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Can you tell me what might have killed my little dog?

Rapid Decline over 4.5 weeks  Jan 10 - Feb 13
Rear spine pain  / Rear hip joint pain / GI Problems

Jan 10 a little difficulty apparent on stairs and getting in the van / Assumption is arthritis setting in

Jan 17 more difficulty apparent on stairs and getting in the van / Seems to be peeing in the house at night / Very surprised at how fast the progression is, if arthritis

Jan 24 something is obviously, terribly wrong! Pain when touching the rear end, whimpers when tried to lift / incontinent and definitely urinating in the house at night / X-Ray shows small bone fragments / slight fever / put on tremadol for pain, onsior anti-inflammatory & pain relief and soft diet but he refuses to eat

Jan 31 GI X-ray looks clear / bones passed with no difficulty / stool very loose / Dr. said Dog is fine take him home / I was shocked because the dog was looking and acting far worse but Doc said he would recover rapidly / / I’m sure at this point it is much more than arthritis with so much difficulty in the GI system

Feb 1 Taken to another vet for second opinion / is refusing most food other than a couple of liver treats / Second vet notes severe pain and possible nerve damage books a specialist appointment for that same day / ultrasound is done  BUT did not Ultrasound the spine or hips / suggests no cancer present / puts Guy on Mar-Ondansetron anti-nausea, tremadol for pain, Mirtazapine appetite simulator, Clindamycin Antibiotic/ If drugs do not effect cure exploratory surgery is said to be the next option

Feb 2 Back to regular Vet / referred to NVEC for dehydration

Admitted to NVEC / put Guy on fluid drip, pain medication, Ampicillin, on admission they wanted to know how much effort they should make (How much money we were prepared to spend!) We said what ever they deemed appropriate and necessary and do what ever diagnostic work they could

NVEC said “You have spent a lot already” when I suggested it might be time to think about euthanasia (WTF! That was NOT my point, I wanted direction!)

48 hours later at discharge given Baytril Enfloxacin , Cerenia for nausea,  tremadol for pain, Mirtazapine appetite simulator, Clindamycin Antibiotic / NVEC suggested an X-Ray of the lower spine and hip joints could be done (THE FIRST TIME ANYONE SUGGESTED IMAGING THE PRESNTING PROBLEM!!) When asked why they had not done so in the last 48 hours they said we did not ask them to. (Though we had pretty much given them carte blanche No food was eaten while in hospital / No nutrition via tube

Feb 4 Taken back to our regular Vet for X-Ray / suggests arthritis or cancer / tried a short walk did not have strength / cried miserably when Penny & I went back out without him / Now on Mar-Ondansetron anti-nausea, tremadol for pain, Ygia 14 Probiotic powder, Mirtazapine appetite stimulator, Enrofloxacin Antibiotic

Feb 5 Pleaded for Onsior as it was the ONLY thing that seemed to give relief of any kind / Onsior given / STARTED TODAY! Guy looks better and eat 3 tablespoons of chicken gizzard broth. This is the first he has eaten since Feb 1st. / Trouble defecating / Peeing often

Feb 6 Eat 10 chicken hearts / stools very small tarry and black / peeing often / short walk with Penny (Had to unleash so he could follow at a much slower pace) / Sub Zero temperatures and Guy wants to keep lying out in the snow & needs to be brought in on the leash / I am worried about hypothermia

Feb 7 eat small cooked steak (Ground in blender with water) / still trouble defecating nasty little black splotches / still no trouble peeing often / short walk with other dog (Had to unleash so he could follow at a much slower pace) Getting up at 3AM to let out for pee

Feb 8 refusing all food / resisting medications/ meds being ground in mortar and mixed with water, syringed into the mouth / Still going for short canal walks with Penny but struggles to keep up

Feb 9 Really struggling to get medications to be swallowed: closing his throat to prevent swallowing and as soon as I release his jaw, spits all out / continue getting up at 3AM to let out for pee / Guy still insists on lying out in the snow until brought in on the leash (Wondering if he is not trying to freeze to death)

Feb 10 Still refusing all food / walking and stairs appear really difficult / Brought his bed down to ground floor / continue getting up at 3AM & now 5 AM too, to let out for pee / Guy still insists on lying out in the snow until brought in on the leash / can barely make it up the 3 steps to the deck

Feb 11 Same as yesterday except I have given up on all meds but pain & Anti-inflammatory, none seem to be helping him and administering is a torment / seems to be looking worse, rapidly / no more short walks of any kind / after going out for a pee I thought I was going to need to lift him back onto the deck but he struggled up

Feb 12 At about 8:45 PM Guy vomited violently / nothing but clear fluid mucus and some bright red blood / Staying up to lie beside guy and try to provide some comfort by keeping next to him / I did not think he would live until morning / another  violent vomit at 2:30 AM  similar to the first but decrease in volume /  struggled to get onto the sofa while I dozed off for an hour, no doubt looking for a place that was less painful to lay down

Feb 13 9AM  a small vomit, still clear & traces of red blood / 10AM got up and staggered a couple of feet toward the water bowl & suddenly, completely collapsed next to it / unable to get back up for a drink / refused water in a small saucer / had to be put onto the center of a blanket to be taken out to the Van as a kind of sling,  for a return to the Vet / I am pretty sure we are near the end. This was, in fact, his last day.
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675347 tn?1365460645
My deepest condolences to you and Penny, 4OneWorld.

I was so saddened and sorry to read of little Guy's struggles and illness, and of his passing. Poor little Guy.
But you both did your utmost for him.

I am not a vet so can only make guesses .
But when you mentioned black tarry stools which you first noticed February 6th, then that is a sign of gastric bleeding.
What that may have been caused by....I can't say. It's possible he had a cancer somewhere?
It's also possible the bone fragments he swallowed may have caused some damage to his GI tract.
Or the medications caused gastric bleeding....
I don't know, sadly.

When you said (Feb.4th) that the vet "suggested arthritis or cancer"....did the vet actually perform the X-ray or not? And was that idea from findings on the X-ray? Or just a guess on the vet's part?

Of course, the only sure way to know what caused his death would be to order a necropsy (autopsy) but that might be too late now, and it could be upsetting if you would prefer that his body rest in peace.

Blessings to your dear little Guy's Soul.
And my kindest thoughts to both of you.
Helpful - 0
The ultrasound done by the internist at the specialist's hospital would have shown "damage to his GI tract"; she should also have done an ultrasound of spine and hips but did not. She did say no GI cancer was apparent at that time. Yes, the X-rays were done and we viewed them together with the vet, who pointed to the affected areas.  I , too, think it was some type of cancer, likely metastasized from the bone. He should not have held out the hope of arthritis when he was really pretty sure it was cancer. They should have X-rayed the presenting problem on the first visit because none of the GI problems were present at that time. Had I known it was an aggressive cancer I could have saved Guy weeks of torment. The only thing I know for sure is it was not viral or bacterial because of every doctor and every clinic did blood work, there was nothing positive in any of those tests. It is almost as though all these doctors were biased toward GI issues. It was not until he appeared beyond hope, they finally looked at the bone in a last ditch act of desperation.  The only doctor that was up front, straight forward and candid with us, through all of this, was the last one. When I asked him if there was any reasonable hope. He, at least, made Guy's prognosis clear without being brutal. When I said I thought it was time to release my little friend, the doctor agreed it was the best decision because even if they did more tests and could find exactly what was killing him, he was too far gone for saving. I told him to prepare him for the final shots at that point. What ever it was, it was 3 weeks of He!! for Little Guy! Saying Good Bye was torture for me but it was the only kindness left, I could do for him. It's been almost 3 weeks and I still cry when I think of our last night together. Thank you for your Blessings and kind thoughts!
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