There's Always Evidence

I speak about my seronegative Rheumatoid Disease often because it irritates me. I am a scientist so it does bother me! I strongly believe there is a reason for everything so seronegative or completely normal blood work and x-rays don’t work for me.

My dog's health got me thinking...

My eldest dog, Affie, reminded me of this recently. She is over 13 years old and except for a recent foray into congestive heart disease, she has no other health issues. She doesn’t even really have health “issues” at all. Her exercise tolerance is higher than her younger hound sister and she frequently goes for longer walks. However, over the course of a few months, A started urinating more often.

It’s important to note this could be normal. She is a small dog and well over geriatric age. Maybe it is more difficult for her to hold her bladder, maybe it's just incontinence. No. In this case, I don’t think it was just age. Urinating every 45 minutes to an hour from every 4 is not right, even for an old dog.

We looked for the evidence

We checked for UTIs. None. We checked her liver and kidney functions. Normal. We even ultrasound for stones. Zip. We were left with either behavioral issues or the beginning of kidney disease (it only shows up in animal blood work after a certain amount of function loss). There was no medical evidence but something was not right. This didn’t feel like pure house-breaking issues but based on the evidence I just had to consider Affie was getting older.

My dogs are on a very heart healthy home-cooked diet so high protein, low fat. Unfortunately, the kidneys hate high protein. I researched a new balanced diet that favored both the heart and the kidneys. And then it hit me. Yogurt.

Before I go on, let me preface this by saying I do not think yogurt is bad for the kidneys and when adding anything in larger amounts it is best to talk to your doctor.

Article after article agreed yogurt could stress already-compromised kidneys. Yogurt is high in phosphorus and protein; two things kidneys don’t like.

We’ve always given our dogs a tablespoon of yogurt after their afternoon meal for its probiotic goodness. Affie also gets a yogurt snack before bed.

There was indeed a reason!

Without realizing it I was giving her more yogurt than probably was good for her. I stopped it completely and within days her urination returned to normal. I was stressing her kidneys, which in turn increased her urination. Aha! There was a reason. Her kidneys were healthy but just old and even that small amount of yogurt stressed them out!

The mystery of seronegative RA

I return to the age-old question, do I have RA? My blood work is normal and my x-rays are beautiful. Given my symptoms, I would have thought I would see some damage after eight years. I asked my rheumatologist and he said we’ve always been very aggressive with treatment so it’s quite possible I won’t see the damage.

Do I have RA? I don’t doubt there is some inflammatory response because I can feel there’s something not right. There is no evidence pointing to RA. Is this just a phase and I wake up one day completely “fine”?

Maybe but for now, how do I figure out what’s wrong with me?

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