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Rocky Needs some Patient Advocates? Help with DX

999 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Strongheart
Hey all! I have been gone a long time! But I'm back! Rocky had some legal issues and we decided to lay low until they were resolved (which they are and we won, yeah!!!)

He's having an issue and I wanted to present the facts in case someone can help me with being his patient advocate. His regular vet is a very busy clinic 3 blocks from me which is extremely high volume and I'll be blunt, they don't tend to diagnose a lot of stuff but treat for symptoms. It is SO convenient though and their prices are great too. But Rocky needs a diagnostician, I'll be taking him to the big referral place I go to for other animals but I've never taken a dog there before and I don't want to get skinned alive with unnecessary diagnostic tests because it is the kind of place people usually have to take out a 2nd mortgage to pay the bill. I just want to go in there informed and a little educated so I can make the best, most economical decisions. Your help is appreciated!

I'm just going to list what happened and in what order.

1. neighbor's shed reeking of gasoline vapors, apparently storing gasoline improperly, could be smelled 2 blocks away. called authorities, took 36 hours to be resolved - myself and dogs not feeling well from vapors but have to take them out to do business. All dogs fine except Rocky

2. Rocky suddenly doesn't want to play ball (which is his religion), seems overheated, doesn't want to lie down or sit for ball (always is very obedient otherwise).

3. Straining to poop, doesn't seem to be able to poop enough, always trying to squat but only a little poop comes out as opposed to his usual 4 helpings a day of massive, beautiful poops. However, still eating fine.

4. seems to be bunny hopping a little, not using his usual stride, doesn't want to run at all, will not bring ball, doesn't want to play. He lives to play! He worships the ball!

5. gave him some GasX, he starts burping a fair bit, goes to vet, has test for lymes/heartworm/erlichia - all negative. has a 106.5 fever, palpated for suspected bloat, no enlargement of stomach, Rocky uncharacteristically growls at the vet tech and really alarms me. I insisted on staying with him while blood drawn (after tightening comfort muzzle) to make him feel safe (usually very fearful at vet, even screams), he cooperates very well.

6. his blood work showed high MCHC and low ALKP - but he's been eating all his food and up until the gasoline problem, his poop looked great and was normal amount. So vet suspects ulcer and gastritis.

7. prescribed flagyl and carafate, not really doing all that much better, a little better today though but still only about 75%.

I should mention that when we got Rocky three and a half years ago, at age 1.5 yrs, he was only 70lbs and had horrible orange diarrhea and could only poop a little bit at a time and chronic corneal ulcers. He was put on super premium kibble and Nupro and flourished, now 98lbs (he's oversized) and hasn't had any eye problems since. He's the picture of health!!!

Thoughts? I appreciate them! I am not really worried about EPI or SIBO because his poop is fine, eating fine. He just can't seem to do a big poop, and the color orange is starting to creep back in.

I am worried about him possibly having chronic ulcers. I read that low ALKP can mean malnutrition, i.e., from EPI or history of that, and high MCHC can mean SIBO but he has no poop symptoms of these. I'm going House on all this stuff!

Help! Thanks! I'm worried about my Rock star!

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Thanks Jean. Well his anal glands seem ok, I mean they took his temp so I would think the vet would have noticed something with them if they were swollen? He doesn't drag his butt on the ground.

He was trotting a little better tonight but still not religiously retrieving ball to be thrown again, because he doesn't want to have to sit, there's a problem with sitting and getting up from lying down. However, apparently not joint related.

I did get a recommendation for an internist at the referral place from my exotics vet but I was hoping to have some good questions for her before going there.

I went through chronic anal gland issues with my lab and they can't tell from taking a temp normally nor did my lab ever drag his tush. If your not to squeamish, have a glove, and some ky or Vaseline you can check them pretty easily yourself. There right at 5 and 7 o'clock inside the rectum and swelling is pretty obvious once your in,lol Gently apply pressure if swelling is noted and you should be able to express them. I do this outside and with a washcloth over his tush so I don't get yucky. It should be oily and clearish and smell to high heaven. If blood or yellow/green pus is present suspect infection and keep a sample to take to your vet so they give you an antibiotic. On grain free Henry the lab has had no more anal gland issues, but when he did I was a do it your selfer- the vet charges a lot to do this and it really isn't technical:)
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Sorry to hear about Rocky, but glad that your legal issues are over. Usually I'm not over on this board on a regular here drives me nuts.

If you look at the bloodwork, are there any other values that are close to the edges of the normal ranges? Has he had an xray? I assume that all lymph nodes have been palpated?

In humans, a lot of gastritis and ulcers are caused by bacteria????

When I first quickly read this, I thought partial obstruction.

If the thinking is something bacterial, I might treat with doxycycline for SIBO rather than the usual Tylan.
Thanks guys. I will check his anal glands but unless they're obstructed, it might lower his opinion of me. I will take his temp again too.

Does SIBO cause elevated WBCs? His WBCs are smack in the middle of normal. However, his TBIL (total bilirubin, a component of bile) is borderline high and HGB (hemoglobulin) is also borderline high. So I think it sounds like a flare up of pancreatitis probably from eating compost which he sometimes tries to do. We don't let him do this but he sometimes sneaks some.

I guess I will have his bloodwork repeated this week and see what that looks like. He seems a little more himself today but not entirely.

I had read that GSDs have higher than normal RBC count as a breed, you know like the way Tibetans have higher RBC than the rest of us because of the altitude they live at. I wonder why GSDs would have that. But that's what predisposes them to SIBO...interesting.

I think I'll just repeat his bloodwork next week and ask for an xray. The problem is that he growled at the techs and he usually has to be sedated for stuff like that. I don't want to stress him out too much and I don't want him to bite anyone. I wish he weren't so scared at the vet! The place I take him gets insulted because I want to stay with him for stuff like that so he doesn't scream and try to climb the walls. If I'm there, he's just fine!
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In case you think the gas and Rocky's illness are related...I looked up signs of natural gas poisoning......

Headache and dizziness. While these may not be the classic warning signals, don’t ignore them.
Nausea. Especially if you are driving with the windows all rolled up or haven’t opened the windows in your house due to foul weather.
People who have been exposed to natural gas poisoning have ended up with epilepsy, sinus, pneumonia, nosebleeds, memory loss, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, loss of appetite, loss of menstrual cycles, depression, claustrophobia, pain in hands and feet, low grade fever, heart pain, partial-seizures, chest pain and hair loss.

and here's another one...

Symptoms of Natural Gas Poisoning

Judging by my family's experience with natural gas poisoning, there are a wide variety of symptoms that may occur from natural gas poisoning.
  • Increased allergies
  • Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mental Fogginess
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Pain and Discomfort
  • High Red Blood Cell Count
  • High White Blood Cell Count
  • Eczema
  • High Cholesterol levels
  • Pets are unexplainably ill
  • Migraines
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Myamom might be on to something....

I don't know if GSDs have a higher RBC than other breeds, it's nothing that I've noticed on the boards, nor in Max. Sitehounds definitely do, and it shows in Indy's bloodwork.

WBC may or may not be elevated with SIBO, and I think usually it's not.

You might try some nightly activated charcoal for awhile?
It wasn't natural gas though, it was gasoline. Our idiot neighbor was storing gasoline in an open container. The neighborhood reeked of regular old gasoline.

Rocky is still not his old self today. I talked to them about TLI testing, etc. But now I wonder if he doesn't have tapeworms after looking at some 'output' today. I'll drop off a sample for testing tomorrow. Just takes one darn flea or fly and they've got that. We topspot but must have been late on it or something.

Tapeworm could cause his 'output' to be smaller than normal? He's eating the same amount but the usual amount isn't coming out!
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