Meet Zorro a 3 year old german Shepherd

I’m not sure where it all started, but without my caring family I know where it would have ended up.

Over the past few months, I have started to slowly lose weight. I have always been on the lean side, which my human sister says is good for my joints, specially my hips as Shepherds may be prone to hip issues later on in life.

Seeing that I was losing weight, mommy started feeding me more. Mommy changed my food between the various veterinary brands, but nothing seemed to work, Mommy even started giving me a multi-vitamin supplement in the hopes that something would boost me, but to no avail. Despite the weight loss, I was still a bouncy happy dog and loved going to dog school on a weekly basis.

I know what you are thinking, I need nutrient rich food to keep up with my energy demand… Trust me, we have tried them all. So, my human sister said I need to go see one of the vets at her work so that we can get to the bottom of this. She is always looking out for me, so I trust her judgement and agreed to go see Dr Ryan the medicine specialist.

My whole family supported me and when we got to the vet, I wasn’t nervous at all. Even when mommy and daddy left, I still had my big sister with me.

First, they had me climb om a black platform which registered my weight. Lucky for me I am not too weight conscious unlike my doggy sisters. I was taken through to hospital and Dr Ryan with the help of a nurse proceeded to shave a patch of hair on my neck to draw some blood for tests.

They wanted to make sure all my organs were functioning as they should. Next, I needed to go for an x-ray. Everybody put on a set of heavy apron like jackets and off we went to the x-ray room.

They helped me onto a large table and asked that I lay on my side. I had to keep very still for the x-rays.

After a few minutes my human sister told me we needed to take a second set of x-rays and that it wouldn’t be long before I would be able to get up.   Luckily my dog classes focused on DOWN and SETTLE, so I was relatively comfortable having x-rays taken.

I was given some soft food to eat in-between my next set of x-rays.  Apparently, this wat a contrast medium that would help them to see how I swallow.  Low and behold, a set of x-rays possibly held the key to my weight loss.  The contras x-ray showed some sort of lump or growth.

The specialist said he suspected it was a Spirocerca Lupi nodule and would like to scope me, but because I had a tin of soft food in between x-rays I would have to come back for my scope.

My big sister gave me a hug and told me everything will be okay while they helped me off the x-ray table. With leash in hand we headed to the car.

A few days after my x-rays Dr Ryan phoned to say that except for a Vit B deficiency the rest of my blood results were looking good.

He was however still waiting on the results of a specific enzyme test and was hoping it would be in before my scope.

A week went by before my next appointment. I excitedly got into the car until I remembered what day it was. Daddy told me I was his brave big boy, but truth be told I was nervous. My big sister explained to me that having a scope is what they call “die kamera sluk”. I wasn’t sure how one swallows a camera but surely that couldn’t be comfortable?

First thing first. As we walked in to the vet, I made a pitstop at the black platform and they recorded my weight. I gained a full 400 g since my previous visit a week ago. Whoopeeeee.

The excitement of the weight gain was short lived as they needed to shave my leg for my IV Catheter. This time round no bloods where done, just a basic clinical exam. I was taken to the back where my leg was shaved and an IV catheter was placed. Once the IV catheter was in a man introduced himself as the anaesthetist. He explained to me that he was going to make me sleepy. They would then proceed to place the thin, flexible camera down my oesophagus. This would help Dr to see what the lump or growth in my oesophagus looks like.

1st Scope before treatment

I could feel my eyelids getting heavier and in the blink of an eye I was off to dreamland, totally unaware of what was happening around me. When I woke up it felt like I had a hangover. (Not that I’m a big drinker).

Dr Ryan came to me and told me his suspicion was confirmed by the scope and that I have a Spirocerca Lupi Nodule. How can this be? I was in denial. This could not be happening to me. We religiously deworm monthly. Not that I enjoy taking my preventative medications (Tick & Flea treatment and dewormer). Dr sadly told me that not all dewormers were created equal and that one needs a dewormer that contains Milbemycin in order to work for Spirocerca Lupi.

Dr explained to me that I would need to come in once a week for a Vit B injection and every second week for Spirocerca treatment. I felt overwhelmed with all this information, but knew I was in good hands. Dr would then like to see me after my 3rd Spirocerca treatment.

2nd scope after 3 treatments

Dr said not all doggies are as lucky as I am. Some dogs only get treated once the nodules get so big that they have difficulty swallowing.

We have religiously followed the treatment plan as set out by Dr Ryan. Today was my 1st follow-up scope and believe it or not, my nodule has decreased in size. I am so grateful that I got treated in time and that my nodule is shrinking. I will never again complain about taking any medication as I now realise how important preventative care like deworming and tick and flea treatment is.

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