Copper-Associated Hepatopathy (Copper storage disease, Copper hepatoxicosis, Copper storage hepatitis, Copper toxicosis, Copper-associated hepatopathy, Hepatic copper toxicosis, Wilson disease, BTCT, CT)
How could this happen when I had diligently done everything right? It’s with a mix of vulnerability and determination that I share our journey with you, in the hopes that it may resonate with those facing similar challenges.
Canine Copper-Associated Hepatopathy is recognized with increasing frequency in dogs. While several breeds have been notably affected by this condition, it is now well recognized that the surge in CuAH cases transcends traditional breed boundaries. While most evidence and occurrences previously point to genetics, growing studies are demonstrating it is possible that a dietary ingredient, copper (cu), plays a role due to several industry changes, which may give answers to those with an unknown etiology. If you are pet owner affected with this chronic, complex disease, you can appreciate any new and evolving knowledge.
Allow me to introduce Riggs, a radiant Old English Sheepdog whose brightness illuminated every room. Bravery, coupled with a touch of silliness, defined him. Despite being well-versed in the art of navigating life, his greatest lesson was the ability to live in the present moment—a valuable wisdom he generously imparted to me. In my journey of working with numerous dogs with unique requirements throughout my career, the most intricate and emotionally profound case has been the one closest to my heart—my cherished companion, Sheepdog Riggs. He wasn’t just a pet; he was my heart and soul dog, a constant source of inspiration that propelled me to refine my skills and reshape my professional path.
Confronted with a myriad of responses ranging from uncertainty to disheartening indifference, I persevered in advocating for Riggs, grappling with the emotional toll of navigating a complex medical landscape for my beloved dog. The challenges encountered during this journey became a catalyst for my pursuit of knowledge and expertise in the realm of veterinary health.
Similar to others affected by this disease, my knowledge about it was initially nonexistent, and there seemed to be a collective lack of understanding. Riggs, my dear companion, relied on me for answers, placing a weighty responsibility on my shoulders. Questions loomed large, carrying a weight of complexity.
Fueled by a determination born out of necessity, I found myself navigating the realms of self-education, choosing to return to school at a pace dictated by Riggs’ urgent health needs. The catalyst for this journey for my pursuit of knowledge and expertise in the realm of veterinary health? Riggs, my canine confidant, whose well-being was intricately woven into the fabric of my existence.
Despite the initial challenges and perhaps less-than-ideal circumstances surrounding my educational journey, the knowledge gained during that period has been a stepping stone for continuous learning and proved invaluable in navigating the complexities of Riggs’ condition in making informed decisions about his care. It served as a foundation, allowing me to build a more comprehensive understanding of copper storage disease and related canine health issues over time.
As I progressed in my educational endeavors, I sought reputable sources and furthered my understanding through formal channels. The ongoing commitment to learning has equipped me with a more robust knowledge base, ensuring that I stay well-informed and capable of making informed decisions in the best interest of my dog’s health. This ongoing educational journey has not only benefited me personally but has also enhanced my ability to contribute positively to the well-being of dogs facing similar health challenges.
In facing these challenges, we extend our hope for your support in our shared mission. Moreover, we are here to reciprocate that support, offering assistance if you ever find yourself affected by this condition. Together, let us navigate this journey with compassion and understanding.
Where once we faced invisibility, there is now a resounding call for recognition and change. The echoes of advocacy resonate strongly, urging a transformative shift in how we understand and manage canine-associated hepatopathy. Renowned veterinarians advocate their evidence to support recommendations to reexamine dietary copper for dogs and reconsider current guidelines for copper content in commercial dog foods.
Copper-associated hepatopathy can be hard to diagnose and treat, but it can be easy to prevent.
As Riggs peacefully passed away just shy of 14 years from unrelated causes, I felt a sense of fulfillment, knowing that I had exhausted every avenue to ensure his well-being.
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Danielle & Sheepdog Riggs
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