In July, 2020, we found that Cassie had severe protein loss in her urine. After watching her brother, aunt, uncle, and grandmother die of amyloidosis – I thought I knew how it would end. I told my parents (who are her primary owners) that if her UP/C was 13 or greater, we would not attempt treatment and she would be euthanized to prevent suffering.
Why 13? It is such an unlucky and arbitrary number, but it’s also the UP/C her brother had at diagnosis. Lou was only two years old and was dead 45 days later despite herculean efforts by modern medicine. That was where I drew my line in the sand.
Cassie’s UP/C that day was 12. I cried. I didn’t want to see another dog die from this disease. I didn’t want to be the one to push the plunger of euthanasia solution and close the eyes I knew so well and had held so closely. I brought her into this world, and I promised her that I would be the one to take her out of it.
But I also had promised that if the UP/C was less than 13 (which is was, but barely), then we would fight.
So we did. That day, after confirming in additional samples that the protein loss was real, we started her on telmisartan, colchicine, and clopidogrel.
Despite my grim predictions, and several back-slides along the way, her protein loss did improve. Medications were added and adjusted several times. She survived her spay surgery last February. Her UP/C has been normal now (< 0.3) for a few months. Her last UP/C value was 0.07 (a 99% reduction from her starting value). She is off medications except for a lower dose of telmisartan and colchicine. That is just shy of a year and a half after starting treatment.
Maybe it’s false hope, or maybe it truly is a remission, but she has given me a new perspective on this disease. I won’t be drawing any more lines in the sand. Her story isn’t over, and I hope it brings hope to anyone facing this disease in their dog.