Fanconi - going down hill

We've been living with Fanconi for about 6 months. Oh my the ups and downs! No one tells you how quickly they can take a turn for the worse. Rocky's on the protocol and things have been sailing along wuite well (short of a viral skin infection… unrelated to syndrome). A week ago, he started leaking at night again so we submit him for a urinalysis. All levels look good but no reason so the leakage. So, treating as if he has an infection. All fine and dandy.

Today, Rocky acting a little off. He fell asleep in his doggy bed, and then suddenly sprang up into standing position, and started to pee. I also found urine in the house (on my piano... none too happy about that but what can I do? You can't punish a dog for something they don't realize they are doing.)

It's very frustrating becuase he is so fastidious about keeping clean and his housebreaking habits. I have two young kids and can't have urine all over my house.

At what point do you decide it is enough? I know the correct and right answer is when the dog's quality of life if no longer a good thing. But what about the quality of life for those he lives with? I'm not ready to tell my baby Good-bye... but this is a difficult road we are on... and I'm doing it alone. Feeling very overwhelmed tonight.

Any insight from those who either have lived thru this portiong of the syndrome or are living it now?

Have you considered litterbox training him so that he has a place in the house he can get to if he really has to go?

As the owner of a Fanconi dog (who, knock on wood is doing very well and is asymptomatic), I can sympathize with the feelings of being overwhelmed by this disease. It changes the way you live your life, for sure. On week-ends I make sure to be up at an early hour so I can give Storm his meds on time and stay on schedule. I come directly home from work so I can get him out to pee right away.
A suggestion - did your vet run a culture on Rocky's urine? It sounds like he may be experiencing a UTI - they're so common in Fanconi dogs because of the glucose in the urine. Culturing the urine can tell you what you're up against and the best course of antibiotics to administer. Some antibiotics work better than others for certain UTI's. Baytril and Clavamox are both pretty effective most of the time.
Also, are you a member of the yahoo group, Fanconi dogs? There is a huge wealth of info there and some really wonderful, supportive people who have so much experience with this disease. If you're not a member, here is the website address - it is only open to owners of Fanconi dogs and you have to "apply" to join. http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/fanconidogs/
Good luck to you and sending hugs your way!
Lorraine

I (very thankfully) have not had a dog afflicted with fanconi. But I did go through kidney failure with two dogs–Pepper for about two years and Max for several months. Does Rocky have free access to his yard (through a dog door?) That was very helpful for me. And one thing I noticed was that even though Max (the 😎 had always been very fastidious about keeping clean and his potty habits--it did not seem to bother him in the least when he had "accidents" in the house. My friends would say--oh--poor guy--he must feel so bad when he has an accident. I'd say nope--he'd just look at me as if to say--well--are you going to clean that mess up??!! It was hard towards the end to keep up with all the accidents--and they really did ruin my light beige carpet--but I lived by myself, so I just figured I would get new carpets once Max was gone.....

Many times with UTI's they are very hard to find, even with a urine culture… Is he showing anything else? Not eating?.... and have you done the blood gases recently? Maybe he needs an adjustment in his meds? Have you emails Dr. Gonto? He is always happy to give his input...

When my 16 year old Pomeranian became urinary inconinent, I had to make sure that I never acted angry, or showed any negative emotion, when she had an accident. She was very self concious of her problem and I did not want to make it worse. I could have kept her in my kitchen which has linoleum floors and would have been very easy to mop daily but she had a phobia about walking on that type of surface. I finally opted to put a large wire crate in my living room with an easy wash bed and lined with unprinted newspaper. This was used when I was not home and overnight. She had frequent urine "accidents" on the carpet but I just cleaned them up and then shampooed the carpet frequently. This was easily done with a 5 pound dog but would not neccesarily work with a Basenji.

I really like Lisa's idea of a litter box. A regular size cat box would be too small but one of those plastic underbed Rubbermaid boxes might be a good size. You want something large enough for the dog to not feel "cramped up". Just don't use clumping cat litter. If swallowed, that can kill and animal as the moisture inside the animal causes it to clump up and it won't pass. Another suggestion is "dog diapers". I would imagine many Basenjis would not tolerate wearing something like that but its an option to help keep the house clean.

My best wishes to you RockysWoman.

((Hugs)) to you both. I can only imagine what you are going through. Please keep us posted.

I am sorry to hear about your difficulties Rockyswoman. I think it might be very helpful for you to joing the Fanconi listserve, though….there would be lots of people that would understand exactly what you are going through.

Fingers crossed that things improve...

To chime in - 1) absolutely it sounds like a UTI, leaking is one of the first symptoms, along with a reduced appetite and general 'blahs' Fanconi dogs' kidneys can and will 'wall off' infections (loculate), so a urinalysis will frequently not show an infection. Most of us go by symptoms, although some people have had success with cultures. However, at the first indication of a problem, if you can, get the vet to put him on a 3 week course of antibiotic - Clavamox or Baytril. If the vet refuses to take your word for it, I'd consider getting a new vet. Repeated untreated UTIs do permanent damage to the kidneys.

  1. I second the idea that you should join the Fanconi list. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge there and phenomenal support. Everyone on the list has or has had to live with the disease, and almost any problem you can think of, people will have constructive, proven ideas as to handling it. You're never alone! And yes, if the time comes when you have to make that choice, believe me, we all know how hard it is.

Terry

Oops, one more thing - an excellent doggie litter!

Pine Fresh or I think it used to be called Feline Pine. We use it to box train puppies… It turns to sawdust when wet, easy to clean and dispose of, and never smells bad.

Terry

Sending lots of hugs & prayers your way…

Belly Band - if goes around the middle - covering the obvious areas - and has a Pad of some sort on it. Velcros around. I suppose that someone makes them but they are not hard to put together.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about here are some pictures.

http://www.dogchatforum.com/belly_bands_dog.htm

Wow! You guys are great! Okay, to answer some of the questions directed our way:

  1. UTI's: yes, everytime Rocky shows a propensity towards urinating more frequently, in his sleep, or in the house, we send in for a urinalysis. This past time was a UTI so he's on antibiotics… again.

  2. blood gas: Rocky get's a full blood gas and CBC pulled every 3-4 months to verify levels.

  3. Dr. Ganto: My vet is in constant communication with him about Rocky's case. (Thank God!)

  4. Litter box: Have two small kids… litter box in kitchen not an option at this time. We do put the puppy training pads on the floor for him and those seem to work okay.

  5. diapers: tried this and he ripped them off (lets just say he shredded them just for good measure and then shredded a pair of my pants as punishment for making him look so ridiculous in front of our other dog and especially in front of the cat). Like the idea of the Belly Band though! Will look into making that for him. Possibly with something around his tail like a crouper to help keep it on… silly Basenji can get out of everything!

  6. free-access outside: unfortunately we do not have a fenced in yard. We walk Rocky or let him run (always supervised!) on the trace line in the backyard. My husband and I have both agreed that the next house will have a large fenced yard with a doggy door in the mudroom for free access for the dogs.

The saddest thing is Rocky is progressing downhill. He has some fantastic days, and others are just miserable. While I agree that you cannot get mad at a dog for something he doesn't realize he's doing, it is very difficult when it's 2 am in the morning when you discover the river of urine in your hallway as you go to get the cup of water for your toddler.

I can only hope to make the time he has left with us as pleasant and wonderful as possible. He's the best kind of dog… even when he's annoying the you-know-what out of me by eating my nice pair of work pants 'cause I forgot to put them up. I can only hope that he's enjoyed his time being a part of our family. He has certainly opened up our eyes into a wonderful breed.

Thank you all for your well wishes and hopes... we'll keep you posted!

I'm sure Rocky is enjoying his time being part of your family. It sounds like he is very well taken care of and loved a lot. Hopefully, he will take a turn for the better.

Update: I am not sure where to go with Rocky anymore. He's so full of life half the time, and the otehr time he's lethargic and unresponsive. He truly has the attitude (in regards to urinating in the house unexpectedly) of "yeah, so what? it happens." I've become a big fan of the swiffer wet-jet (thank god for hardwood floors!).

We are back to kenneling him during the day (I work full time) as he would rip the belly band off, eat the soiled pad, and then go pee on my piano… again.

His last blood work up revealed that his kidneys are doing okay all things considered (not in failure yet), just not responsive to ADH anymore, ergo he has no clue when he has to urinate.

I have tried to get on the Fanconi listeserve but twice now no one has contacted me to advise that I'm either in or out. Somewhat frustrated by this and wondering if my computer is speaking to their computers.

The more my husband and I talk themore it is becoming apparent that Rocky will not be long for this world. Unless either he (once he returns from NG duty in May) or stay home during the day, Rocky will not be able to continue a good quality of life with us for long. I'm pushing it as it is working away from home 12 hours a day. He tries so hard to be a good boy.

Thank you to everyone for your constant support, thoughts and prayers.

When you are diagnosed with a Fanconi dog, no one can ever explain to you the amount of urine you will be forced to clean, and the lengths to which you will go to make sure your beloved dog is comfortable. No one can describe the heartache either of having to weigh their quality of life with the heartfelt desire to keep them with you always.

Thanks again everyone!

((Hugs)) to you and Rocky. I can't even imagine what you are going through. You both will be in my thoughts and prayers…

@RockysWoman:

Update: I am not sure where to go with Rocky anymore. He's so full of life half the time, and the otehr time he's lethargic and unresponsive. He truly has the attitude (in regards to urinating in the house unexpectedly) of "yeah, so what? it happens." I've become a big fan of the swiffer wet-jet (thank god for hardwood floors!).

We are back to kenneling him during the day (I work full time) as he would rip the belly band off, eat the soiled pad, and then go pee on my piano… again.

His last blood work up revealed that his kidneys are doing okay all things considered (not in failure yet), just not responsive to ADH anymore, ergo he has no clue when he has to urinate.

I have tried to get on the Fanconi listeserve but twice now no one has contacted me to advise that I'm either in or out. Somewhat frustrated by this and wondering if my computer is speaking to their computers.

The more my husband and I talk themore it is becoming apparent that Rocky will not be long for this world. Unless either he (once he returns from NG duty in May) or stay home during the day, Rocky will not be able to continue a good quality of life with us for long. I'm pushing it as it is working away from home 12 hours a day. He tries so hard to be a good boy.

Thank you to everyone for your constant support, thoughts and prayers.

When you are diagnosed with a Fanconi dog, no one can ever explain to you the amount of urine you will be forced to clean, and the lengths to which you will go to make sure your beloved dog is comfortable. No one can describe the heartache either of having to weigh their quality of life with the heartfelt desire to keep them with you always.

Thanks again everyone!

Hugs to you, … and for everyone else, this is the reason we "harp" on health testing... We have a Fanconi test now, there is NEVER a reason for anyone to have to have this heartache again in our breed... This is why we harp on all health testing.... and being responsible

All our prayers and love are with you and Rocky.

I remember a dear friend who had a fanconi dog a long time ago who said that when she approaced and the dog ran away from her even if she did not have the needed medications for the day - she wondered - what about his quality of life if every time I approach this dog I adore he runs away to hide from me.

It is hard to watch our beloved companions at the end of life no matter what the issues - know that we have been there before, will be there again - and are with you in whatever decisions you need to make.

My heart goes out to you. Many hugs and prayers for you all.

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