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Mystery illness (autoimmune?) 8-year-old black lab/border collie

654 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  eddieranch
Hello. Hoping someone out there may be able to shed light on Loki's illness that is now going on 2 months with no clear diagnosis by mutiple vets:

He's been sick since Christmas time. It started with some limping and eye cloudiness but within a few weeks of noticing individual symptoms, he became incredibly lethargic + zero appetite, heavy panting sessions, uveitis in eye, and significantly increased thirst and urination.

Standard CBC, liver, kidney & lepto checks, fungal and lyme tests, x-rays, and ultrasound were unremarkable and not pointing to any specific diagnosis. A month of antibiotics(doxycycline and enrofloxacin) + 40mg daily prednisone have not improved matters beyond getting his appetite back. He's also on 3 eye drops (atropine, dorzolamide and prednisolone). But his vision has probably degraded to 25% or less.

With no clear diagnosis, the vets are hypothesizing an auto-immune issue that we haven't figured out. They are also suggesting adding cyclosporine to the prednisone Immuno-suppressant. I'm also consulting with a holistic vet. He's only 8 years old so I'm hoping we can resolve this to a reasonable quality of life. Appreciate any ideas or shared experiences appreciated.
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Have you had his thyroid checked? Abnormalities there can result in many weird symptoms. If you haven't, I would have that done straight away.

I imagine the vets have already checked for things like diabetes and cancer, right? Lyme tests can show false positives if antibodies haven't been created yet. Did the vets check for lyme again?

Eyes degrading and getting cloudy is kind of a normal thing for dogs as they age. At 8 years old, your dog is a senior. I hope vets are considering that the cloudy eyes has nothing to do with the lameness, lethargy, and general feeling of being unwell in your dog? I mean, it might, but it might also just be an unfortunate but likely coincidence.

Treatment seems to be similar with auto-immune diseases, but you might be able to help reduce symptoms by changing your dog's diet or trying acupuncture. Discuss these options with your vet and see what they say.
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Have you had his thyroid checked? Abnormalities there can result in many weird symptoms. If you haven't, I would have that done straight away.
You want a full panel done, which includes T3, T4, Free T3, Free T4, TSH, and TgAA. It needs to be sent to an outside lab, like Michigan State University. The in house testing at the vet's office is typically just T4, which doesn't give the whole picture.
Thanks Lillith. I should have added he was diagnosed hypothyroid last summer, so he has been on a low dose medication for that and thyroid levels seem normal now. The vision has deteriorated so quickly and significantly(weeks), it's hard to imagine it's unrelated. Will look into possible early false test results.
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