Today marks the one year anniversary of the day we nearly lost Billy to an accidental mega-overdose of Rimadyl. I was out of town when it happened, but thanks to Rich’s early detection and immediate response, and the skill and dedication of the doctors and staff at PetCare in Santa Rosa, he is alive and well today. And competing in agility (!), despite the gloom-and-doom kidney damage warnings we received when he was discharged. I summarized the 8 days of hell and the journey back in two previous posts: Rimadyl Toxicity – I wish I weren’t an expert, and The Journey from Hell to Healthy.
What am I feeding him now?
Our Internist has cleared him to return to adult food, but I have chosen to keep feeding him the Innova Senior food for two reasons: first, he had a mild weight problem when this whole thing started so I want to keep him from getting chunky; and second, that’s what my senior Border Collie eats so it’s just easier. I have, however, loosened up a little on the treat restrictions. I still keep the Phosphorus guidelines in mind so I avoid organ meat and bone meal, and with the exception of low-fat string cheese (because it’s so convenient), I opt for higher-fat versions of proteins when possible.
Update 10/28/13: My trust in Innova began to wane when they were bought by P&G, and following the recent salmonella scares and resultant recalls, I decided to switch. I repeated my Phosphorus research and landed on Wellness Super5 Chicken – 1.97 g/kcal of P. And our other dogs, a senior Border Collie and a tends-to-plump-up Rat-ihuahua, are now eating Wellness Senior.
Back to Agility
We began his conditioning and returned to training classes as soon as he got cleared by the Internist (about 6 weeks post illness) and he ran in competition 6 weeks later. He was fit and happy and showed no signs of any weakness or illness. Here’s a video from last weekend – happy, healthy, and fast! When he runs like this, it’s hard to remember that just a year ago we weren’t at all sure that he’d ever be able to compete again even if he survived.
What Will The Future Bring?
The damage is there and we may face chronic problems down the road. Since old dogs have kidney problems anyway, it will be hard to tell what is normal aging and what is accelerated by this injury. Nobody knows for sure. So we’ll continue to use good sense in feeding him, monitor his bloodwork every 6-12 months, ensure he always has access to fresh water, and enjoy every day that he’s alive.
Please, Protect Your Dogs
I’m using this milestone to remind my friends to take adequate steps (and after you read the original story, you might want to rethink what that means) to protect their dogs from ALL toxic threats. There is a frightening amount of stuff in our human world that is horribly toxic for dogs. Sadly, I know first-hand of dogs who have died following ingestion of human medication and hops from a home-brewing supply. Most of us know about the “bad” food items like grapes/raisins, dark chocolate, onions, and macadamia nuts. But how many know that a common (and frequently unlabeled) artificial sweetener can kill them? Yep, Billy lived through that too – please read Xylitol Toxicity – Chewing gum IS bad for dogs. I can think of at least two friends whose dogs ingested toxic doses of Rimadyl AFTER Billy’s nightmare. So lock it up, put it up, or give it up – please don’t trust them to make good decisions.