Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
About 4 months ago we adopted a rescue (was used as a breeding dog in a puppy mill)
  • Female
  • Longhaired Dachshund
  • 15lbs
  • Approx. 8-9 years old (our best guess)
She was peppy and curious when we first got her…following one of us around the house, rolling around. Didn't know how to play but still seemed happy.

About 2 months ago we started noticing her slowing down and even limping.
Gradually she has become more and more lethargic. Lost all her pep. :( Barely gets up from her bed or lifts her head. She still eats and pees and poos normally…but I pick her up and set her outside or near her food. Her limbs seem weaker.

Since these symptoms have started we have taken her into the vet 4-5 times.

They did an all over body checkup---poked, sampled, observed, you name it. They checked her back, her neck, all of her legs. Even the one she was limping on…when they were examining it she didn't make a peep. She is the most stoic dog I've ever seen. Never shows any sign of pain. We've never even heard her bark. They did the test where they put her paw down and see if she corrects it to the right position, and she did.

  • Heart sounded good
  • Lungs sounded good
  • No Temperature
  • Blood sample looked fine
  • Urine sample looked fine
  • Stool Sample looked fine
They noticed her teeth were in very bad shape and thought that could be contributing to her behavior change. About 2 1/2 weeks ago she had 13 teeth removed. Unfortunately, no significant change in her behavior.

She was placed on Rimadyl for a few weeks which seemed to help with her stiffness but the vet doesn't want to keep her on that long term.

I'm hesitant to take her back to the vet because they have already done so much testing and found nothing…but I can't stand to see her like this, knowing a few months ago she seemed so much happier.

Symptoms now:

  • Lethargic
  • Listless
  • Slow moving/stiff
  • Occasionally shakes
If anyone has any advice on what to try, or what to ask the vet to check for, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,215 Posts
Have you checked for lymes disease? What was screened in the bloods? Thyroid? Cushings? Addison's? Have you looked into getting a second opinion? I know i would. Hope you manage to find something soon, she looks like a sweetheart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
A few thoughts:
1) We see a surprising number of clients who believe that they have performed "full lab work" somewhere else and when we get a copy of the results they have performed very limited labwork. I would ask for a copy of the tests that have been performed and see what you have done so far. For a case like this a reasonable panel would be a CBC (red cells, white cells, platelets) and a full chemistry panel (usually about 28-32 different chemistries). Much less and it wasn't a full panel, and they may have missed something. While it is common to run less expensive, limited panels as screening tests, they are inappropriate for cases where you don't have an answer and are still looking for the problem.
2) Was the labwork actually normal, or did they tell you that there were no significant abnormalities? The two aren't the same. Just last week I saw an Addison's case where the owner had been told by another hospital that their labwork was "basically normal" but the small abnormalities that were present added up to a likely diagnosis. It would be unusual to have a fully normal blood panel at this age. So...ask to see your actual lab work.
3) Did they test her thyroid values? If so, did they test more than just a T4? This is a common cause of "slowing down" in the older pet, although not of most of the other symptoms that you are describing.
4) Were there any abnormalities in the blood protein levels (globulins, albumin, total protein)? Was there any protein in the urine? One major rule-out for this sort of case would be the cancer called multiple myeloma, which usually shows up with changes in the proteins.
5) Does your dog become progressively weaker when exercised? Another (uncommon) rule-out would be myasthenia gravis. These pets usually tire very quickly and may even collapse, but some present just with moderate weakness.
6) I don't understand the comment that your vet "doesn't want to keep her on..the Rimadyl." Rimadyl is made for long-term use and unless you have a reason not to use it, and since it appears to be helping, why would your vet recommend stopping it. And, if they have a reason not to keep using it (like elevated kidney or liver values) then you should be pursuing those abnormalities.
7) The fact that you seem to have observed a positive response to the Rimadyl, along with some of the symptoms that you are seeing (shaking, stiffness) suggests likely pain. Given your pet's breed, I would continue to look for spinal/neck pain. Many of these cases have moderate pain but no neurologic abnormalities. Presented with this sort of case I will often trial treat for presumed spinal pain to see if improvement occurs.
8) If everything above doesn't pan out, then you are left with having to start to hunt for a cause, which often amounts to shooting in the dark. Before doing so, I will often refer the case to an internal medicine specialist, rather than continuing to spend my client's money. You might ask if there are specialists in your area.
If not, my workup in a case like this would be something like:
a) Tick born disease PCR panel (particularly Lyme Disease)
b) An ACTH stimulation test
c) An EKG
d) Chest X-rays
e) Abdominal ultrasound
Remember that if you get to this stage, these are all tests with a low expected yield. If you get to this point you are running them because you have to get an answer, and because the pet clearly still has a problem. But, at this stage you are going to spend a bit of money.
Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your suggestions. I called my vet this morning and am waiting for a call back. I am going to ask about Lyme Disease, Addison’s, what specifically has been tested for so far and what the lab results showed exactly.

The vet said that Milly couldn’t stay on Rimadyl long term because it has been known to cause liver damage. I didn’t question it at the time but will ask more about that as well.

I guess it was naïve of me to think that just by bringing her to the vet and giving them a detailed description of all her symptoms, they would test for everything, or at least tell me all the possible causes.

Her most recent visit was a follow up to the tooth extractions (gums are healing well). The vet gave me a pamphlet on caring for “elder dogs”. I just know that this isn’t because she is old—I will keep trying.

Will update after I bring her to the vet again. Thank you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
The issue with Rimadyl is that a very small number of dogs have had what are called "idiocyncratic" reactions to it, and have gone into liver failure. However this is extremely rare and in almost every case can be prevented by checking bloodwork first to make sure that the liver is normal. In almost every case where this problem was documented, the vet had failed to check to see if the liver was healthy before using it. It is always a good idea to recheck the liver values again after 30 days to ensure that the liver is processing the medication correctly.
Interestingly, since most patients have problems immediately after starting Rimadyl, it isn't any safer to use it for a few weeks than it is to use it long-term.
If your vet is concerned about this issue, they have multiple other drugs to choose from (including Metacam, Previcox, and Deramaxx), none of which have this problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I went back to the vet tonight:

She was tested for Lyme Disease when her blood work was done a few months ago - Negative (phew!)

Here was what the vet said after examining her:

  • Yeast infection in both ears (strange because they cleaned her ears 3 weeks ago when she had her teeth extracted and they were fine then)
  • Slight inflammation of the left tonsil
  • Muscular tightness on the right side of her neck
  • Knee caps are loose/weak, joints stiff
The vet washed out her ears and gave me antibiotic drops and ear wash
She gave me antibiotics for the swollen tonsil
She's back on Rimadyl (said that it could be used long term, but will do blood work again in a month or so to check)
I submitted Milly's pee sample last week and they said there was traces of protein in it but that it was nothing pressing that had to be dealt with now

Going forward, the next options she gave me:
  • Spinal x-ray (she said she didn't feel or observe anything wrong and doesn't think this will show anything)
  • More blood work
  • Laser therapy or acupuncture for the joint stiffness
Will update again in a few days when Milly has been on the meds for a bit. Feeling optimistic. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,950 Posts
Did you think of trying a dog chiropractor? maybe could use a adjustment :) also Lymes tests are frequently wrong so can not be depended on. so if she shows more lymes symptoms it can still b a possibility
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,354 Posts
Haven't heard recently ? Want to point out that Rimadyl and all meds should be given with a handful of food unless told otherwise. Vets don't always tell you this.

It's not unusual for floppy ears to be washed and to then develop a yeast infection. This could be related to a sinus/allergy problem, or simply due to letting the ears not drying out enough, or getting irritated.

Sounds like she might have some mild arthritis, and might be helped by some regular walking. There are various Glucosamine supplements, such as Cosequin® DS Plus MSM and Myristin that might help. You can get Cosequin various places including Costco.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
All i can say is she's darn lucky to have you as an owner, an owner who is willing and able to drill down until you find the answer. good luck!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
157 Posts
Hi,

I can't find anything in the posts about what your dog is eating. What is she eating? You mentioned that this is your first dog, and when I got my first dog, I didn't know what I was doing with the food and it quickly showed. Can you tell us what she is eating? Also, is there anything weird in her environment- frequent exposure to chemical/cleaning fumes- or potentially toxic substances? What is she chewing on? Is she chewing on potentially toxic plastic, for example? My instinct is to look at the big picture first, before needling down somewhere that could easily be a wild goose chase. Most issues have relatively simple answers. Very rare problems are... very rare. I would look at the big stuff first before... sorry... throwing money away on a [cough] chiropractor. Also, what does the dog do all day? How much exercise is she getting and what kind? How much social interaction is she getting, and what kind? I feel these kinds of questions should be considered first. Also did anything, anything, change in her diet or environment or daily routine before the symptoms started? It could provide a clue.

Doggle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Hi All, Sorry for the delay in updating:

Milly seems to have leveled out over the past month and a half. Here is the latest:


As far as physical exercise, she gets very little. We take her outside for fresh air and potty breaks multiple times a day but she is reluctant to walk more than 5-10 feet. I wasn't sure with her bad knees and arthritis if we should be trying to get her moving more or let her rest. As I've mentioned, she is VERY stoic and it is hard to tell if and how much pain she is in at any given time. She does not chew or play with toys since getting her teeth removed. I've tried all sorts of soft puppy toys but she has no interest unless its food of some kind. She lays sleeping or resting for 95% of the day. :(

Tonight after she pooped she seems to have gotten a hemorrhoid that is itching/bothering her. It is a pink blob (about the size of a fingernail) near her anus. We are going to take her to the vet tomorrow to have that looked at and have them assess her weight, and overall health.

Thank you again everyone. Happy to read more suggestions/comments
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,470 Posts
Just to give you a little story, Marley (my doxie/beagle) is also very stoic (that's really common for dachshunds). She was limping for quite a while (showing some pain in her left front leg). It got to the point where she could not go for a walk for even 5 minutes without limping so much that we had to turn around. She was irritable and also slept A LOT. We brought her into the vet multiple times and it took an xray (and a specialist) for us to learn that she has bone chips and arthritis in her left shoulder. Our vet says that this probably resulted genetically. We enrolled her in physio (they do laser therapy) and got her a good chiropractor. We also put her on supplements (Sam-e, green lipped mussel powder, and omega-3 fish oil) for her joints. I found that the chiropractor and the supplements have helped the most for her. She can now walk for an hour (sometimes more) with no trouble...although she still loves to nap and cuddle (for a lot of the day as well, but she has always been like that), haha. She is less irritable and so much happier. The vet says that he *may* be able to scope and remove the bone chips (because she is so small, he may not be able to), so we may go down that path this spring to try and help her shoulder some more while she is still young. But right now, she is doing fantastic!

Don't let your doxie jump onto or off of anything too high as well (Marley has stairs for the couch and bed). Keeping her slim is very important to for the joints.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Thank you so much for sharing that story. Sounds so similar to Milly. I'm going to call my vet and ask about the possibility of supplements, a chiropractor and physic. Happy to have some new options to explore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,470 Posts
No problem :) I love doxies! I should also add that doxies are prone to anal gland problems...perhaps what you are seeing is an impacted anal gland (hard to say without a picture, though). Taking her the vet is very important for that.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top