"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage." ~ Lao Tzu

The Addison’s Chapter: And within hours, everything changes...

When I awoke, I had a healthy Great Dane. By dinner time, I had a Great Dane with Addison's Disease.

12/8/09 It only takes a day's time to alter life; a few hours to twist what you thought you knew into unknown territory. The first Friday in November, my husband woke me up before leaving for work to let me know that Paige had vomited solid food in the kitchen. When I came upstairs she begged to go out, and grazed the poor offerings of grass out in our back yard. Half an hour later, she ate her breakfast with a little encouragement in the form of rare people food. I returned from work that evening early enough to feed her (a rarity; usually my son does). Once again she refused the kibble; after putting in a little canned food Paige picked through about half the bowl. I still wasn't worried; sometimes Paige went off her food, no big deal. Sometimes she ate grass in lue of a meal, or as an appetizer. Sometimes, you just don't know you should be worried...

Saturday morning Paige refused to even walk near her food. She wouldn't play with her favorite ball in the yard (the red one she normally fixates on and stomps to make shoot across the yard). I noticed she was trembling as she laid on her side on the dog cot. When I touched her, I was startled at how cold her ears, jowels, and feet were. I took her temperature; normally it would be 101. It was 98. I called the vet clinic I worked at, and was told to bring her in.

Sick Paige hooked up to a machineIt was a blur: oxygen because her color was so bad. X-rays of her heart due to the abnormalities the doctor heard. Blood work, and the horrendous breath that was abnormal for Paige. The worry, the fear... My coworkers and the doctor working were wonderful, checking in on us and stepping up to do what needed to be done. Unfortunately, our clinic was not set up for overnight emergency like hers. Jim and I half walked/half carried Paige back out to the car and to another animal hospital.

The people at Barton Heights were just as incredible as my coworkers. They put blankets on the floor so Paige wouldn’t have to lie on the cold tile. A machine was wheeled in to help warm her, and frequently checked in to make sure she was OK. We remained in the exam room our entire visit. Jim had to leave for his evening shift; he left Paige and I curled up on the floor together. He called a time or two to check on her, and to verify that I had found a neighbor able (and willing!) to bring us home when the hospital closed at 8 pm.

More blood was drawn, an IV was run. The consensus was Addison's Disease. Barton Heights did not have the capability to run the test in-house; we would have to wait until Monday to have the samples sent out to Antech. The plan was to keep Paige on an IV throughout the weekend; I would drop off the blood samples at Canadensis. The results would arrive no quicker, and the cost was significantly lower with my employee discount. The doctor at BH consented to me leaving their building with the IV still engaged; it would be much less stressful for Paige to remain with me than transfer her to an emergency clinic. I was grateful that my ability to tend to my dog was acknowledged: I left BH with all the items necessary to successfully keep the IV running over the next two days.

Paige curled up with pink bunnyI used crate sides to pen Paige in on the crib mattress next to the fire place. The IV bag was hung from the curtain rod. I spent a restless night sitting up every time Paige shifted. The hours passed slowly, broken up by a couple of trips outside for Paige to relieve herself. Walking her with the IV was fairly simple. I had learned years ago that it's easiest to dangle the IV bag from a leash folded in half across my neck; it leaves both hands available to walk the dog and when done correctly, you don't choke! I clipped the line to her collar with the service dog leash I use, and off we went.

Sunday morning found us back at BH for the scheduled follow up blood work and quick visit from the doctor. It was worth every dime that I spent bringing Paige there. I left with her a short time later, reassured and feeling capable of nursing my dog as we edged closer to my employer being open the following day. My good friend/ neighbor stopped by with a goodie basket for Paige and me. I was tired and scared since Paige wasn't out of the woods, but knowing that I had such good friends looking out for us really helped.

Tuesday morning, November 10th, the diagnosis was confirmed. We had ourselves an AD girl. Paige lost four pounds in less than a week, reaching an all-time low of 94 pounds. She trembled horribly the day after receiving her first Percorten injection. We were giving her the prescribed 20-mg Prednisone pill twice daily, plus Famotidine with both meals to help her upset stomach.

1/5/10 I am amazed at how WELL Paige is doing now. She's put on over 10 lbs.; she weighed in at 110.6 on January 4th (her normal was around 98 lbs.). Her appetite has been consistent now that she's on the Famotidine twice daily.

My plan is to keep her on a 28-day Percorten schedule. I want that on a Tuesday, since I normally have Monday and Tuesday off. This meant checking her electrolytes on day 26 and giving her the 3.50 cc shot on day 27. She's still on 5 mg. Pred in the morning. She's not having accidents, panting, or showing any of the symptoms I've read from others, so I think I will leave that dose alone for now.

2/8/10 This also caused me to finally do allergy testing on her. She never had the horrible symptoms of itching herself raw, but the loose stool and other things caught my attention ... after all, I work for a vet. Paige is allergic to a slew of things, including mosquitoes, house dust, eggs, oats, carrots, rabbit, brewers yeast ... This doesn't include the trees, weeds, grasses, and fungi.

Paige with a toy3/2/10 It is ironic that having her diagnosed with this disease has been pivotal. I could say that Addison's disease agrees with Paige. She will turn three in April, and never before has she looked so good! Her appetite is great, she has finally put on weight to reach a total of 120 pounds (she never topped 98 before AD). It appears that being diagnosed with this disease was the best thing that could have happened for Paige. The lack of weight gain and loss of appetite periodically had plagued her for so long, I thought they were normal. I still regret not being the paranoid pet owner I normally am in that I didn't run a blood panel "just because" when she was in for her yearly. What is done is done and what will be, will be.

Paige was diagnosed with Addison's in early November. Since then we've managed to work on regulating her. Fine tuning the Percorten and Pred can be stressful, but not intolerably so. Ironically, it's more the Pred dose that I find I worry about. Paige's coat has gotten so thin in areas ... At diagnosis she was on 40 mg Prednisone daily. Now she's on 1.25 mg. How low can we go?

The Ilium Chapter

Paige curled up next to waterbed

May 2008 Ice pack on hip, leg elevated, pillows to keep her comfortable (and thus still), Paige snoozes.

Paige was running with two canine buddies and and slammed into a tree while running full speed. X-rays showed that she cracked her ilium (wing part of the pelvis). While waiting for our consult with Dr. Zolton at Round Valley Veterinary Referral Group in Lebanon, NJ, Paige was confined to a crate or gated area.

The bad news is that Paige will be restriced to four long weeks of leash-walking only ... no playing with other dogs at all. (This is not easy in a multi-dog household). The great news is that we can walk her 20 miles a day if we wish, and we can go back to our training classes on Monday!

It was a scary week waiting to find out what Dr. Zolton would determine. Who would have thought dogs playing could result in such a bad injury? ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!

January 19, 2008Paige lays across Susi and Laura Paige prefers the laps of Mom and friend Susi to the cold, concrete floor.

Paige, my friend Susi, and I attended the Expo in Allentown today. The picture shows Paige deciding to find a more comfortable spot to snooze on than the cold concrete floor ... the missing part is the photographer, who had Paige's legs draped across her lap.

At nine months old and somewhat skittish around children, Paige did exceptionally well today. She backed away from a few people, but for the most part was completely relaxed in the pandemonium of people and dogs everywhere. She had a blast with all the attention!

Paige earns her Canine Good Citizen (CGC).

Paige and Laura after successful CGC testing

Paige was nine months old in this photo. We're one step closer to Therapy Dog!
She needs to be a year old before we can test for that title.

Seeing-Eye Trainee Harlow, Paige, & Gator relax by the fire

pups by the fire

paige on lap

paige and laura

Paige isn't allowed on the furniture, but found a way around that! Who can resist an armful of loving puppy?

Matt with Paige at her obedience class

matt and paige at obedience class

paige and jewel

paige, jewel, gator


Jim holding Paige  6.28.07 Jim holding Paige 8.10.07 Jim holding Paige 9.10.07

shaina and paige

June 2007
I never expected an email to MAGDRL's PA Coordinator about Jewel's ill health to result in a new addition to our family ...

The five of us with our new puppy

Photo by:
Gay Ann Wayne / MAGDRL (NY)
Adoption-Foster-Intake Contact
(845) 735-6135 / Teebear15@aol.com
www.nydanerescue.com / www.magdrl.org