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-   -   HELP!! No one knows what's wrong with our dog :( (http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=84164)

Beau Bear June 17th, 2013 08:51 AM

HELP!! No one knows what's wrong with our dog :(
 
I'll begin by giving a quick history.

We have a 3 1/2 year old Golden Retriever. Never had any health problems, no known family history of any disease or disorder. He is active, and very healthy.

Approx. 3 weeks ago, when he got up, I noticed he stumbled into the wall, as if he had lost his balance. This only lasted maybe 10-15 seconds, then he was fine. About a week after that, he went to get up in the morning, and his hind legs just let go. You could tell that he was weak in the hind legs. He was stumbling, and after about 5-8 minutes, was able to walk. He was a little wobbly, but that eventually wore off. I took him to the veterinarian that morning. By the time he saw the vet., he was asymptomatic. She did, however, diagnose him with a partial ACL tear. I still wasn't convinced that that was what was going on... after this visit, he was totally normal for about two weeks. No limping, no wobbling, no trouble gettting up what-so-ever.

Two weeks later - same thing. He went to get up in the morning, and his hind legs just let go. This time, it lasted about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, he was able to walk, but was really off-balance. I called the vet. immediately who took us right away (after I explained that his symptoms were neurological). She referred us to the Atlantic Vet. College in Charlottetown that morning, and we headed over right away. This time, his symptoms didn't go away - he was very off balance, had a right head tilt, nystagmus (eyes twitching, kind of like he was dizze), and poor proprioception (when they flipped his hind paws over, he didn't immediately flip them back).

At this point, they told us they would need to run some tests to see what was going on, but to basically expect the worst. They said based on their assessment, it was something going on with his brain.

They did a CBC, abdominal ultrasound, spinal tap, and a CT scan. ALL tests came back normal. No swelling, no signs of cancer, ruled out any vascular issues.... (they did say that an MRI would show the brain tissue in a lot more detail, but didn't think it was necessary). Remember, this is a vet. teaching college. The specialist talked with neurologists, pathologists, etc... no one could tell us what was going on. We are still waiting for titer results for a parasitic infection, which we should get in a week or so. In the mean time, we are treating him with antibiotics, just in case.

He's back home now. His gait is better, and eyes aren't twitching anymore. He does still have the head tilt, and his eye lid on the right side is twitching a bit. His balance still isn't 100% - I would say it's 75% better. They are consulting with people throughout North America, to see if anyone has any answers... but I thought I would give it a shot here to see if anyone has been through this, or has seen this before.... any suggestions would be appreciated. BTW, an ortho surgeon did confirm a partial ACL tear, but said that this was beside the matter, and the least of our worries at this time... Thanks!

Longblades June 17th, 2013 10:25 AM

[QUOTE]he was very off balance, had a right head tilt, nystagmus (eyes twitching, kind of like he was dizze), and poor proprioception (when they flipped his hind paws over, he didn't immediately flip them back). [/QUOTE]

These are typical symptoms of Vestibular Disease. Also called, erroneously, Geriatric Vestibular Disease, it is not exclusively geriatric. Also easily confused with ear infection, epilepsy and/or stroke, depending on which symptoms present.

Google up and ask your Vet. Some are unfamiliar with GVD or don't think of it in a young dog. My sister's dog had this at age 12. As per Sis's Vet it is most often temporary, lasts a month to a month and a half and dog recovers with perhaps some mild retained symptoms. Typically recovery is as sudden as onset. Dogs with bad symptoms, like Laddie who could not walk at all, were often put down but now we know that after a rather extended time they mostly recover.

Bang on a month Laddie just stood up and walked again. He could not walk for a month and Sis put her back out carrying him outside to toilet. He retained some head tilt which lessened during his next four years of life. Yep :) made it to 16.5 years old.

I am not diagnosing your dog over the internet but providing this a clue for you to investigate further. Good luck. If it is GVD, well, it could be much, much worse things.

Beau Bear June 17th, 2013 10:42 AM

thanks
 
Thank you for your reply. I have discussed GVD with the specialist. They do not think that this is it (although I agree with you, really sounds like it). They said it would be really rare in a young dog, although it could happen. I forget exactly why they've ruled that out... also the fact that he's had 3 episodes so far, and has been totally asymptomatic in between, except for this last time.... might still be this: i am hoping it is, because otherwise, whatever is going on could be much worst... I will ask the specialist again when they call. Thanks!

Beau Bear June 17th, 2013 10:45 AM

also...
 
I remember the vet saying that if it was vestibular disease, it wouldn't just be weakness in the hind legs... he would be off balance in general. With him, it starts off with the hind leg weakness (can't get up for 5-10 minutes because of hind legs letting go). Although, every dog could present differently I suppose.

Dog Dancer June 17th, 2013 11:41 AM

Sorry to hear about your pup, I hope it gets sorted out soon. I thought the same thing as Longblades. I'm going to ask Hazelrunpack to check in here, she's had experience with this I believe. Good luck to you.

Goldfields June 17th, 2013 11:50 AM

I immediately thought of Vestibular disease also, Longblades. The old cattle dog belonging to a friend's brother was just about to be put down when I told her it could be this effecting it, and sure enough, it was. Nothing's impossible, Beau Bear, I'll keep fingers crossed for your dog.

hazelrunpack June 17th, 2013 11:54 AM

We did have a case of vestibular disease in a younger dog--she was 5 at the time--but she didn't have hind quarter weakness prior to the attack. Nor did the symptoms come and go--it was a prolonged attack with head tilt being the first symptom and the lack of coordination following. Took a few months to resolve completely.

Did the vets say [I]why[/I] they thought the MRI was unnecessary?

The ticks are bad and we live in Tick Central, so tick-borne diseases always have to be ruled out as a cause of anything neurological here. Are ticks a problem where you live? Have you been to an area where your dog might have been exposed to them? If so, it might be something to explore as a cause.

One other thought--could your dog have gotten into something toxic (mushrooms, cleaning supplies, pesticides, etc)? Something that he might have access to at different times, showing symptoms only after exposure? Usually that sort of toxicity will affect the CBC, but sometimes the effects won't show in the blood work for a few weeks.

Beau Bear June 17th, 2013 04:27 PM

Well, they said that an MRI might rule out other things, or might detect certain things that a CT scan wouldn't (very small tumours for example)... But if it was cancer in the brain, there is nothing they can do. An MRI here is done at a human hospital, and cost is around $2000. We've already forked out close to $4000 just to try to get this diagnosed and so far have been unsuccessful. We just don't have the means to get the MRI at this time.

They don't think it's cancer, because he gets better in between episodes. Again, anything is possible. It's just very frustrating not having any answers... I've taped the episodes in the hopes that someone out there has seen this before. Students at the college want to do a project on him, since it's such an unusual case. ugghhhhh

Tics are really rare where we live. I've asked them about it, and they don't think it's that. Also, we've checked around to see if it could be a toxin, but haven't seen anything. Also, with toxins, they would usually show some gastrointestinal signs - vomitting, diarrhoea, etc., which he hasn't had at all.

MaxaLisa June 17th, 2013 07:31 PM

These are also typical symptoms for tick disease, or things like toxoplasmosis or neospora. We do not have tests for all of the tick diseases out there, and some tests will yield false negatives, so diagnosing can be tricky. If you saw a quick response to the abx, that is very telling to me. If this is the case, I am willing to bet an MRI will not be helpful.

What antibiotic were you given?

Beau Bear June 17th, 2013 08:13 PM

We really haven't seen a change with the antibiotic use. He seems to be getting "used" to be off-balanced. Personality wise, he is pretty much the same. He's eating and drinking fine (still gets the drooly look while waiting for his food), and his BMs and urines have been normal. He doesn't act like a sick dog, other than the head tilt to the right, and the gait issue.

He's on Clindamycin Hydrocholoride (150 mg tabs - 3 tabs twice daily).

For those interested, here is what the small animal intern wrote in her discussion summary on Beau's discharge instructions:

"Beside the neurological signs Beau presented with, the rest of his physical exam was normal. The right head tilt and the rotational and horizontal nystagmus were suggestive of disease within the right side of the brain. The ataxia and the proprioceptive deficits in his hind legs were suggestive of a spinal cord lesion; together with the brain lesion suggest a multifocal disease process is most probable. Some of the possible causes included an inflammatory, infectious or autoimmune process. The causes may include a stroke or cancer. The recommended diagnostic procedures to rule out and potentially confirm a cause included a complete blood count with biochemistry, an analysis of the urine, thoracic radiographs, ultrasound of the abdomen, a CT scan and a cerebrospinal fluid tap. All of those diagnostic tests were performed today and all of them were within normal limits. This can rule out some of the potential causes for Beau's condition. The CT showed no evidence of a large space occupying mass and makes neoplasia less likely. Although CT is a good modality, it can miss subtle lesions in the brain, MRI would be indicated to definitively rule out changes in the brain tissue. The CSF tap was normal today; this test indicates that there is no inflammation affecting the meninges and within the fluid around the spinal cord and brain. Most of the common inflammatory conditions suspected for Beau normally have inflammatory CSF. This result may suggest that either a) Beau does not have an inflammatory process such as a steroid responsive meningitis or granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) or b) he has a rare form that has not affected the CSF.

It will take approx. 2-3 weeks for the infectious tigers results for Neospora and Toxoplasma to come back. We will contact you with the results as soon as we receive them. "

They then go on to say to monitor him closely for worsening of symptoms and that they are hopeful he will make a full recovery. If his condition worsens, they may need to start immunosuppressive therapy...

MaxaLisa June 18th, 2013 01:09 AM

Clinda is used for toxo and maybe neospora. I do not believe it will treat any of the rickettsial diseases such as ehrlichia or anaplasma.

That seems like an awfully long time for titers for Toxo and Neo. Last person I know that ran them through the lab I use had the toxo come back in a day. Don't know if she ran the neo. I just sent in bloodwork for the same things, as well as others, and I expect to have them back much sooner than 2 weeks.

Beau Bear June 18th, 2013 08:37 AM

I think it's because they are sending it to a lab in central Canada... we likely don't have a lab to test for that in the Atlantic region. They said 2 weeks, but they expect to have it at the end of this week, or beginning of next.

glee070 July 1st, 2013 12:29 AM

golden retriever
 
He could be having mini seizures. Antibiotics are going to kill all of his good bacteria. If you are using one of those toxic flea/tick killing products, this could very well be the culprit. Diet is so very important as well. I would suggest you see a holistic veterinarian......please!![QUOTE=Beau Bear;1058710]I'll begin by giving a quick history.

We have a 3 1/2 year old Golden Retriever. Never had any health problems, no known family history of any disease or disorder. He is active, and very healthy.

Approx. 3 weeks ago, when he got up, I noticed he stumbled into the wall, as if he had lost his balance. This only lasted maybe 10-15 seconds, then he was fine. About a week after that, he went to get up in the morning, and his hind legs just let go. You could tell that he was weak in the hind legs. He was stumbling, and after about 5-8 minutes, was able to walk. He was a little wobbly, but that eventually wore off. I took him to the veterinarian that morning. By the time he saw the vet., he was asymptomatic. She did, however, diagnose him with a partial ACL tear. I still wasn't convinced that that was what was going on... after this visit, he was totally normal for about two weeks. No limping, no wobbling, no trouble gettting up what-so-ever.

Two weeks later - same thing. He went to get up in the morning, and his hind legs just let go. This time, it lasted about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, he was able to walk, but was really off-balance. I called the vet. immediately who took us right away (after I explained that his symptoms were neurological). She referred us to the Atlantic Vet. College in Charlottetown that morning, and we headed over right away. This time, his symptoms didn't go away - he was very off balance, had a right head tilt, nystagmus (eyes twitching, kind of like he was dizze), and poor proprioception (when they flipped his hind paws over, he didn't immediately flip them back).

At this point, they told us they would need to run some tests to see what was going on, but to basically expect the worst. They said based on their assessment, it was something going on with his brain.

They did a CBC, abdominal ultrasound, spinal tap, and a CT scan. ALL tests came back normal. No swelling, no signs of cancer, ruled out any vascular issues.... (they did say that an MRI would show the brain tissue in a lot more detail, but didn't think it was necessary). Remember, this is a vet. teaching college. The specialist talked with neurologists, pathologists, etc... no one could tell us what was going on. We are still waiting for titer results for a parasitic infection, which we should get in a week or so. In the mean time, we are treating him with antibiotics, just in case.

He's back home now. His gait is better, and eyes aren't twitching anymore. He does still have the head tilt, and his eye lid on the right side is twitching a bit. His balance still isn't 100% - I would say it's 75% better. They are consulting with people throughout North America, to see if anyone has any answers... but I thought I would give it a shot here to see if anyone has been through this, or has seen this before.... any suggestions would be appreciated. BTW, an ortho surgeon did confirm a partial ACL tear, but said that this was beside the matter, and the least of our worries at this time... Thanks![/QUOTE]

Goldfields July 1st, 2013 09:21 AM

Beau Bear, it's late at night or I'd make a phone call for you. A friend of mine who lives interstate here in Australia had a red cattle dog named Peaches that had the head tilt you speak of. She apparently kept having mini strokes, but I don't know how many or what sorts of tests they ran. I would be curious myself to know if she shared any of Beau's other symptoms. Anyway, I shall ring her tomorrow about it.


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