I brought our precious pooch home from the vet hospital last night.
Where to begin (and be brief at the same time). They're still waiting for test results to come back to see if they'll shed any light on what's causing her problems. They still think it's kidney-related, but whether it's a kidney infection specifically or something else that's causing her kidneys to react is still unknown. And there's still the whole issue of cause and effect: They don't know if she's drinking a lot because she's urinating so much or if she's urinating so much because she's drinking a lot; in other words they don't know which is causing the other. They sent her home with antibiotics just in case it is an infection and next week we'll be doing a test where we give her an artificial hormone related to the pituatary gland to see if she reacts to that. (It's an eye drop where we have to give her 3 drops twice a day—that's gonna be interesting.) Right now we're monitoring (as in keeping track of and measuring) how much water she drinks to get a baseline measurement for this test. I replaced the buckets she usually has outside with a bowl so it would be easier for me to measure—that confused her. She keeps going over to the (dry) buckets and sticking her head in them, wondering where the water is. I'll fill the buckets again on Sunday when we're done measuring how much she's drinking for this round.
While she was at the vet school they also tested her for tick-borne diseases and they're waiting for the results to come back on that. They think the chances that she has one are very small but there were a couple things about her bloodwork that made it a possibility so they went ahead and sent the blood samples out for further testing. One of the diseases they're checking for is leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to humans. Even though they think the chances that she has it are pretty slim the fact that they were testing her for it meant that the hospital had to follow certain protocols for our dog; in effect she had to be quarantined and everyone who interacted with her had to take certain precautions. Those precautions included wearing gloves to touch her and dressing up in a full biosuit to be with her in her cage—which I did when I went to visit her before they released her. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera with me but I had to have looked pretty funny. If you've ever been around a clean room or a sterile lab that's the kind of garb I had to wear. I call our dog my little biohazard now. Of course wearing the gloves and suit were only required at the hospital; at home we don't have to be quite that careful with her, we just have to make sure we don't come in contact with her urine until they've confirmed she doesn't have the disease. Not that I'd like to come in contact with her urine, anyway, thank you very much!
While our little biohazard (told ya I was calling her that now) was at the hospital they had her on an IV so they had to shave her leg for that. They also had to shave her belly for a couple other tests (the ultrasound, I'm guessing) so I thought you'd like to see how funny she looks with her shaved areas now:
On the bright side she seems to be drinking and going less today and she's definitely alert and has energy (she slept like a rock last night!) but she still isn't eating... I saw our regular vet with the cat today (just for a check-up but that's a whole other story) and she suggested I get some different canned food to try and find something she likes. She's been eating the same food for years and never had a problem with it but maybe changing to something new—even just temporarily—would do the trick. Unfortunately I'm lazy and really don't feel like going to the grocery store right now... Maybe tomorrow morning. In the meantime she'll still eat chicken (particularly if I hand-feed it to her) so for this evening I'll probably just go with that. Thankfully she still likes cheese—a good thing since that's how I get her to take all her pills!