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Hello Everyone,

My lab has recently gotten very sick in the past month and we are running out of options to help her. We have visited a few vets and have gotten some tests done, but no diagnosis is confirmed yet. I was hoping maybe someone has seen the following symptoms in a dog before and can help point us in the right direction.

During the past month, my lab's behavior has changed drastically. She used to be a very active and lovable puppy but now she is the complete opposite. She has lost all of her energy. She walks around the house as if she doesn't know where she is going or where she is. She walks very slowly and sways when she stands/sits so she is unstable. Her eyes get incredibly droopy and bloodshot. She seems like she is in a constant daze. She tends to hide in the corners of the house and gets stuck under tables and behind furniture. Whenever she has enough energy to get up and walk around, she tends to walk in small circles for hours at a time. She doesn't like going outside anymore, we have to force her to go outside. The oddest thing to me is when we force her outside, she tends to jump into the pool. I dont know how she has energy to swim when she can barely walk herself around the house. She doesn't eat or drink water at all unless we hand feed her soft food and bring water to her mouth. Honestly, if we weren't there to pick her up, she would just stay in her bed all day sleeping without moving or eating or going outside to her business. There have been several times when she poops/pees in her bed (which is really odd since she has been one of the most obedient dogs I have seen). She just seems to be slowly wasting away day by day and we are getting very scared that she might not make it through this.

After several blood tests, the vets have narrowed it down to either a thyroid problem or Addison's disease. Her symptoms fit much better with thyroid problems, but she has not been responding to medication for the past 2 weeks. In fact, she seems to have gotten worse. We will be testing specifically for Addison's tomorrow, but the vet is very doubtful since she doesn't have the classic symptoms and lab findings for that disease.

I don't know if we are all missing something or if there really is no cure for her. If anyone has ever seen anything like this, it would truly mean the world to me if you could help us. I hate seeing my lab go through so much pain and suffering. We are truly trying everything possible. If you need more information or have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you all for your time.
 

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I wish I had an answer for you, but unfortunately I don't. I just wanted to say that I am sorry you and your girl are going through all of this, and I hope that the Vet can figure out what is causing her the discomfort.

I believe that the symptoms you are describing are severe for thyroid issues, and she is awfully young. Has the Vet checked her vision? How about her neurological signs?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks so much for your concern. We are thinking about taking her to a neurologist now. The expense is starting to look a little scary, but we are prepared to do whatever needs to be done.

We don't live around any ponds/lakes so I doubt she's had any kind of exposure to algae. The symptoms of lyme disease don't match up, plus her blood work cleared her of all common diseases. The only possibilities are either endocrine, mental, or neurological.

I was just hoping someone out there has seen something like this. We talked to the vet today and he said that something is obviously very wrong with our lab, but its not common so he can't pinpoint a diagnosis. It's literally trial and error at this point. He said to keep her on the thyroid meds for another two weeks, and if there is still no improvement then we will have to try something else. I'm just scared we might be too late to cure her... :(

If anyone has heard of anything like this, please feel free to throw in ideas. We never know what we might be missing. Thank you so much for your time.
 

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Have you requested a referral to a teaching hospital or better yet a veterinary internist. Sometimes that can be very helpful in reaching a tricky diagnosis.
 

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No cure, but possible palliative:
Her symptoms sound like they could fit a number of things. If you can give her a handful of food (important!), you might try asking the Vet for pain meds, such as Rimadyl. You can make things worse if you give pain meds on an empty stomach, but he sounds like he's in pain, and relief via meds may provide another clue?
 

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I'm not sure, but since it is a difficult case, it may help to bring the pup to a veterinary teaching hospital. If there is one around you, I would ask your Vet for a referral.
 

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I happened to think about this post when I was waking up this morning, and this notice I received yesterday (copying part of it) popped into my head:

that PennGen, the laboratory of the University of
Pennsylvania is once again offering its genetic test for cobalamin
malabsorbtion in dogs.

Cobalamin, or Vitamin B12, is a nutritional element necessary to the proper
function of multiple body systems. Dogs which inherit two copies of a
genetic mutation are unable to absorb cobalamin through the gut. As a
result, they can suffer a wide range of symptoms, including lack of
appetite, lethargy, failure to thrive, wasting, vomiting, seizures, or
general ill-health. The most serious complications include abnormalities of
the blood and nervous system that are lethal if untreated. Signs usually
start around 6-12 weeks of age, but may not be noted until the dog is an
adult. These varied symptoms can mimic a wide range of other diseases,
including early-onset intractable epilepsy.

If you have a dog that may have cobalamin malabsorbtion or is related to one
that has been diagnosed with this disease PennGen's genetic test will let
you know the genotype of your dog. The mutation is recessive, so dogs with
only one copy are healthy carriers and might be bred to clear-tested mates.

You can find information about the test and how to have it done on PennGen's
website:

http://research.vet.upenn.edu/SubmitaSample/SubmissionForms/tabid/2860/Defau
lt.aspx

The cost per test is $75.

I recall someone else coming to the forum a few months ago with a young GSD who was circling a lot. If I recall, he had Blastomycosis? Anyway, a couple of things to ask your vet (or a specialist) about.
 
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