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I have a 1 1/2 year old GSD rescue. I got her from the pound 4 months ago with the intent of fostering for 10 days. The day I brought her home she threw up no less than twenty times. It has continued to this day.

When I got her the pound told me she was 4 months old and weighed 16 pounds. At her first vet check (the next day) I was told she was at least a year as she had all her adult teeth. She was found to have giardia and they gave her a shot to stop her vomiting-it didn't work. She continued to vomit so I took her to another vet who works with rescue. He kept her and gave her IVs and did blood work and a gastrografin swallow to rule out mega-esophagus-which was ruled out.

The only abnormality in her bloodwork was sky high white cell count of almost 53,000. Tons of panacur, flagyl and various other meds later she is still having vomiting episodes that go on for hours, several times a week.

I have done an elimination diet on her and have not come up with one food item that she doesn't throw up. Not one. This girl throws up fruits, veggies, chicken, rice and every limited ingredient food I have tried. She is on grain free white fish and potato now but the vomiting has not stopped. She is now up to 30 pounds but should be at least 50-60.

I have begun more rounds of testing and EPI has been ruled out as well as Cushings and or Addison's. Her liver and kidney function tests were wnl, her white cell count is still high at 22,000. Friday she is having another barium swallow with thicker barium to try to rule out stricture or damage to her esophagus.

Have any of you ran into anything like this? My vet tells me if we have to open her up to find out what is wrong we will probably not find anything good. I'm broken hearted for my starving foster failure sweetheart. I want her to be able to eat her fill for once in her short life.

Thanks for any feedback....Lori
 

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I am so sorry for you and especially your Fur Baby!
I had looked this up for someone else and this is what I found:


The possible causes of increased levels of white blood cells include:

  • Viral infections, which will be indicated by a high count of neutrophils (the normal level of these cells is between 3,000 and 12,000 per microliter)
  • Bacterial infections, which may be present inside the dog’s organism or outside (i.e. skin infections)
  • Yeast or other fungal infections
  • Presence of parasites, indicated by a high count of eosinophils (normally 100 to 1,200 per microliter)
  • Stress, indicated by a high level of neutrophil cells
  • Autoimmune diseases, indicated by an increased count of lymphocytes (normal count of 500 to 4,500 per microliter)
  • Allergic reactions, when the level of eosinophils is high
  • Leukemia or other types of cancer (a high level of lymphocytes and monocytes)
Were any of the following specific results higher than the other?

  • Neutrophils
Neutrophils are created in the dog's bone marrow and then released into the bloodstream. When they are young, they present a single-lobed nucleus and are referred to as 'bands'. As they mature, they assume a multi-lobed nucleus and are called 'segs'. Their main duty is to 'engulf and destroy' bacteria. Elevated numbers of neutrophils are therefore indicative of infection. At times, high levels however may be also present in highly stressed dogs. The normal number of mature neutrophils range between 3,000 to 12,000 per microliter of blood while the number of young neutrophils range between 100 to 300 per microliter.

  • Eosinophils
Eosinophils are also produced in the bone marrow and they play the same role of neutrophils: engulfing any foreign particles found in the dog's body.Their increase in number is often indicative of some form of infection due to parasites or allergies. Their normal range is between 100 to 1200 per microliter.

  • Basophils
The role of Basophils is yet to be understood. They too are produced by the bone marrow but they may or may not be present in the blood sample. At times, their presence may be indicative of heartworm disease.

  • Lymphocytes
Lymphocytes are produced by the dog's lymph nodes and spleen. They are further divided into two categories: B cells and T cells. B cells tend to produce protein molecules which ultimately destroy any invading particles while T cells, on the other hand, help out other cells get rid of invading particles. Normal lymphocyte values range from 500 to 4,800 per microliter. An increase of lymphocytes may be indicative of a prolonged infection, an autoimmune disorder, or leukemia, an uncommon cancer of the blood.

  • Monocytes
Monocytes are finally the last type of white blood cells. They are stored in the spleen and bone marrow. Their normal values range between 100 to 1800 per microliter. Their numbers may increase when a dog is affected by leukemia.
As seen, there are a variety of causes for an increased number of white blood cells in dogs. At times, a high white blood count may prompt the veterinarian to run other diagnostic tests. Treatment is therefore aimed at bringing the values back to normal based on the veterinarian's findings.


Hope this helps and that the vet come up with an answer.

Moms:)
 

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Thanks you guys. It is the most frustrating thing I've been through and I've had GSDs for 20 years and many fosters.

Moms, I will get a copy of the labs on Friday but he told me they were elevated across the board. He suspects she has aspirated and fighting lung infection although said her lungs sounded clear.

GSDRaven, pretty much. It's awful. She had a water soluble barium follow through 4 months ago to rule out mega-esophagus. My vet now wants to repeat the study with thick barium to check for esophageal abnormalities. It's unpredictable because sometimes the vomiting starts 10 minutes after eating and sometimes it starts 5 hours later.

Other than the constant vomiting she has no other symptoms, has never had an abnormal stool, nothing. I'm perplexed and so is my vet.
 

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Why not try a Bailey chair or an elevated posture and feed her pureed food or food made into little meatballs?

That would be the first thing I would try: elevate while eating and do not feed solids.
 

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Can you get a referral to internal medicine specialist in your area?
This. And have you had plain old X-rays done? An ultrasound? Anytime someone says lots of vomiting to me I immediately think intestinal obstruction or even something lingering in the stomach too large to pass.
 

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Great article, thank you for sharing. Sochi definitely had vomiting and not regurgitation. She does vomit as often as that Pieka does though.

She's doing it right now and it has been 4 hours since her dinner and the only thing she snacked on was a few bites of carrot. It's very phlegmy sounding and very slimy when it does come up. If I can catch her before she re-eats it, she will eventually get it all up and stop for the night.

I guess I will just wait until her test on Friday, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something obvious.

Lori
 

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ok, new development last night...

After 3 hours of vomiting (it's vomiting not regurgitation, she heaves and hacks and gags) she came to me for snuggles. I was rubbing her belly and I can actually palpate her distended esophagus. It felt like a water balloon. I massaged it hoping to get the fluid/partially digested food to go down. Instead she stood up and projectile vomited in a 360 degree circle, went and got a drink and the episode was over. The water balloon wasn't there any more.

I know it is her esophagus, I don't know what, whether stricture, foreign body, tumor or mega, something is backing up her esophagus. I will be calling vet today to insist on a scope. If I'm wrong we'll circle back and do the testing he wants, but I am convinced that is what's happening.
 

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After 3 hours of vomiting (it's vomiting not regurgitation, she heaves and hacks and gags) she came to me for snuggles. I was rubbing her belly and I can actually palpate her distended esophagus. It felt like a water balloon. I massaged it hoping to get the fluid/partially digested food to go down. Instead she stood up and projectile vomited in a 360 degree circle, went and got a drink and the episode was over. The water balloon wasn't there any more.

I know it is her esophagus, I don't know what, whether stricture, foreign body, tumor or mega, something is backing up her esophagus. I will be calling vet today to insist on a scope. If I'm wrong we'll circle back and do the testing he wants, but I am convinced that is what's happening.
Even on the thinnest animal you can't palpate the esophagus in the abdomen. Hopefully that was a mistype. As soon as it exits the diaphragm it goes into the stomach.
 

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not a mistake, UGAvet, but not written very clearly...

The water balloon feeling was in her neck, (what I would consider the sternal or thyroid area on a human). The bulge was about 5 inches long that I could feel. I could feel it gurgle when I pressed on it.

Have you ever heard of that? Being able to feel an esophagus in the neck? I haven't and I was shocked to say the least, and then when massaging it produced projectile vomiting all over me and my bed--I was shocked again.
 

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Does the vomitus have the smell or appearance of stool? If so, that may point to an intestinal bacterium. There is an antibiotic used in humans that is not absorbed into the bloodstream but instead "coats" the small intestine and works directly on intestinal bacteria. It is called Rifaximin. Ask your vet. And bless you for your patience, time and money devoted to this rescue!
 

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Yes, she eats and drinks. She's voracious and has been for 4 months. I call her "baby bird" because she follows me around with her mouth open all the time. She is on small feedings, so she never gets full. I'm not sure how much she is absorbing but she had a cobalamin folate test done and her absorption of whatever those are was within normal limits.

I read up on Raymom's suggestion-pyloric stenosis, and that is exactly what it sounds like-word for word. But the reading I have done never mentions it happening to GSDs but I guess it isn't set in stone that only boxer can acquire it.

Billsharp, no not at all. (except she has been known to eat poop-her own and as it comes out of my other dogs, I assume because she is starving. ick, I do try to prevent that as much as I can) What she throws up is usually copious amounts of clear slime and white foam. No yellow bile. There will be small amounts of semi digested food but the majority of it is slime. Last nights event was all mostly digested food. It looked as if it was food processed.
 

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Doubt this is it but look up "Intussusception", I just lost my 8 week old girl to this weirdo medical condition that GSD's are prone to. I lost 3 German Shepherds to all "Rare" but commonly seen in German Shepherds Medical conditions so I would explore any and all possibilities.
 

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The water balloon feeling was in her neck, (what I would consider the sternal or thyroid area on a human). The bulge was about 5 inches long that I could feel. I could feel it gurgle when I pressed on it.

Have you ever heard of that? Being able to feel an esophagus in the neck? I haven't and I was shocked to say the least, and then when massaging it produced projectile vomiting all over me and my bed--I was shocked again.
I'm sorry but LOL not written very clearly? The neck is not even remotely the belly. And yes you can feel the normal esophagus in the neck on a normal animal, I feel it every time I check for placement of an endotracheal tube for anesthesia. But no it doesn't cause vomiting when I do this and it doesn't feel like a bulge.
 
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