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!