Some of you have asked how Lyle’s doing. He’s still dying, he just doesn’t seem to have realized it yet. Thanks to a truly great vet and a truly great Yahoo Group, he’s put on weight, his numbers are getting better, his energy is way up, and he’s spoiled rotten and loving it.
Here’s Lyle’s headshot; doesn’t he look fabulous?
And he doesn’t just look fabulous, he has an equally spectacular life.
We sleep late here, so round noon, Lyle wakes up for lunch. The rest of the dogs get dry Iams dog food; Lyle gets homemade dinners (they look like sludge, but they have hamburger and pumpkin in them and he snarfs it right down). Then he goes outside and runs around, digging holes, and peeing on things, and generally being a dog.
After that, he crawls up on the bed next to my laptop (still haven’t dug out the LaZBoy) and goes to sleep on the pillows. Because it’s naptime. Then everybody goes out again; run, chase, dig, pee. It’s a simple life, although Lyle does have to occasionally jump on a chair to escape Mona, who drags him around by his ear.
For awhile, we were going to the vet every three days to get epogen shots for his anemia, but Alastair is giving those at home now. One of my favorite things about this vet practice is that they put the dog’s mug shot on the paperwork. Lyle looks like he was picked up for trying to rob a liquor store stoned:
We did get some news on the diagnosis: Lyle, it turns out, has Polycystic Kidney Disease, a genetic problem in which cysts gradually take over and destroy the kidneys. There is no cure, and Lyle’s ultrasound shows he doesn’t have much blood flow there any more so his prognosis is, well, dire. The vet has been fabulous, and she’s delighted that Lyle is still around and acting healthy. In fact, the whole practice is getting pretty fond of Lyle who appears to be pretty happy about them, too; here he is at the vet’s yesterday (although the happiness could also come from sitting on Lani’s lap):
Then it’s home for another nap with the pack–being a dog is exhausting–and at eight, he gets cuddled by his two favorite people, Lani and Alastair, when they stick a needle in him and pump saline under his skin. He’s not crazy about the needle, but it must make him feel better because at about 7:45 he goes up to the door to the kitchen and waits there until it’s time.
When I open the door he runs into the kitchen and goes wild when he sees Lani sit down in the subq chair and leaps on her lap and curls up on the towel (which is there because Lyle is a peeing machine). Then Cheesus (as he calls Alastair) slides the needle in, and they talk to him softly for about ten minutes while 200 mls of NaCl create a bison bump over his shoulder blades (which is why Lyle is a peeing machine).
Then Alastair feeds him whatever he didn’t eat of his lunch and tops it off with a pill wrapped in cheese (Cheesus saves). And then I’m the buzzkill who comes in with syringes of aluminum hydroxide and Reglan and squirts medicine into his mouth (no needles). Lyle ADORES Lani and Cheesus. And he should because they’re saving his terminal little butt.
And then we go back downstairs and Lyle jumps on the bed and flaunts his special status by climbing high into the pillows in front of the other four dogs and goes to sleep again. (Milton was on the floor when this picture was taken.)
That’s an abbreviated description of Lyle’s day–there are more trips outside than that–but basically, aside from the dying part, Lyle is living large and feeling good. Huge thanks to the wonderful Dr. Raab at the All Creatures Animal Clinic, to the K9KidneyDiet group on Yahoo, and to Lani and Cheesus, with whom anything is possible.