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chablinos January 19th, 2011 09:03 AM

kennel catastrophe! Any ideas??
Hi everybody. We have a bit of a mystery illness in our dog, and I wonder if others have had similar experiences that could shed light on what is going on.

Here's our story:
We reluctantly left our 11 or 12 year old (rescue) dog in a boarding kennel while we travelled over the holidays. We were gone 8 days. Prior to this, she had relatively good health for an older dog. She'd get a little stiff in her hind quarters, so we had her on a vet-provided Glucosamine mix, which helped tremendously. While she wasn't interested in chasing squirrels or balls, she would run up the stairs to our second floor apartment every day, and sometimes run down the block with our 9-year-old son. She had a very healthy appetite.

When we came to pick her up on the 8th day, she didn't get up or acknowledge us. She looked thin and weak, and when I helped her stand up, she was wobbly and had trouble walking. The kennel attendant expressed surprise that our dog's condition was so bad. It seems she hadn't noticed the dog at all.

We got her to the vet the next morning, and she had dropped 4.5 pounds from when we dropped her off! (from 41.5 to 37 pounds.) She was also moderately dehydrated, expressed pain in her hip and leg areas, and couldn't walk more than a couple of feet before her rear legs would give out. She also had diarrhea.

In the three weeks since that first visit, we have tried rimadyl, tramadol (for pain), metronidozol (for the diarrhea), and predisone (steriod). She's had x-rays of her legs, hips, and entire spine. She has also had full blood panel work-ups. The vet has found no clues to the cause of her condition.

She wavers between looking better for a day or two, followed by days of vomiting, lack of appetite and replapse into strength failure. Vet has assumed that the meds that help her feel better enough to walk (controlling pain) also irritate her GI tract, ultimately making her nausiated. But when we take her off pain meds, the pain itself makes her lose her appetite and feel nausiated, and she wimpers and cries all day and night.

Today, after a week of Prednisone, she woke up dizzy for the first time, and can't walk because she loses balance rather than losing strength. Poor thing has been vomiting even the small amounts of water we get in her.

I will take her to the vet again today (we've spent already $1000 in three weeks!) but I wonder if anyone else has seen a dog decline so quickly and mysteriously after being seperated from their family for a week? As you can imagine, I have been grilling the staff at the kennel for information, and finally found one person who felt guilty enough to talk to me. She said our dog refused to eat the whole time she was there, and preferred to lay in a corner all day every day without getting up. When I asked if anyone walked our dog, she said no. So the dog basically didn't eat or move for a week. (And no one told us, which is a different issue.)

Anyone with an older dog have any ideas that might help our old girl? The vet can't find any underlying cause for her symptoms. It's so frustrating.

Thanks for your ideas!:dog:

BenMax January 19th, 2011 09:13 AM

I am very sorry that you and your dog is going through this.
Older dogs and even younger ones do not fair well without their people. The refusal to eat (I have seen hundreds of times) is usually due to depression based on separation of their people. This is common in shelters. There are dogs that will survive and those that give up. It is seen many times.

The lack of exercise and one on one contact maybe attributed to the dog's pains. If living on concrete, this also could be a reason for stiff joints and muscles.

Boarding facilities and shelter/pounds also have various viral bacterias. Get a stool sample analysis as the dog could have gotten coccidia or giardia or another parasite.

At this age, perhaps a full blood panel is in order. Hopefully it is nothing serious but only a vet can provide the answers.

mastifflover January 19th, 2011 09:17 AM

I have no suggestions. But I am appalled that they did nothing for your dog like have your vet see her. Or maybe call you and ask what you want done. This is somewhere I would not want to leave any pet at.:sorry: your girl is sick and I hope your vet can figure it out. Please update as you can

BMDLuver January 19th, 2011 10:28 AM

for the pain issues I would ask your vet from metacam as it is easier on the stomach. I would also back away from prednisone as in older dogs it is more agressive on the kidneys. sadly it could be that it is near your dogs time... our old dog we moved from a farm to a city and within three weeks we had to pts her as her eating was next to nothing and she became stiff and lethargic. the vet felt she had cancer and that perhaps the change had been hard for her to cope with. I hope your dog improves.

Meantime I would be going hard at that kennel to have them shut down and lose their license or at least be inspected?

Melinda January 19th, 2011 10:47 AM

tramadol is a very strong pain killer, our 70 pound dog was just given it for her tplo surgery and is only on it for 7 days, it knocks her for a loop and she will sleep for a few hours 30 minutes after giving it to her, I'd lay off of those, they will make your dog lethargic and off balance

Rgeurts January 19th, 2011 11:00 AM

We had a similar issue with Thorin. We actually boarded him at a vet clinic because he will not eat/drink when we are away. I won't get into the whole thing, but I called to check on him and the girl told me he hadn't eaten OR drank the entire time, and that she would prefer if I just came and picked him up. We hadn't left town, but had family visiting with small children. When we got there he had severe muscle atrophy, dehydration, diarrhea, and was stained yellow/brown all the way down his side (he was there for 5 days, but was scheduled for 9). They hadn't walked him at all. They were given our cc number to give him IV etc if he needed it and were told to call us immediately if there was anything wrong, which they didn't do. I think the only saving grace for him was his age. He was only about 6-7 at that time. The completely appaling thing is that it was an actual vet clinic. They showed no remorse for his condition and just seemed to be totally put out. He spent the rest of that day and night at his regular vet on IV. It took him several days to get back to normal. We will never leave him or Nookie again. If they can't go, we won't go.

I hope your girl recovers. It may hve just been a lot harder on her due to age. I would definitely take her in for a geriatric blood panel just to make sure organs etc are ok.

luckypenny January 19th, 2011 11:35 AM

Stress can bring out underlying illness. I hope you can figure out what's ailing your girl and that she recovers asap :fingerscr.

Dog Dancer January 19th, 2011 12:09 PM

I'm so sorry to hear that you and your pet are going through this. Praying that the dog recovers with the help of your vet. I also have a senior dog, and I know that she would not survive a week in a kennel. I know without a doubt that she would lay in a corner and refuse everything. For that very reason I haven't gone anywhere in years. I have to go away in a few months for a week and will be having a friend stay at our house with her. I know this will be hard on her also, but at least the friend will deal with any issues that arrise. Good luck to you and your sweet old pup.

chico2 January 19th, 2011 05:28 PM

chablinos,I just wanted to add,that I am very sorry and hope that the kennel somehow has to answer for their attitude,hopefully even close down.
:pray:She'll recover:fingerscr

MaxaLisa January 21st, 2011 02:38 AM

This sounds like some sort of infection, combined with neglect?

cell January 21st, 2011 11:55 AM

I am leaning in agreement with luckypenny, leaving a dog in a kennel is horribly stressful.
I am sure that the kennel staff is use to dogs who get depressed and stressed during their stay, they also don't personally know the dog so they more easily write off the behavior under stress. I wouldn't be quick to jump on the kennel since they have no real way in knowing what is depression and what is a more serious illness as they can present the same. As the OP said they staff were surprised when the dog didn't react to the owner returning which tipped them off that that dog might have actually been sick and not depressed.
If all medical tests came back negative there is really nothing that can be pin-pointed on the kennel at this point.

Did the dog get any vaccines before going in the kennel that could have caused reaction?
At this point I would agree that removing the high-strength medications for some more mild ones as well as trying to feed a moist bland diet to see if anything can stay down long enough to digest.

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