Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hoping for some help or direction. Our 2.5 year old english bulldog Jaxson had what appeared to be a seizure Thursday night (July 28th) and 4-days later is still in ICU with cause unknown. Will try to give as much detail as I know. Suggestions, own experience, help would be greatly appreciated. (for history of Jaxson please go to @Jaxsonthebulldog on instragram - https://www.instagram.com/jaxsonthebulldog/

Jaxson has been fighting what we thought and were told by the vet (and a separate visit to the hospital) was a middle ear infection for the past two months. Concerned, we followed up with vet visits regularly. Prognoses was always that he had a middle ear infection. During this time he has been on antibiotics, antinausea, steroids, naturopathic drops, and Vitamin B injections. Some days were better than others, but the basic symptoms included,
-head tilting to the left
-lethargic
-loss of balance at times
-loss of appetite
-weight loss
-depressed/disconnected
-occassional moaning

Thursday evening Jaxson appeared to be agitated/wouldn't keep still, pacing back and forth and breathing heavily. We attempted to give him water, but he wouldn't drink it. I picked him up and when I placed him on the floor his front paw was beneath his belly and he couldn't seem to get up from that. He then panicked and started having what appeared to be a seizure.
Panicked, I drove him to an emergency hospital.

Jaxson went into ICU immediately. Electrolytes were low (better now). Wet him and put ice packs underneath him to cool him off. Gave him Valium and put him on IV. He has since had x-rays, blood work, MRI and a spinal tap done.
-x-rays good
-blood work came back good with slight elevated numbers in his liver, but so small it was okay.
-spinal tab showed 0 count on white blood cells (the norm is 0-4)
-MRI showed an irregular area in the right brain stem and an irregularity in the right medulla.

Bit of a mystery as to what the underlying cause is.

In the front part of the brain there are fluid chambers called ventricles. His are quite large. Neurologist is not putting too much weight on this because most bulldogs can have large ones. If they are big it can be a disease called Hypersephalus - these normally can develop signs at 1-year of age. Jaxson will be 3 in October.


What specialist did see in the MRI that shouldn't be there was an irregular area of brain in the right brain stem. In the right medulla. That will explain why he's delayed to correct the paw-claw correction test.
The only other thing they saw that's irregular in the brain was on that same side in the cerebellum (sits right above the medulla). But that won't cause the dull and circulating to the right, which he does do sometimes recently.
Dull, pacing, circulating - these are usually symptoms of the front brain.
-Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, but his spinal tap was normal, no elevated white blood cells.
Middle-inner ear seemed ok on MRI
The other consideration is Lymphoma in the brain, but this usually has high white cell count and targets older dogs.
-They see dysfunction in an area of the brain, but struggling on the underlying cause. The diagnostics do not fit nicely with the dysfunction.

Can anyone please help? The worse part is not knowing.
thank you in advance.
mdr
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
I'm sorry you're going through this.

No one is a veterinarian on this forum (and this thread might get locked because we cannot offer diagnosis or medical advice until someone has consulted with and received a diagnosis from a veterinarian, so your situation is kind of a grey area, since you've consulted but have not gotten a diagnosis).

So, just my layman's guess - it sounds like maybe he is having strokes, and then a stroke-induced seizure. His symptoms fit stroke symptoms to the 't', and mild to moderate strokes are sometimes misdiagnosed as middle/inner ear issues like vestibular disease, so that makes sense.

"Strokes happen when a blood vessel ruptures or becomes blocked, depriving the brain of its normal blood supply. The brain needs oxygen and glucose to function properly, but it doesn’t have much space to store those substances. It gets oxygen and glucose from circulating blood. Most strokes are caused by an embolus, which is a blood clot that develops somewhere in the circulatory system and then dislodges, traveling to a blood vessel in the brain. The clot interrupts blood flow and causes surrounding tissue to die. Strokes can be associated with Cushing’s disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, kidney disease and thyroid disease. Internal parasites, ruptured blood vessels, blood clots, tumors, blunt trauma to the head and ingestion of poisons can also contribute to strokes. Sometimes, strokes happen for no recognizable reason. How a stroke affects a dog depends on the location and extent of blood vessel bleeding or blockage. Most strokes happen suddenly. Affected dogs may have a head tilt, balance problems, weakness, disorientation and vision impairment. They also may become paralyzed and lose consciousness."

Bulldogs are known to have problems with von Willebrand's disease, a clotting disorder. I'd ask the vet about testing for that and see if that's the root cause of the strokes.

The underlying cause of the irregularities in his brain might simply be "because he's a Bulldog". Bulldogs are structurally abnormal and suffer from many health problems as a result.

Do you know his breeder? Have you contacted him/her about your dog's issues? Maybe they could give you some insight into what is going on. Also, where have you been taking him for treatment? I'd recommend contacting a local veterinary school and teaching hospital. If your vet is having trouble diagnosing this issue, it may be that your dog needs to receive more specialist care (I'd perhaps ask for a neurology consult).

Good luck, and I hope maybe someone else can offer up some advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Hiraeth. Your input is very much appreciated. Would a stroke or blood clot appear on an MRI? I will definitely inquire about von Willebrand's disease. We have reached out the breeder, but haven't heard back as yet.

Thank you again for your great feedback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
If there was a bleed in the brain, or a major clot, I would think that it would have appeared on an MRI. I'm not sure about smaller clots, and since it sounds like he's having mini strokes (and finally a large seizure inducing stroke), I don't know if that would have been as detectable.

Basically a mini stroke is a brief event that doesn't damage brain tissue and is caused by loss of oxygen supply to part of the brain. That can be cause by clots, it can be heat induced (especially since he's a brachycephalic breed) or it can be the result of atrial fibrillation. Were any of the strokes on particularly hot days or when he was struggling to cool down? After hard exercise? Does his heart sound normal?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
We have always tried not to take him out on very hot days, or for too long of walks, although he did love his walks.
If he had strokes, we were not aware of them. Are strokes the same as vestibular disease? Do they recover from this?
Jaxson has been at an emergency hospital under neurologist care since Friday, but the fact we had a long weekend here has delayed things.
The specialist had not mentioned seeing any blood clots in the MRI.
We are hoping to know more today and will bring up the points you have kindly mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
If he had strokes, we were not aware of them. Are strokes the same as vestibular disease? Do they recover from this?
These are all stroke symptoms:

-head tilting to the left
-lethargic
-loss of balance at times
-loss of appetite
-weight loss
-depressed/disconnected
-occassional moaning
Mini stroke symptoms can last anywhere from a minute to 24 hours and are not thought to cause permanent damage.

They aren't the same as vestibular disease. While VD effects the inner ear and causes the above symptoms, strokes effect the brain.

If he's being in a neurologist's care since Friday, I imagine they know a lot more than I do about what's going on. I didn't realize he was at the specialist's, I thought he had only been seen by a regular vet.

Feel free to bring up my ideas, of course, but don't be surprised if the specialist immediately rules out my theory because the symptoms don't add up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I very much appreciate your input. You are being extremely helpful. Neurologist is stumped as to what is going on at this point. So everyone's experiences and suggestions are appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I agree with Hiraeth. I'm not a vet and they probably know better than me, but my little miniature dachshund is going through a similar situation right now. She had a kidney infection with massive internal bleeding and it caused her to have a series of pretty bad strokes. She couldn't walk on her back legs, had a severe head tilt, circled constantly when she could walk and was having repeated seizures. They put her on prednizone and phenobarbitol and she has started improving. It happened about 3 weeks ago and she is still a little wobbly and dizzy and didn't eat much for about the first week. She had seizures for about a week that seemed to make things much worse until they put her on the phenobarbitol. I would at least talk to your vet about putting Jaxson on that also. It has really helped with Lucy's recovery. I hope this helps some and I really hope for the best for your dog. I know it's the worst feeling to have not knowing what's wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Jaxson was taken out of ICU yesterday. The neurologist wants to wait a week to see if the steroids have an impact on the situation, and continue with further tests on Tuesday. We have brought him home for now where we can monitor him. His symptoms are still the same - lethargic, disconnected, weak... he will stare at the wall or just stand for extended periods of time with his head down. Eating and drinking water is a struggle, but so far today he ate pretty well. Any suggestions on what to do about eating/drinking?

The hardest part is not knowing what he has and therefore not knowing if we can cure it.

For now he is sleeping, and we'll try going out to play a bit of basketball when he wakes up.

Thank you all again for your comments and stories.

https://www.instagram.com/jaxsonthebulldog/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
I'm glad he's home with you, but sorry to hear that he hasn't improved much. For eating and drinking, you can soak his kibble in water to make sure he's getting enough to stay hydrated, or potentially feed wet food. With a dog who's not feeling well, I'd prioritize getting calories in versus holding out and trying to make him eat kibble.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that he recovers and the steroids have helped him!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
we have tried adding water to his dried food, but that didn't work, so we went out to get him some canned food. That seems to help a little, and we will keep at it. The bugger manages to spit his medication out, but eventually we get it in him.
Thank you for your suggestions. I will try soaking his kibble in the water a bit longer as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Jaxson is eating better now- boiled chicken, veggies, rice and a mix of canned dog food. Medication seems to be going down as well. He is taking one 50mg prednizone tablet a day. He has been having twitches on the right side of his face and last night he had what looked like a mild seizure. He was moaning, slightly agitated and then suddenly urinated - which is completely out of character for him.
I have a call into the neurologist and his regular vet to see if they have any additional thoughts. We also emailed his breeder. He is at a loss for what it could be, but will inquire with a doctor in the US who specializes in bulldogs. Maybe someone will have some input.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
Health problems can be so scary and worrying, I hope everything turns out alright for him!
But bulldogs are renowned for their health problems, even from a good breeder.
So, if you decide to get another bulldog in the future, health issues may be something you will possibly have to face again...

Fingers crossed for him!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Jaxson went in on tuesday for his one week appointment - it was discouraging. Neurologist is still baffled, aside from the masses that appeared on the MRI, all other tests were positive, so unable to pinpoint the root of the problem. He is to continue the prednisone for another week to see if there is any change, and another MRI to be done in 3-weeks. Meanwhile, the uncertainties - the falling over, confusion, unresponsiveness, lack of appetite, and staring off at walls, still continue. We are afraid to have him climb or go down stairs on his own. Sometimes it looks as though he's forgotten how to drink water or that he has something lodged in his throat.

Any input/direction would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for all your positive thoughts.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top