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Lethargic wasting away young dog


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Hi all, haven't been around here a lot lately, but figured this would be a great place to get some ideas.

 

I've got a 2yo female intact female that quickly became ill 8 weeks ago. One day she was fine, the next day, she appeared to be running on about 40% energy. Her appetite is almost none existent and she's losing weight, but likely from the medical concerns.

 

So far the vet has come up blank. Blood work mostly good, slightly elevated white cells, but not abnormally high. We put her on a couple of weeks worth of broad spectrum antibiotics (I think amoxicillin?). no change.

She has congestion in her sinuses, eyes runny and slight clouding in her lungs on xray. One pupil is exxtremely dialated, although resonsive to light and she can see out of it. While waiting for a fungal screening, I treated with Doxycycline, so far with no results. Just found out tonight that fungal test came back negative.

Last week she had a fever, but metacam and the doxy seem to have got that in check.

 

Last two days she's been coughing a bit, so her respiratory condition is declining, I guess. Overall, this has been reasonably stable for 8 weeks now, not getting better or noticeably worse (other than the coughing).

We live on Vancouver Island, southern BC. No heartworm here, so that's not a concern. She hasn't been exposed to out of town dogs in almost 6 months at a local flyball tournament. None of my other dogs have caught it, so apparently not contagious..

 

The vet is taking a WAG and suggested treating for lungworm, as the symptoms somewhat align (other than the eye, although migration to the eye is possible). The drug is cheap and won't do anything bad so his thoughts are try it and see while we figure out what to do next.

The clinic has an internal medicine doctor coming by in a couple of weeks, but we may have to do a phone consult before that.

 

So, the point of the post is to look for any ideas or similar experiences that might give is clues on what else to look for. any help would be great.

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Being on Vancouver Island I would be worried about Cryptococcosis.

 

In the book I'm looking at it says its a systemic fungal disease that can affect respiratory tract, CNS, eyes and skin. Apparently they can get "lesions" in the respiratory tract, usually lungs which can be seen on x-ray.

 

Not sure if thats the fungal infection they tested for or not since they can get different things. Treatment for it could be ketoconazole, itraconazole or fluconazole which are all anti-fungals. If no other drugs have made any difference, might be worth it to try treating with an anti-fungal.

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Being on Vancouver Island I would be worried about Cryptococcosis.

 

 

Yes, that's the one tested for with negative results. The vet was concerned about simply treating with anti-fungals, as apparently some are potentially dangerous to the patient.

We may test for some less common strains.

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We live on Vancouver Island, southern BC. No heartworm here, so that's not a concern.

 

 

I live in the San Juans, just on the US side of the border. My older dog contracted HW, and I learned that while it's extremely rare here, it is not entirely non-existent. Granted, there's no guarantee that my dog didn't pick up HW at a trial elsewhere. My vet said that they started seeing more cases of HW after Katrina. Many people also travel with their dogs, so they can be exposed.I know plenty of folks from your island travel to trials, so while the possibility of HW is very low, it's not entirely impossible.

 

I hope you figure out what's wrong with your dog, and that it's easy to treat.

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Valley Fever is usually found in drier (desert) areas....system fungal disease. I think coughing is a symptom...my memory may be rough, but I think it can be seen in a lung x ray. On that vein, I would be eliminating system fungals diseases (there are many)....they are insidious and difficult to diagnose and difficult to cure.

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On that vein, I would be eliminating system fungals diseases (there are many)....they are insidious and difficult to diagnose and difficult to cure.

 

I believe this is the next step, trying to determine if and what fungal infection it could be. At this point, I'm not even sure we can "cure" her.

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Not much help here except to note that fungal infections are notoriously difficult to treat. I hope you can figure out what it is and get a treatment plan together that works.

 

J.

 

Thanks Julie. I'm hoping that magically this lung worm med fixes her, but I'm not optimistic. I just noticed a 1/2" piece of fur missing from just below her eye, not sure if she ran into something, or if the hair fell out.

I've outlined the perimeter of the hair loss, we'll see if it progresses tomorrow. Poor pups...

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I know you guys have lung x rays and stuff that don't seem normal. But is there any chance that she could have something swollowed that got lodged? Or inhaled? Yes I know, that does not jive with respiratory symptoms but still. I suppose stress on the system can show in weird things. Maybe there is more than one issue?

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I know you guys have lung x rays and stuff that don't seem normal. But is there any chance that she could have something swollowed that got lodged? Or inhaled? Yes I know, that does not jive with respiratory symptoms but still. I suppose stress on the system can show in weird things. Maybe there is more than one issue?

 

I don't think so, xrays would have shown something swallowed and if she had inhaled something, I would expect one nostril to be plugged, not both. I would also expect the condition to change, either to clear up as whatever was lodged decayed/dissolved, etc, or to get a lot worse as time goes by. So far, she's been pretty consistent, although the coughing is new...

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Someone may have already asked this previously, but has your vet thought that maybe you are dealing with 2 different things? Could the respiratory symptoms be secondary or non-related to the wasting problem?

 

I thought of that, but it all appears to be respiratory related, other than the eye. The eye can and often is affected during fungal infections, so I'm leaning that way. The vet agrees and we're sending off blood for a full fungal panel this morning. The meds for lungworm, which we just took a guess at, are not showing any improvement.

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We use fluconazole A LOT with very few if any side effects. If it was my dog I might try a trial with it. Sorry I don't have any other advice. Good luck.

 

Thanks Cindy, I might actually try that. I'm leaning towards convinced that it's a fungal infection, but the blood for the full panel went out today and it could be a couple weeks to get results. I'm pretty sure she'll be dead in a couple of weeks if I don't do something now. I'll discuss this with the vet...

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Fungal infections are NOT the only diseases that can involve all those body systems. I treated a dog with a TBD with almost the same presentation. The OP needs to speak with his vet about how to procede.

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Fungal infections are NOT the only diseases that can involve all those body systems. I treated a dog with a TBD with almost the same presentation. The OP needs to speak with his vet about how to procede.

 

Liz, absolutely, I'm not going to just administer drugs :) I've left a msg for the vet to call me in the morning to discuss options. I'm pressed with a sense of urgency to do something, anything, but doing the wrong thing isn't going to help.

 

BTW, TBD is a what? Oh, got it, tick borne disease? We thought that, and treated with Doxy, which should have shown some improvement (I'm told). It did not, although it did seem to break the fever.

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Brad,

Per the vets and experts on Tick-L the aggressive dose of doxy that SHOULD be used to treat TBDs is 5 mg/lb every 12 hours for 8 weeks. If your dog is getting 75 mg twice a day (and is 30 pounds), then she's getting about half the dose she should be getting.

 

Here's an excellent site on TBDs. I've linked to the treatment page. Read it and share it with your vet. I re-read your original posts, but don't remember whether she was tested for TBDs? If a small amount of doxy helped some, then I'd certainly consider upping the dose from the conservative level your vet is using to the aggressive level recommended on Tick-L. You have nothing to lose.

 

If you look around the site I linked above, you will see a general discussion of TBDs and what diseases you should test for. The testing is relatively cheap, and I'd certainly go ahead and do it (and contact Protatek and send the blood there for testing). If you check the testing page of the site above, you'll find a link to Dr. Cynthia Holland at Protatek.

 

At the very least, do consider increasing the doxy dose and see if it makes a difference.

 

J.

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At the very least, do consider increasing the doxy dose and see if it makes a difference.

 

J.

 

Thanks Julie. After Liz's comments, I did some reading last night and have doubled the dosage on the doxy. As you say, I've nothing to lose at this point. I've got the vet calling me at 9am, so I'll discuss whether we've tested for TBD (we've tested so much I'm losing track) and specifically ruled out any possibility.

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