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129422 tn?1222703189

Maltese 6 1/2 yrs. old tummy and pain issues intermittent

Our 6 1/2 year-old neutered male Maltese (on the thin side, never been overweight, eating high grade, intestinal friendly food since puppy and rarely given anything other than reg. dog food) has been having intermittent tummy and obscure pain issues for a month and and half and after 10 trips to vet's office and three blood profiles (one comprehensive one), other than initial dx of pancreatitis, vet is stumped as to what might be wrong.  Initially (first week of August), our Maltese did vomit and wouldn't eat (and he always eats voraciously).  Taken to vet around first week in August.  Xrays showed nothing. Blood workup showed mild pancreatis and stool sample did show some minor blood in it.  He was started on mild Rx diet and sent home.  We were told to give him 5 mg. Pepcid 1/2 before each feeding and to try small feedings.  We did this.  He seemed to get better but then would have bouts of what appeared to be severe pain (where he would cry out and tremble uncontrollably), but we couldn't tell where pain was coming from.   Sometimes he acted like he couldn't walk, holding his left foot up, other times he would try to walk but seemed he couldn't.  It is awful to watch this.  Back to the vet's.  Vet thought dog might be dealing with a couple of issues, like maybe intermittent pancreatitis and another maybe cervical issue or pinched nerve or something.   Vet started him on Medcam (?) for pain, small amount every AM, then changed to every other day, etc.  Sometimes he has cried out like in a lot of pain, but this can be done on days when he is eating fine.  And then a few times, he doesn't seem interested at all in food (and he has ALWAYS been interested in food).  He is generally not himself though, even on days without pain episodes and no obvious tummy issue.  Just not himself.   Maybe only one time with very loose stool, and another time with kind of loose stool (but nothing signficant there).  Another stool was checked a couple of weeks ago--no blood in it and negative for parasites.  Blood workup done then completely normal.  Two days ago he mostly dry heaved in the early AM hours (3 AM to 6 AM) about every 10 minutes.  He was at the vet's at 7 AM and observed there all day.  No more dry heaves.  Vet could find nothing wrong with him.  This AM, won't eat, but no dry heaving or other symptoms.   He has been in and out of vet's and hospital about 6 times in last 45 days.  We are worn out.  All blood work shows normal now and they have done very comprehensive blood work profiles.  Vet is stumped.   By time we got him home from last vet appt. 6 PM, he had stopped the dry heaving, and after giving him Pepcid 5 mg., he ate and held it down fine.  We gave him no more pain meds, just Pepcid 5 mg. half hour before each meal.  Now today, Sept. 24th, absolutely won't eat, but no vomiting or dry heaving.  He has been on special Iams Intestinal Low-Residue canned food diet from vet's office since first week of August.  If anyone has a clue, please give me your thoughts.  Most recent blood work shows no signs of pancreatitis, but something has to be going on. Vet now (today) says perhaps we are dealing with a food allergy and wants us to come back in for another blood draw after 12 hours fasting.  Says this blood will be sent for very specific workup to rule out gastro/intestinal issues.  But if anyone has some info that could be helpful, I would sure like to hear it.
28 Responses
616449 tn?1221222062
Hmm.. Poor guy.. The only other thing I would try is an ultrasound.. Sometimes they catch what an Xray didn't..Speaking of xrays, did they only do his abdomen? If he's gagging/heaving, perhaps something is lodged somewhere higher up, although its been too long for that. Does he get into/eat stuff he shouldn't? Keep doing the bloodwork, something is liable to come up.. I wouldn't think its a food allergy, usually food allergies present ear infections, not belly pain and anorexia. Do another stool sample, its common that something can get missed as they only look at a tiny part of the samples. Also test for lymes and anaplasmosis- phantom pain issues make me think that route.. It's a tough case, I hope you figure this out..

Also, has he just seen one vet? Maybe you should take him somewhere else(bring all his records/xrays/profiles so far) to get a fresh brain thinking on the case..
462827 tn?1333172552
What intestinal friendly food was he on before the Iams Prescription Diet????
129422 tn?1222703189
Thanks for your responses.  First, his belly and entire spine was x-rayed--all were negative for bony abnormality and obstructions.  The food he was on PRIOR to August 08 was Natures Recipe Lamb and Rice Intestinal formula (PetsMart) which was a food suggested my my vet as a good all-around food.

It is always possible he gets into stuff that he should eat; however, it is just my husband and I, and we try to be very careful about feeding him bad stuff.  I mean honestly there we have fed him popcorn on occasion throughout his life (he is now 6 1/2), but I am talking only a couple of kernels here and there.  We don't routinely feed him anything off the table.  Of course, we don't give him anything now, ever.  Before, it was very infrequent.  Maybe once every 2 weeks or even every 2 months...not often at all.

And, yes, he has only seen one vet.  He is a highly recommended vet, however; but, you are right, two brains are usually better than one.  I will ask around and see if I can find anyone in our area that can recommend another vet.

He did eat a little finally this afternoon---I am feeding very small amounts.  I am taking him in for another blood draw in the AM, after 12 hour fast.  This time they will send it in for some kind of specialized workup regarding gastrointestinal disorders and stuff.  His stool was just checked again two days ago, but I will continue to have that done as well.

I have kept a daily log on him too for about a month, hoping this will assist vet come up with an answer.  So far, no luck.  Thanks for all your input.  It is really appreciated.  By the way, I think they did check for Lymes, but I will check on that.
462827 tn?1333172552
One more thing: Is he any better on the Iams Prescription Diet or is he worse?  Thanks
129422 tn?1222703189
Hmmm....that is VERY hard to say because since the first episode first week of August, I have had him on the canned Iams stuff the vet said I should use.  When he was doing a bit better mid-month, I started adding in a few pieces of the hard Natures Recipe diet---to the Iams and rice mix, and was doing that for probably a week before the recent episode of the wretching (only phlegm coming out--no food in stomach) and dry heaving that he did Sept. 22 for 3 hours.  Since then, I have just had him on the Iams soft with a little white rice.  Prior to August 2007, for 6 years he was on the Natures Recipe with no problem.  I really am mystified.  

The episodes of pain also don't seem to correlate at all to the episodes of tummy upset---this also has me totally baffled, unless I am dealing with two completely different things that just happen to crop up around the same time.  

Geeez.....it just seems like it should be so darn hard to nail this down.
129422 tn?1222703189
Sorry, I had a typo....last sentence of first paragraph meant to say "Prior to August 2008" not August 2007....
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