We had an appointment today at 9 a.m. with a holistic vet about an hour away in Westport, CT. I have been wanting to try a holistic approach with Ava, since we've been working with traditional medicine for the last several months and have come up blank.
Joe had today off, so we both got up early and took showers before I got Ava out of bed. When I saw her, I totally freaked out. One of her eyes was completely gooped up! It reminded me of when I used to have pink eye as a kid. Great, we thought, yet another symptom!
I took a picture of it to show the vet and then cleaned it up as we headed out the door.
When we got there, the holistic vet walked out into the lobby and said, "This must be my complex case!" That would be us. Always the complex case.
He had already looked over her entire medical history and made a few phone calls to some of his friends in the field about her condition. When I told him about the 'new symptom', he started the exam with her eyes. After a few minutes, he found the cause - she had a hairball under her eyelid! Not sure how that got in there, but when he pulled it out, it was pretty gross. He said he was sure that was the cause of her eye goop and not actually related to her other issues. A good thing, I guess. We now have an ointment to put in her eye twice daily.
After he examined her some more, he talked us through some things he thought she may have. One was this rare disease called Enhanced Bartonella Culture, which is a blood test that has to be sent to this specific lab in North Carolina and it could take months to get the results back. And he also gave us names of a few dermatologists that he suggested we see (this has come up before, so will probably be a next step). But he also said that it seems very auto-immune related to him (which has been the general consensus so far).
The thing I really liked, though, is he gave us an herbal supplement to start using and told us to up her intake of fish oil (which we are already giving her). He also said that we need to start eliminating things from her diet and stick to a one-protein diet to see if maybe a food allergy could be causing some of this. He suggested we start her on a fish protein. So, we went to the store and found a 100% salmon dog food that we are going to try.
Ava actually didn't really mind these vets. They were very sweet to her and held her and talked to her through the whole thing. Plus, they didn't poke and prod her like the others, so she was actually fairly content. Joe and I liked them, too. They are actually very interested in her case and said they will ask around some more to see if anything else comes up. And he really wants us to let him know the final diagnosis as well.
So I guess next steps are to see a dermatologist, test for this rare Bartenella thing, try to eliminate any food contaminants, then treat her for auto-immune. We will have to get an echocardiogram as well.