hi! rambo’s human here with an update on rambo’s health: his kidney values and UPC ratio tests just came back, and it looks like his new medicine is actually helping with his kidney function! yay! go rams!
we’ve been kind of quite about this over the last year because we didn’t want to make you worry, and also because it’s been a bit of an up-in-the-air kinda thing. but now that things are leveling out a bit, i think it’s time we shared the whole story:
about this time last year, rambo’s old vet told us that rambo had elevated protein levels in his urine. he also informed us that these numbers had actually been elevated since they ran the tests the previous year (in 2019) but he *forgot to tell us* at that time. ?
a higher-than-normal amount of protein in urine typically indicates kidney problems (including kidney failure), so this news really, really upset me. and what was more upsetting was that it had been going on for over a year, and left unchecked.
we immediately fired that vet and while we were in search of a new one, i took him to two different internal medicine specialists.
since then, we’ve been testing out different dosages of two different medications, and running new tests every two-three weeks. yep, since last summer. yep, that’s a lot of tests. and yep, that’s a LOT of vet bills!
if i could go back in time to when rambo was a baby and convince my old self to sign him up for a comprehensive pet insurance plan, i would, because it would help offset the cost of all these specialists and all these tests. unfortunately, doing that now would be WAY too expensive (so it really wouldn’t be worth it) and/or wouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions. so, the specialist visits and tests we have to do yearly for his heart murmur wouldn’t be covered, and neither would all of this kidney stuff (which there will be a lot of still, moving forward). sigh. hindsight is really 2020.
so, what’s the prognosis?
i won’t bore you with a lot of medical jargon – partially because i don’t want to bore you, and partially because i am not a vet and have no background in this stuff – but here’s what our vet and specialist has helped us understand:
- the amount of protein that’s still showing up in rambo’s urine due to decreasing kidney function will never “go back to normal.” it will always be elevated over the acceptable range, so there’s no “getting better” or “recovering fully.” this means that while there is some damage to his kidneys, we can manage the condition and keep it from getting it really bad really fast.
- he will have to take telmisartan for his kidneys for the rest of his life, plus a daily blood thinner because the telmisartan can cause blood clots.
- rambo will have to eat a prescription diet for the rest of his life, too, which he is NOT happy about. currently i’m combining dry prescription food (which at the moment is Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Formula) with a little bit of prescription wet food (Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit Digestive, Weight, Glucose, Urinary Management Vegetable & Chicken Stew). this stuff is NOT cheap, but honestly, what does it matter if it’s keeping him healthy? (or helping, at least).
- i have to keep an eye on his protein and fat intake, and keep it at a minimum. this includes treats, table scraps, and chews. he LOVES bully sticks but they’re pure meat, so i will only let him chew on them occasionally. we’re still working on finding substitute treats and chews that he likes!
there’s no telling how any of this will impact his life in the future. to be perfectly honest, i have not asked his specialist specifically if this will shorten his life, mostly because i don’t want to know. he already has a grade 3-4 heart murmur, and now this added on top…well, i just want to focus on the things i can control – like giving him his meds every day, cutting out protein in snacks and treats, and feeding him expensive RX food – vs. big looming “what if’s.”
our specialist says that because the medication he’s on now seems to be stabilizing the level of protein in his urine, we don’t have to re-test him for another 3 months, which is going to be very helpful in terms of budget and not having to eat raman for the rest of my life (LOL). (btw, this is not a plea for donations, we are doing just fine managing this new expense!)
we’ll keep you guys updated as things progress. please cross your fingers and toes (and paws!) for us that rambo’s health stays stable like it is now for years and years to come!