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Akita Friends
VKH Forum - Diary
by Jamie Haight, Bea Pitts, Bev Lewis, Dr. Sophia Kaluzniacki, Les Ray
Definition and

VKH Diary





Regarding Eyes


The following are exerts from Bea Pitts' diary, compiled by Les Ray. This is how one family loved, cared and lived with a dog with VKH. This is rather lengthy, but I do feel that this is very important to read. I should warn you this is very emotional.

DAY 1 Kuma is noticed to have red eyes and taken to the Vet - Owners are away overseas. Daughter follows veterinary instructions after diagnosis of "conjunctivitis". Eye drops prescribed.

DAY 3 Kuma has large blue, milky, staring eyes. He is blind. Vet shocked, diagnoses VKH/UDS. Prednisolone (steroid) prescribed drops tocontinue, to revisit and check at end of the week.

DAY 7 Blue, milky stare cleared up. To continue with program of steroid drug and eye drops.

DAY 21 Kuma is doing well. Slight loss of pigmentation on the end of his nose, mouth and gums. Some loss of coat and muscle tone. Ravenous appetite. High levels of fluid passed, effects of the steroid altreatment. Generally ok so steroid levels in treatment reduced by Vet.

DAY 31 Conjunctivitis returning. Vet recommends return to high level treatment and eye drops.

DAY 32 Kuma blind again. Huge white staring eyes. Vet advises both retinas detached and refers to eye specialist.

DAY 33 Eye specialist examines Kuma. Tests include internal eye pressure, caused by glaucoma - normal. Laser surgery not appropriate, to replace retinas, at this time - caused by inflammation - not trauma.Steroidal treatment varied to attempt to avoid side effects this boy is having to Prednisolone. Vet advises the disease may be controlled but "flare" from time to time. Dog is observed to prefer to close his eyes whilst at rest. Large intake of water continues - kidney damage may be occurring.

DAY 36 Kuma is in discomfort and cried all night. Bladder is full and cannot be emptied. Urine tract infection diagnosed. Antibiotics administered.

DAY 37 Bladder functioning ok but urine is alkaline. To halt steroids for short time. Eye drops continue. Now has bouts of diarrhea, another steroid side effect. Kuma is distressed. On return from vet, nose bleed starts. Vet advises Addisons disease as a consequence of adrenal systemfailing while on steroids. Temperature of 102 degrees rapid heartbeat.Steroids injected to get systems working again. Nose bleed shows no further problem, bleeding has stopped. Dog may become comatose. Needs to be kept under observation.

DAY 38 Dog much better. Vet observes some pupil response - still blind. Considerable loss of hair and pigmentation from eyelids. Kumas natural immunity damaged due to high steroid levels in use.

DAY 46 Kuma much like his old self. Food additives such as cod liver oil seem to be improving his coat. Still losing fur, but more like a normal moult now.

DAY 48 Specialist appointment. Confirmation of loss of immunity Kuma will be susceptible to infection. Retinas beginning to re-attach themselves. Changes in drugs recommended. High levels of fluid intake will continue. Generally it is hoped to maintain Kumas quality of life.

DAY 49 Revisit local Vet who can see marked improvement. Appointment for revisits made.

DAY 64 Since last vet visit, nose pigmentation continues to fade. Eyesight continues to improve. Nose very susceptible to bleeding and is very "crusty". Aloe Vera gelly used to treat nose. Some body weight regained with changes in diet.

DAY 71 Kumas "crusty" covering on the nose detached itself revealing a nice pink nose underneath. Dog continues in good spirits.

DAY 75 Scheduled revisit to specialist. Nose and eyelids turning liver colour. Vet pleased with result. Retinas completely re-attached, some loss of vision. To discontinue eye drops. Pupils permanently dilated.Steroids to be slowly reduced.

DAY 81 Kuma contines well, to the extent of stealing frozen chicken burgers from the sink.

DAY 89 Scheduled revisit to local vet observes some pupil reaction.

DAY 117 Scheduled revisit with eye specialist. Very pleased, to continue reducing steroids.

DAY 133 Scheduled revisit to specialist. Suggested further reduction of steroids, but owner is apprehensive as this is the level where things went badly before.

DAY 146 Scheduled revisit to local Vet. He is also apprehensive of drop in steroid level and proposes compromise whereby reduction is much slower.

DAY 165 Kuma reaches his second birthday. Not much to show for his ordeals except hair loss on face

DAY 186 Kuma relapses. Conditions are now as at DAY 1. Drugs recommenced at original dosage. Now searching for optimal dose to maintain Kuma's quality of life.

The following is the final entry made by Bea in her experience withVKH/UDS.

ADDENDUM: After many sleepless nights of soul-searching, Kuma's owner eventually came to the decision that the time had come to end this boy's suffering, and on Monday 15th February 1999 (one month before his third birthday) we made that tearful, final journey to the vet.

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