Intestinal Lymphangiectasia: This disorder is considered to be the most common cause of intestinal protein loss. The disease is characterized by dilated intestinal lymphatics, resulting in dilated and ruptured lacteals (small lymphatic vessels) in the lining of the intestine. This leads to a loss of protein, fats and lymphocytes (white blood cell) into the stool. Clinical signs are: weight loss, occasional vomiting and diarrhea, and most significantly low blood protein. - exert from our patient information sheet we received.
This past Thursday, we took Keeper to see the internist, Dr. Sheri Clarkson. When arranging the appointment, they informed us that an ultrasound will be conducted first. Then we would have a consult, and if necessary, a scope and biopsy would be conducted.
When we got to the appointment, they took Keeper to get shaved. :'( But we were able to be with her while the ultrasound was being done. Dr. Clarkson was so good. She talked to us throughout the exam, and explained what she was seeing. We then had our consult.
She explained that of what she saw of the small intestine, had the characteristics of Intestinal Lymphangiectasia. Symptoms experienced fit this condition. But cancer could also explain the symptoms as well. She did not see any unusual masses. We wouldn't know for certain without biopsies. But obtaining the necessary samples would be risky, even more so with a dog with low protein. Low protein can impede the ability to heal.
She then told us, "It seems like a duck. It looks like a duck. If we go in, we would probably find a duck."
We decided we were confident in Dr. Clarkson's expertise and experience. This is what she does. This is what she sees all the time.
So we are treating for Intestinal Lymphangiectasia. Treatment is indefinite. (And it's similar to IBD treatment.)
Prednizone freaks me out the most. It will change her.
But Dr. Clarkson encourages us to continue in agility. I may not get the same focus, but believes that this condition should not stop us from continuing to train. It may even help her through the treatment.
We will see what the future brings. It's been three days on the medication. So far so good, although Keeper's a bit skinny. She still cuddles with me on the couch. She still has strong toy drive. We played in the yard and played fetch and tug. I will be taking her to class this week. I may or may not be able to trial her again. We will see over the next weeks how much she will change.
One thing for sure is that she will always be part of us.