Kyu is having another IBD flare up. He went over 3 months, the longest ever since his diagnosis, without one. I changed nothing. Not his meds. Not his food. Nothing. I was terrified to change anything; afraid I’d set off another flare. He had a flare up anyway. This is not insignificant either. Every time he has a flare up, it takes months for him to get back to “normal” again.
I seriously love this dog. He is funny, a great training partner, the best snuggle buddy, and an intrepid hiker. But living with him and managing his disease is a nightmare. It negatively affects his quality of life and puts a strain on our relationship. I wanted a fun companion and a performance prospect. IBD takes all of that away from me far too often.
He’s not going anywhere. I love him too much for that (besides, he is overly attached to me–in a negative way–which would make that challenging). But my hopes and dreams of having a wonderful companion I could compete with in dog sports and go anywhere, do anything with have been dashed. Much like I went through with Risa. It hurts to watch your goals die in front of you over and over.
Kyu saw his IMS doctor yesterday for an annual recheck and to see if anything else needed to be done to help him over this most recent flare (aside from increasing his dosage of prednisone which I’d already done). She was impressed with just how good he looked. He’s put on almost 3 lbs since she last saw him and it’s all muscle. Apparently, few of her GI patients look this good. That makes me feel good, for sure. But it doesn’t change just how frustrating managing this disease is.
I’m also frustrated that, as a whole, his breed community doesn’t seem to care. Kyu is not alone in his struggles; it seems a lot of young Windsprites are experiencing similar troubles. We have no accurate numbers as to how many dogs are afflicted. However, I have seen several pairings with dogs who either have known GI troubles or have close relatives (siblings, parents) with known GI disease being bred. I can’t condone this. This is one of the main reasons I did not get another Windsprite as much as I have fallen deeply in love with the breed. I couldn’t find a line of dogs that was clear of dogs who potentially carried for GI troubles (or other diseases with a strong genetic component).
I’m hoping that this blip is quickly resolved and that I can get Kyu back to a lower pred dose and keep his flares to a minimum. Three months, while not nearly long enough, is still an improvement over how frequently he had flares before starting prednisone: every 4-6 weeks. It’s just so hard when he does have a flare, even a small one, because it takes him so long to recover. While the flare itself may dissipate within 2-3 weeks with an increase in pred, the additional pred has negative consequences. It affects his coat but, most significantly, it affects his attitude and energy. He gets sluggish and doesn’t have the stamina he normally does. Since I have to slowly wean him back down to his maintenance level to prevent a recurrence of the flare, he ends up spending another 2 months after the flare up not quite his bright, happy self. It’s a rollercoaster ride of misery for us both every time. It’s not fair.
It’s been a rough 3+ years between finally getting a diagnosis for him and then trying to figure out how to best manage his disease and he’s only 5 years old. His breed is known for longevity but having IBD (and long-term pred usage) leaves him vulnerable to other complications like cancer. I could lose him young to this disease or spend another 10 years managing it. Neither outlook is great for either one of us. 🙁