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fever seizures wobbly stiff gait no other symptoms


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My friends dog suddenly became ill. Has been to the vet, vet doesn't know what it is so I thought I might post it on here and see if anyone has any ideas.

Baloo, my friends dog became suddenly sick with a high fever on Sunday night, but was not drooling, vomiting, didn't have diarrhea or any symtoms of poisoning. He didn't want to stand or walk. When we stood him up and tried to get him to walk he looked very stiff and uncomfortable. My friend called the emergency vet who said, she may as well keep him till morning. In the morning he still seemed like he had a temperature and when coaxed to walk his legs would stiffen. Baloo stayed at the Vets all day, they took blood and sent it to labs, his temperature went down and he seemed better. My friend took him home and noticed when he walked, his front legs and back legs would seize up, shake and go stiff, he seemed like his joints were painful and like he felt uncomfortable. Then he started having seizures. He was taken back to the vet for observing and Vets still don't know.

Now, its 5 days later, Baloos stopped having seizures, but his head wobbles back and forth when he sits still, and he loses balance and goes sideways when he runs. He has no fever and no temperature. Vet wants to test him for lead poisoning (would you get a high temperature with lead poisoning?). Baloo looks like he has Parkinson's now and 5 days ago he was fine. What could it be? We live in New Zealand and there is no Lyme disease here. I suggested he drank river water, because they took him walking by a river and perhaps had cyanotoxins or something like meningitis— a bacterial spinal infection from the river. Vet said no, its more likely to be house hold poisoning— like lead.... Has anyone had similar symptoms?

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There's no rickettsial disease or anything similar at all in New Zealand? Lyme is not the only one. In fact, the suddenness of the onset, the persistence of the ataxia, and the nausea and seizures sound more like several other organisms. Not all tick borne.

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^^Laura makes a good point. But its also possible the dog ingested something on their walk, so I wouldn't rule that out either.

 

How likely is it to find lead in homes in NZ? And does Baloo chew on the walls or other painted surfaces?

 

J.

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My friends have been doing renovations to their house, so some kind of chemical poisoning or lead is possible. There house was built in the late 70s so lead should have been banned by then, but they just sanded a outside deck and varnished it-- and I know the outside boards are treated with chemicals to keep them from rotting. Some kind of inner ear infection could also be possible- vestibular- but the vet didn't think that was it. I wonder if you would get a high fever with lead or chemical poisoning?

 

Baloo is at my house now because my friends went out of town, I am dog sitting. He isn't having the stiffening or seizures any more but his head wobbles. If have him sit and hold a treat in my hand, he stares at the treat and his head wobbles back and fourth slightly.

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I'm in New Zealand and its a labra spoodle designer mutt, but please don't hold it against him. He is about 3 now. I have two border collies, one is a NZ barbie collie and one is a ISDS farm border collie. They all went running around the river the day before Baloo got sick. My dogs go into the river almost every day.

That's one of the reasons I'm a bit worried— It does sound like a tick borne disease, or a micro-organism, virus bacteria that attacks the nervous system— I'm wondering if its some kind of water borne disease. There is something called cyanobacteria that can is in algae in rivers, it is a nuerotoxin, there have been reports of dogs swimming in New Zealand lakes and rivers and dying from eating or drinking the algae, but the vet acted like I was crazy when I suggested it.

 

Here's what I found about cyanobacteria in New Zealand

In November 2005 at least five dogs died rapidly after contact with water from the Hutt River (Wellington). Extensive mats of benthic material were present in the river at the time of the poisonings. Subsequent LC-MS analysis identified anatoxin-a, homoanatoxin-a and their degradation products, dihydro-anatoxin-a and dihydro-homoanatoxin-a (Wood, Selwood et al, 2007). The causative species was identified as Phormidium autumnale (Wood, Selwood et al, 2007). Since this incident, mats of P. autumnale have commonly been linked to dog poisoning events in other parts of New Zealand (eg, Canterbury, Bay of Plenty) and anatoxin-a and homoanatoxin-a have been detected on multiple occasions (Wood, unpublished data). Examination of stomach contents from dead dogs has revealed copious amounts of ‘algal’ material, suggesting the dogs had ingested cyanobacterial material rather than being exposed directly to toxins that are free in the water column (Wood, Selwood et al, 2007). It is unknown whether dogs are more susceptible to anatoxin poisoning than other organisms.

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Hi there,

So sorry about your problems, very upsetting. My holistic veterinarian of 20 years moved to New Zealand last year. ( I hate her for that) She is in the Tauranga area ( Bay of Plenty) They have conventional medicine as well as holistic. Her name is Dr. Karen Fox, she is AMAZING to say the least. She won't make fun of your "gut feeling'. No one can really help you here, I would get to a vet soon. I wish you the best of luck and let us know how you make out.

 

Here's the website-

 

http://www.holisticvets.co.nz/

 

 

also, are you near Hastings at all, there is a vet there by the name of Dr. Deva Khasla who is wonderful too.

Best wishes,

Kate

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I don't know a lot about blue-green algae poisoning, but I thought it was something that affected dogs within a very short time of contact with the algae; that is, if any of your dogs were going to be affected it would have happened certainly within a few hours of exposure if not sooner. But I could be wrong.

 

The temperature spike certainly would point to an acute infection of some sort. I wonder if it's possible Baloo's got a middle- or inner-ear infection. Was he checked for something like that?

 

Of course people with virus often complain of muscle stiffness/soreness with that viral infection, so I'd still not rule out other forms of infection either.

 

I don't recall you answering whether he was put on an antibiotic? If not, the I'd guess not necessarily an infection because he probably wouldn't have improved (if not completely recovered) as quickly as he seems to have.

 

J.

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You are correct. NIH says no tick disease or other diseases of that type currently in New Zealand. Something about the climate and geography, apparently. Birds are the primary zoonotic disease vector but it is extremely rare. Cattle have ticks but the disease carried by those tickets if practically nil.

 

When is the next plane for NZ?

 

Anyway, the fever doesn't sound vestibular. Seizures are kind of out of the ordinary too. Has his thyroid been checked?

 

I had a dog who had a HYPERthyroid spike before his thyroid crashed. He had a slightly higher calcium blood level too, which was scary because that looked like bone cancer. Talk about Longest. Weekend. Ever.

 

Inner ear infection is an excellent idea but white blood cell count would be up for that you would think? Not a virus tbough. Abx is no good for that.

 

I hope you find something. That can be frustrating!

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Baloo was put on an antibiotic. Its been 7 days and each day he's gotten a little less wobbly. He actually seems better. I still wonder what he had though, if its something he ate or algae from the river— he could get it again. Maybe if it was something like an inner ear infection the antibiotic killed it.

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