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Lots Of Questions...


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I posted earlier last week about my 9 year old sweet brindle grey, Frappuccino. She was having severe neck pain. Nearly everyone thought it was a classic herniated disc. Well, she had an MRI done on Friday and it is a myelitis: an inflammation of the spinal cord itself. The level is at C2-4, I think. The neurologist explained that it is either due to a meningitis or an autoimmune disorder. He says the autoimmune explanation is much more common in dogs. The CSF results are not back yet.

She was started in IV steroids and we are continuing them orally.

 

We got her home yesterday. It was a rough night: the Prednisone made her drink a lot and we had to take her out every two hours to pee. She was so gorked out: walking into walls, falling over, unable to stand up and she couldn't get a footing on our tile floor. We put down yoga and exercise mats all through the house. We assume it was a combination of the general anesthesia, the IV Morphine she was given for pain, as well as oral Tramadol and the spinal tap.

 

So, more questions:

1. Does anyone have experience with myelitis? Is it a good prognosis?

2. If you have experience with anesthesia, how long does it take for all the effects to wear off? I remember our male grey, Nico, had anesthesia for a soft tissue cancer removal and it took until the following morning for all the effects to wear off. It is now Sunday and she had the anesthetic on Friday. Does that seem like a long time for her to be so wobbly?

3. How long can a greyhound go without eating anything? I know that she could not eat on Friday because of the MRI, she did not eat dinner that night, nor breakfast the next morning. She has not had anything since she came home. So, essentially she has not had food for 3 days. Is there a dog equivalent to Ensure: a liquid supplement?

 

Thanks for your help. It's been rough.

 

 

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If she was given opiates (which I'm sure she was) that would explain the ataxia and the lack of appetite. It's ok if she doesn't eat--she does need to drink though (which I assume she is because of the pred) Try chicken baby food. If she likes that a nice little trick I do to get them to drink is to mix some baby food in the water--sometimes that's just enough to spark an appetite.

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I believe you mentioned in the other thread that the ataxia started after you increased the gabapentin? I wouldn't have expected going from 100mg 3x/day to 100 mg 4x/day to cause ataxia, so I was actually wondering if that sign was secondary to her spinal cord issue. If that's the case, it may not improve until she's been on the meds a little longer.

 

Hard to speculate on prognosis until you get the CSF tap results in and you have a more specific diagnosis. Did your neurologist talk to you about considering tick-borne disease (TBD) testing? Sometimes meningitis can be secondary to chronic TBD.

 

Have you been trying food besides her regular dog food? If she's not feeling good, I'd try encouraging her to eat with things like canned dog food, cooked chicken breast, or the baby food that tbhounds mentioned. Sending good thoughts that Frappucino starts feeling better.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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Thanks for the feedback! Last night was rough. Every two hours we got up and took her out to pee. She looked like a drunk Bambi: limbs going every which direction. Even this morning, she was still going sideways and missed the step down to the driveway. I'm happy to report that time and waiting it out helped tremendously.She is walking much better and can go in and out of the house without us holding on to her harness. She is resting comfortably and does not appear to be in any pain. So, I think the Prednisone is working. She is on 15 mg twice a day for 5 days before we drop her down to 10 mg twice a day.

 

She is still drinking quite a bit of water--just not as much as yesterday. She is still not eating anything. No interest. Nothing. Well, except for the Carafate she took on a doogie biscuit with peanut butter. I have tried to tempt her with: rice with hamburger, rice with cooked chicken, mixed with a little chicken broth, cheese, greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, peanut butter. Nothing. Nada.

 

So, I will call the vet's office tomorrow and see if the CSF results are in. How long can Frappy go without eating? Do they make Ensure for dogs? Thanks.

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As long as she's drinking, dogs can go for a couple weeks without eating, although that's obviously not ideal. You can give her Ensure to get some calories and nutrients into her, or try meat baby food. If she won't take either voluntarily, you can try slowly syringing or spooning it into her mouth. But if she seems nauseous or vomits, you don't want to force the issue.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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We had similar problems with our boy Sunny when he came home from the specialist hospital after investigations and treatment for a different autoimmune disease (autoimmune polyarthritis). Not so much with the wobbliness, but certainly with the lack of appetite and other steroid side effects.

 

Is Frappuccino on something to protect her stomach from the steroids? If not, that could be adding to her problems. Our boy ended up with a GI bleed because he was initially sent home without any stomach protectants.

 

Re the appetite, I know it's very difficult. In the early days we gave our boy a concentrated vitamin/mineral gel called Nutri-Gel which you can just squirt a little in their mouth every hour or so. Maybe you can get this or something similar where you are. It's expensive because you get through a a lot of it, but it was a godsend for us in those early days.

 

Other than that, we tried so many things with our boy and eventually found some things that he would eat a bite or two of. I kept a long list of anything he ever ate a biteful of and five times a day just kept offering things off the list one at a time until I felt he'd eaten enough. I gave him things that I would never give him normally, just to keep him eating, such as some rather dubious doggie treats (we tried dozens and eventually found a couple he loved), but I'm sure they helped to keep him alive. Other things he liked were cocktail sausages (not the tinned ones), human biscuits, various sliced deli meats etc etc, but at first he would only eat a tiny bit of any one thing, so it was a laborious process. We avoided giving anything too high in fat, as steroids do increase the risk for pancreatitis. His appetite gradually improved over the next few weeks/months until it was completely normal again.

 

I would try to not get too fixated on "prognosis" as each case is different and no-one can really predict the outcome. Our boy was given a guarded prognosis when we got him back from the hospital and we had already been offered you-know-what, but 2 years on he is doing amazingly well. Just do your best day by day and stay positive if you can.

 

Best wishes to you and your girl.

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When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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The only thing that concerns me is that pred is tough the on the tummy--she should have something in her belly with the pred. Did you try the baby food, chicken breast.....?? If she continues to be anorexic please ring your vet-they may want to start her on Pepcid and/or cerenia.

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Thank you for all the support. I will get some Nutri-Gel--that's exactly what I was looking for. And thanks for the tip about the Ensure--I was also thinking about that.

Frappuccino is slowly getting stronger. She is able to navigate the threshold to the sidewalk now and can walk around the block. She hasn't done that in a month! It totally exhausts her and she has lost so much leg strength. Her hind legs wobble when she stands too long.

 

She is drinking a lot of water, as to be expected. Up until yesterday, she refused all food. She is looking really skinny. I had fitted her harness before she went to the hospital, and then cinched it up when she came home, and it still hangs off of her. She looks like an emaciated homless pup. :sad1 :sad1

 

Last night the only thing that she would even consider are Mother Hubbard's mini biscuits with some peanut butter smeared on them. So I kept feeding her the biscuits. I must have given her over 10 biscuits. I was elated. My friend was horrified--"stop, stop! The peanut butter is too fatty and since her stomach shrunk, all those biscuits and water will expand and give her a tummy ache." So I stopped.

 

Sure enough, last night, she vomited. I think she vomited out last night's dose of Prednisone. It must have been a silent vomit, because I didn't wake up.

 

This morning it was more peanut butter biscuits. She did stick her nose in her dog dish and I think she ate 1 mouthful of food. I didn't push the issue and tried not to be a hovering nervous mom watching her kid eat.

 

I think that is progress. Will find out the CSF results today.

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Discuss with your vet eliminating either the Pepcid and/or Prilosec. The Carafate should be enough to protect her innards. Suggesting only because sometimes, the acid reducing meds can make the dog feel not hungry.

 

Gentle scritchies to your pretty girl.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Talked with the vet today. This vet is a neurologist/neurosurgeon, so he knows what he talks about. It appears that Frappy has meningitis. The CSF did not show any virus or bacteria, nor were there neutrophils. There were round cells (unsure of the significance of this). Our next decision is whether we should send CSF samples to UCDavis to test definitively for infectious agents (either bacteria or virus). Evidently this test looks for nuclear material. He doubts that it would come back positive, but it is our call. Any thoughts? Clinically she is slowly improving. She started to eat (since she liked biscuits, I chopped up a few and sprinkled it into chicken and rice) --she ate about 1 cup total. It's a start. Poor thing....she is just bones and fur.

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I'm so sorry! I can't make any suggestions about what to do, but I will offer support.

 

Would your girl eat Vegemite (or Bovril, Marmite)? Strong tasting and smelling, yeasty and a bit salty? What about water from tuna or mackerel or sardines over her food? Or some fish?

 

For feeding, could you maybe try like you feed a puppy? Three or four (or more) small meals spaced throughout the day so she's not eating as much all at once to give her tummy a chance to adjust.

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