Animals, like people, are sentient beings. Crohn’s disease is insidious; I cannot liken it to any living being, “imagined” or otherwise. I have wondered if animals contract Crohn’s, knowing domesticated animals are more and more often diagnosed with illnesses common to humans. Manufactured diet, behaviors, stresses and environmental factors lend to degenerative health conditions often shared with their guardians’ lifestyles.
“Bailey” was my other child, a Border collie. She and my daughter grew-up together. At age ten, Bailey was whisked off to emergency where she remained on an IV for a week, undergoing daily lab tests. The Veterinarian diagnosed her with Cushing’s disease, a biofeedback system malfunction indicative of an hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis imbalance. My Uncle, a retired medical doctor, said that he never treated a patient with Cushing’s disease in his 40 yrs. of practice! Bailey’s personality/behavior combined with our active lifestyle, may have imposed stresses on her biological being that we continued to nurse along for another five years. Bailey was a compassionate, empathetic soul who in turn, offered therapy during my own critical state of health at that time.
As an animal rights activist, I cannot blame nor assign any animal to a disease. The very definition of “dis-ease” is: “1. medical condition: a condition in humans, plants, or animals that results in pathological symptoms and is not the direct result of physical injury”, implies an abnormal state of being. I have often remarked that I would not wish Crohn’s disease on my worst enemy. Conversely, I am learning to accept it and embrace it, for there must be good reason I coexist with this condition. Whether the physiological manifestations of Crohn’s disease protects my biochemistry from other ills, or is an incarnation to teach me virtues; this challenging condition is an added dimension to my current life, and all those with whom I share.