly, but he didn't think so at all (she had perked up a bit with him of course).

He pointed out something that, once he said it, seemed obvious - the prednisone had suppressed her body's ability to detoxify, so now that the pred was out of her system, her body started dumping toxins. He said he saw this a lot, the side effects that come a month or so after radiation is finished, and this is where his question came...

"Didn't they warn you about that?"


No they didn't. And it would've been so simple for them to tell me to expect her body to detoxify when the pred was done, so to plan accordingly.

Instead I've spent the last few days worrying, adding and subtracting supplements, messing with her food, and (a second time for emphasis) worrying.

So for the next month she'll be getting rid of crud. Hopefully I'll only have to play with her food for the next week, but we'll see. She's superstitious because whatever she ate last made her feel crummy, so it's cooking meat for tastiness, and shifting entrees around so she stays excited.

Supplements? A few new ones for this process, and most others put aside for the time being.
  • Liver support capsule called "Hepato Support" with milk thistle and some B-Vits.
  • Homeopathic detoxifier - don't ask me what's in it, I don't know (a pet peeve of mine - please give me an ingredient list).
  • Herbal tincture called "Astragalus Formula (again, no ingredient list, grrrr).
Plus: digestive enzymes (InClover OptaGest, a double dose), Organic Pet Superfood (mushrooms), and Perfect Form by The Honest Kitchen.

So she got a little bit of cooked venison tonight, with all of her new supplements except the homeopathic (I'll do that later by itself), and she ate it all. So far so good!

Hopefully my blog posts of the past several weeks will help other dog owners not be disturbed or surprised by the process, and have some ideas of what to do about it, and WHAT TO ASK.
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