Sunday, March 11, 2012

Karma - The Diagnosis

I am going to periodically deviate from my normal fitness crap & write some posts about Karma.  I want to document the journey that we have been on for the past 10 years since rescuing her from U of Wisconsin as well as what is ahead for us.

For those of you that don't know Karma is my beagle.  I found out last Tuesday (3/6/12) that she is in renal failure.  I immediately thought that we were going to have to say goodbye that night.  To my surprise the vet said there was still lots that we can do to help her live a good quality of life.  For how long, we don't know.

On Tuesday, her Bun level was 125, creatinine 5.0 & phosphorus was 15.6.   These numbers are borderline moderate / severe renal failure.  We kept her at the vet overnight where they hooked her up to IV fluids & gave her some medicine to help her naseau.

When we picked her up on Wednesday her Bun level was 108, creatinine 4.7 & phosphorus was 13.0.  Not great but at least the numbers were going in the right direction.

The vet showed us how to give subcutaneous fluids to help flush out the bad stuff as well as a couple new medicines.  One for her tummy & one that is a phosphorus binder.

Her first few days back home went like this:

Wednesday:  A lot of sleeping going on.  She eventually ate her dinner.  Not with her usual robusto.  In the middle of the night she did a lot of coughing.   No vomiting though.

Thursday:  She slowly ate breakfast over the hour before we went to work but we later found out that she threw it all up after we left.  Not good.  I did my run/walk on the treadmill thanks to the pouring rain.   I proceeded to have a good cry during the run/walk.  It was hitting me hard that she was not doing so well.  I so don't want her to suffer.

Once Steve came home we gave her the Sub-Q fluids.  She did seem to perk up after that.  She ate dinner with no problems.  I was feeling a bit better.  She slept through the night with no coughing or vomiting.  A good sign.

Friday:  We were up by 6AM so I could swim before work.  She ate all her breakfast before I left.  Including her medicine bread.  She wasn't taking the phosphorus binder well.  The vet suggested we soak some bread with it & see if she would eat it that way.  The first couple of days it took some time to get her to eat it but by the 3rd day she gobbled it all up.

Saturday:  She inhaled her breakfast up in less than 30 seconds.  That is the Karma I know!  We took her for a walk in the afternoon.  She did pretty well.  She even ran after Steve hiking up a hill to the rail road tracks in our neighborhood.  Karma is the best hiking dog.  She always positions herself between me & Steve.  She always followed Steve but would periodically look back to make sure I was behind her.  If I fall too far back she would turn around to come get me.!

We gave her fluids around 5:30. We met some friends for dinner & when we returned she was all ready to play.  Ducky is her very first toy that was given to her by friends.  She has had this toy for over 10 years.  It is still her favorite.  Below is a silly video we took of her playing with ducky on Saturday night.

Sunday:  Again she ate really well.  Steve took her for a walk to the park.   She is still sluggish but she is much improved since earlier in the week.

Patiently waiting for breakfast!
Karma's Symptoms: 

Excessive thirst She has always drank a lot of water.  Even when her values were normal so we didn't pay too much attention to this..  A few weeks before we took her to the vet she had some really stinky breath.  Much worse than normal.  She has always been a stinker so we didn't think too much about it.  Post diagnosis I found that can be one of the symptoms for renal failure. She was also super itchy.  We chalked it up to dry winter skin.  About a week before we took her to the vet she was not eating like she normally does.  A few days later she started vomiting.   She was getting pretty lethargic as well.

We just are not sure what to expect in the upcoming weeks / months.  A few folks have told me they had pets in renal failure that lived for 2-3 years.   We take her back to the vet on Wednesday.  I am pretty anxious to see how her values are.

Fingers crossed


  1. sending thoughts and prayers to you all and sweet karma!

  2. :( So sorry Andrea. This needs another sad face. :( Karma sure is a cutie and I hope the vets can extend her life and make it comfortable. Keep us updated on your baby.

  3. I'm really sorry to hear she's suffering. I know firsthand how tough it can be to watch them decline, but the quality of her life is so high that you have a lot of reason to be proud. She's a beautiful dog and I've got my fingers crossed that you will get as much good time with her as possible.

  4. I hope that Karma gets better! I went through parvo and it's just horrible. Breaks your heart to see them so sick. At least she had a good day though of running around with you guys a bit!

  5. I'm so sorry about Karma! My parent's miniature chihuahua has had renal failure for over 3 years and other than bad days here and there he's been doing well. I hope the same will hold true for you guys and Karma!



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