What could it be?

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Garrison
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What could it be?

Post by Garrison » Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:51 pm

Six year old GSP, has had three different episodes through out the last year and has seen four different vets in three states without a definitive answer.

Episode 1 November
Hunting in Illinois, he was acting a bit lethargic in the field got him home and he shivered all night long didn't want to get up off the dog bed. Coat looked poor and breath got bad, not chemical but bad. I brought him to the vet no temperature and they ran a blood panel and all came back normal. Couldn't find anything wrong vet gave me some pain meds in a day he was feeling better.

Episode 2 January
Hunting northern Nevada, similar symptoms shivering all night like he was in pain except this time he had blood in his urine. Blood test came back within range, gave him a steroid shot and some pain meds. Seemed to clear up. I brought him to my local vet as soon as I got home and ran urine/blood work again liver enzyme slightly elevated but all else normal. He gave me an antibiotic for possible lepto. I wormed him and everything seemed like it cleared up and he has been good all off season.

Episode 3. Three weeks ago
Cough developed sounded exactly like kennel cough, cleared up in a couple weeks. He woke me up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom three nights in a row which was odd. Following week he got in to a bag of cat littler from a litter box change that my wife had left in the garage, he vomitted up two meals in a row. I brought him in to the vet thinking maybe he had a blockage, the vet gave him an IV fluids, did a blood panel and X-ray. Blood work came back all normal except AMYL was slightly elevated. X-ray didn't show anything. Came home that night and started shivering. Went to let him out in the morning and he couldn't get up. He was in extreme pain in his stomach and back. Bad breath, and runny nose (clear). Had to carry him in on his bed. When I brought him in he had a slight fever and they gave some more fluids and did a barium study. By mid day he was back up and moving around ok. Blood work once again was normal. They kept taking X-rays through the day and some of the barium was not going through as fast as it should. One of the Doctors mentioned that his kidney looks a little enlarged. They thought there may be a blockage that was not visible on the X-ray. They opened him up and didn't find anything. I brought him back in today because he pulled a staple and was grinding his teeth, I also noticed some ulcers on his gums. They gave me rymadyl to go with his othe pain meds and antibiotic. They didn't seem too worried about the ulcers.

Maybe Lepto seems to be a common thing I hear during all these visits. How long can they carry it. Any other ideas?

Thanks

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birddogdoc
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Re: What could it be?

Post by birddogdoc » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:08 pm

It would be hard to have leptospirosis or other infectious diseases and not have them show up somewhere on your blood work, but I'm assuming the blood work included a CBC and serum chemistry.

I'm curious what the dog's blood sugar is during the first two episodes.

Has anyone run a urinalysis or done a urine culture?

The third incident is a bit disjointed from a medical history perspective and may be a mix of symptoms that are significant and extraneous. I'm not sure if the coughing resolved on its own or was part of the problem with the cat litter ingestion. Did the dog ever pass stool that was filled with litter? I'm guessing not since it sounds like the vet did an abdominal explore and found nothing. A giant, water absorbing mass in the colon can be painful, for sure.

Lepto titers can be run if you or the vets are still concerned.

Two things come to mind based on cases I've seen in the past and the pieces of information you've provided:
1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (oral ulcers, joint pain?, fever, response to steroids, blood in urine; the breed and age fit well)
2. Brucella canis (I'm assuming dog is still intact)
3. I'd probably run an infectious disease SNAP test (4DX plus), as those probably fit as well

I'm sure your vet(s) have considered these as well; and there are blood tests that can rule them out. How is the dog feeling now?

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Garrison
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Re: What could it be?

Post by Garrison » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:41 pm

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. As you can tell I am not internet fishing for a cheap fix, I am not afraid to take him to the vet if he is not well, just trying to figure out what might be going on. He seems to be doing much better today, I was thinking the third event was probably unrelated to the two previous, but when they didn't find anything and I spotted the ulcers I was concerned it was a reoccurrence of an underlying issue. The barium and two days of fluids could of very well got things moving. He did have what looked to be a regular stool the day before the real discomfort. His blood sugar was checked the two previous episodes while he was experiencing the symptoms and both times came back normal. I don't believe it is exercise related because we usually road him three times a week and give him an hour of free run 2 days a week for 2 1/2 to 3 months before the season and through the season if he is not hunting. Now that he is stable my local vet wanted to talk with some of her friends and think about our best course of action. She was going to get back to me tomorrow about a game plan. I attached blood work from when he was symptomatic.
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birddogdoc
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Re: What could it be?

Post by birddogdoc » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:32 am

I agree with your vet that the blood work is fairly unremarkable, especially for a dog as sick as you describe; however there are a few quirky things that may fit part of larger puzzle. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure you two will come up with a plan for diagnostics that will get to the bottom of it. Maybe they'll include analysis of some of those things I mentioned, maybe not, it's just a shot in the dark without the dog in front of me. Best of luck!

The dog is feeling normal now?

Timewise65
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Re: What could it be?

Post by Timewise65 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:34 am

Wow, I am so sorry to read what you are going through with your pup. I have a male Golden Retriever that we went through a similar set of symptoms over a period of about two years, he was 2 years old when this started. We ran him in hunt tests frequently. Early on they had run a tick panel and it came back negative. So we went on with all kinds of tests, drugs, X rays, ultra sound, etc. etc. after over $4,000 in bills and months of this we took him to an emergency clinic that is known to be very good at diagnosing difficult problems, tied to Kansas State University. The young vet, after going completely over his history, said it really was acting like some form of a tic born disease. So he ran another test...and Bingo, came back positive (he said false negatives are not unusual)! Put our dog on Doxycycline for 12 months (really a long time). He was better in 3 days and ready to go in two weeks.....

It came back after about 2 years, back on Doxy for 3 months...and that was it! He is now 10 and has had no further problems....

Maybe a long shot, but I wanted to share my experience....

Good Luck

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zrp
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Re: What could it be?

Post by zrp » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:44 am

Good reply from birddogdoc. The 4th differential that comes to mind is pancreatitis. Sometimes they get fed differently on hunting trips than at home but I'd rule out the other 3 first. Pancreatitis can also be ruled out during an episode with a patient side idexx cpli snap test.

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Garrison
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Re: What could it be?

Post by Garrison » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:03 am

Thanks all. I had him tested for Lyme during during his first episode, forgot to add that. Probably a good idea to have him checked again. He seems to be doing well, besides some pain. He is laying low licking his lips and grinding his teeth some. Back on his feed and pooped normal. Hope it was just a belly full of litter and is unrelated to what he was going through before.

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dog dr
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Re: What could it be?

Post by dog dr » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:12 pm

Addisons?

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Garrison
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Re: What could it be?

Post by Garrison » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:04 pm

Want to thank all of you for your input. Dog is back to his normal self, except for the annoying lampshade on his head. Thinking that I am just going to keep a close eye on him for now. Not sure I am ready to start dumping any more money in to him if he is looking and feeling good.

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