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  #1  
Old March 12th, 2009, 11:02 AM
Duke's mommy Duke's mommy is offline
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Any thoughts? Vets are stumped - frantic behaviour

Hello,

Duke is a 6 year old Giant Schnauzer. We got him from a shelter in Canada when he was 6 months old. He has always had digestive issues (sensitive to regular dog food, and even many of the prescription vet foods).

At the end of November, he had 2 espisodes over the course of 2 days in which he seemed to be greatly frightened by something all of a sudden. He ran to the windows in the first episode, barking a high pitch bark, shaking, inconsoleable. The second espisode, he was outside for a walk (we live in the country), and he ran back to the house and did the same thing as in the first. He recovers eventually, and everything went back to normal. The Vet's thoughts were that it was from his anal glands, which were full and infected. We put him on antibiotics, and had no further incidents.

We had Duke to the Vet 2 weeks ago as he had infections in his feet from chewing them ( a result of his food allegies that we try and manage). He received allergy medicine, as well as an antibiotic with an acid in it. The Vet was thinking that since his paws were so bad, and also now around his mouth, perhaps we should try and boost up his immune system.

The 2 week course of medicine was to complete yesterday, and we had a follow up appointment to see the Vet yesterday afternoon. However, on Monday he began to have the episodes again - unfortunatley, since his stool was loose, he expelled it all over the house, but didn't lose control of his bladder. I took him immediatley to a Vet by our house since our Vet was closed for the evening, to have his anal glands checked - since this seemed to be the cause last time. His glands were empty. The vet did a check and noted that his anus was inflammed, and since he had the runs also, gave him a prescription for his digestive system to solid up his stool. She also gave us some codeine. As soon as I came home, I gave him the pills and he immediatley started to have an episode - longer and more intense than before. The Vet called back and advised to give him another codeine which we did (I wasn't sure if he had barked out the first, and since there was dog poop everywhere and the pill could be anywhere, this seemed like the best idea). He continued to have several episodes and we took him to the emergency hospital in our area. They examined him and couldn't determine any causes. They kept him overnight without issue, but in the morning when they brought him in for observation he had another episode. They referred us to a neurologist.

We went to the neurologist yesterday and after observing the episode they did not believe that it was neurological. They thought it was more behavioural, and prescribed valium and another pill to keep him mellow. We were to continue the stomach meds. They also had no conclusion on what might be causing his problem, but suggested that perhaps it is "panic attacks."

We brought him home yesterday and he slept all day. Last night I noted that he was mildly shaking intrmittently, and when my husband took him out for a walk he had another espisode. He then came back inside and went to sleep.

This morning, he seemed more himself - his tail was no longer curled under at the back, and on his brief walk he had a normal bowl movement. He is now sleeping.

We had spoke with our own Vet before going to the neurologist and they confimed that it would also be there next step based on the description.

Any thoughts on this? Our poor dog is a lovely soul, and to see him so frantic is heart breaking. The vet we went to for the anal glands suggested that perhaps it was his digestive system that was causing him pain, and perhaps it would pass after his system got better from the stomach med.

I would appreciate it if anyone has ever heard of anything like this before to let me know. Since there isn't an indication when an episode is going to occur, it is sort of like having a loaded gun on the floor, and we really want to help him!!!
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  #2  
Old March 12th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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Stacer Stacer is offline
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Sorry your pooch is having a hard time, I hope we can help you out.

I guess the first question should be: What are you currently feeding him?

If it is anxiety, then perhaps trying Bach's Rescue Remedy might be a more natural way to help keep im calm. You can find it at most Shopper's Drug Marts in the natural health section.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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It really, really sounds like your dog is experiencing complex partial seizures (pyschomotor and behavioral). Dogs will often exhibit this by odd and sudden behavior changes (like the barking and the shaking). Even though there is not a lack of conciousness with your dog, it sounds like there's a serious lack of awareness - which is another symptom for this type of seizure.

Has any vet ruled out canine epilepsy for you yet? (I know you mentioned they said it was not anything neuro, but if they haven't specifically mentioned this, please ask.) I'm so sorry to hear about this, and please keep us posted.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 05:31 PM
Duke's mommy Duke's mommy is offline
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More info on Duke

..thanks SO much for the thoughts so far - the day has gone by OK with no further episodes. We went out for a reasonable walk, and he urinated and had a smaller bowel movement. He no longer has his tail clenched up underneath him. His back legs are a bit shaky from time to time, but I bet that is from the meds. I am cautiously optimistic that something is working.

Stacer - Duke eats Wellness Duck + Rice. Not sure if the basic nature of the food could be leaving him deficient? He does have smaller stool. We will go a bit longer on the meds (fingers crossed that it will keep working), then look into the remedy for sure.

Bailey - I should have mentioned this - he does actually hear you when he has the episodes. He will briefly sit or down, briefly for sure but he does it.

Hard to say now which meds are making the difference - the stomach meds or the mellow meds...
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Old March 12th, 2009, 05:41 PM
Duke's mommy Duke's mommy is offline
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More info on the food

.. in case this triggers anything for anyone, here is the ingredients in the Wellness Duck + Rice food that Duke is eating:
Both Simple Food Solutions Formulas have only 5 main ingredients carefully chosen for their quality, nutritional value and their ability to nourish with simplicity:

Ground Rice with the bran layer removed, this quality carbohydrate source is highly digestible.


Deboned Duck OR Deboned Venison are chosen as “novel” protein sources due to their unique amino acid profiles.


Rice Protein Concentrate is a highly concentrated, easily digestible protein source specifically selected as a unique protein complement to duck or venison.


Sunflower Oil is a high quality fat source rich in Omega-6 fatty acids that help maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat.


Ground Flaxseed is an outstanding fiber source for healthy digestion. A naturally rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:56 AM
kandy kandy is offline
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I have to wonder if it's the pain causing the behavioral issues. If you believe the meds are working, then that leads me to think the meds are relieving the pain. Having the tail curled under, and the shaking are what make me think it's pain related.

It seems as though your poor boy has had digestive issues his whole life, along with these extreme allergies. I would suggest a good quality grain free food like Orijen - the reason I suggest grain free is that if your dog has digestive issues it could indicate a condition like SIBO or IBD. Grains ferment in the gut and allow the bad bacteria a nice environment to really get going - which causes pain, runny stools, etc. The chewing of the feet, as you know, is also a sign of allergies. While Wellness is a good food, some dogs just don't do well with grains in their diet (and they aren't needed anyway).

I hope he feels better soon!
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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:42 PM
Chilver Chilver is offline
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I have a Bichon who now is 8 yrs. old. He had a similar episode 2 years ago. He acted spooked, had his tail between his legs and wouldn't get out of his bed. He panted all night long. I brought him water and tried to settle him. I took him to the vet and they said there was nothing wrong. Since, he has had 2 mild seizures many months apart. The vet said the more I tried to pacify him when he was panting the worse I was making the situation. Your situation sounds much worse than mine but I know how you feel and hope your dog will be OK.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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If it's epileptcy-related, there will sometimes be something that will trigger it, like anxiety or excitement (waiting for a treat) (jealousy of another dog) (loud noises). I had a dog years ago that had seizures. He could hear me, would look if I said "there's a kitty", and would drool when coming out of it. We did find that staying very calm seemed to help keep the severity level down. You feel so helpless when your pet is going through it and you don't know how to help or what is causing it.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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I'd ask for a second opinion on the neuro consult. Ask for some tests to rule stuff out.

I agree with kandy, try a grain-free food. If you don't like Orijen or it's not available in your area, Wellness also makes a grain free called CORE, it's more expensive than Orijen and has less protein (I believe). Innova EVO is also a good grain-free formula that many people like.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:01 PM
Duke's mommy Duke's mommy is offline
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Update

Thanks for all the thoughts so far - I am going to try and find a new food tomorrow - it can only help.

Duke has not had another incident - thank goodness! Now to figure out what the cause is. We went for a follow up at the neurologist today, and actual had an exam done by an internal medicine specialist to rule out a prostate type issue. They did not come up with anything.

He remains on three medicines - and my mistake on this - I had it wrong yesterday. He is on valium, medicine for his stomache, and also an anti-seizure medicine. The neurologist has reduced his valium in half, and will eliminate it in three days. We will then see what happens. We will then let the stomach medicine run off, and see what happens. Then, the anti-seizure medicine.

I spoke with our regular vets office this morning about a referral to U of G for him. I also spoke with U of G and they are booking for the end of next week and into the following week. We may go this route on Monday. We have to find out what had caused this so the poor guy doesn't have to go through it again. I really hope we can!

With the valium reduced Duke is back to mostly normal. He still seems somewhat uncomfortable (moves from place to place to sleep). My fingers are crossed that he continues to be OK....
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Old March 13th, 2009, 11:22 PM
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Sorry to hear of the troubles Duke is having

With all the digestive issues and especially all the meds he is on, I would highly recommend starting him on a probiotic - this will help rebalance the good gut flora & help with any digestion problems he's having.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 01:14 PM
Duke's mommy Duke's mommy is offline
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Question Another thought...

..Thankfully, Duke has still not had another incident. We have continued to observe him, and he will have the last valium at midnight tonight. He will remain on the anti-seizure med still (levetiracetam). Thanks to everyone again for all the thoughts so far - we really appreciate it!!

What I have noted is that his bowels have still not bound, and he has been on the stomach med since Tuesday night (metronidazole). So, when he barks (just normal barking), he does expel some feces. When he had his incidents, it may not be that he lost control of his bowels, but more that since everything was soft and he was barking so much, out it came, maybe...

I find it odd that his bowels are still upset - and I am wondering what would happen if he had parasties? We live in the country, and he does pursue manure whenever he can, althought we try to keep him out of it. How would this manifest itself? Could an infection cause frantic episodes? Back to the vet tomorrow I guess. Anyone have any experience with parasites?

I did find a few stores around us that have Orijen, and I will certainly pick it up. Not sure if I should wait until his bowels are bound until I introduce it (I think I should), and I will run it by the vet tomorrow. I am going to get some fish oil today and get that into his diet - would Salmon be the best bet? Would omedga 3-6-9 also be a good idea?

He is still chewing away at his feet, and actually his scrotum is inflammed and is so chapped that it is bleeding a bit as he is licking it. This poor guy!

Again, thankful that he hasn't had another episode, but puzzled as to the cause.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 02:29 PM
kandy kandy is offline
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While I am certainly no vet, I wouldn't discount the effects that pain can have on the body. I think that every dog deals with pain differently.

Parasites can be tough to get rid of, but I have to ask if the vet tested for a parasite. Some vets will medicate for a parasite without ever determining if there is one or not. I know that my son's newf was treated for parasites over and over and over again - and the whole time it was an allergy to barley causing his problems. Once we got him off the barley, his chronic diarrhea cleared right up.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 08:40 PM
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Had your dog had a rabies shot soon before these symptoms appeared? Sounds very much like many cases of vaccinosis that I've seen dogs go through after the rabies shot.
As for boosting his immune system and allergies I've witnessed dogs changed to raw feeding become allergy free and much healthier on raw - our vet recomends it for people who wnat to switch.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 10:28 PM
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Have/will you consider a Homeopath Vet Consult?
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Old April 30th, 2009, 04:43 AM
Duke's mommy Duke's mommy is offline
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Update on Duke

Well, things have been really good for Duke - he has not had any more frantic episodes!! However, we still have no firm cause. He is off all the meds, and is as happy as could be.

We have him now on the Orijen 6 Fish. While it hasn't yet had an impact on his allergies, he is having larger stools, which can't be bad.

We have started with a new vet, and he has given him an allergy shot to try - it worked great for three weeks, but he is now back to chewing his paws. The vet has a few other ideas to try, so things are looking up!

My husband and I are thinking that the episodes were colitis related... I guess time will tell....

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Old April 30th, 2009, 07:08 AM
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That could very well be. A common issue with colitis is rectum spasms which is extremely painful.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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Glad to hear that he is doing better. It will take a while for the allergies to calm down, if they were related to his previous food. Did his allergy meds keep him from chewing on his feet? I ask because chewing on his paws could've become more of a habit for him since he did it for a while. If he stopped for any length of time, then its probably allergy related vs behavioral. If he never stopped, you could try spraying his feet with bitter apple spray to see if you can keep him from chewing them.
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