Saturday, July 19, 2008
Jacey, on her first day at my place, 8 April 2006. (She's got more white in that face, now.)
Jacey has weight issues.
When I first adopted her, her ribs and hipbones were invisible--hidden under the extra flesh she put on at the SEGA kennel at Lake City, where she was very much overfed. (She raced at 56-57 pounds. When I got her, she weighed 63 pounds on Lake City's scales.) I brought her home, put her on 3 cups of kibble a day--same as Sam and the same as Jacey's predecessor, Oreo. Jacey lost weight on 3 cups of kibble a day.
Her weight stayed very stable through the first year she lived here--54-55 pounds.
Then she suddenly put on weight--and lost hair on her butt. The vet ran a T4, and her numbers were a bit low. He didn't want to put her on thyroid meds just because of cosmetic issues; the thyroid numbers weren't low enough to justify it, and the weight gain wasn't extreme. But for six months or so, Jacey's food was cut back to just 2 cups of kibble a day. She didn't lose weight, but at least the weight gain stopped.
In the fall, we put her on thyroid meds--one .8 mg pill a day. Two months later, there'd been no change in her weight, her hair, or her T4 results. We upped the dosage by 50%. Within two weeks, she dropped the extra weight, and the missing hair showed up. Once her hipbones came back into view, I put her on 3 cups of kibble a day, and her weight stayed steady.
Two months ago, her weight went up a bit, but she looked okay and I didn't worry about it. But Friday, I had her and Sam outside. She and I stood there while Sam made up his mind which blade of grass to pee on, and I took a good look at her.
Good golly! No ribs! No hipbones! And it's not just that they're not visible. They aren't even palpable! I don't know what she weighs, but she may weigh nearly as much as Sam, who normally weighs 64-65 pounds.
I haven't been overfeeding her. She and Sam eat the same amount of stuff at the same time, and Sam's ribs and hip bones are right where they're supposed to be. Jacey has always been stocky, but you usually can see her hipbones, even if the ribs aren't terribly obvious.
I cut back her food last night and all day today to two-thirds of what she usually eats. She's taken to following me forlornly from room to room, looking pitiful, and drinking every drop of water she can get as if to fill up the empty corners of her belly. For now, I'm going to go back to the 3 cups a day and just get her into the vet's office as soon as I can. I don't know if we need to up her thyroid meds again. I hope not; I don't like the idea that she's gone from "nothing" to a large dose of thyroxine in less than a year. (She currently takes 1.5 pills a day; Sam, who's been on thyroxine for six years or so, takes 2.5 pills a day.) I'm going to ask the vet about additional tests to confirm that she really needs more thyroxine. I'll also ask him about her diet. I know she's not starving--and I ruthlessly cut her food last year for more than six months and she survived--but it's not fair that she has to go without a "normal" food supply because we can't get her thyroid meds right. Poor baby.
Meanwhile, I make fun of her and call her names. I'm so cruel. Poor starving dog. Poor baby.