Great Pyr very sick - Any ideas?
Bear is a Great Pyrenees dog. He was adopted when he was 4 years old. He passed away in July, 2009 at the age of 8. Prior to November, 2008 Bear had always been a healthy, active dog.
The problem began in November, 2008. After eating he would make a retching-like sound. It originated from his throat, not from his stomach. His mouth would be open when he was making the noise. It was not like dry heaving and it was not like a cough. It was a high-pitched noise. The noise would typically occur within 20 minutes of eating. In the beginning he would not make the noise every time after eating. Towards the end it got to be where he would make the retching noise nearly every time after eating.
He was taken to his regular vet. The labs came out fine. He was given an endoscopy. The endoscopy revealed that the eosinophilic were inflamed. He was started on Predisone and another more powerful steroid (started with an “A”?) He would take one steroid one day and then the other the following day. He also began eating hypoallergenic Natural Balance dog food. He was on the steroids for months.
The retching noise decreased with the steroids and did go away for a short period of time. The third vet he saw felt that he was on way too high a dose of steroid medications. The side effects seen at that time were diarrhea, lethargy, muscle atrophy, and constant panting.
He was taken to an emergency vet hospital and was stabilized with IV fluids and titrating of the steroids began. He continued with the hypoallergenic diet.
He was never fully titrated off the steroids. He continued to be very weak. He passed away in July, 2009, presumably of a massive heart attack.
Fast forward to October 31, 2009. Luke, a 12-week old Great Pyrenees was adopted. On the drive home he made a phlegm sounding noise. It sounds almost exactly like a person on a ventilator that needs to be suctioned.
Luke had his new puppy health check and the vet indicated everything was fine. The vet thought it was perhaps a normal puppy noise and that it would just go away. The phlegm sounding noise did not go away. At first it was heard 2-3x a week. In December he went back to the vet because he was still making the noise.
In December the vet diagnosed him with inflammatory airway – bronchitis, viral baterial allergen.
There is no consistency as to when Luke makes the noise. It could be morning, afternoon, evening. Before eating or after eating. In a variety of positions; sitting, standing, laying down. It does seem that he makes the noise more frequently when coming inside from the cold and that it happens more often when activity is increased.
On January 6 he was taken to the emergency vet hospital for testing. A Bronchoalveolor Lavage and Bronchosopy were done. Diagnosis given were: Left lung lobe bacterial staph type, pasteurella, and eosinophilic-inflamed, and chronic coughing.
He was prescribed 2 antibiotics for a total of 4 weeks. An improvement was noted with the antibiotics.
Repeat x-rays were given on February 15. The x-rays showed mild bronchial pattern in lungs. The radiographic patterns remained relatively unchanged. The “eosinophilic component” was still there in February.
In February diagnosis given were: Underlying allergic hypersensitivity component to airway disease and eosinophilic infiltrated.
On February 17 Luke was started on 40mg Predisone a day for one month. On March 3 the Predisone was titrated to 20mg a day. By March 3 the phlegm sound was gone.
After starting on the steroid Luke began burping often. The burping has continued.
On March 19 Luke chewed up some CD’s. It did not appear that he ate any; just chewed them. He was taken to the vet and the x-rays came back clean. He was started on Carafate as a precaution.
On March 23 he vomited at 5:00am and again during the day. That evening he had some water and almost immediately projectile vomited all over. At 6:45 that evening he vomited again, with nothing in his stomach. It was just yellowish bile.
He was taken to the vet on March 24. Fluids were given and a shot of Pepcid was administered. He began taking Pepcid 1-2x daily. On the 24th the Predisone was titrated to every other day.
On April 3 he was started on hypoallergenic food. On the 4th he had a full serving at 5:00pm and vomited at 10:00pm. He did not vomit at all on the 5th. He did not eat dinner on the 5th nor breakfast on the 6th. He was lethargic on the morning of the 6th. He was given his regular Pedigree dry dog food on the evening of the 6th which he did eat. He was not lethargic in the evening of the 6th.
Some other details to note about Luke: the x-rays indicate that he always has a lot of gas in his intestines and stomach. He also always has a lot of stool in his intestines. He voids 2-3 times a day. His stool is soft and has never been real solid. Testing for parasites was last done in February and everything came back clean.
Luke was micro-chipped in November, 2009 by Avid. He gets HeartGuard monthly. His steroid is put in peanut butter and bread in order to get him to take it.
Both Bear and Luke have the increased eosinophilic. It seems that Bear’s was gastric while Luke’s is respiratory. In the summer of 2008 Bear moved to a new home that had been built in the country. This is the only home that Luke has lived in. The water was tested and found not to have any contaminates. The vet did rule out Eosinophilic bronchopneumopathy in Luke.
Luke is going back to the vet hospital on Friday (April 9). A scope and/or biopsy may be done at that time.
Luke and Bear both lived with other dogs and cats. No one else has the health issues that Bear had or that Luke has currently.
I am posting this pretty much out of desperation. It was horrible and tragic that Bear died. Prior to him making the retching noise he had been an active, loving, healthy, and wonderful dog. It feels beyond nightmarish that we now have a second Great Pyrenees puppy who is going down the same route…weird noise, steroids, scopes, lethargy, vomiting….
Any thoughts on what is going on? Is it something specific to Great Pyrenees? Is there an allergen in the newly-built house that is causing this? What questions need to be asked of the vet? Any specific tests that should be asked about?
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