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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize this is way long but thought the more information the better. Thanks in advance if you feel like reading and helping me figure this out.

Super quick bottom line: Im overwhelmed and at a loss as to how to proceed next. My female lab/pit mix turns 12 next month. When we FIRST brought her in, they said she was fine except for the slightly elevated liver enzymes and "some" protein in her urine after the UTI. "I" am the one who said she's STILL not acting right (depressed) and then the limp happened right after the UTI. And then the possible many things wrongs she may have. And then the steroids and diarrhea, and tramadol, and more steroids, and bleeding. What if her last blood work was all out of whack because she couldn't metabolize the tramadol? AND she had some GI bleeding? AND her appetite was nil at that time. Am I a total bugger if I ask for another panel to compare? I feel like her "quality of life" would actually be pretty good right now if I could just see her show some excitement- a tail wag (could the lack of this be related to her back?? vocals too?). I DO hear her happy moan when her dad or I snug on her and she enjoys car rides once she in the car.

Long story: She's never been sick except the occasional one-time vomit after a garbage raid. She's only slowed down the last couple years because we've made her chill on her show-off running and jumping. Late winter/early spring she started having trouble with stairs. Fine. She's old. Around this time she also began waking up from naps holding one hind leg (always the same) tucked up. She'd walk it off a minute or 2 and then would walk around normally. No indication of pain though I know dogs are stoic. We figured it was a pins and needles thing from sleeping on it.
Not long after that, she was drinking much more frequently. Then, of course, some wetting accidents overnight. This girl is mighty proud of her housebreaking so that was highly unusual. Figured it must be because she's drinking more but thought it was unusual that she didn't let us know vocally that she needed to go out. Also noticed intermittent trembling- only on her intake of breath and she'd do it occasionally while sleeping too.
I made an appt with the vet. Appetite was totally normal if not increased. She'd been being careless about rooting through the office trash- would do it right in front of us and she usually only attempts that if no one is home. Also, she didn't want to hang outside with me. Not normal for her at all. Especially if no one else is in the house.
Vet found a UTI (first for her). Did antibiotics, follow-up showed infection was gone. Her only concern was slightly elevated liver enzymes and some protein in her urine. I felt that while drinking decreased some, it was more than the norm and tremors were still there. Vet gave list of tests we could do.
Went home to think about it, took her for a walk, she stumbled on nothing, no yelping, but got up limping on that same back leg she'd had trouble.Limp was still there the next morning. Vet suggested we proceed with X-rays. She wasn't righting the limping foot when manipulated so vet said she suspected pinched nerve, slipped disc, something neuro... Said no way to know conclusively without an MRI. Told us it was thousands of dollars, putting her under could be dangerous, IF it found something did we want to put her through surgery and rehab at her age.... she gave the impression that she was quite against the idea.
Different vet at the practice went over X-ray with us. Showed nothing obvious. No masses. This vet didn't think the elevated liver enzymes were concern at her age (ALP 171, ALT 210). Going over her symptoms, she suggested a number of disorders as a possibility, none of them really standouts. This vet also didn't think the tremors were from pain but had no other explanation. Told us to watch her for a few days.
That was Memorial Weekend. She'd been lazier than usual, and uninterested in anything other than eating. That Saturday morning she was trembling again, and this time looking at me with eyes as big as saucers and I immediately called the vet again. They couldn't see her before they closed for the holiday weekend so they gave me some tramadol.
Following Tuesday I made an apt with her previous vet (before our move) She agreed the leg (still limping) was not getting the signal from the brain and that only an MRI would shed light on why. She agreed it was risky at her age and not sure if it was worth it (although she was much more compassionate about it). She didn't mention the liver enzymes. Her suggestion was to prednisone to see if that helped the leg and subsequently the tremors-she felt they most likely were from pain in the back area.
Puppers seemed much more like herself after 2 days on the pred. Still had occasional tremors but didn't seem bothered by them. Then she had bright red diarrhea. Vet advised to stop the pred (she was taking pepcid also) and do bland diet. She refused all starches only eating the beef (actually picking it out) but diarrhea cleared up in a few days.
Within a week, she was lethargic again. Seemed depressed. Became extremely picky eater. Ate but only wanted wet, then only certain wet food, then only could be enticed to eat of she actually SAW me put beef in it. Would only eat certain treats but would eat ANY real meat (not poultry though). Never turned her nose up at anything before.
4th of July vacation, not interested in ANYthing and this was her favorite place. Stayed in one place all day except to check the fridge and relieve herself outside. Her eyes were blood shot, became heavy lidded, third eyelid was up in one eye on the third day of our trip scaring the bejeezus out of me. Wouldn't eat anything except slivers of deli meat- nothing folded and thick at all. Refused to take her tramadol no matter what I tried and when my mom tried (without success)to open her mouth, she cried and howled like I haven't heard her do since she caught her foot in a fence years ago. She looked so ill I thought I might lose her before I got her home to her dad. Her breathing was erratic. Sometimes fast, sometimes so shallow I thought she'd passed on me in the night when I felt for her.
Went home early and took her straight to vet. She thought something was in her mouth making it painful to eat but she howled again when she tried to look. Suggested sedation(which she said made her nervous) to get a better look or we could (very cautious and wary) try pred again to see if it helped. It seemed to help the last time and I wondered if her appetite had decreased during the first round and I hadn't noticed yet and maybe that made her susceptible to the GI upset?
Ran blood again too and I don't have the results and was so overwhelmed listening on the phone but pretty much everything was elevated. Liver, was at 400-something. She was anemic. Some of this could have been from the tramadol, she said, but she thought multiple things going on (could be cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, a combo of things). Nothing really to do but keep her comfortable....
So, one day on the pred and bloody diarrhea again (stopped the pred). Back to the vet, watery projectile diarrhea in the office with red chunks. Id never seen anything like that. Vet prescribed sulcrafate, pepcid, an antibiotic, and more tramadol. Script for tram was originally 50 mg every 12 hrs but she said I could give it every 8 if I felt needed. I did on vacation..until puppers refused. Also gave some fluids under the skin (rather than have her stay at the office all day which she would've hated). The way she looked, "quality of life" was mentioned a lot. :( Vet thought maybe she'd had an ulcer even on vacation (no poop to examine for the whole three days) causing her appetite to go...maybe.
Pup was in bad bad shape. Eyes looked horrible. I started talking to her dad about how to know "when it's time" but couldn't believe it myself. She was fine just 2 months ago except for falling up the stairs a few times.
Pup and I had a serious talk about what she wanted to do and late that night, she ate and took all of her meds for me no problem. :D Over the next few days, she continued to take her meds, diarrhea stopped, she's eating although picky but not nearly as bad (she's eating the prescription Hill's she was given but only if she sees the ground beef go in). Still lethargic and eyes still looking heavy though.

Recheck at the vet, no obvious abscess, rotten teeth, or ulcerations. I notice however that she'll only eat what she's able to lick into her mouth. Occasionally a very thin chip (OK a Dorito chip :shrugs: I'm testing her).

After lots of reading, I thought maybe IF there is something going on with her liver OR kidneys, maybe the tram every 8 is making her this lazy sick looking mess. So I cut her pills in half one day and gave at 12 hrs-and then the last 2 days, I've been doing just the 1 50mg pill every 12 hrs.....

(cont.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Her eyes are back to normal.:thumbsup: She's alert and willing to walk around where/ when she wants to. Still has occasional tremors only on the intake of breath and still in her sleep as well as when awake. She does not want to walk anywhere unless it's her decision. If she's hungry, has to go to the bathroom, or wants help getting in our bed, she's got no problem getting up and does pretty well wandering. But she refuses to get up to go for a ride (something she's always jumped at) she does like to look out the window once she's in the car and "smiled" yesterday doing it. Doesn't want to go for a walk( we don't make her- I just try to see what will get her excited), isn't excited about treats, can't get her to wag her tail, and I have realized she hasn't been vocal since the trouble started. She used to alert me to anyone who walked to our door, and she'd also give a yell when she'd finish her business outside. Nothing anymore. We've taken her to the park for fresh air with a blanket and she'll walk a little on her own or when she's interested in something going on but if it's not her idea, forget it.

She's starting to turn her nose up at this Hill's again just today (I've even tried making it a gravy) :( She wants SOMEthing (will still never turn down deli meat which I wrap her pills in a little sliver and I don't give her more than that) Still likes her ground beef. She seems comfortable except for the occasional tremors on and off throughout the day and being disinterested in her normal things. IMO, she has the most trouble/is most uncomfortable getting up. Once she gets going, she seems pretty darn good. We carry her outside because every exit has steps. She has no problem curling into a ball in her smaller bed and sometimes prefers that over her giant bed. This makes me second guess how much trouble she might have with her back. Although, the vets noticed she does have muscle loss in her lower back. She can get down small distances, as far as she can stretch to get her front feet down we allow but before we put baby gates all over, she couldn't go up AT ALL- seemingly all of a sudden. Her back end just wouldn't cooperate and her back legs splayed. Never fell any distance- just couldn't even get going up and we'd carry her. It only happened a few times before we blocked her. We had at first thought it was the floor surface (just finished off the basement and back stairs) This does not seem to have progressed at all since her initial limping. She doesn't limp now but I can see she doesn't put any weight on that foot.

So now, after reducing the tramadol dosage, she's alert but lazy. Very interested in eating(comes to the fridge everytime it's opened) but very picky. Not excitable at all but invested in exploring on her own and doesn't appear to be in pain...this is my biggest fear...that she is and can't tell me. She gets the tram every 12 hrs right now but the steroids seemed to really help even more...until they made her bleed. I wish those darn tremors would stop. They do seem to start going when she's considering getting up (if I ask want to walk, ride, etc..) but not all the time. Like I said, some are in her sleep. Some seem for no reason, and rarely but a few times in the last few days, I have seen that wide-eyed look when they're going that makes me think it does hurt :( They stop pretty quickly (few minutes) if I snug on her and calm her.

Is there any test other than the MRI that I should ask for to get more definite answers than maybe this, maybe that? Is there anything that seems to be being overlooked?Is there anything like the steroid she might be able to take that won't cause more GI bleeding? I feel like I'm missing something for all of this to have happened so quickly. And I can't stand not knowing what it is or how to help her.

I get she's old but she's been in great health up until now and is so much better after cutting the tram a few days ago. I know for kidney or liver disease, a change in diet might help but that hasn't been suggested....because we don't know what it is? The consensus seems to be, well, she's old, and there's a bunch wrong with her but we don't know what so let us know when you're ready to say goodbye (they didn't EXACTLY say that but keep her comfortable, and "quality of life" sounds a lot like that). I don't blame them given how she looked then. I thought the worst too. But how much of that may have been the GI trouble and an OD of tram? What do I do??

Again, thanks if you read all of this. Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I'm sorry I have no suggestions to offer. My heart goes out to you though, its so hard to see them suffer and to feel as if you aren't getting all the information you need. I hope someone on here does have some help to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you. Your kind words and understanding mean a lot. I just re-read my post and i know I sound totally desperate. I am. She's my baby. I've had dogs all my life but she's had my heart like no other from day one. I've never had to watch one deteriorate like this either.
 

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I'm so sorry you and your pup are going through this. Did they check her urine? You may have mentioned it, but I may have overlooked it accidentally. Checking to see how dilute her urine can also be an indication of kidney failure. What are her kidney values; GFR, BUN, etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hi. Thanks for replying. The urine was rechecked for the uti after her course of antibiotics and that is when that vet said she just didn't know why she had protein in her urine. That was it. They gave me a copy of a test called "comprehensive diagnostic" but I don't see GFR there. It shows her BUN at 26, her ALP at 171, ALT at 210. Those are the ones in red. The older vet didn't think the liver enzymes were that off for her age. If CRE is creatinine it shows that at 1.2
That was May 16. She had blood work done again July 6th. I got those results over the phone. I was overwhelmed with everything but I remember her saying so many things were off at that time. This was after one trial of steroids (3 days before bloody diarrhea) and being on the team for all of June. Previously she'd had nothing in her system other than the abx. I'm going to ask for a copy of those results. Probably tomorrow.
 

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The urine things strikkes me as my dog Jessie kept having urine problems we were looking at renal tubular acidosis see if this link is any help Excess Acidity in the Blood in Dogs | petMD

its very rare but the liver part puzzles me. get the vets to run bloods for any possible causes for the liver and urine tests heck even send urine off to the lab to get answers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you. I called the vets office and am going to pick up some food and her last labs that were so out of whack so I have them in front of me. As I typed her problems yesterday, it really hit me how odd it is that she's been so quiet since all of this started and maybe just slightly before. She can hear me fine and she can scream when she wants to (like at the vets last week) but the fact that she stopped barking at anybody near the house or out the car window, that she doesn't speak to wake us in the night to go out, paws the door to come in instead of her usual single bark... She doesn't whine like she used to either.

I called the vets that did the X-rays and confirmed they did not xray her neck or head. We were thinking mostly about the limp at that point I guess. Now I'm worried about something going on in that area. Her vet is out today but will call me on Monday for any questions I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dropped off her X-rays yesterday and asked the dr on duty if there was anything other than the tramadol I could give her for pain. She seems to be doing pretty well except for being reluctant and very slow to get up. Once she's up she gets around ok for having that back leg not able to support her.

She's doing the trembling/ or muscle spasm thing at least a handful of times throughout the day and that's when I see that wide-eyed look that makes me think she could be in pain. That combined with how well much more like herself she seemed on the pred makes me think she needs more pain control.

Dr. on duty ran her blood again before making a recc. Some of her kidney values had reached normal levels but liver had continued to climb since the 7th.
ALT in May-210 July 7th-427 Yesterday- 500-something
ALP- 171, to 350, to 400-something (I forgot to get a copy again, darn it).
GGT was higher too. The other significant thing she said yesterday was that her potassium was low. Not sure if that has to do with the tremors or not. She's been eating mostly Euk low res canned since the 7th and taking tram, pepcid, carafate, and an abx- takes those in a sliver of salami.

Anyway, she recommended we add Deramaxx- low dose once a day. I'm just concerned due to her reaction to the pred. I texted her reg vet to double check with her before I give it to my puppers.

Anyone use it with a dog that was so sensitive to steroids? I don't want to cause another GI upset/bleed but I'm really curious to see if better pain relief makes her more of her old self like the red seemed to.
 

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I'm not sure I have any answers, but please know that you are not alone. My Lola is twelve years old and has been experiencing the same symptoms with no clear answers either. Her lack of appetite, urinating frequently, vomiting clear/yellow liquid, drinking water (more than normal), etc. began in April. In her bloodwork, her liver enzymes were elevated but we were given nothing to help ease/lower this.

We did a homeopathic treatment over the summer and she seemed to get better - her appetite was back, drinking water normally, and having regular bowel movements. Last Thursday, out of nowhere she had bloody diarrhea and continues to have it seldomly. We took her to the vet and they prescribed her some medication, which has just made her shake and continue to have diarrhea. In her bloodwork this month, her liver enzymes has lowered. We are looking at doing an ultrasound and continuing another round of homeopathic treatment. We are still looking and trying to find answers - I hope you are able to too! <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks again, all :) I will ask about the gabapentin if this other doesn't seem to help.

Lolasgal, I'm sorry to hear you're going through something similar with your girl. Not knowing what's wrong, how to help them, if they're in pain, is so so hard. I've been a wreck all month.

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure her out. My biggest concern being that these trembles and this wide-eyed look = pain. I'm starting to wonder though if this, along with a few other of her symptoms could be dementia. I've never had a dog get old enough on me to know what that looks like or to have really thought about it before.

I still think it's odd that all of this started about the same time (UTI, tremors, behavior changes, liver troubles, limp) however, I read online tonight that sometimes an illness or injury can cause the dementia to worsen or seem to come on pretty suddenly. When I think back, I do think she started exhibiting a 'few' signs back in the winter such as occasionally staring straight at the wall (not head pressing, just sitting really close and staring), she didn't want to stay outside even when the snow melted and she used to love to lay in the sunshine and roll in something stinky. I remember joking about how bossy she was getting about coming back in so quickly.

I'm wondering if either something going on with her liver or the leg thing has made the dementia come on more rapidly. She used to give a single bark to be let back in, now nothing. She used to whine at us if we didn't see her let-me-out look. Now if we don't see it because we're sleeping, she just walks away without a peep and pees in the one spot she's designated her nightime restroom (she's chosen the tile in the foyer and we've covered it with pee pads-she's still such a considerate lady:)

She's become super picky with her food. Wants everything she's not really supposed to have and none of the "dog" food I've tried (lots). If I hear her get up in the night, I follow her and sometimes she just wants her water (still drinking like a fish) so I go back to bed...listening. But when she doesn't come back and I don't hear her noisy slurping I go check and she'll be just standing in the front room, staring. We used to keep her bed out there and I wonder if she's forgotten that it's in our room now. When I call her she'll follow me back to bed but it's like she needs to be snapped out of her confusion.

I've noticed a few times I get the wide-eyed look when she swings her head around like she was startled. And the trembling...I was able to squeeze them out of her almost every time today. Like when she looks for a tight spot to hide in during a thunderstorm. I went out and bought a thunder shirt for her tonight so we'll see if that helps. Regardless, she's always liked her sweaters (her dad does not- too bad lol) and she looks downright adorable in it. She seems to like it. Worth a try, I figure.

Poor thing has got to be confused about a lot lately even without dementia. All of a sudden, she can't get around as easy. And this is a dog who's favorite thing was to have people cheer her on when she was showing off how fast she could run (fastest and most agile dog I've ever seen). That back leg is all wobbly but I don't know if she feels it at all. Because of it, she slips getting up sometimes and I know that freaks her out.

I wonder if dementia could be part of both our girls' problems. I was reading about a drug called Anipryl that seems to really help some dogs going through it. I wonder if anyone hear has any thoughts on it. I've held off for now on adding the deramaxx just to see how she does with her new shirt and because of her previous GI problems, I wanted to wait until she had a full belly in the morning.

Please keep me posted on what you're able to find out with your girl and good luck to you :)
 

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I used Aninipryl on my bearded collie along with a homeopathic drug called Cholodin. I started her off on the Cholodin first by itself because it got really good reviews about helping with dementia but after a difficult time of coming out of anesthesia, her dementia seemed much worse so I added in the Anipryl. Between the two, they seemed to work. I remember reading that they need to build up in they system so you will not see instant results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you very much for sharing your experience Beardiedawg :) I'm online looking at supplements right now. The deramaxx didn't seem to make a bit of difference in the tremors today.
 

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Thanks again, all :) I will ask about the gabapentin if this other doesn't seem to help.

Lolasgal, I'm sorry to hear you're going through something similar with your girl. Not knowing what's wrong, how to help them, if they're in pain, is so so hard. I've been a wreck all month.

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure her out. My biggest concern being that these trembles and this wide-eyed look = pain. I'm starting to wonder though if this, along with a few other of her symptoms could be dementia. I've never had a dog get old enough on me to know what that looks like or to have really thought about it before.

I still think it's odd that all of this started about the same time (UTI, tremors, behavior changes, liver troubles, limp) however, I read online tonight that sometimes an illness or injury can cause the dementia to worsen or seem to come on pretty suddenly. When I think back, I do think she started exhibiting a 'few' signs back in the winter such as occasionally staring straight at the wall (not head pressing, just sitting really close and staring), she didn't want to stay outside even when the snow melted and she used to love to lay in the sunshine and roll in something stinky. I remember joking about how bossy she was getting about coming back in so quickly.

I'm wondering if either something going on with her liver or the leg thing has made the dementia come on more rapidly. She used to give a single bark to be let back in, now nothing. She used to whine at us if we didn't see her let-me-out look. Now if we don't see it because we're sleeping, she just walks away without a peep and pees in the one spot she's designated her nightime restroom (she's chosen the tile in the foyer and we've covered it with pee pads-she's still such a considerate lady:)

She's become super picky with her food. Wants everything she's not really supposed to have and none of the "dog" food I've tried (lots). If I hear her get up in the night, I follow her and sometimes she just wants her water (still drinking like a fish) so I go back to bed...listening. But when she doesn't come back and I don't hear her noisy slurping I go check and she'll be just standing in the front room, staring. We used to keep her bed out there and I wonder if she's forgotten that it's in our room now. When I call her she'll follow me back to bed but it's like she needs to be snapped out of her confusion.

I've noticed a few times I get the wide-eyed look when she swings her head around like she was startled. And the trembling...I was able to squeeze them out of her almost every time today. Like when she looks for a tight spot to hide in during a thunderstorm. I went out and bought a thunder shirt for her tonight so we'll see if that helps. Regardless, she's always liked her sweaters (her dad does not- too bad lol) and she looks downright adorable in it. She seems to like it. Worth a try, I figure.

Poor thing has got to be confused about a lot lately even without dementia. All of a sudden, she can't get around as easy. And this is a dog who's favorite thing was to have people cheer her on when she was showing off how fast she could run (fastest and most agile dog I've ever seen). That back leg is all wobbly but I don't know if she feels it at all. Because of it, she slips getting up sometimes and I know that freaks her out.

I wonder if dementia could be part of both our girls' problems. I was reading about a drug called Anipryl that seems to really help some dogs going through it. I wonder if anyone hear has any thoughts on it. I've held off for now on adding the deramaxx just to see how she does with her new shirt and because of her previous GI problems, I wanted to wait until she had a full belly in the morning.

Please keep me posted on what you're able to find out with your girl and good luck to you :)
I'm going through so many of the same things. At night, particularly, I'll catch her standing and staring. Our bedroom has a rug in it, and every time I know she is getting water, her paws tap against the hardwood floor. It's that pause when she is not moving that makes me get up and see if she had diarrhea or is just getting water. I know exactly what you're going through. We're trying to get her started on a homeopathic treatment because that seems to be the thing that worked last time. She is having regular diarrhea movements that the medicine seemed to stop completely and not fix last time.
 
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