Charlie, as you can see is a golden retriever. The Golden Retriever has held the 3rd most popular breed in AKC history for many years running, just so you know. Charlie is 6 years old. She has had some sensitive issues in the past and finally my fearless leader found a food that did not make her vomit or have diarrhea. This is not a story about vomit or diarrhea thank goodness.
This is about Lyme disease. Lyme disease can take a number of forms I am told. It can impact joints, heart, the nervous system and the kidneys. We all know that Lyme is contracted from a tick bite. Golden retrievers get everything. They have high incidences of cancer, skin disorders, joint issues, and are more susceptible to Lyme Nephritis than other breeds.
In the following pictures you will see Charlie getting a laser treatment in the hopes of healing her kidneys. Charlie has Lyme Nephritis, the more rare, mostly fatal form of Lyme disease.
When the Lyme organism involves the kidneys there is a very complex cascade of reactions within the body that the veterinary profession has yet to elucidate. The insidious nature of this process is such that the damage to the kidneys is well on it’s way by the time the owner knows anything is wrong. In most cases of Lyme Nephritis the animal dies or is euthanized because he/she is so sick. On day 3 at Maine Veterinary Referral Center Dr. Wagner sent Charlie home with Dr. Sanders to spend her last 24-48 hours at home instead of in the hospital.
Charlie was put on 8 different medications, most of which she still takes today. Charlie’s kidneys likely have permanent damage. Most people that meet Charlie would not know anything is wrong. Catherine knows something is wrong because she checks her blood pressure, urine, kidney values, urine protein every week in the hopes of a positive change.
There are a few lessons to be learned from this case. There is always hope. Veterinarians are not smarter than nature. Take nothing for granted. Lyme is one of the most prevalent diseases we see in our practice and can be fatal. We can, and at all cost, should help prevent the disease because when it is bad, it is very bad. Dr. Sanders does not know how Charlie is still here except she refuses to give up hope in spite of what we know about Lyme Nephritis. Most dogs do not live and our research is based on autopsy findings. We don’t know what works. We don’t know what doesn’t.
Charlie will be going through a 9 treatment laser protocol and maintenance to help her kidneys heal. Laser therapy has been shown to help many conditions. Catherine’s sister Jill, who is a DO, has guided her on how acupressure can help restore blood flow to the kidneys. She is also receiving traditional veterinary care. Charlie was diagnosed with Lyme nephritis on Sept 23rd. Her current medications include anti-nausea, antibiotics, blood pressure and immunosupressant drugs. The guidelines from here on out are unknown. I will report back on her condition periodically.