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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Pupdate

Hi! It’s been a crazy year so far – so much has happened so I thought I would just post everything here instead of in 2 or 3 different threads.

I’ll start with the best – after training for almost 2 years and working our butts off, my husband and I packed up all the pups and we travelled 2 days to attend our first nosework trial with Soter. It was a wonderful experience, everyone was so nice and supportive and I made a couple of really great friends. Of course the best part of all was that we actually did it – we passed all three components on the same day and earned 4 ribbons and our first ever title! That was in April and I still can’t stop grinning!

Hey Beaumont! This is for you! A St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog program just started in the next town – it’s only 2 hours away so we thought we’d go check it out. We traveled back and forth on the weekends for 6 weeks but we did it.
Coco and I passed and got our therapy dog certification – the first and only team in town!

I could not be more proud of these two J

Soter and I am still working away and hope to trial for our advanced in October. Coco and I are actively doing our therapy work and enjoying it immensely. I’m considering giving rally a try with Jinx – some of the people I met at the nosework trial had mentioned that it’s another sport that I can learn on my own so I’m trying to find a starting place and we’ll see what Jinx and I can do!

On the health front things have been interesting to say the least. Soter had a seizure January 29th after 155 days and then another on March 13th. Coco had one in February which is only her third seizure. When we were going to the trial, our vet asked us to take a detour to see an internal medicine specialist, she had consulted with her about Soter before and they both wanted to run some further tests on him. So after the trial we went for the specialist appointment and they did an ultrasound and an ultrasound guided needle biopsy when they couldn’t see anything obviously wrong on the ultrasound.

We got the results back and Soter has copper storage disease! None of us knew what to say or think, we went looking for a cause for the seizures and low blood sugar and found something completely unrelated – in fact the copper levels in his liver were so high that they said he most likely wouldn’t have lived another 3 months.

Since then it’s been an endless round of vet appointments, reading, studying and desperately trying to get him all the things he needs to start to recover. He’s now on the de-coppering medication, prescription food, bottled water and 5 various supplements to help his liver recover and heal. Thankfully there doesn’t appear to be any permanent damage, the various vets credit all of the things we’ve been doing up until now such as the acupuncture for keeping him going and preventing permanent or worse damage.

This has been a huge challenge that has become my second full time job. It’s hard enough to deal with copper storage disease because literally everything has copper in it but everything is further complicated because of Soter’s allergies. Thankfully he can eat the Hills liver diet but finding a second food to rotate him to has been difficult. Right now his alternate food is GO! All natural venison formula. It’s not ideal as it has a copper level of 9 mg/kg but it’s the lowest on the market that he can eat. And as always, we’re still looking for a lower copper alternative. We’re also consulting with a nutritionist on a possible homemade diet to rotate him on.

I’m making all of the treats now – the dehydrator is my new best friend lol! He gets beef jerky one week, fruit (apples, apricots & bananas) the next week and the dehydrated wet food spluts (mix the heck out of a can of wet food, pour it into an icing bag, make spluts on the dehydrator trays and dehydrate the heck out of them) then we start all over again. The nice thing is that it doesn’t really take much time, just cutting/mixing it up and putting it on the trays and he certainly loves the results.

We’re adding cottage cheese and yogurt to all his meals (alternating) to make the food more appetizing plus extra protein and so that he takes all of the various pills without a fuss. We just put them in with the food, mix it all up with either cottage cheese or yogurt and he eats the whole mess right up pills and all!

Soter and Coco now have their very own tablet because the spreadsheet I use to track diet, exercise, blood sugar readings, medications, supplements, seizure activity and everything else is so massive that it took all the memory on my iPad

Unfortunately copper storage doesn’t explain the seizures/low blood sugar issues. Soter’s blood sugar still swings wildly from one extreme to the next and we just don’t know why. We haven’t done too much with Coco up until this point as the assumption has always been that they most likely have the same condition. Soter’s brother also has blood sugar issues and seizures. Because of Soter’s diagnosis, Owen was also had a biopsy and it came back negative so now we’re back to square one and totally confused. Now we’re testing Coco’s blood sugar well so we can see if our initial assumption of the low blood sugar causing the seizures was incorrect or not. Soter has to have a follow up biopsy in October to make sure the de-coppering medication is working, if Coco’s blood sugar proves funky between now and then, then Coco will have a biopsy as well to see if she has copper storage disease.

I was very surprised that Owen's biopsy was negative, we were so sure. Soter and Owen have so much in common - they both had undescended testicles, they both have what we term 'tummy troubles', they both have seizures and they both have low blood sugar.

There are two working theories right now:

1) They all have copper storage but for whatever reason, Owen had a false negative result. This could be because he’s not nearly as bad as Soter and the sample taken from a needle biopsy is so small that it could have just been bad luck and they got a sample without copper in it. The copper storage disease is preventing the liver from functioning properly which is causing the chronic hypoglycemia which is causing the seizures.
2) They all have idiopathic epilepsy after all and my poor Soter also has copper storage disease. The copper storage disease is putting massive stress and strain on his body which is turn is causing the epilepsy to be so much worse in Soter than it is in the other two. None of us ( us, Owen's family and the vets) like this diagnosis as there are so many things related to the seizures that don't seem to fit epilepsy such as the blood sugar thing, the seizure duration, the movements when they're seizing.

There is also a third possibility which is that there is still something else going on that is causing
the seizures that we haven't figured out but at this point, we've kind of hit a dead end and don't
really know where to go from here.

So right now everything is focused on Soter and the copper storage disease because we know that it’s life threatening. For now Coco is on the same prescription food, supplements and water as Soter but not on the de-coppering medication. If she doesn’t have copper storage she’ll still be getting enough copper in her diet but if she does have copper storage than we’ve reduced it to the point where she should still be okay until the biopsy in October because she seems to not be affected as badly. Owen's owners had an appointment with their vet to discuss the test results and what their next step is going to be. They've decided to take the same route with Owen as we're taking with Coco, that is, testing his blood sugar, bottled water and the supplements. They have another appointment in 4 months to review his blood sugar tests, redo the various blood tests and see if anything has changed. And of course if anything changes they'll go back to their vets sooner.

I am so grateful for Owen's owner, she is a wonderful person and is as Dobe-nuts as we are. It helps so much to have someone to call and text with who's going through the same thing and who is as willing as I am to obsess over and endlessly discuss all of this with!

So that's it, the Dober-gang update in a very long and complicated nutshell.



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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 10:32 PM
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Thank you for the update! Glad you got some kind of answer.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 06:45 AM
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Thanks for the update on Soter and Coco and congratulations on the ribbons.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 06:51 AM
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Thank you for your update. Congratulations on the win ribbons. Hopefully everything will work it self out for your two babies.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:24 AM
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My goodness.
Soter & Coco and siblings have an incredible Mom!!!!
Wow. So many owners would have given up or given away their dogs. I admire your dedication and love for your family.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:36 AM
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Holy mackerel! That's been quite a year. Thanks for the update.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:38 AM
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Glad to see an update, as always wishing you had more solid answers but thankful you've unturned another stone in the pathway to the end of this mystery! Hoping there is an end in sight full of answers for your gang!!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:39 AM
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Congrats on the St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog program certificate and awesome nose work ribbons.
- in the dog Therapy work, the Dobermans do steal the show...he-he...get use to it, you guys

Sorry for all the health problems, trying to figure out / your dogs are so very blessed, in your most loving & devoted care.
- suggest you phone Dr. Sharon Kopinak, Rockwood, ON.
(one of the top Holistic Vets, in Country - phone 1-519-853-5142)
- Sharon may have some further options, for consideration / might want to pick her brain re cooper storage problem
- she graduated Guelph Vet College in the 1960's and has a ton of uncommon knowledge

------------Kelly & (Amy - RIP @ 11.7 y/o)

Last edited by Beaumont67; 06-16-2016 at 09:48 AM.
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