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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there, first post. I read the forum rules and read through some of the stickies. This may be a bit of a long post but this being my first ever dog issue Im looking for more input as Im not sure the many veterinarians I have seen have got it right yet.
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Little back round information. I am 29 years old and have had my dog Oreo for 14.5 years. She is half black lab and half rabbit hound and about 48lbs. You would think 14.5 years old seems old but she has been doing great and very active up until this month. We grew up in my parents house for the first 8 years of her life, then moved into my house when I bought it for the past 5-6 years with me and my girlfriend. My parents house is only 2 minutes away so she gets lots of time over there still and loves it.
It all started
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November 8th. I was outside and my dog wanted to come out with me like always so she whined and I gave in and let her out. She was normal all day and went to have a BM (bowel movement) and it was mushy and red colored like blood. I decided to keep an eye on her and if it happened again I would take her to the vet. That night she had a BM in the house and it was just a mess. Blood everywhere and diarrhea. I never seen anything like it before. --
November 9th. So we took her down immediately and got her checked out. They took blood samples and checked things and nothing came back. They said it was likely HGE and to keep a close eye on her. She still seemed ok and other then a big sluggish (she was up late and early so nothing not normal) so my girlfriend spent the day with her and that was it.
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November 10th. She had an even worse BM in the house during the night and we took he back first thing in the morning. This is the day she began to seem sick. They said it was likely HGE and she would need to be on IV and fluids until she could start to feel better. She spent the day in the vet and we drove her to the overnight vet and she stayed there. They also did an xray to make sure nothing was stuck in her and there was nothing. That night they called us and said he platelets dropped to nothing and she was very ill and was suffering from what they believed to now be IMT (immune mediated Thrombocytopenia). They immediately started her on Prednisone 50mg and azathioprine 50mg to make her stop killing her platelets. Her red blood cell count was also low and they were worried about that
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November 11th. I went to see her this day and she was next to lifeless. Wouldnt move, eat, or do much of anything. I seriously thought that was the end of her. They explained everything to me about the meds and what would happen next and we waited to see what would happen. Later that night they told us her red blood cells dropped too low, and she had a blood transfusion. She was also down to 43 lbs
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November 12th. She Seemed to start responding to treatment and got much better this day. Back and fourth from the vets she started to eat a bit and was getting more life in her at least. We found a different vet that was available to do a full chest down ultrasound and it came back fine. There was no obvious cancers and everything seemed fine. So they had no clue what triggered the IMT.
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November 13th. Later this day she was doing well enough we took her home. They gave us all the meds she needed and how to give them. There were a few antacids, Prednisone, azathioprine, and antibiotics for a week incase she needed them (cant remember why).
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November 14th - 19th. I took this week off from work and spent it with her. She was doing fine, but very picky eating and only wanting beef, boiled chicken, some rice, some veggies, and a few other things but not her dog food, not even the soft dog food. She ate fine so I did not worry about it because the vets said to feed her whatever she would eat. She had many of the common Prednisone symptoms like panting, drinking lots, and peeing more. She also was more slippery on our floors with her paws if thats normal
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November 20th. She started not wanting to eat, laying down and breathing hard, and just not well at all. I took her to the vet and they gave me some better stomach meds for ulcers, a nausea pill, and mirtazapine to make her eat. So seemed better hours later and ate more. So I figured she was fine.
Later that night though she started to shake and tremor more then ever before out of nowhere and chattering her teeth like crazy. It was like she was over stimulated. We took her to the vet immediately again and they said she must have taken a bad reaction to the mirtazapine and stopped it.
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November 21st-23rd. She did not get better and spent the next day panting and breathing heavy to the point I took her back to the vet again because something was wrong. They ran tests again and found out she now had Pancreaitis. They concluded that it was the Azathiroprine that she was having bad side effects to and after testing her blood the red blood cells were fine and her platelets were WAY higher then needed at 400k+. She spent the next two nights in the vet again on IV and monitored. She responded well again and after starting to eat again we took her home on the 23rd.
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November 24th-26th. After another blood test they decided to start weaning her off 50mg of prednisone to 37.5 for a few weeks and see how she did.They gave us Tramodol for pain whenever needed.
She is still weak from everything and needs some help jumping up on things and climbing stairs sometimes. Shes eating more stuff and seems to be doing a bit better everyday but still has the common prednisone side effects like random panting and over drinking. Shes now back to 44-45 lbs but her muscle mass is visually lower and she is more boney feeling when petting her. I hate it.
The issue we are having is in the evening the last 3 nights she started shaking for no reason. Not as bad as a few days ago but still shivering like. No panting or breathing hard just shaking a bit. We gave her the tramadol 25mg in case it was pain and one day it worked but one day it did not. I was also at work all 3 days when it happened so I dont know if she was missing me or if something was bothering her. She has no pain threshold at all also so any pain she would show and she always has. Shes a big baby. One other note I should mention is today she peed and it looked a bit discolored. Nothing much and I might have just over thought it, but it looked a bit darker like a tiny bit of brown in it. I was thinking possibly because she was dehydrated.
So as it sits she is on prednisone 37.5mg, famotodine, sucralfate, and tramodol for pain when needed.
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I dont know why she is shaking and the vets do not have a straight answer?
I dont know what started this IMT and if she will ever get over it?
I dont know if Im doing the right thing trying all this?
I dont know if shes actually in pain somehow or has something else wrong Im missing?
Really not sure what to do next now. I am keeping this up and seeing how she rebounds but as of right now she is not better then she was 8 days ago before the pancreaitis.
Could she be maybe still not fully over the pancreaitis? Did she maybe catch something else with her immune system being low right now and her stopping the antibiotics on the 18th?
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I know this is a lot of information but other opinions on what to do next would be a great help. I dont feel like its my dogs time to go yet and she has been 100% healthy her whole life up until now.
Thanks anyone who has time
Jordan
 

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My dog had pancreatitis which then became chronic exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). The acute phase lasted almost a month. She lost weight and the BM's were horrible slimy, gray cow patties.

My dog has bouts of shaking, too. We're not sure of the cause, whether it's pain or not. For us, it doesn't seem to be pain, but that would be my first thought. Pancreatitis hurts in humans, so I would imagine she's quite uncomfortable.

This is a good site for info on treating pancreatitis. I highly recommend the home cooked diet and slippery elm.

My neighbor's elderly dog got pancreatitis last year from getting chicken bones out of another neighbor's garbage. He was really sick, but recovered. His mom cooked all his food for a year.

Good luck to you and your baby.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. To me it does not seem like pain but I dont know what else it could be. I start thinking about it and I just over think it. I know shes on a very low does of Tramodol (25mg for 46lb dog) but thats what they gave us. its been a week now with the pancreatitis so we are just playing it day by day. The vet is keeping in contact with us as well so I have a list of questions to ask her later.
With her being sick I changed to night shift at work to look after her in the day, and its the evening she gets the shakes. So that might also have something to do with it.
Thanks again
 

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My dog started to have fear aggression and anxiety after her bout with pancreatitis. The anxiety (shaking) comes and goes and we medicate her for it. The fear aggression (dogs only) never completely left despite our attempts at counter-conditioning. She remained friendly with every dog she knew before she got sick.

If it doesn't resolve, I would ask the vet about testing for EPI.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So talking to my girlfriend again and she said Oreo started shaking again just now. It's at the same time everyday and it doesn't seem like she's in pain because she's begging for food and acting normal still. I really wish we could figure this out
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Maxpower, first I think you are doing everything possible, you obviously care a great deal about and for Oreo. Sometimes the Vets, just like human doctors just don't have the answers. There are times that we humans, and our beloved pets just become sick, and the medical explanation is elusive and sometimes impossible to find. I wish you and Oreo more years together. Sounds like you have a dedicated and caring Vet on board.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes thank you. She's doing fine the last week and after we stopped the 9 days of sucralfate
She has only done the shaking thing twice in 12 days. I really don't think it's pain because she's eating everything again and not having and other symptoms. The thing that worries me most is she is still very weak some days and sometimes needs help walking up and down stairs if she looks tired. I think it's still a side effect of the prednisone though and her dose is down to 37.5mg from 50mg and in another week she might be down to 25mg a day. Hopefully these symptoms disappear. The thirst and peeing a lot has gone though that's for sure.
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Glad to hear she is doing better. The fact that she is eating and drinking on her own is a very good sign. Oreo is fortunate to have you caring for her.
 

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Been doing better the last week. Still a little blah from the prednisone but after blood work today she will be down to 25 MG per day. Her weight is about 42-43 lbs so it will be a good drop from 37.5
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Discussion Starter #11
I'm hoping that but at the same time IMT sounds pretty serious so I hope it does not come back immediately
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Just another update. Oreo had her blood tested and she has full platelets but still only 31 pcv levels. The last few days she began to really have trouble standing and walking and she's hiding her head in corners and acting very off. I think it's time to have her put down as hard as it is because the vet said it's likely neurological because she is disoriented and the prednisone is not the cause. If anyone has any info or ever experienced this before please let me know. Thanks
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Discussion Starter #13
Well its been a few weeks and anyone searching andfind this thread I will update.
December 18th we were coming to terms with putting Oreo down. She was very off and having bad side effects that were looking like neurological problems. The "quality of life" issue was the main thing and we started to make arrangements about how we would do it. The vet said not to decrease the prednisone because her PVC was low and she could relapse.
Later that day I got very frustrated with everything and decided I was going to do something one more time.
I called the vet and told her that because we were talking about putting her down, I was lowering the prednisone because there was nothing to lose.
I then spent the next 5-6 hours searching and learning about different issues and how to deal with them. I looked up different side effects and everything else I could. I came to the thought that Oreos liver was toxic from the prednisone, and she was suffering from Hepatic Encephalopathy. It was very scary, she was almost drunk like and not able to do anything on her own.
I spent the day learning about it and coming up with a plan. I stopped feeding her for half a day and let her body rest. Then I started by giving her milk thistle everyday to help with her liver function. Then the most important thing I did was I made a full meal plan of low (not too low) protein that was all plant based and NO animal meat because it was harder on the liver.
Within 2 days she was 100000 times better. She went from being ready to be put down to motoring around the house all day begging for food and attention. I am still amazed. She spend Christmas with us all and ran around, had fun and seen everyone. This was all still on 25 mg of prednisone (shes 42.5 lbs now) and a diet of rice, cottage cheese, yogurt, veggies, and some bread sometimes.
Its now been 3 weeks and we got her blood tested again today and its now fine and she has been decreased to 12.5 mgs of Prednisone.
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So obviously she doesnt have a long time to live because she is almost 15, and this did not completely fix her, but its amazing how much a healthy diet can affect the health of your dog. She goes up an down stairs now, jogs outside the yard, wags her tail whenshes happy, and LOVES eating now. All this when a few weeks ago she could not even stand up.
Im not sure how much a liver can heal itself when its damaged that far but she seems 100 times better. I hope she keeps it up with the new prednisone does, but now shes only seeing the common side effects like drinking and peeing a lot which is totally manageable for us.
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If your dog is ever on Prednisone be very very carful with them and monitor EVERYTHING they do. Issues happen so fast that unless your on top of it you will be too late. Its a nasty nasty drug and as soon as possibly should be as low a dose as possible.
I'll enjoy every day I have left with my dog and hope everyone else does too!
 

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Glad she is doing better. I always view the use of Prednisone as a short term medication, to help the body get to a point where it can heal itself. Whenever we have had Samantha on Prednisone, it has only been for a 5 to 8 day course, which tapers toward the end of the course. You are correct, Prednisone can work wonders, or not, depending on so many variables. I can only hope that you and Oreo have a long time together, but you are realistic, in that at age 15, she is likely much closer to the end, than a younger dog. As long as she has 'quality' of life, enjoy her every day, as I'm sure she will.
 

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My almost 14 year old Boston terrier was put on prednisone, because he started losing use of one of his hind legs. I feel the prednisone was the nail in his coffin. I know it can be a miracle drug, but Wylie didn't do well with it at all. Within a few days of starting the prednisone, he was shaking, vomiting, and
A panting so hard, I took him to the vet, they had to give him IV fluids, and he just got worse, the next day he went back to the vet, and he had to be admitted with bad pancreatitis. He was taken off prednisone immediately, and stayed in the ICU for 3 days. When he came home, he was getting better, but a few days later he lost use of both back legs. We went back to the vet to see what else we could do, and they told us we would have to make a decision on putting him to sleep within 2 weeks. They said he would lose control of his bladder next. The very next day, he did lose his bladder, and couldn't even stand. We had to make the hardest decision of our lives in putting him to sleep. It was less than 3 weeks from the time he first showed any signs of a problem...I didn't even know they could go downhill that fast. We miss our little guy so much. Im not sure if the prednisone caused him to go downhill so fast, or if we would have lost him anyway. I didn't think we would do it again, but we recently got another Boston puppy, and it has really helped with our sense of loss, but still not a day goes by that we don't miss our Wylie.
 

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Oreo is still doing well, shes on 15 mg prednisone and slowly doing better as weeks go on. We are going away for 10 days and family will look after her this month, so after that we are dropping her to 10 mg and see how she is.
Some things to share that are different are her diet. We tried feeding her vet brand high quality vegetarian foods because most foods didnt agree with her. I found she was not as lively when she would eat it and it was not agreeing with her. We are still sticking to just feeding her rice, cottage cheese, some yogurt, veggies, and healthy treats from the vet and she loves it and seems to live great on it still. Its super easy for us to make so it works.
Im not sure if she still has toxicity in her liver because maybe thats why the hard dog food doesnt agree with her. On the back it has many vitamins and other ingredients that might make her liver work more.
After 2-3 months we also started giving her the liquid glucosamine/chondroitin we gave her for the last 5 years because she was starting to have a bit of trouble of stairs again after a full day of going up and down them. Should make a difference in a few weeks when it gets through her system.
She seems to still love life, greets us when we are home, loves to go outside, and seems herself. Im very happy we took the time to really understand her health and what she would need because this is great to spend more time with her when we were so close to putting her down a few times
 

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Also if anyone has an idea of another protein source that is easy on dogs without copper mostly I need something else to give her I think
 

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So glad you have been able to keep Oreo going as well as you have. As long as she is enjoying life, keep her going, though I know you will.
 

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Glad your dog is feeling better.

Just going to let you know that the plant vs animal protein thing is actually backwards. That animal proteins are bad for the organs like kidneys and liver is just a myth that popped up because of commercial pet food manufacturers. Plant-based proteins are harder on the organs and animal proteins are essential, especially for aging dogs. Feeding a mixture of raw meats and a few dog-appropriate fruits and veggies would probably be healthier. There's really nothing to lose, and if she doesn't like it or starts to feel worse then you can always switch back.

Oreo is lucky to have a caring family. So many people I know would just give up.
 

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I'm so glad Oreo is doing so well and feeling better. You're doing a wonderful job and clearly love her - I'm sure she feels incredibly loved and safe with you. :)
 
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