For those who grieve

Although this site talks much about things to do to help your CIL dog achieve a remission from the disease, a sad fact is that not all of us will have success.  Some of us will lose this fight, and it is very easy to feel like we didn’t do enough.  If we have run up against the limits of resources we might feel as though we are bad pet parents who can’t afford to care for our pets properly.  If we have run up against a disease that simply won’t respond we might feel like we let our pets suffer too long.

Making a decision about euthanasia is hard enough, but once that decision is made, we then have to deal with the loss of a beloved pet and the feelings that come up about what else we might have done, or what we could have done differently, or our limited resources.

To anyone here who might see yourself in what I wrote above, please know this:  It is not your fault.  

You have been dealing with a very difficult disease to manage.  Conventional wisdom, at least when Louie was first diagnosed, was that no dog survived this disease for more than two years.  Veterinarians don’t all agree about the best course of action.  The experience and the successes of others gave us hope, and because there was hope, we tried anyway, to whatever degree made the most sense to us.  Not everyone will have the outcome they desire, but that does not make these people horrible pet owners.

Let me just say this:  You are all heroes.  The ones that found that magic combination are heroes, and so are the ones that tried and could not make the magic happen.  Against the odds, you did what you could and you did everything you felt was reasonable.  I know your CIL dog understood and appreciated that.

Letting go is never easy, but it is the last and kindest gift we give them.  Please take care of yourselves.



19 comments to For those who grieve

  • Donovan's Mom

    What a beautiful way to approach such a difficult and taxing decision. I have been there before with others and I take heart in knowing “I have done all I could do” and that I have “always” had my baby’s best interest at the front. Thanks for this site and such encouraging words.

  • Good hearing from you. Your strength is amazing! Your advice was was life changing for our family.

  • Louies Mom

    So glad we helped you, Debbie.

  • Louies Mom

    Thank you, Donovan’s Mom.

  • Davina

    Sending my sincerest love and hugs to each and everyone who has lost a dog to this illness x

  • Morgan's Mom

    Thank you for the wise words. Morgan was diagnosed with CIL a little more than 2 years ago! You have been a great help. We take it a day at a time, and hope he can reach his 14th birthday coming up in 4 months.

  • A beautiful and wise message.

  • Josie's mom

    We lost our little Josie Mae on May 24,2013. I did everything that possibly could, but she was just so sick and not eating for a long time. Her albumin was at. 4 for a long time. She also battled pancreatitis that made steroids hard for her to fake. I am having alot of difficulty getting through this. Your words have helped. Thank you and God Bless you!

  • Cyndi Snedden

    My dear little Yorkie Buddy was just diagnosed this morning. They inserted a feeding tube and are going to send him home tomorrow with a lot of antibiotics. Can you tell me some things to anticipate.

    • Donovan's Mom

      Would be glad to share experiences but don’t know if they would be the same. Why did he have to have a feeding tube and how did they make the diagnosis? Did they put him on a certain diet or tell you what they would do next? There are a lot of different effects of the disease as you will read on here and not all can be treated in the same manner. How old is your little Yorkie? My Donovan was almost 6 when he was diagnosed. He had been sick 1 1/2 years before the final diagnosis was made. Treated him for IBD at first but he continued to have diarrhea and finally his stomach swelled up. They did an ultrasound and said they were 90% sure it was IL. Let me hear from you unless someone else responds that sounds more like your case. We all wish you well in his treatments/diet.

  • Davina

    Hi, I recently read this and wondered if it could help with CIL. I am NOT a ,medical proffessional but thought it may be useful to know. It has been over a year now since my little Basil passed away at 4 years of age because of this disease and if I can do anything to help others suffering to I will:

    “Vitamin D can stop your intestines from leaking
    Research is beginning to show that vitamin D Deficiency leads to a comprised mucosal barrier[5] and we know that reversing leaky gut is critical to reversing Celiac Disease.

    What does vitamin D have to do with leaky gut?

    The tight junctions in your small intestine contain an adhesion junction around them help regulate what gets in and what stays out. Dr. Tom O’Bryan describes it like a “rubber band” wrapped around the tight junctions that can get too stretched out and lose its elasticity (ability to snap back in place).

    Vitamin D plays a critical role in the elasticity of those rubber bands and how well they keep the tight junctions operating normally[6].

    So if you’re deficient in vitamin D, the elastic band holding your tight junctions together doesn’t work properly… allowing foreign material to leak into your body and promoting inflammation.”

  • Davina

    I just read my post and did not want to confuse anyone as this article is with reference to “Celiac Disease”, however I still thought it may be of use!

  • Ali L.

    Our little yorkie, Baby, was diagnosed about 3 months ago. She suffered from fluid build up in her chest and abdomen from her albumen being low (1.0). She was hospitalized for 3-4 days, then we brought her home only to observe that she had no appetite, she’s always been super picky and the prescription low fat food was not exactly appetizing, and she wasn’t drinking any water (yikes!). We rushed her back into the ER after a day with no hydration and it turns out our little girl had pneumonia due to the fluid leaking in her chest. (It had gotten into her right lung) She was sent home with some broad spectrum anti-biotics. The meds we were given for CIL were Prednisone and Lukeran (sp). Our doctor is a board certified internal medicine specialist and has seen good results with these two. Unfortunately, they are immune system suppressants, so this made her Red blood cell count drop to a 19 and we had a blood transfusion ready if it didn’t come back up. We have her clavamox and baytril (sp) and she started to produce red blood cells again. We kept going in and out of the hospital for the next 3 months to get check ups, blood work, and the fluids drained whenever they built up (and affected her breathing) Her albumen levels were still around 1.0 and her calcium was at a 3.5 so we added cyclosporine to help the prednisone work. We also added calciutrol (sp) to help her absorb calcium. One good thing was her stools were always solid, and she never vomited. We saw our little girl lose so much mass. She was a muscular little dog and had gotten a little chunky before the CIL hit her. Due to the prednisone and lack of appetite we saw her lose hair and become a skeleton with a pot belly. (Probably one of the scariest parts of having a child with CIL) Last week we took her off the antibiotics because the doctor said her lungs were cleared up. Then she started having really bad loose BM. We started her on metronidazole. Then 2 nights ago I noticed drops of blood in her stool. She threw up after that and almost fell over. (It wasn’t regurgitation it was vomit). We rushed her to the ER and she has been loosing blood in her stool since (colitis type). She ate a little but ended up vomiting everything she ate back up each time. The only light in the darkness is that her levels were coming up before this because after all this they were higher than they had been in the past (still low at 1.5 albumen and 4.5 calcium). Today her rbc dropped to a 17 and her breathing rate increased. They gave her a transfusion and towards the end they said she vomited some bile/blood. She has a tube in her neck now and they are giving her IV nutrition through it. Her pot belly is gone and she looks like a skeleton of a yorkie. Her normal weight is 11-9lbs and she is at a 6.2 right now. The doctor has cut back her immuno-suppressants (prednisone, cyclosporine, and lukeran) and started her on anti biotics again. She is being injected meds now instead of fed them, we are praying for good news. We have learned and tried a lot in the past 3 months and are not even sure if this is CIL progression or a secondary illness. Pray for our baby to get better. The doctor is still hopeful, and says we shouldn’t be looking into anything final right now. She will be hospitalized for the next 3-4 days and kept on close watch. If you would like to contact us, if you’ve been where we are, or if you need advice or help PLEASE feel free to reach is at and we will try to support each other in our times of need.

    Thank you all, my fellow heroes,
    Ali L.

  • Bobbi

    I just lost my little DaVinci (Yorkie) to this disease. He was a fighter, both of us were. DaVinci was diagnosed with this disease over ten years ago. He was on Tylan from the time he was diagnosed until Friday, June 16th. Dr. Remark also had him on Dexamethasone, Sulfasalazine Susp (for diarrhea), and Ursodiol. My baby was only getting worse. When I was told little dogs only live 2-3 years with this disease, I knew I was blessed having him as long as I did.
    His diet was the most important thing battling this horrible disease. He was fed Hills I/D low fat. I had kangaroo meat flown in at one point, then the last few weeks he ate tilapia and turkey white meat.
    I wish I had an answer for all of you that have a dog fighting this disease and I pray they find a cure.
    If your vet is not familiar with Lymphangiectasia, please find one that is. Dr. Remark found that giving plasma when he would have a problem, helped get him back on track.
    DaVinci is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for me.

    • Donovan's Mom

      Sorry for your loss. My Donovan has been good for five years. You were fortunate to have had DaVinci for that long. Hope I am that lucky. Hugs.

  • Louie's mom

    Bobbi, I’m so sorry for your loss. Run free at the bridge, DaVinci. Your mom certainly loves you and took such great care of you. (((((hugs)))))