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Harlow’s Amazing Transformation

Published on January 16, 2024.
Last Updated January 16, 2024.
a dog with chronic IBD
How did this pet recover from a rare inflammatory disorder? Read to find out
Dog with chronic IBD after internal medicine specialist treatment
Harlow today, living her best life.

Harlow is a very special 7-year-old Weimaraner who has shown incredible resilience and determination to recover from life threatening illness with the support of the SASH Team.

Harlow was first referred to see our Internal Medicine team with a long history of reoccurring gastrointestinal problems – especially burping, gas in the stomach, weight loss, diarrhoea.

Prior to referral Harlow had a preventative treatment for a life-threatening condition called GDV, called a gastropexy. A GDV essentially is a condition where the stomach fills with gas and causes bloat, which then causes the stomach to flip and compress against vital organs. A gastropexy prevents this from happening via a procedure where part of the stomach is permanently sutured to the abdominal wall. It is commonly recommended in large breed, deep chested dogs and a GDV is a life-threatening emergency if left untreated. It doesn’t treat the cause of the problem, but it can prevent this life threatening complication.

When Harlow was 5 years old she started losing a substantial amount of weight, despite normal things like eating and exercising well. Her owners were considering her quality of life. Harlow was weak and severely malnourished. She was having reoccurring episodes of bloating, with some vomiting & diarrhoea. Despite this, in between episodes she was still bright, happy and playing with her toys. It was heartbreaking seeing her fluctuate so much.

Weight gain sounds like an easy fix, but it is a lengthy process. It’s like training for a marathon. It takes commitment, endurance, motivation and a consistent goal driven mindset. Fortunately for Harlow, Dr Amy Lam (her primary medicine clinician) is a champion when it comes to marathons. Internal Medicine Specialists help to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be fixed with methods like surgery. Dr Amy, or as we like to call her, Dr Amy Lam-borghini, became Harlow’s primary coach.

dog with chronic IBD before and after treatment
Before and After

Harlow had tests including an ultrasound, blood tests which were unremarkable. Initially as Harlow was so sick – we had to try some treatment trials – diets and medications to try and improve gut health. We proceeded with endoscopy when she wasn’t responding to treatment and she was diagnosed with Chronic Neutrophilic Enteritis. This is a rare inflammatory disorder that affects the intestines. Prognosis is worse than other forms of intestinal bowel disease (IBD). Harlow was extremely skinny and malnourished, but still bright and wanting to live.

Harlow was started on medications and a different diet trial. It can take weeks before we see responses to treatment and sometimes, we need to change treatment – including the diet entirely and start again. Harlow’s owners stayed committed to the cause, researching and working closely with Dr Amy. The hard work paid off. She slowly started to improve, have less bloating. Harlow’s Mum also started to learn more about dietary interventions, and together, after 6 months of hard work – We started to see an incredible response to treatment. We are all extremely relieved and pleased to report that at her most recent visit, Harlow’s bright and happy energy was reflective with the healthy amount of weight she had gained.

Harlow is living proof that an Internal Medicine Specialist working closely with dedicated owners (like Allana) can really help the sickest of animals. Dr Amy is very proud to be a part of ensuring that Harlow can live her best life again. We love you Harlow!

Keep up to date with Harlow’s journey: @thisweimlife

About the Author

Natasha Rizk

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SASH is home to some of Australia’s leading specialists and veterinary experts. If you have any concerns about your pet, please get in touch with us.

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