Saturday, April 30, 2005

Dixie's in Recovery

Dixie was diagnosed a few weeks ago as having a hypo-thyroid condition. Her thyroid has stopped functioning. I am giving her Thyroxine daily. In addition, as you all know, she has Lyme disease and receives Cosequin twice a day.

I found out recently that hypothyroidism is common in Airedales. It's unfortunate that Dixie, who will turn 4 on May 5th, has to have the double whammy of that and Lyme.

She's now responding to the medication after the vet had me increase the dosage from one Thyroxin pill to one and a half pills per day. IFortunately,by having such a positive response to the increase in medication, she won't have to be tested for Addison's disease.

FYI, Addison's disease is a malfunction of the adrenal glands. The gland stops producing cortisol. It turns out that JFK had Addison's. I guess it is treatable; the test, I've been told, is expensive. I don't really care about the latter part.

Some of the symptoms of Addison's includes loss of appetite, hyperpigmentation (darkened skin), nausea, diarrhea, depression, irritability, muscle weakness, and chronic fatigue. While I'm not sure of the nausea, she has most of the other symptoms. However, hypothryoidism also has those same symptoms. It all comes down to whether she responds to the thyroid medicine.

When I took her out several nights ago she had periods of lethargy interspersed with periods of being a typical, jaunty and playful Airedale. Over the past two days, however, she's been walking with her tail up, has that Airedale air about her and is getting back her stride; she's also regained her appetite. Unfortunately, it's been raining and so it is hard to tell how much her stamina has increased. As with me,the weather is affecting her mood.

It's hard to imagine, though I've been through every moment with her, in her short little life Dixie's been bitten by a copperhead snake and survived, had the area just below her right dew claw sliced open, been bitten by a deer tick and gotten Lyme disease, had a bacterial infection, and now has had her thyroid shut down. That's a lot for anyone, even an Airedale Terrier dog, to take on. I think it's due to her fortitude and genes that she's come this far - and, I believe, will continue to carry on for years to come.

Just the other day I was telling a co-worker that she's gone from hiking over mountains with me to becoming an urban walker. However, as she's an integral part of my life, I'll take her any way she is.


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