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Sick and listless 2 year old


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Hi, I am new to this site and hoping someone can share experiences that might guide me on healing my beloved border collie. Gloria is 2 years old and an avid hiker...she has been my playful hiking companion for some time now. About 2 months ago, she seemed off one evening and whimpered after jumping off the bed. She ran and hid under the bed and when she finally came out, she was breathing heavily and seemed very sick. I brought her in to see a vet and he thought she had pulled a muscle in her back, gave her rimadyl and tramadol and sent us on our way. It made sense since she had done a rather crazy looking jump in the back yard while catching a frisbee a few days before. After a week, she was back to normal. She came camping with us, did a few long hikes, was as happy as ever and we thought she was back to normal. Then, about a month later, she was getting up from a nap and whimpered, then limped off and hid under the bed. The whole next day she was limping so I brought her in to see the vet. This time it was a different vet because a friend/acquaintance of mine is a vet (she was out of town when the first incident happened). She xrayed her, tested for Brucella and did a cursory examination of her neck movements. Everything was negative and she concluded that it might be a herniated disk or a pinched nerve and suggested cage rest. She is a rather sedentary woman and seemed to think that by taking Gloria on 5 mile hikes regularly and, when we have the time (which is about 2 maybe 3 times a month) longer ones (8-15 miles), we were just over-exerting her. I found this odd because this does not seem like excessive exercise for a human, much less a border collie. I do not own a cage but I did rest Gloria for 2 weeks , despite the fact she seemed herself again after a few days. She seemed very anxious and depressed not getting walked and when I finally walked her again (about a mile) she was bubbling with energy. We worked up to our regular distance, but I gave her days on and days off rather than every day hikes (although I do believe BC's need and like every day hikes). Slowly over the next month, she seemed to wax and wane, gradually becoming more and more listless. I noticed she was getting thin but she has always been a finicky eater. Finally one day, she seemed really off and was limping on a different paw. She kept coming to me and looking into my eyes and putting her paw on my leg and I called my vet friend. She suggested an MRI and chided me that I should have cage rested her. I decided to get another opinion so I brought her to a different vet. He did a very thorough exam and said she had a 104 degree fever, she had lost 8 pounds, was dehydrated and very listless. He told me she showed no signs of any cervical or spinal issues and he thought it was systemic. He kept her overnight, gave her IV antibiotics and fluids and she seemed to improve. He tested for Tick borne diseases and did a total blood work up. EVERYTHING was normal, saving a mild neutrophilia. A few days later, her fever was back and she was favoring her hind leg. He added more antibiotics to the profile and some rimadyl and tested for fungal diseases. The next day she was her peppy self, I took her for a walk and she was jumping up on me thanking me, wagging her tail seeming to be happy again. The next two days it was raining and I had to work late so she didn't go for any walks (but we have a large backyard). Today, she is listless and not eating again. The fungal panel came back negative. No one knows what is wrong with her! Has anyone else experienced this? And gotten a diagnosis outside of TBDs and fungus?

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Hi, welcome to the boards. I am sorry to her about your girl, Gloria.

 

Really, reading through your story, I kept thinking TBD. The lameness changing limbs, fever, and sluggishness are all symptoms of TBDs.

 

What type of antibiotics did the vet give you? Doxy?

 

If it wasn't doxy, could you consult with the vet and ask for Doxy? If it is a TBD I think that you would see a pretty significant improvement in your girl's behavior in a short amount of time.

 

Best of luck.

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How long did you treat with Doxy if you did treat with Doxy? Really sounds like TBD's maybe turned chronic where a longer dose of Doxy would be called for.

The up's and down's really sounds like TBD's.

 

I've seen neg. test results from tbd panels and after the dog later presented with more symptoms, put on Doxy for an extended period of time and dog got better.

 

So sorry you're dogs feeling so bad and hope you get her cured or at least figure out what it is.

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The diagnosis of TBDs also popped into my mind as I read your post. I agree about an extended (6-8 weeks?) course of Doxy. Doxy is very cheap, and other than a possible upset stomach (give yogurt or probiotics), I can not see a downside.

 

If she did strain something (cervical or spinal vertebra or ??), the rest period would be longer than you have described. I would go to a certified ortho or rehab vet if you wanted to investigate that avenue further.

 

Good Luck,

Jovi

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Have you tested for autoimmune disease? That is kind of what happened when my Tommy got so sick. She ran a fever of 104 and just hurt all over - but especially in her joints. She limped badly on her front leg. And she just felt really bad. It was poly arthritis. She was 1 year old at the time.

 

She was on meds for probably 6 months. She seems to be absolutely fine now.

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She was on a low dose of doxy, baytril and keflex. The vet number 2 (the one I am sticking with) said if the coccidiomycosis comes up negative too, he is going to treat for TBD with a higher doxy dose. She had lot if tick bites last April but hasn't for a while. Whole body X-rays taken yesterday show some cloudiness in the lungs but everything else look good. Tommy Coyote... what was the treatment for the poly arthritis and what was the confirming test? thanks everyone.

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She was on a low dose of doxy, baytril and keflex. The vet number 2 (the one I am sticking with) said if the coccidiomycosis comes up negative too, he is going to treat for TBD with a higher doxy dose. She had lot if tick bites last April but hasn't for a while. Whole body X-rays taken yesterday show some cloudiness in the lungs but everything else look good. Tommy Coyote... what was the treatment for the poly arthritis and what was the confirming test? thanks everyone.

The vet took fluid from her joint (the one she was limping on) and it was full of white blood cells. Her white blood cells were attacking her joints. There was also something about the indentation on the side of her forhead. Her's just felt hollow when there should have been muscle there. The protocal for treatment included 10 days of doxy just to be sure it was TBD. She was also on prednisone for inflammation and then on immurin (sp) to slow down her immune system respons. It took about a month and I was constantly worried sick about her. But then she started to improvwe - and it was dramatic. I was warned that she would always have problems with the joint that was affected the most - her front ankle. But her foot is fine and she runs like the dickens on it.

 

Prognosis for that condition is "good," And there is a 50% chance that it will come back.

 

She started out with limping and her jaw hurt. Then it just worse all over.

 

Mary

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Tick tests can and do come back negative, and this can especially be the case if acute infection has already passed, which is certainly a possibility here, given when she was last exposed to ticks (that said, most of the disease carrying ticks are quite tiny, and if you are hiking in the woods a lot, she could have picked up tick(s) that you never saw). I always suggest this, but I think you would be well served to join Tick-L and post your story there. People will advise you on additional testing that may help. At this point, I think I would do a full, aggressive course of doxy (8 weeks--see Gil. Ash's page, which can be accessed from the link I posted above), perhaps some additional, more specific testing for tick diseases (if you contact Protatek in Arizona by phone, they will consult with you regarding appropriate tests), and post on Tick-L so others can give you suggestions on other tests that might be advisable (e.g., there are people researching specific tick diseases who have developed state-of-the-art tests for their disease of interest, so depending on what diseases your vet might think likely, you can tailor your choice of tests to those most likely to give you good information).

 

Please keep us posted.

 

J.

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I would like to second Julie's recommendation of contacting Protatek in Arizona. I used to volunteer for a Greyhound rescue here in Texas, and many, many of our Greys used to come in with Tick diseases. The tests the vets ran in house often came back negative, though... but further testing by Protatek would reveal what we were actually dealing with.

 

Sending healing thoughts your way.

 

Best,

Danielle

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Julie's absolutely right on this. I had an experience a number of years ago with a pregnant bitch: limping that alternated legs, very listless, no appetite, poly arthritis, pitting edema, weird platelet counts, etc. The tick panel came back negative, but they put her on Doxy anyway, since TBDs were still their best guess. She responded amazingly well after just the first dose. I put her on the higher dose recommended by Tick-L for a good 8 or more weeks (probably more like 10 weeks, as I was afraid to take her off for fear of a relapse). She has been fine since, and those pups are now almost 7 years old.

 

We did a more extensive panel a few months later, but still nothing showed up. As I found, this can be the nature of these darn TBDs--sometimes you never get confirmation from a blood test, but if the symptoms are consistent with TBDs and Doxy works, you know--if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

 

The best advice I got when I posted my girl's symptoms was to get on Tick-L. I'm sure it saved her life.

A

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Your dogs symptoms are an exact match to Fargo's. Blood work are always disgustingly normal , tick titers are negative, and joint taps show white blood cells. Wandering lameness, feel good.feel bad days. We have even run genetic testing.... Not even a.carrier for any know genetic forward. It is frustrating, but if you like to compare notes, or have our vets compare notes....

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Hi everyone. Thanks for your suggestions. Gloria is not really improving with the Doxy (4 days in now on 400mg per day). She is still not eating well and now she distrusts me because I have been taking her temperature and feeding her medicine. SHe won't take treats from me because she knows medicine is hidden in it and so I have to just put the pills in her mouth and hold it shut till she swallows because that's the only way to get the medicine in there. So I feel like I have gone from her favorite person in the world to someone she distrusts. The whole thing is so awful. SHe just lies around with her eyes open most of the day. She used to follow me everywhere I went.

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Hi, welcome to the boards. I am sorry to her about your girl, Gloria.

 

Really, reading through your story, I kept thinking TBD. The lameness changing limbs, fever, and sluggishness are all symptoms of TBDs.

 

What type of antibiotics did the vet give you? Doxy?

 

If it wasn't doxy, could you consult with the vet and ask for Doxy? If it is a TBD I think that you would see a pretty significant improvement in your girl's behavior in a short amount of time.

 

Best of luck.

Vicki

How long would you expect it to take to see an improvement. 4 days in and there is little change. Is it still too early or is it possible the change is too subtle to pick up on yet?

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Hi everyone. Thanks for your suggestions. Gloria is not really improving with the Doxy (4 days in now on 400mg per day). She is still not eating well and now she distrusts me because I have been taking her temperature and feeding her medicine. SHe won't take treats from me because she knows medicine is hidden in it and so I have to just put the pills in her mouth and hold it shut till she swallows because that's the only way to get the medicine in there. So I feel like I have gone from her favorite person in the world to someone she distrusts. The whole thing is so awful. SHe just lies around with her eyes open most of the day. She used to follow me everywhere I went.

 

When my dog had acute Lyme, it was only about 3-4 days before he showed improvement. If Gloria does have Lyme, and she has had it for several months based on your description, it may take longer - but that is just a guess.

 

As far as giving meds: Will she eat peanut butter or canned dog food or canned cat food with gusto? If I remember, the doxy pills I used were pretty small so it was easy to put a pill (only ONE pill) in a glob (about the size of a walnut) of one of the above and throw it at the dog, who then catches it in his mouth and promptly swallows it without even chewing. They think they are getting a great treat. At least that is how it works in my house. I have used the pill pockets one can buy in the store, but once I opened them and used a couple, I realized that they were not worth the money - just wrap something soft and extremely tasty and smelly around the pill.

 

I hope Gloria starts feeling better.

 

Jovi

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Hi Katie,

 

I am not really sure how long it would exactly take. I have no experience with Lyme myself, my comment was based off of discussions and articles that I've read.

 

But I tend to agree with Jovi's guess above that if Gloria has had Lyme for a longer period of time that it may take a few more days to see an improvement.

 

Have you checked in with your vet for his or her thoughts on how long it would take to see an improvement?

 

Sending you and Gloria healing thoughts.

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If you're giving her Doxy (great), I would definitely NOT just put it in her mouth or shove it down her throat. It can be very caustic on the esophagus, and is also very hard on the stomach, which can really make them not want to eat. I learned this (the hard way) when my bitch had a TBD. She started throwing up and couldn't even keep water down (she was by that point only days away from whelping 9 pups). I had to pull her off food and water for a period of time, then slowly start with just a few ccs of water, slowly building back up and then adding solids. The best thing to do is to get her to eat something, anything, a small meal of any kind. Try stinky canned food, raw, whatever you can get her to eat. Wait about a half hour. Then it's time for burger balls: just little balls of raw ground beef. I would give a couple plain ones first, then give the one with the pill in it. Mine got to where she would anxiously wait for her burger balls.

A

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Please read Gil. Ash's TBD treatment page, which I also posted earlier.

 

It is crucial that doxy be given with food. Unlike other tetracyclines, doxy is not greatly affected by calcium, so if Gloria will eat cheese, it's okay to use it.

 

Note that doxy treatment can cause GI upset, as well as problems associated with the destruction of the beneficial flora in the gut. You can use Pepcid (there are products your vet can provide as well) to help with the nausea-type issues. For her GI tract, you can add probiotics (human ones from the pharmacy are fine), generally 2 hours after each doxy dose.

 

But definitely figure out a way to get the meds into her *in food.*

 

If you read through the information in the link I posted, you will note that one of the biggest issues with treating TBDs is that the dose isn't high enough or it's not continued long enough, or both. By using inadequate dosing, there is a risk of creating resistant strains of bacteria. This is another reason it's very important that Gloria get all her meds and for the full course of treatment.

 

FWIW, at least with acute disease, people have reported that the change once going on doxy is pretty dramatic (and that response has been taken as definitive diagnosis of tick disease even when the dog has tested negative). But much depends on the stage of the disease and how it manifests in each individual dog. I had a dog whose only symptom was seeming confusion when working. He did not have an immediate positive response to treatment, but did get better over the full course of treatment.

 

It would be very helpful to you if you would join Tick-L. The people who post there are very experienced with tick diseases and their treatment and would be able to give you excellent advice regarding getting the meds in Gloria and keeping her comfortable and happy during treatment. They can also relate their own experiences with treatment to give you a better idea of what to expect for Gloria. You can always unsubscribe once you're done with treatment.

 

J.

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Thanks everyone! I have been hiding the pills in food...and giving her probiotics afterward. The problem is she took them in cream cheese the first day...then the next time she refused cheese (thinking there was a pill in there?!). So the next day, roast beef. She gobbled them up. Then she wouldn't take roast beef from me. Then chicken skin. She ate the chicken skin and spit out the pill, repeatedly. Then, buried in chicken. She ate one and refused the second bite of chicken. Today I used liverwurst and she ate them. Then came back for more treats. So, I think liverwurst is the magic treat. THis dog is so freaking smart which makes hiding pills in food really, really hard. But, she seems a little better today. I took her for a walk yesterday and I think that part of the problem is the depression from not exercising!

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As Anna stated earlier, hiding pills in food works best when you don't just give one piece of special food with the pill inside. You give a few pieces of the same food without the pill, then one with the pill, then a few more without the pill. That way, the chances of the special food having a pill hidden inside is lower, and most dogs are much more willing to play the odds and gobble down the special food.

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I have a dog that does the same thing as far as figuring out that something contains pills. Stochdogranch mentioned giving treat balls without pills first and that's exactly what worked for me. I give 2 balls without pills, the one with the pill, and then one more without.

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Thanks everyone! I have been hiding the pills in food...and giving her probiotics afterward. The problem is she took them in cream cheese the first day...then the next time she refused cheese (thinking there was a pill in there?!). So the next day, roast beef. She gobbled them up. Then she wouldn't take roast beef from me. Then chicken skin. She ate the chicken skin and spit out the pill, repeatedly. Then, buried in chicken. She ate one and refused the second bite of chicken. Today I used liverwurst and she ate them. Then came back for more treats. So, I think liverwurst is the magic treat. THis dog is so freaking smart which makes hiding pills in food really, really hard. But, she seems a little better today. I took her for a walk yesterday and I think that part of the problem is the depression from not exercising!

 

Oops, I see a couple of others have responded similarly - but I will post anyway.

 

Hopefully the liverwurst will continue to work. To make my previous post very clear, for a finicky dog, hide ONLY one pill in her treat at a time. Is she still finding the pill if only one pill is in a glob (scientific term :) ) of soft, smelly, and tasty food? If so, make the glob bigger so that it is harder to detect the pill scent through the food smell.

 

Also, as A from stockdogranch suggested, give a couple of non-pilled burger balls first to trick the dog into not thinking that you are trying to give her something toxic. This strategy also worked with my finicky dog. I have a sheltie rescue that will NOT eat food if it isn't tasty, if it has a pill in it, if she is stressed, if a loud noise occurs, if the cat walks by, if you are watching her to make sure she eats, etc. -- you get the idea. When I adopted her, she weighed 21 lbs when a 31-32 lb weight makes her a lean dog. Her eating habits have hardly changed in the 12.5 years I have had her. To pill her is to watch her catch the tasty treat I try to hide the pill in, then drop it on the floor and smell it thoroughly to make sure nothing strange is in it. At times, she has even used her nose to unroll sliced roast beef I tried to hide a pill in, then look at me and walk away. I finally used the strategy of giving her non-pilled balls of soft, tasty food as a precursor to slipping in a pilled ball. The trick is to get them to eat a couple of treats without thinking about the possibility that medicine may be inside. They should gulp it down. If they do that, then you have a good chance that they may continue to gulp down treats. [Gulping = not tasting the nasty pill.] Then you give a ball with a pill, and then you might give another normal food ball. Just don't be predictable and make sure to hide a small pill in a big enough piece of food so that it can not be detected easily.

 

I hope her desire to walk is a sign of improvement.

 

Jovi

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I used to give Mick his dinner and half way through he'd get a treat, I varied the treat, someday liverwurst, somedays cheese but I made sure he ate half his dinner first so I knew he had food in his tum or he would throw up the pills. I gave him probiotics too, there's a brand called pearls for humans, its so tiny they never know their eating it tossed in their food. He also got bute, the only pain med he could handle at the time. Does Gloria seem to be in pain? Something like rumadyl might help. Mick was chronic so if I remember right he felt somewhat better but did not recover totally for quote sometime. Mick was on doxy for probably 3 months.

Hang in there. And let's pray this is it.

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Doxycycline is the drug of choice for treating tick-borne diseases, but not every dog can tolerate it. Side effects include nausea, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and multiple types of elevated liver enzymes. It's possible your dog is one of those that has trouble handling this particular drug. Here's a link to an abstract from a study on side effects in dogs:

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21791480

 

And part of the abstract:

 

Suspected side effects of doxycycline use in dogs - a retrospective study of 386 cases.

 

Schulz BS, Hupfauer S, Ammer H, Sauter-Louis C, Hartmann K.

 

 

Source

 

Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Veterinaerstrasse 13, 80539 Munich, Germany. b.schulz@medizinische-kleintierklinik.de

 

 

Abstract

 

This study investigated doxycycline-related side effects in a large population of dogs. Data from 386 dogs that had received doxycycline for the treatment of various infectious diseases were analysed retrospectively. Potential side effects that developed during treatment were documented, and correlations with signalment, dose, duration of treatment, frequency of application, doxycycline preparation and use of additional drugs were investigated. Vomiting was reported in 18.3 per cent of dogs, 7.0 per cent developed diarrhoea and 2.5 per cent developed anorexia. While being treated with doxycycline, 39.4 per cent of dogs showed an increase in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity and 36.4 per cent showed an increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. There was a dose-related risk of an increase in ALP activity (P=0.011, odds ratio [OR]=1.27, 95 per cent confidence interval [CI] 1.06 to 1.53), and older dogs treated with doxycycline were more likely to develop an increase in ALT activity (P=0.038, OR=1.23, 95 per cent CI 1.01 to 1.50) and vomiting (P=0.017, OR=1.11, 95 per cent CI 1.02 to 1.21).

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