This page is dedicated to J. Dara's Scintillation, "Suki", who was diagnosed at approx. 11 weeks of age, via ultrasound, with having renal dysplasia, and in renal failure. Never having dealt with this in our litters, we began researching to try to find out as much as we could in order to lengthen the time we had to spend with this little boxer puppy, as well as to prevent this disease in any future breeding.
We have been testing those in our breeding program for heart disease, hip disease, and thyroid disease, and both parents in this case had several years of testing in those areas, and were deemed in excellent health. This is not a disease that would seem common to the boxer, as there is not much data that I can find, but there is research ongoing in several other breeds, and I am in contact with some of those people involved in hopes of getting some answers. *See update towards bottom of page on further testing for kidney disease....
**Since the original publication of this page, I have been in contact with many boxer owners and a few breeders who have said they have had boxers die of kidney disease, and quite a few of them had similar findings with the size of the kidneys in their boxers, which were found to be very small, mis-shapen and pale upon examination. If you have a boxer diagnosed with kidney disease or have had one die of kidney diesase, PLEASE take the time to fill out our
We thought that Suki was just going to be petite.......
Suki was always just a bit smaller than her littermates, but we attributed that to the fact that her mother was somewhat smaller than average. Her mom now weighed about 56 pounds at four years of age, but had been between 40-50 pounds between ages 18 months and three years, and had always been one that was hard to put any weight on. At about 8 weeks of age, Suki's weight difference to her brothers was about 9 pounds to their 12-14 pounds.
Suki at about 8 weeks of age.
Rock, Santana, and Suki on right at about 8 weeks.
When Suki first went home with her new owner, Bob Blumberg, Bob thought that she was just homesick for her littermates, and that accounted for her lack of appetite, but in the next several weeks, her appetite decreased markedly, and she began losing weight, looking very thin, drinking more, urinating more, and becoming increasingly lethargic.
Suki and Bob on the day of her departure.
Momma Roamin' checking out Suki's new owner, Bob.
Bob took Suki to a specialist who ran blood and urine tests, and upon discovering a kidney infection, recommended that Suki undergo ultrasound to see if there were an underlying problem. The ultrasound revealed two very very small kidneys, which by eight weeks of age in a dog should be fully mature. The animal hospital where she was admitted gave her a series of ringers solution via iv to hydrate her and to try to help rid her body of the toxin build up due to the insufficient function of her kidneys; and put her on an antibiotic. Her diagnosis was Renal Failure due to Renal Dysplasia, which meant her kidneys had, at some point between utero and eight weeks, stopped growing; and therefore the damage was irreversible and permanent. The specialist couldn't give an accurate lifespan for one in her condition, but recommended a modified diet, ringers via iv daily or every other day depending on renal panel results, low level antibiotics for 8-12 weeks, and a Pepcid AC daily to combat acidity in the stomach.
Poor Bob was numbed by the news of Suki's condition, and in subsequent conversations we decided the best course of action would be for him to return her to me, her breeder, as I was in a position to give her the daily care she would need.
Upon Suki's return, I ordered dietary supplements to help support the function of her kidneys as well as her liver, changed her diet to rice, turkey or chicken, veggies, honey, and a once a day bit of parsley. In addition, due to renal panel results, we began supplementing calcium as her levels were low. During the first week and a half here, Suki gained 2 1\2 pounds, but then leveled off, and though she was eating well, she did not gain any weight to speak of after the first week of therapy. Her weight would vary by ounces from one day to the next, but no real measurable gain. She weighed a bit more than 10 1\2 pounds at 3 1\2 months of age. Her brothers were between 22-26 pounds at this same age.
Suki during her first week back at home, in the cat bed donated by my daughter, Jasmine.
Suki with brother, Rock, during her first week back home.
Suki at 3 1\2 months, displaying an arched back, characteristic of
kidney failure in very young animals, also known as 'renal rickets'.
One of Suki's favorite spots was at the back door of our house where she could watch
the fall leaves blowing around and rest in the sunshine there.
Suki, shown in t-shirt and diapers, as she had so little body fat that the shirt helped maintain
her body temp and the diapers helped keep my sanity, as she urinated sooo frequently.
Suki tired very easily, spending the majority of her day sleeping,
but enjoying an occasional romp with her brother, Rock.
But then it was time for a nap.
Suki would sometimes sleep in her little bed for hours, only changing positions occasionally.....
By 12-12-02, Suki was weighing in at 14 1\2 pounds,and sleeping less time during the day.
By the new year, 2003, Suki was up to 18 1\2 pounds!! She still had good days and bad days, but we were amazed that she was doing so well. We knew the condition was terminal, but counted each day she was with us as a success story.
Here are some pics of Suki during the holidays! She was fascinated with the opening of gifts!
She got a new BIGGER dog bed and some new toys!
Suki's determined spirit drove us and her
love gave us the inspiration to share her story.
Suki left us on April 26, 2003, at 8 1\2 months old, still only weighing about 18 pounds.
On March 4th, 2003, Suki's mother, Roamin', had a wedge biopsy of her kidney,, and she was found to be totally clear of any fetal tissue that would indicate the presence of Renal Dysplasia, with her blood and urine tests normal as well.
Suki's sire was cleared of kidney disease via the ERD (Early Renal Disease) test.
Upon Suki's passing, we had her kidneys sent to the University of Pennsylvania Department of Pathology, where the disease that robbed her of a long and healthy life was without question recognized as Juvenile Renal Dysplasia.
While there is no DNA test available at this point in the boxer breed that would identify carriers, it is thought that the disease in boxers is like that of the Standard Poodle, where both parents are normally found to be perfectly healthy by way of Urine Analysis, Early Detection, Bloodwork, and even biopsy; but are thought to have recessive genes for the disease that would produce a ratio of 1 affected, 1 clear, and two carriers out of a litter of four when bred to another carrier.
It is further thought that two separate recessive genes in combination are required to produce an affected puppy, (let's say RD1 and RD2 for the purpose of clarity) where one parent would have the RD1 gene for the disease, and only when bred to a dog with RD2 gene for the disease would an affected puppy be produced.
This would explain why line breeding can go on for years without producing a single affected puppy, as they can only pass on the gene that they themselves possess, and not until being outcrossed to a line that carries the other recessive gene for the disease, will affected pups be produced, one or more affected pups, depending on the size of the litter.
Rebecca A. West
J. Dara's Boxers
Background Music: You Are So Beautiful To Me
This page was visited more than 500 times during Suki's lifetime, and
has been visited times since 4-26-03
Canine Renal Dysplasia - Links to Articles:
Canine Kidney Disease Links:
online group specifically geared to help owners of dogs diagnosed with kidney
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