This is me, after I cried all night. Tired. Hurt. ANGRY!
Rewind about 9 months to late March, 23 or 24 of 2022. It was one of those AMAZING days where the
weather begged everyone to come out and play so naturally, we did. Kids, dogs, sunshine...living the dream! Fast forward 2-3 days and Bruiser is limping. Well, he must have twisted his leg playing with everyone outside.
Vet schedules were still strained due to COVID, but, I mean, it's BRUISER, so he immediately gets in.
Diagnosis 1 - CCL Tear.
Recommended procedure is to drill 6 large bolts in his bone to secure one bone to the other. Recover would be awful...and, he's 10...and I just can't drill 6 huge bolts into a perfectly healthy bone when conservative options are available. Here's where things started to get wonky:
Vet reviewed bloodwork and is triggered. Vet #1 was concerned about some numbers but instead of diving deeper, (additional diagnostics), he focused on protein levels and (get THIS) tells me repeatedly his food needs much less meat - "Angela add FIFTY PERCENT more carbs to his diet!"
WHAT? No thank you. His diet remains raw, protein rich, and I focus on healing ligaments with specific foods, CBD/THC, Red light therapy & PEMF mats.
But the blood has wheels turning in my head, so June rolls around and I schedule an appointment with the hottest holistic vet in Chicago - she's nationally recognized, insanely expensive, and I had hoped she would shed a new light away from my old "raw is bad" modern medicine vet.
Diagnosis 2 - Hypothyroidism.
Recommended to start Levothyroxine....and NEVER END! Here's the punchline, ready? Angela you should try this Raw Food made by This Large Company. I ask where do they source from? She answers, "I don't know, and it doesn't matter because its certified organic and you should just try something different."
I spent an hour listening to a speech she must have repeated to hundreds, if not thousands of people, and realized this amazing veterinarian failed to HEAR to me or my concerns and instead was only interested in validating her expertise. Great, she's an accomplished person but I'm not sold on the diagnosis. His bloodwork did could support hypothyroidism but so very acute, if at all....so again, I collect my labs, bloodwork and say goodbye.
Bruiser, meanwhile, is not limping so much, actually much better, so he & his wonky bloodwork, take a back seat for a while. Those wheels in my mind keep turning though - the nagging never leaves.
Ever hear of NRT? Nutrition Response Testing. Ginger and I were seeing this amazing vet, yes, she's a certified VETERINARIAN who does NRT full time. Due to how amazing things were going with her, around mid August, I introduce Bruiser to her. Vet #3. We focus HARD on nutrition and what foods (foods as supplements) will support his thyroid, while not stressing his other organs. December 3, we tearfully said goodbye to our beloved Ginger, and my goodness, I have heard dog whimper & cry, but Bruiser, he sobbed. By Christmas, he became more lethargic than usual. We know losing Ginger crushed him - but this appeared to be more than a broken heart.
So we see vet #4 to run another blood panel and unbiasedly give us another interpretation.
His thyroid actually improved. NEVER underestimate the medicinal power of food! Still, his other numbers are not right. Vet #4 suggests additional testing. What the hell could it be? The unidentified unknown has grown into fear.
Are you still counting vets with me? Good. I call vet #5 to schedule an exam and "second opinion" (ok 5th opinion but who's counting). He's young, extremely modern medicine, "quick with the steroids scripts" type, and he's wicked smart. We literally poured over & reviewed all his records and just talked about the chemistry in conjunction with Bruiser's symptoms. He didn't feel images were needed, but, he appreciated or perhaps humored my concerns and I swear to GOD, as he was leaving with Bruiser, I pointed to him and asked,
"hey, check his spleen too please" and as the words left my mouth, my stomach tightened.
Tech brought Bruiser back and I could tell 2 things:
1 - Bruiser HATED going back there
2 -The tech saw something. Her energy was beyond heavy.
Vet #5 slowly comes back in, slightly pale, and says, thoracic views are clean but we are looking at a 5cm growth on his spleen.
Folks this is why you ALWAYS get a copy of the reports. Interpretation varies from professional to professional. It took me FIVE vets to identify what was causing his abnormal blood and lethargic behavior.
Vet 1 wanted so badly for me to stop raw-feeding. He would have killed my dog.
Vet 2 was so overly confident in herself that she rapidly diagnosed without further testing and unapologetically said this medication will be ongoing for the rest of his life.
Vet 3 supported me AND Bruiser's endocrine and overall body while we continued to try to identify the hidden issue.
Vet 4 gently pushed me to further investigate.
Vet 5 gave me the truth my intuition has been trying to tell my conscious mind.
Five vets, and guess what. There will be more to come.
Next step for our Bruiser, is splenectomy, then off to pathology. This may or may not be the dreaded hemangiosarcoma. It looks like it, but his symptoms don't fall in that bucket. I pray it's not. Bruiser loves food. His activity level has always been lower than most, but he still gets a gallop in his steps for some Rawsome food.
If it is HSA, then maybe, due to seeing 5 vets in 9 months, we have a fighting chance to help him. Vascular sarcomas are awful. I hope pathology finds something else easier to remediate.
If nothing else good comes from this, I hope you learn to always seek additional information and please know this:
There is no veterinarian that would willingly hold back effective therapies for disease. It is their job and responsibility to improve the health & well-being of pets and their families.
Much like a difference in parenting styles, veterinarians have different methods of diagnosis and treatment, some good, some not so good. Please for the love of our pets, be kind to them. We NEED them, and in some cases, we need more than 5 of them.
So, to answer your questions on "what vet do you recommend", I suggest you don't put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you have an army, because you never know when you have to get ready for war.
Boozie Boy, we love you so much!