KC is a 4 yr. old intact male Boxer and my best friend. He was always slim, but all muscle and in great shape. Then about a month ago he stopped eating and drinking for almost 7 days. Took him to the vet who has done an x-ray, an ultrasound, tested a fecal sample. No diagnosis, but he's been on prednisone ever since 2x's per day 20mg each. Also had him on carafate, baytril, an appetite stimulant, and diarreah (diarrhea) meds. Also gave me the powder for worms that you give three days in a row, but he wouldn't eat the second day so didn't get that dose, had to throw it out cause wouldn't eat it after sitting so long. Also put on strict diet of Hills z/d. He would eat alot, every 2-3 hours it seemed and drinking 1 to 2 1/2 cups a water at one time. He would get up 3-4 times a night to use bathroom and eat and drink. For the first two weeks, his stools were pretty normal, then had diarreah (diarrhea) real bad and ended up dehydrated and had to take him in twice for an IV. He didn't want to do anything except lay all curled up if he didn't have to get up to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. Then the 3rd week it appeared that his stomach wasn't hurting anymore as he would lay on his back again all stretched out. Also at end of 2nd week noticed how pale ears and gums were, it was right before I had to take him in for the IV, but they didn't test his blood then. He just wasn't gaining weight but was eating lots. Then on January 18th, he only ate half his breakfast and I noticed his testicles were really swollen and gums were white. Took him in they did a PCV (packed cell volume) test for anemia and it came back at 11 and normal is 35. At that time the only medicine he was still on was the prednisone. Vet said he needed blood transfusion and to see an internal specialist if he was gonna have any chance at surviving. The next day, not only his testicles were swollen but the skin around the penis was swollen like it was full of liquid. I was able to get a very special lady to donate the blood and enough money for him to have a blood transfusion, and he got 2 units of blood today, the 21st. She also sent me home with Barium and carafate and his prednisone has been dropped down to once a day 20 mg. She said nothing of the swelling in his private area and I'm worried because his testicles are rock hard and its still squishy around his penis. I need some feedback from anyone who may have had a similar experience. My baby almost died cause I didn't have money for a blood transfusion and for him to see a specialist.
Sorry to hear about your sick boxer. Your story sounds very similar to my 7 year old boxer. She stopped eating and has lost 20 lbs in 4 months. She is basically surviving on prednisone (15mg 2x daily). We also had issues with pale gums but not to the point of needing a blood transfusion. However, our dog is a girl so obviously no testicle/penis issues. We do not have our problem under control but we have learned a few things along the way.
1. z/d was THE worst food we have tried her on. Her diarrhea came back with a vengeance on z/d. We found a food called Nutro (herring or venison formula) that worked until the dog decided she didn't like it anymore.
2. Panacur/famotidine is a much better deworming option because it is a liquid that you inject via syringe in the dogs mouth. This worked great for us and stopped the diarrhea for awhile even though she doesn't have any worms or parasites. For some reason, it just seems to help every now and again.
3. Also, adding pumpkin can SOMETIMES work to firm up the stool and certain canned foods can work too. We stick to more exotic proteins like salmon, duck, lamb, etc.
4. If your dog has IBD, you are facing a lot of trial and error to get him stabilized. Also, there are other drugs besides prednisone that might help. We are going to be switching to the new drug budesonide.
Sorry I can't help much more because we don't have our girl fixed either, but maybe some of these ideas will work or spark a thought with your vet.
Hello & welcome...When I first read this last night, I immediately leaned towards a Tick-Borne Disease....Since you are in California w/ warmer weather....I'm still leaning that way....I have added an article I found.....Call your Vet and ask him to look back at your dogs bloodwork....Ask him if anything on there would indicate a Tick Borne Disease. There is a specific blood test to check for these illnesses....Has your dog been tested?
It's actually easier to just do a round of Doxycycline to see if improvement is made....Improvement is quick......I sure would rule this possibility out! Let me know what you find out.......Karla
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever---
Is one of the most prevalent tick-transmitted diseases in the United States. Contrary to what the name implies, RMSF is not just confined to the Rocky Mountains of the United States, but is endemic in most of North and South America. The name comes from a syndrome first described by settlers in the late 1800’s moving west in the United States. These settlers reported outbreaks of a distinct skin rash, fever, and general malaise (feeling poorly) with lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes), which came to be known as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
The parasitic agent responsible for RMSF is Rickettsia rickettsii. Rickettsia are a group of obligatory intracellular parasites (can only exist within the cells of a host animal) of the family Rickettsiaceae. A similar organism by the name of Rickettsia conorii, is the causative agent of Mediterranean Spotted Fever. Both syndromes and organisms are similar and may affect both dogs and people. Even in the Americas infection can occur due to either rickettsia species because of the world-wide transport of animals.
The natural host, reservoir, and vectors (agents responsible for disease transmission) for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are ticks. Two ticks, Dermacentor variabilis, also known as the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and Dermacentor variabilis, the “American dog tick,” are the primary vectors seen in North America. Recently, however, Rhipicephalus saguineus was found to be the vector involved in an outbreak of RMSF in Arizona. The cayenne tick (Amblyomma cajennense) is a common vector for Rocky Mountain spotted fever from Texas through South America.
Ticks capable of transmitting Rocky Mountain spotted fever are all three host ticks. With the three host ticks the larval and nymphal stages of the tick will feed on small- or medium-sized mammals such as mice. The adult ticks feed on larger mammals such as raccoons, dogs, deer, and people. Infected Dermacentor ticks will pass the organism to their offspring, thereby transmitting to succeeding generations a higher pathogen load in a process known as transstadial transmission.
Most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever occur between the months of April through October when ticks are most active. There appears to be a 10-year cycle of activity relative to peak occurrences regarding the incidence of RMSF in man. The reasons for the cyclic pattern in human infection is currently unknown. Young dogs and purebred dogs appear to be more susceptible to infection, especially the German Shepherd and English Springer Spaniel.
Clinical signs of infection with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are non-specific and are quite diverse. Common presenting clinical signs that are non-specific include lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and a rapid and dramatic weight loss. Clinical signs of respiratory disease may also be seen, such as nasal discharge, tachypnea, and dyspnea (difficulty breathing). In addition there may be a mucopurulent discharge from the eyes and injection of the sclera (prominent blood vessels on the eye and redness).
More specific clinical signs of Rocky Mountain spotted fever infection include muscle pain (myalgia), a neutrophilic polyarthritis (arthralgia), and hemorrhaging. Bleeding may occur from the nose (epistaxis), in the stool (melena), in the urine (hematuria), and on the skin and mucous membranes petechia and ecchymotic hemorrhages (small and medium sized hemorrhages) may be seen. A hemorrhage in the retina (back of the eye) is a consistent finding and may be helpful in getting a provisional diagnosis.
Non-altered, or intact male dogs may suffer from orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) and scrotal edema, hyperemia, and epididymal pain. Edema may also be seen in dependent body areas such as the lower legs and abdomen, the pinna (ear), and the muzzle.
Central nervous system abnormalities may occur and can include hyperesthesia (increased sensitivity of the skin), ataxia (imbalance), vestibular signs, stupor, seizures, and coma. Gangrene may affect the distal extremities due to vascular obstruction and may necessitate reconstructive surgery or amputation. Terminal signs of disease may be associated with cardiovascular collapse including hypotension, oliguric renal failure (no urine being produced), or brain death.
The most consistent hematologic finding on a blood sample is thrombocytopenia, or a lack of platelets. Other changes in the blood may include an initial leukopenia, or lack of white blood cells, followed by a leukocytosis, or an increase in the white blood cell numbers. A mild to severe non-regenerative anemia (lack of red blood cells) is often seen.
Blood chemistry changes, which are common, include hypoalbuminemia (low blood albumin levels) and an elevated serum alkaline phosphatase. Other changes that will occur less frequently include hyponatremia (low sodium levels), and hyperbilirubinemia (high levels of bilirubin in the blood).
Commonly seen abnormalities in blood clotting include a prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time and elevated levels of fibrinogen. Occasionally there is a prolonged prothrombin time and an elevation of fibrinogen degradation products. In rare instances disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) can occur.
In urine samples the pet may demonstrate the presence of protein (proteinuria), blood (hematuria), or bilirubin (bilirubinuria).
A fourfold increase in a serologic titer between acute and convalescent blood samples is considered to be diagnostic. The onset of clinical signs may precede seroconversion, therefore necessitating the use of two samples spread weeks apart.
Treatment consists of administration of doxycycline, tetracycline, or chloramphenicol. Any delay in therapy may increase the risk of complications or even death. When an infection is suspected, treatment should be started even before the infection can be confirmed. Response to antibiotic therapy is rapid and dramatic 24 to 48 hours following the onset of treatment.
In situations where response to treatment is slow, or the severity of clinical signs is severe, coinfection with Babesia, Bartonella or Ehrlichia should be considered.
It is believed that natural immunity probably develops subsequent to subclinical infection with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
There is currently no vaccine available for prevention of RMSF. The best way to prevent infection is to limit exposure to ticks, and when exposed to ticks, remove them before attachment occurs.
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