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Hi From Danza And Karen

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It's been so long since I've visited! Life got busy and I got out of the habit of checking in on the wonderful AID world. We're still in the forest East of Seattle. 9-year-old Danza has been our only dog for a few years, and she lives a pretty quiet country life, surveying the woods from her perch on our deck, 30 ft over everything. She also tries to keep the cleared areas rabbit-free and her favorite snack is rabbit pellets, which are everywhere right now. She's always been spectacularly healthy but started slowing down and then suddenly got very picky about her food. As it turns out she has severe hypertension and kidney disease and we are now learning what everyone in our shoes has to learn. I learned to give her the subcutaneous fluid she needs every day, I'm researching online food and drug supplies, and working out what we can safely give her for snacks. We didn't get much in the way of a prognosis, other than knowing she will continue to get worse, there is not much in the way of treatment available. Eventually she will always feel like she has the flu and I can't bear to see a dog suffer needlessly, so I don't think it will get much worse than that for her. For now she's still a happy dog, although not as ridiculously cheerful as she's always been. I would imagine that some of you reading this have experience with this. If you do, I'd love advice. Food is already an issue, although she seems to like the renal diet stuff she just had today. It's been years since I've had to buy food manufactured by companies that have been subject to recalls, but now we're in a new world. I'm hoping to at least supplement the commercial food with homemade, but I don't know nearly enough to get started yet. I'm borrowing a food dehydrator to make sweet potato leather treats, which she loves and are 100% AOK according to the Internet. Thanks for reading! I know this is sad, but it is life and we'll be making the best of it.


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Hi Karen,


I remember you on the forum when I was still waiting for my pup.


I'm not an expert but do want to relate that my heart understands and I hope you find a balance with the new reality.


I had a cat with hypertension (unfortunately his retinas tore and he went blind and I knew something was wrong and got him to Vet). Once we got his medication level adjusted he lived for years, until he passed at age 19 (of renal failure). It was acute but at his age his organs began shutting down. Because it was fast, he didn't seem to be in pain, he just stopped moving (literally) and I knew it was time.


There are renal diets at the vets as you have found. Depending on the severity Danza could have a good life for a while (I did note that the Vets could not give prognosis, I am saying some prayers for your family). I'm sure there are homemade diets that reduce stress on the kidneys but I don't know any. So what I can do is send prayers.


Like you I would be searching and matching and cross referencing info from the internet.


Is there a natural or homeopathic Vet in your area?

Many times they have viable alternatives to traditional western medicine or are able to compliment it.


Take care and I know Danza will still give you joy at some unexpected moments!





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Hi Karen, I really like Denise's idea of a holistic / homeopathic Vet. You might try contacting and or read the articles from

A good source for information......

Good luck. Hope this helps.

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One good thing about Seattle is that almost every medical practitioner does some degree of integrated medicine. Our vet is pretty 'holistic' already!

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Gee, K, so sorry to hear that Danza is having health trouble. She is such a beauty, and 9 is much too young!


Please let us know how things go.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Karen,


I was so sorry to read about Danza's illness!


Like you I tend to drift away from the AID forum but for some reason today I logged in and read your post. I felt compelled to reply because it sounds as if we have AIDogs with similar health issues. My dog, Kai, is 5.5 yrs old and has had autoimmune and kidney disease since before he was 2. He gets very sick, very quickly, with severe flu like symptoms several times a year. My vet is fantastic; always compassionate and very open to all avenues of health care. During these episodes, through blood tests, we also discovered that Kai can become very anemic.


In my search of a protein rich healthy diet I came across Dog Bark from backpacking chef.com. I had tried dehydrated sweet potatoes but wanted something with more protein. After a few experiments I developed a recipe of chicken livers, ground beef, spinach and sweet potatoes; cooked separately, drained, blended and dehydrated on plastic sheets. The dogs LOVE these treats. Also when Kai gets sick and loses his appetite I can add this bark to cooked rice and he'll eat. I would love to share more info if you're interested!


The good news is still we hike a lot 3-4 times a week and Kai, while slow, loves to be outside. He is in good shape so we're taking one day at a time.


Best of luck to you both,





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Sorry to hear of Kai's issues, too. That's great you are finding ways to help and probably know the signs by now to get him righted quickly.


I'm sure you both know - so I am writing this to remind everyone else - to also email Kim and let him know if health issues come up - (I have seen this posted on the forum other places) - it will help keep these dogs as healthy as possible for the future. It will probably help him to include the dog's birthdate and parents ... or other identifying info ... so he can track records easier .... (just my opinion on that).


I emailed him when Tayamni was having her 'girlie' issues. Not everything is a hereditary issue of course; sometimes things just happen. Happens to people too ....


I'm glad you all come back to post - both good things and problems. I enjoy reading the experiences and also learn from the issues.


We are all in this together and I LOVE that about having an AI Dog (or two).

We have this forum to come back to share on and it is a real community!





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Karen & Swade,


I too am sorry that you have to deal with such problems as this but I also feel that trials & tribulations are part of the natural cycle and they don't happen to people who cannot handle them...it seems.


I'm inspired to hear of the methods you've both developed to manage these issues for your fur kids. All they know is that there's something wrong with the way they feel and they turn to you for comfort. The dedication & love you've provided & continue to provide is inspiring to say the least.


I would also ask that you continue to post your stories, remedies, problems, solutions and other pertinent information as both a cathartic release for both of you but also as a record for the rest of us on how to deal with similar problems should these problems come up in the future for other IIDOBA member families. The wealth of info that I've found here on the site helped me immeasurably during the challenging times when both of my knuckleheads were puppies & growing into the fine young ladies they have become.


This information was invaluable to me during this time as well as the insights & support that many of you provided after we lost the OLP™ (old lady puppy, as we called our old basket case Ida Linda shown here with our Lil' Liliko'i AKA: Squint)

Ida & Lili.jpg
It's heart wrenching to know that the dogs are struggling and that the situation will only deteriorate but it's also very inspirational to realize the depth of commitment that you both have for your respective animals.
I'm honored to be part of your 'virtual family'.


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