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What Am I Missing? Going Downhill...


Guest sbgreymom
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Guest sbgreymom

A quick recap: my 11-y.o. boy Beck was fine, in great shape, normally shaky for his age but strong and healthy, up until about a month ago. Over the last few weeks he's gone through a rapid decline with most of the symptoms showing as a loss of strength and coordination in the hindlimbs, and a lot of associated pain. He was diagnosed last week with lumbosacral stenosis and I went through a bunch of drama with one vet who wouldn't treat with Dr. Stack's recommended steroid-shot protocol before switching to a new vet, this Monday, who would.

 

Beck seemed to be feeling better after the dexamethasone and Adequan shots, but is physically still losing coordination more and more each day. Despite seeming to be in less pain from his back, Beck is refusing food by hand - and falls down when he tries to eat from his regular bowl. I've tried just about every food... even home cooked, he'll only eat a bite or two. He'll lap up a tiny bit of water if I hold a bowl for him... but not enough.

 

I don't know whether to suspect something more is going on, or if maybe Beck's just giving up on things. He still seems to be in fairly good spirits, not depressed. But the constant falling over... I don't know. And now to see him wasting away...

 

Does anyone have any thoughts as to what else could be going on?

The first vet did take xrays of his lower spine and hips but I never saw them (argh); honestly at this point I'm suspecting Beck may have some tumor along his spinal cord somewhere - or some similar kind of malignancy. He's just... crashing.

 

I don't even know how I can sit here and type this all so calmly... my heart is absolutely breaking. :(

 

-- edit to add - Don't worry, I'm calling his vet for an appointment ASAP! But I'm hoping you all can give some ideas too - since the new vet's actually willing to listen :)

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Guest Tenderhearts

I am so sorry that I can't be of more help other than to think something else is going on. My heart is breaking right along with yours! Beck is now on my prayer list! :hope :hope :hope :hope :hope

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Have you had bloodwork done recently? Can you go back to the new vet? Missing a meal every now and again isn't alarming, but not eating and not drinking...I'd be at the vet.

 

Hope you can get to the bottom of it! :grouphug:grouphug:grouphug

 

Oh - and get those x-rays from your former vet - you paid for them, they're yours. In fact, ask them to give you a complete copy of his file - everything in it, and take it either to the new vet or, in the case of the x-rays, to a specialist.

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Guest CaroleWithRunningDogs

I'm so sorry you folks are dealing with this. I know that when my big boy was diagnosed with spinal stenosis a few months ago - about 6 days into his treatment (with Previcox) I called the vet and said 'gee my guy seems more sluggish, not right' and our regular vet was coming back from vacation in a few days so I just held off until my regular vet came who decided my dog was having a reaction to the medication with his kidneys shutting down....and to stop the medication and get him to drink as much as I could...which is when I could take meat/fat drippings and make an au jus for him over his kibble and he is fine now, but scared the heck out of me. Do not rule out having a reaction to the medication! While it might be fine for one dog, not for the other. My girl did horribly on Dermax, another well known anti-inflammatory....and when you mentioned the not drinking water, that is what came to mind...Keep us posted! :gh_face Carole

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Guest sbgreymom
I'm so sorry you folks are dealing with this. I know that when my big boy was diagnosed with spinal stenosis a few months ago - about 6 days into his treatment (with Previcox) I called the vet and said 'gee my guy seems more sluggish, not right' and our regular vet was coming back from vacation in a few days so I just held off until my regular vet came who decided my dog was having a reaction to the medication with his kidneys shutting down....and to stop the medication and get him to drink as much as I could...which is when I could take meat/fat drippings and make an au jus for him over his kibble and he is fine now, but scared the heck out of me. Do not rule out having a reaction to the medication! While it might be fine for one dog, not for the other. My girl did horribly on Dermax, another well known anti-inflammatory....and when you mentioned the not drinking water, that is what came to mind...Keep us posted! :gh_face Carole

 

WHOA!

Previcox is what the first vet put him on... Beck was on it for three days... I took him off it after the 3rd day (last dose was Sunday eve) because it was making him seem way worse, sluggish and disoriented and lack of appetite. ANd somehow it just didn't occur to me that that was only 72 hours ago, and he may still be reacting.... I will DEFINITELY bring this up at the vet. I'm going to ask them to give him fluids today and check his kidney function, for starters... but maybe I should stop overreacting about the long-term prognosis, and think about this just being a Previcox reaction.

 

Thank you Carole for the lightbulb!

 

And I did just now get Beck to eat a whole slice of toast with butter (I know, awful... but I figured ANY calories are good, the poor dog's dropped a ton of weight in 5 days) and he felt so good afterward he went outside and tried to pee on the bushes. Fell over, of course -- but he did try. And he's putting his ears up (Downing ears!) again.

 

 

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Oh - and get those x-rays from your former vet - you paid for them, they're yours. In fact, ask them to give you a complete copy of his file - everything in it, and take it either to the new vet or, in the case of the x-rays, to a specialist.

definitely have your former vet or practice send beck's complete chart and any x-rays to your new vet or practice. it's a little disturbing your former vet didn't review the x-rays with you.

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Guest sbgreymom

An update - I did get Beck to drink about 12-16 oz of weak chicken broth. Yay! And he's also up to 3 pieces of toast now... I can't believe he's talking me into all this spoiling of him :) But right now, if he wants to eat sourdough toast with butter, I'll go along with it. We can work our way back to chicken and rice tomorrow or the next day.

 

I'm annoyed at not having seen his x-rays too. I'm such a non-confrontational person that I'm having a hard time calling up and asking to come get all his records - because I know this former vet will come out into the lobby and want to know what's going on. Grrrrr. I guess I need to just grow some armor and do it!! Either that or send hubby... no, no one deserves that :)

 

I don't know whether there are any neurologists in the area... I'll ask. As horrible as it sounds, I have to weigh all decisions vs. finances, since I have 4 geriatric animals and a young daughter and no sugar-daddy on the horizon yet... but at the same time, I will not give up on Beck!!! So yeah, will look into that.

 

We're off now to see the (new) vet.

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Guest LynnM

One other thought, a tad medieval, but cheap and effective....

 

Ask your vet about simply starting a course of Prednisone (discontinue NSAIDS). It'll reduce pain and inflammation and tends to stimulate appetite. I know it's old-fashioned and "shotgun" in nature, but until you can figure out a more specific diagnosis, it might help him stay more comfortable.

 

Lynn

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Guest Winterwish

12 to 16 oz.,very glad to hear it! Good boy Beck! Hopefully the new vet will be much better for you.

Sending good thoughts for Beck's steady improvement. :getwell:hope

 

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One other thought, a tad medieval, but cheap and effective....

 

Ask your vet about simply starting a course of Prednisone (discontinue NSAIDS). It'll reduce pain and inflammation and tends to stimulate appetite. I know it's old-fashioned and "shotgun" in nature, but until you can figure out a more specific diagnosis, it might help him stay more comfortable.

 

Lynn

 

I suggest this too. If there's something causing inflammation, it will at least make him comfortable and minimize any pain if he's in any.

 

I'd also check into a neurologist and see if you can get an estimate of the charges before you start and see if it's in your budget. Just a consult may not be outrageous and he/she might be able to pinpoint more accurately what's going on.

 

I hope Beck's better soon!

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Guest Jennifer4719

Just an idea....if you are uncomfortable asking your old vet for your dogs x-rays, then have your new vet call and get them.

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Guest gottaluvgreysindy
Just an idea....if you are uncomfortable asking your old vet for your dogs x-rays, then have your new vet call and get them.

 

 

This is a good idea. That is how I did it when I switched vets and they were happy to do it. Just checking in to see how your boy is doing....update?

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Guest CaroleWithRunningDogs

Hope to hear good news soon from you. Just wanted to share my cooking that has worked wonders for pup with poor appetite - cook pasta, add no-salt tomato sauce, some browned ground beef (turkey, mutton, whatever, it changes every week), and cooked minced veggies. This is of course fit for human consumption (except for the lack of salt), and you could do that - make some for everyone! I make a big bowl of this and serve it over a week. I learned that pasta is easy on the kidneys, and the meat gives the protein. (browning the meat is where I get the aus jus for the breakfast kibble). My boys love cooked veggies. Also a big can of sardines in tomato sauce works over pasta too. Lb of pasta, lb of meat, lb of veggies does it. Tomato sauce isn't necessary but mine happen to love tomatoes too. I learned from a trainer to consider the pasta as some kennels use that instead of rice. :gh_face Carole

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Guest sbgreymom

A quick update... and thank you all again for the helpful ideas!

Beck spent another hour at the vet this AM. We looked at the xrays from the previous vet... all two of them (can't believe how expensive they were, for only two, but I digress). As is typical with LS, they were inconclusive.

My new vet, super awesome guy that he is, has not only been ALL OVER Dr. Stack's website in the past 24 hours, he's also been on the phone with UC Davis getting info and advice from THEM about what we can try. UCD agrees with Dr. Stack that the Depo-Medrol's our best (only) bet.

All the signs do still point to it being lumbosacral stenosis - Beck's bloodwork came back utterly perfect. No signs of any tumors or disc issues on xrays. No other weird clues. Doc says it's indeed possible for LS to come on this suddenly - esp. if a bout of activity aggravated it, which is very possible with Beck, insane goofball that he is.

 

Anyhow, for today they gave him another big batch of fluids since he's still not eating or drinking, and gave him a Tramadol at about 11am...

I picked him up at noon and OMG, there was something like a 30-40% improvement in his attitude and also his coordination. He wasn't healed - but he wasn't falling down anymore, and he was vocalizing ("get me outta here" whines), and expressive. So I think that it's VERY likely the pain has been a huge component, and that as soon as we can find a pain management protocol that works, he'll regain some of the other stuff, at least enough to get by.

 

Tomorrow I drop him off at 11 and Dr. Lewis will do the Depo-Medrol shots. He had to wait till tomorrow because Beck had had the other steroid Monday. I'll let you all know how things go.

 

Can't believe what a drama this has been...

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Guest Greensleeves

I third the recommendation for oral prednisone. I mentioned in your last post about LSS that Whistler had been on it, but that it hadn't helped the LSS... but that wasn't the whole story!

 

Whistler's life turned around COMPLETELY the instant his doc added oral pred to his regimen. He had always been a poor eater, and had dropped to a weak 64lbs (he retired from racing at 86). Once Dr. Linda put him on prednisone, he became a GREAT eater! He had the best appetite of his life, and put on 13 pounds over the summer and just got stronger all over.

 

I know that pred can have horrible side effects, but for us, it really was Whistler's miracle drug. Beck sounds so much like what we were seeing with Whis (and at the same age). The pred *didn't* seem to affect his balance or coordination at all, but it improved his mood and appetite so much--that plus the Depo-Medrol gave him a really good last year (until cancer took him). I urge you to ask his new vet about it.

 

Good luck! Scritch that boy for me!!

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Guest whatahound

I'm so glad that he's feeling some better. Healing thoughts to you Beck.

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Guest vahoundlover

Glad you found a good vet! Continued prayers and healing thoughts that Beck will be back to his goofy self very soon!

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