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 Post subject: My Rio
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:43 pm 
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I thought I might put here the recent story of my Airedale Terrier, Rio. Rio is 8 years old and has always been very healthy. I had dreams of him one day becoming a very old dog. Looking at him I thought, well at least 12 years...and wow...maybe more. I know of some Airedales living to 15. I love old dogs. My last two died at 11 and 9, respectively. The first died of a heart attack. The second from a massively messed up immune system.

When I lost them I felt cheated. :sad: But Rio was my hope of having the same dog with me much, much longer.

About three months ago (I think), I noticed a lump forming on his right wrist...right on the front of his leg. The lump was bald...it had no hair on it. I remember feeling a bit shocked that I hadn't noticed it earlier. I was visiting with my Dad, and while sitting on his back steps, Rio had come up behind me and laid his head on my right shoulder. I reached back to stroke my hand down his legs as he stood there, and that is when I felt the lump.

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Not long after I found the lump, Rio had begun to not do so well on his food (he was on a grain free dog food), so I had switched him to raw. He has done really well on it so far.

I waited awhile to do anything about the lump. Really, fearing it might be cancer, I chose to ignore it for a while...just wishing it would go away. But eventually, I spotted another lump in front of his right ear, and then one began to form on his head, right between his eyes. I had to go to the vet.

So on November 25 I took him to the vet to have the lumps removed. The previous day they had done blood work to make sure he was ok for the surgery. At that time the vet noticed a very slight elevation in his ALT numbers which is related to his liver. I don't know specifically about the test, but the vet said it was minor and we could go ahead with the surgery. So we did. She removed four (found one more tiny one just above the lump on his right wrist) lumps and sent them for testing. However, the largest lump on his wrist ran too deep and she couldn't get all of it...so I just prayed it wasn't cancer.

Rio came home with many stitches, and his leg bandaged heavily to keep him from bending it too much.

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In a few days, we had the test results back. The diagnosis is Cutaneous or Systemic Histiocytosis.

This is (again!!!!!!!!!) an immune system condition of unknown origin. In Rio's case it is not genetic. I suspect it could be a result of his immune system reacting to his last rabies vaccine. I have no proof of that. I thought I was doing my best to keep that kind of thing at bay by doing three year, staggered vaccines. In one year he would get a rabies shot, then the following year his other vaccine, then a two year break before starting the cycle again. This would also reduce the number of vaccines in his lifetime. I had already begun to think that this last shot, could be the last of his lifetime The only reason I was doing the vaccines at all was so that he could travel with me across the border into the US to visit my dad. At any rate, with his immune system now compromised, he won't ever get another shot. However, it could be closing the barn door after the horses have left, so to speak. I'm very sad about this.

So. There is no cure. Of course there is not cure. No dog of mine would bother to get anything that could be cured. :sad:

At the moment the vet feels that the disease is cutaneous (limited to his skin) only. If it were systemic (lumps form on organs), she says that Rio would be depressed, lethargic, losing weight, etc. On the contrary, he is gaining weight on the raw diet, filling out in a lovely way with a beautiful coat and shining eyes. The only concern is that slightly elevated liver reading. More on that shortly.

Then I was faced with what to do about all this. The disease can only be delayed (and in some very rare cases sent into remission) with the use of steroids. I really don't want to do that to Rio. It would be trading one killer for another. One way or another he would eventually decline. The only option I can see that makes any sense at all, is to support his system in the best possible way I can find to do it, and help him live as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

A friend of mine in Vancouver British Columbia is always speaking very highly of her vet, who practices both traditional and holistic veterinary care. He has agreed to consult, look at all the information he can and to then prescribe a diet (to make sure his raw diet is balanced for his needs) and supplement regimen for Rio. :cheers:

First, I have to test Rio's thyroid through a lab in the US (Dr. Jean Dodds), and then also we will retest his blood locally, but in a larger lab to see if the pre surgery blood test was inaccurate or accurate and it will give us a more certain baseline for future blood testing.

So the journey has begun. I do not hold out hope that we will fix Rio, but with all the lovely help I'm getting, I'm hoping to have him with me for some time to come. I'll post updates occasionally, and I'll also post the supplement list later.

I don't need a lot of moral support now. I'm doing ok. I just thought I would post this for the sake of interest. Rio does NOT know he is sick. He's doing fantastic right now and acting very normal. Yesterday when I didn't make my bed, he jumped up to roll the bed and he dug in his nails and ripped a big hole in my brand new flannel sheets. LOL. That's normal for him, and I can celebrate his brattiness! :D

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:42 am 
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
I'd have the same breed of dog if I were not allergic to them. I've always admired and wished I could have them.

My Rio (Yep that's the name he came to us with, a rescue from a family that was going to take him to the pound to be euthanized - so much for love and loyalty) is a Black Lab, and though part of a big pack, dogs, catds, kids, he was too harshly disciplined and to seldom loved I think. But a happy soul when it's freed.

We've a number of years now. We estimate, with some vet input that he's about 11. Last year we found a very large lump on his chest the say right over the point of his breast bone so we didn't spot it at first.

We lost our last Black Lab, Beau, to cancer. He came with my wife when we married - her dowry she claims. His cancer was all abdominal - advanced before we discovered it. . We cried for days, I cried all the while I dug his grave on our place. We still go and visit, and his cat, who died last year is buried right over his head where she liked to bump him and hang out - even walking along right under his jaw.

Rio's lump was benign, happily. And he recovered quickly. He's had a pretty happy life with us, though I think he greatly misses his pack.

Sometimes, like the abused children I used to work with, he looks at me adn his eyes go sadly expectant, as though he's waiting to be hit. And he wonders, somewhere in his sweet soul, why his beloved pack is gone.

He smells that our children are family and is delighted when we have parties and he can hang with them and get puppy pile lovings. He's a love sponge.

Your Rio is beautiful. He's so lucky to have you I think. So often people just go for putting down. I suppose they cannot handle the coming grief and hope to avoid some of it by bringing it on now.

How is it we love these bothersome lovely creatures so much? And though we know we will lose them one day, still take them to our hearts?

Stay in touch if you would care to.

Don

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:52 am 
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Location: Natal, South Africa
:love: He's gorgeous - he has a very happy face. I am very interested to know if and how he can be supported by holistic treatment. If I could find a practitioner in my area I would have my older dog in their care.

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:42 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 760
What a beautiful face! :f: :f: :f:
Thank you for sharing Rio's story. I have thought about vaccinations a lot and vaccinate my older dogs as little as possible. I believe there is a titer test for Rabies but it is much more expensive than the vaccine.
I have a dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Basil who is undergoing surgery to have some tumors removed next Wednesday. Even the pathologist at the vet school could not say what type of cells they were dealing with looking at the needle biopsy. We just have to hope for the best. I'm so glad that animals don't know what's wrong with them. This dog was 7 years old when we rescued him from a bad home. He is now 12 and is a great companion and right now a great puppy sitter.

Hope you will have many more years with Rio. I'm interested to hear about alternative treatment for him.

Birgit


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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:54 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:30 am
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he's so cute..

don't worry his wounds would for sure heal.. :)

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:23 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Karen, this is very sad, knowing and dealing with a fairly rare condition.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed I typed systemic histiocytosis into the search, it came up with 965 published medical research papers.

Try to pick a few of the main disease symptoms and then type search tumour turmeric, liver turmeric, thyroid curcumin - if you get no turmeric reply etc.
You are unselfishly wise to bend with the wind rather than go down the route of poisons to cure, but try a turmeric paste on the lumps and add turmeric in meat, porridge, milk or eggs or whatever Rio will accept, it is a food not a supplement, natural, pain relief as well.

I hope your beautiful 4 legged friend has lots of quality time with you enjoying celebrating "brattishness" and all other human/doggie fun. xx

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:36 am 
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Hey, thank you everyone! I got some good news today. His thyroid is fine, and his liver enzymes are low normal...so that's all good.

Susie, I did look into many reports and somewhere along the line I did find the turmeric/curcumin mentioned. I already started doing a turmeric past on the biggest of his lumps, and he's been getting turmeric in his dinner every day.

For the "paste" I mixed the turmeric with some coconut oil (food grade). If there's anything you are aware of that would be better, let me know. I was trying to think of something that would easily cross the skin barrier. I know some oils can, and some not so well. I think (I could be wrong) that the molcules in the turmeric can cross the skin, yes? I can't remember if I read that, or imagined it. :funny:

Early January, I'll be talking to the vet in Vancouver BC again, and should then get his diet and supplement suggestions. I am making a list of everything Rio gets on a regular basis, and the turmeric is on that list.

Yesterday and today, Rio was more playful than usual...enough that he and I had a nice wrestling match in the living room. He grabs a bit hard but we have fun grrrrrrrr-ing at each other and I play-bite his front legs with my fingers. Maybe I should try my teeth...LOL. Anyway he's feeling very chipper so we're sticking with that mood for now and we're a bit more hopeful about the future.

Hugs all! :f:

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:45 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Research conducted at the University of Michigan has now shown that the curcumin in turmeric helps regulate cells by inserting itself into the cell membranes.
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?i.. ... opic=13706
From a PubMed that Gwen posted.
Not sure about through skin, for Dan's growth I mixed a few drops of iodine with turmeric powder, cider vinegar and white oil/pig oil like liquid vaseline, applied daily and it did nothing, then got drier and shivelled then disappeared. It grew to 2 inches from his tummy, so far so good, but he may get another in the future, we live in hope that we can surmount these problems.
Rio has fun being a grown up puppy, hope he remains bouncy and happy. xx

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:58 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Just checked PubMed macrophages turmeric 60 results

http://www.bmd.org/health/histiocytosis.html
Bermese Mountain Dogs seem prone to this.


http://www.histiocytosis.ucdavis.edu/reactive.html
http://www.histiocytosis.ucdavis.edu/faq.html

If it is a defective gene read the turmeric discussion on Gwen's fb penzance horses naturally because turmeric was found to help with cystic fibrosis in studies 6 years apart, lots of optimism here. xx

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:06 am 
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I know about the Bernese problem. They also seem to get a lot of malignant histiocytosis (or related sarcoma). I checked with Rio's breeder, and there's nothing in his parents or siblings near as we can tell. So with him, there doesn't appear to be a genetic link. As far as she knows (she's a good friend of mine, and Rio was a gift from her when he was a puppy) there's no endocrine-immune issues at all that she's seen in her dogs or heard of from other puppy buyers. Her intention when she gave me Rio, after seeing me lose two dogs to immune system conditions, was to offer me a dog that would (hopefully) be the healthiest dog I'd ever owned. Until now, he was! LOL. Maybe he will continue to be, and this will just be a little blip on our journey together.

Also, there is NO ocular or nasal mucosae involvement (so far...thank the Universe!).

I'll do some more reading on the turmeric! Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: My Rio
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:28 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
http://www.histiocytosis.ucdavis.edu the good news on the FAQ page was
Quote:
Q1. My dog has "histio", is this disease invariably fatal?

"Histio" is a term loosely coined by dog breeders and other members of the public; the term implies there is only one form of histiocytic disease that afflicts dogs. However there are 2 broad groups of diseases (and multiple diseases) that involve proliferation of histiocytes. The first group, which includes cutaneous histiocytosis (CH) and systemic histiocytosis (SH), consists of reactive (ie inflammatory) diseases in which a disorder of immune system regulation is suspected. Dogs afflicted with these diseases often require systemic immunosuppressive therapy to control their symptoms, especially late in the course of disease. Early on, lesions of CH and SH may resolve spontaneously presumably because the imbalance in the immune system has corrected itself and/or the initiating agent/antigen has been eliminated. The second group of histiocytic diseases consists of neoplastic diseases of histiocytes., which includes histiocytoma and the histiocytic sarcoma complex, Histiocytoma is largely a benign disease which will resolve spontaneously in most, but not all instances. Histiocytic sarcoma complex consists of the malignant histiocytic neoplasms. It occurs as solitary histiocytic sarcoma (better prognosis if treated early), and disseminated histiocytic sarcoma (HS)- this is also commonly referred to as malignant histiocytosis (MH). Disseminated HS and MH are invariably fatal regardless of therapy, since by definition, the disease process involves a number of organs when first discovered. Since chemotherapy (using many different protocols) has not been successful in any of the past cases, it is common for dogs afflicted with disseminated forms of HS and MH to succumb to their disease in a just a few weeks to several months. So the short answer to your question is NO but I would immediately ask you what form of histiocytic disease does your dog have (based on the above definitions). Without accurate diagnosis it is not possible to give a prognosis.


and


Quote:
Q6. My Bernese Mountain Dog has developed systemic histiocytosis. I have heard that this disease is invariably fatal. Should I have him put down now so that he does not suffer unduly?

This is a common misconception. Many in the past have lumped malignant and reactive forms of histiocytosis together despite a major difference in outcome. Systemic histiocytosis is a treatable disease, and even if left untreated it would not normally lead to organ failure and death which is commonly seen in malignant histiocytic diseases.


I like that there is spontaneous recovery recorded, some serious complications are not indicated in Rio's diagnosis, that turmeric can help the immune system, double/triple dose if it helps at least it does no harm, and in many cases this is benign. Rooting for you Rio. :f: xx

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