HELP: Undiagnosed Sick Dog Not Getting Better

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HELP: Undiagnosed Sick Dog Not Getting Better

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Old 08-09-2016, 11:26 AM
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Exclamation HELP: Undiagnosed Sick Dog Not Getting Better

My dog has been to the vet 3 times in past 5 days (most recently yesterday) and they can not find what is wrong with him. I am hoping that someone here recognizes symptoms from their own experience and can help!

Current Vet: Higgin’s Animal Clinic / Chicago, IL

Weight: 66 lbs

Age: 4.5 yrs

Breed: Pitbull/Mix

Changes in Food: None

Completed Tests: ALL Negative/Normal

 Physical Exam

 Fecal Exam

 Two X-rays (fasted and not fasted)

 Senior Screen with Spec CPL

Diagnosis: Unknown

Overall symptoms are nausea, pain in the abdomen and not putting weight on hind legs when coming up stairs/walking quickly. The GI and legs issues are what is puzzling everyone because they seem like two separate symptoms. I've been taking notes each day, please see below for further detail including the vet visits. Any help/suggestions are much appreciated! Thank you in advance.



8/4 Thursday

Behavior:

 Lethargic

 Shaking

 Ears Back

 Breathing Heavily

Appetite

 Excited to eat

 Once food is close, hesitant to eat, eating very slowly and taking breaks.

 Food completed (2 cups kibble)

 Normal water consumption

*NO vomiting/diarrhea or drooling

8/5 Friday

Veterinarian Visit #1

*Physical Exam: Doctor found nothing but acknowledged he was in pain and nauseous.

*Ordered the following tests to be completed:

 Fecal Exam | RESULT: NEGATIVE

*Administered/Prescribed the following medication:

 Cerenia Tablets 60mg / 1 per day for 4 days

*Diagnosis: Unknown

*Advice: No advice, just to wait for results and give the medicine. No food directions.

Behavior:

 More Lethargic / Depressed

 Breathing Heavily but less than previous day (mostly following getting onto sofa)

Stool:

 8am normal stool

 10am looser stool/lighter in coloration

Appetite

 Excited to eat

 Once food was close, was hesitant

 Ate some very slowly with breaks, did not finish entirely

Water

 Normal

Hind Legs

 Having trouble going up stairs/onto sofa but not down

 Getting up from laying down with front legs

 Tried to kick grass after peeing but couldn’t correctly/normally

 Lifting both back legs when walking fast in the yard, hopping on them

 Jumped onto sofa and started breathing heavily (in discomfort)

 Couldn’t jump into the car (had to lift)

*NO vomiting, diarrhea or drooling

8/6 Saturday

Veterinarian Visit #2

*Physical Exam: Doctor found that he was dehydrated and nauseous because as she

palpitated his pelvic area he burped and licked his lips

*Ordered the following tests/treatments to be completed:

 X-Ray of abdomen | RESULT: NEGATIVE (Did not tell me that he needed to fast so

told me that she couldn’t be sure that there wasn’t a foreign object in the stomach)

 Senior Screen with Spec CPL | RESULT: NEGATIVE

 Fluids administered under the skin

*Administered/Prescribed the following medication:

 Tramadol HCI Tablets 50mg twice every 12 hours

*Diagnosis: Unknown (but Dehydrated)

*Advice: No advice, just to wait for results and give the medicine. No food directions.

Vomiting

 Vomited once when we got home @ 2/3pm from the vet appointment

Behavior

 Less Lethargic

Stool

 AM normal

 7:30pm pass small amount of stool / strained

Appetite

 Excited to eat but once fed hesitant to eat but eventually ate half the amount

Water

 Drank more than usual

Hind Legs

 Tried lifting him into the car and he yelp/cried out (had hand under his armpits trying to

get his front half in first and yelped when I pulled him back/up on his hind legs)

 Still having trouble and walking gingerly, especially up stairs

*NO diarrhea or drooling

8/7 Sunday

Vomiting

 Vomited 2 – 3 times (smaller amounts / mostly kibble)

Behavior

 Less Lethargic / Acting more like himself

Stool

 9:30am Normal

 PM – nothing

Appetite

 Excited to eat but once fed hesitant to eat but eventually ate very small amount

 For dinner found a can of Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care / gave a small

amount and ate it very quickly with no upset

Water

 Normal

Hind Legs

 Still having trouble and walking gingerly, especially up stairs

 Jumped onto bed but had a hard time

*NO diarrhea or drooling

8/8 Monday

Veterinarian Visit #3

*No Physical Exam

*Ordered the following tests/treatments to be completed:

 X-Ray of abdomen #2| RESULT: NEGATIVE

*Administered/Prescribed the following:

 Hills Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care | 3 cans a day

*Diagnosis: Unknown


*Advice: feed 3 cans a day (seems like a lot) and go see a specialist for an abdominal

ultrasound

Vomiting

 Vomited 4 times / very watery

Behavior

 More Lethargic / less like himself than the previous

 Heavy breathing at some points in the day

Stool

 8AM Normal

Appetite

 Was told to give him 1 and a half cans for breakfast and dinner (which sounds like a lot).

Loved eating it but I think it was too much for him and he couldn’t keep it down.

Water

 Less than normal

Hind Legs

 Still having trouble and walking gingerly, especially up stairs and walking quickly in the

yard.

*NO diarrhea or drooling


If you have read through, I want to thank you for taking the time to do so. Really appreciate any help I can get on this.
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:43 AM
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Were any blood tests run?
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:49 AM
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Yes - they listed this as the "Senior Screen with Spec CPL". I asked why it was called Senior since our dog isn't a senior and they said because it covered more types of tests for a lower price. I'm not sure what it all entailed, but it came back negative and the doctor said that the pancreas, liver and kidneys all looked normal.
I don't believe that he was tested for lyme or anything like that, just standard levels in the body and organs.
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:58 AM
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Yes - they listed this as the "Senior Screen with Spec CPL". I asked why it was called Senior since our dog isn't a senior and they said because it covered more types of tests for a lower price. I'm not sure what it all entailed, but it came back negative and the doctor said that the pancreas, liver and kidneys all looked normal.
I don't believe that he was tested for lyme or anything like that, just standard levels in the body and organs.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:07 PM
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Has he been tested for lyme and other tick borne diseases? Lyme disease can cause lameness in multiple legs, and might be worth ruling out. Also, back pain is frequently a cause of reluctance to climb steps, lameness in one or more legs, and apparent abdominal pain, though not vomiting. Your vet can probably rule out back/neck pain by carefully manipulating/palpating the spine to see if he shows discomfort. I've had 2 dogs with symptoms like this (one on two separate occasions), and in 2 out of three instances, it was neck pain (granted, they are a breed with a high prevalence for spinal issues, but all breeds can have problems), while in one, once spinal pain was ruled out (and the dog also had a high temp), the vet suspected maybe a TBD. My dog's snap test for lyme was negative, but he offered to either treat based on his symptoms, or to send out a full tick panel. I chose to treat and he was 100% improved a couple days later, but I'll never know for sure if it was due to the rx or just him getting better on his own.

When my other dog had neck pain, she was limping on one front leg, and guarding her abdomen/yelping when picked up like it was the source of her discomfort. She also had a bunch of bone (chicken? from the trash or yard we guessed at the time) material in her stomach, so that threw us and the vet off the trail and we treated for GI upset the first few days with no improvement. The other dog was more stoic, but limping intermittently on both front legs and reluctant to jump up, unable to get comfortable.

If you are able to rule out all other obvious causes, it is probably worth the visit to the specialist to try and figure out what's going on, they see lots of strange cases and have access to the newest and best diagnostic tools, so hopefully they can figure it out.

Last edited by busannie; 08-09-2016 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:08 PM
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Could be many things, from neurological to injury.

Did the x-rays cover the spine? I wonder if the dog injured it's back somehow. I get enough back and nerve pain that I have puked in the past. Get your dog to lay down, on it's belly, and run your fingers down both sides of the spine. Do it again, but put pressure every cm or so on both sides, note any discomfort.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busannie View Post
Has he been tested for lyme and other tick borne diseases? Lyme disease can cause lameness in multiple legs, and might be worth ruling out. Also, back pain is frequently a cause of reluctance to climb steps, lameness in one or more legs, and apparent abdominal pain, though not vomiting. Your vet can probably rule out back/neck pain by carefully manipulating/palpating the spine to see if he shows discomfort. I've had 2 dogs with symptoms like this (one on two separate occasions), and in 2 out of three instances, it was neck pain (granted, they are a breed with a high prevalence for spinal issues, but all breeds can have problems), while in one, once spinal pain was ruled out (and the dog also had a high temp), the vet suspected maybe a TBD. My dog's snap test for lyme was negative, but he offered to either treat based on his symptoms, or to send out a full tick panel. I chose to treat and he was 100% improved a couple days later, but I'll never know for sure if it was due to the rx or just him getting better on his own.

When my other dog had neck pain, she was limping on one front leg, and guarding her abdomen/yelping when picked up like it was the source of her discomfort. She also had a bunch of bone (chicken? from the trash or yard we guessed at the time) material in her stomach, so that threw us and the vet off the trail and we treated for GI upset the first few days with no improvement. The other dog was more stoic, but limping intermittently on both front legs and reluctant to jump up, unable to get comfortable.

If you are able to rule out all other obvious causes, it is probably worth the visit to the specialist to try and figure out what's going on, they see lots of strange cases and have access to the newest and best diagnostic tools, so hopefully they can figure it out.
He has not been tested for lyme or other tick borne diseases - we are doing the snap test today, but if it comes back negative as in your case could the full tick panel reveal something else? Also, was treatment a course of antibiotics?

The vet ruled out back/neck pain by doing exactly as you described, but I fear that he is hiding his pain at the vet for some reason (he shakes in fear and tries to hide under any kind of chair). I picked him up to get him into the car and he yelp, the vet picked him up the same way and he didn't make a peep or show any kind of pain.

He just got an ultrasound done to rule out any foreign objects in the stomach, it came back totally normal.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jagger View Post
Could be many things, from neurological to injury.

Did the x-rays cover the spine? I wonder if the dog injured it's back somehow. I get enough back and nerve pain that I have puked in the past. Get your dog to lay down, on it's belly, and run your fingers down both sides of the spine. Do it again, but put pressure every cm or so on both sides, note any discomfort.
What kind of neurological disease could it be?

Could be many things, from neurological to injury.

Yes the x-rays covered the spine, the vet said that all discs looked normal. They also did the test that you are mentioning multiple times and manipulated all of his joints with nothing to report and I repeated it at home as well.

I have this feeling that he's hiding his pain when at the vet because I picked him up to get him into the car and he yelped, but the same day when the doctor tried to pick him up the same exact way he didn't show any kind of pain (he is a huge baby at the vet, nervously shakes/pants and tries to hide under any chair in the examining room).
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AnastasiaNelson View Post
What kind of neurological disease could it be?

Could be many things, from neurological to injury.

Yes the x-rays covered the spine, the vet said that all discs looked normal. They also did the test that you are mentioning multiple times and manipulated all of his joints with nothing to report and I repeated it at home as well.

I have this feeling that he's hiding his pain when at the vet because I picked him up to get him into the car and he yelped, but the same day when the doctor tried to pick him up the same exact way he didn't show any kind of pain (he is a huge baby at the vet, nervously shakes/pants and tries to hide under any chair in the examining room).

Degenerative myelopathy for one, but this looks like more of a sudden onset? This is something that happened overnight correct?

And the dog has no history of anything?
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:19 PM
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Degenerative myelopathy for one, but this looks like more of a sudden onset? This is something that happened overnight correct?

And the dog has no history of anything?
Is Degenerative Myelopathy common for a 4 year old dog or older dogs? Yes this happened suddenly last Thursday; we went to work in the morning and he was fine, came back after work at he was sick. A dog walker comes in the middle of the day and said they noticed nothing strange.

He was diagnosed with Carotid Sinus Hypersensitivity at 6 months because we were attaching his leash to his collar and when he would pull he would suddenly get dizzy/faint. We went to a specialist for this thinking that he had something wrong with his heart and the solve was to just use a harness - haven't had an episode since.
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