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Mystery Inflammatory Illness/spinal Bleed.


Guest Flashy
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Hello there!

 

Not even sure if I can manage to post this as I am such a luddite when it comes to technology!

Just a bit of background. We have recently moved to Texas from Australia including our ( newly ) 7 year old greyhound rescue "Flash". It wasn't an easy decision bringing him over and we had many offers from friends to look after him back in Australia, but, we realised that although this has been a massive upheaval for him ( flight, new surrounding etc ) we would always be missing him being in our life and wondering if we made the right decision. So here we all are in Houston!

 

About 6 weeks ago Flashy developed excruciating, acute pain on trying to stand. We immediately thought, ?hock injury, ? ACL rupture and that he may have ruptured a disc doing his zoomies around our small yard. He doesn't have much of a turning circle so we have discouraged him from this activity....but houndies being houndies and all! ; )

We managed to lift him into the car and take him to the local vet here who x-rayed him from head to toe. He identified that it was in fact his neck which was sore although on x-ray all appeared fine. The radiographer stated that he had a suspicious area on his tibia suggestive of OS, but felt that this wasn't related to his neck pain at all. He was commenced on Rimadyl and the pain resolved. We were delighted and told to re x-ray his hind leg for changes and review.

 

The pain returned and he was recommenced on Rimadyl and it abated for 3 days and then started again. We went back to the vet and he was commenced on Gabapentin and tramadol, but he was in agony again and WORSE! We sent him as an emergency to a specialist neurology vet who stated that he felt had generalised "myalgia-type" pain and ordered a tick screen and MRI. The MRI showed that Flashy has areas of bleeding down the length of his spinal column ( neck only ) old and new. He said that he has never seen it down the entire length of a dog's neck, more focal. He was waiting for his coag profile to come back so he was hesitant to attempt a CSF aspirate to check for anything sinister spinal fluid wise. His WBC was low and his platelets were low ( although ?clumping ok ). He has never had a fever, has not lost weight but is "flat" although this is most likely to be the drugs he is on and pain- related. The MRI was sent to a specialist neuro radiographer for a second opinion as it had all the vets at this clinic scratching their heads and he thought everything was ok which even the vet thought odd given the findings. The tick screen came back negative, although the vet stated that they did not test for ALL the tick infections ( believe me, by this stage we were extremely confused ) and that his hunch was STILL some sort of inflammatory response to a tick-related infection. He also had a chest x-ray which only showed he had lungs consistent of his age, so all clear!

The area on his tibia that was initally identified by our primary vet has not changed so that is a "wait and see" until next review which is in a week's time. One thing at a time.......

 

So.....we are $3600 down with no clear answers other than his skeletal x-rays are fine ( i.e.; no disc issues ) and all other bloods other than WBC are ok also.

He is currently on Gabapentin, Tramadol and Prednisolone for pain which in all honesty just seems to be bombing him out so it is difficult to assess whether that is controlling his pain as he still cries out when getting up to a standing postion form his side, which is bloody heart-breaking to hear and has me in tears no end! He has been put on rest and toilet privileges only and is not allowed to climb the flight of stairs to the living area to make things worse as he pines for us. We regualarly visit him and he gets lost of cuddles. Fortunately I am a stay at home mum so he gets lots of love.

 

He has also been commenced on Clindamycin and Minocycline for suspected infection. He has only been on these later drugs since Tuesday am.

 

ANY advice would be appreciated or if anyone has any similiar story to share. Are there any other questions we should be asking his vet? We are at our wits end!

 

Kind regards and thanks in advance.

 

Steph, Chris and Flashy.

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No ideas on what the problem is, but a suggestion: ask the vet about methocarbamol (aka Robaxin). It's a muscle relaxer, and if Flashy stops tensing his muscles when he needs to get up, he may stop crying out.

 

My angel Sam had some disk issues that showed up on x-rays, but he wasn't a good candidate for surgery (age and other health issues). We tried a chiropractor--didn't help and was very painful, and it doesn't sound as if that would be good for Flashy.

 

But we put Sam on gabapentin, tramadol, and methocarbamol--no steroids of any kind, and Sam had an ulcer, so no NSAIDs--and that controlled his pain without making him groggy. (All three of those drugs can be obtained with prescriptions from people-pharmacies, which was much cheaper than vet-supplied. Check prices at www.goodrx.com to see what's available to you.)

 

Also, what dose of gabapentin is Flashy on? Lots of vets under-prescribe this, and I think that's because it works differently in dogs than people. Dogs need to take it at least 3 times a day (it'll wear off in less than 12 hours), and vets often prescribe 900mg/day. I used to get 100mg capsules for Sam and would give him two capsules, four times a day, with a spare when needed.

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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How worrying! The only thing I can think of is that perhaps decompression/pressure changes during the long-haul flight may have caused it? Nitrogen easily gets into fatty substances like the structures of the Spinal Cord. Your poor dog may have had or been prone to FCE (spinal stroke) disease already.

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No ideas on what the problem is, but a suggestion: ask the vet about methocarbamol (aka Robaxin). It's a muscle relaxer, and if Flashy stops tensing his muscles when he needs to get up, he may stop crying out.

 

My angel Sam had some disk issues that showed up on x-rays, but he wasn't a good candidate for surgery (age and other health issues). We tried a chiropractor--didn't help and was very painful, and it doesn't sound as if that would be good for Flashy.

 

But we put Sam on gabapentin, tramadol, and methocarbamol--no steroids of any kind, and Sam had an ulcer, so no NSAIDs--and that controlled his pain without making him groggy. (All three of those drugs can be obtained with prescriptions from people-pharmacies, which was much cheaper than vet-supplied. Check prices at www.goodrx.com to see what's available to you.)

 

Also, what dose of gabapentin is Flashy on? Lots of vets under-prescribe this, and I think that's because it works differently in dogs than people. Dogs need to take it at least 3 times a day (it'll wear off in less than 12 hours), and vets often prescribe 900mg/day. I used to get 100mg capsules for Sam and would give him two capsules, four times a day, with a spare when needed.

Hi and thankyou for your suggestions! Flashy is on 300mg 3 times daily. I have noted the Robaxin and will ask on our return visit to the vet. We have had him booked in for acupuncture but this was all prior to these recent events so I think we may cancel.

Do you know of any diseases that you may have in Aust. that's not here in the states? Our vets may not know about it.

Good question. I forgot to mention that we have been here for 5 months so unlikely to be something that has migrated across the globe from home. Fortunately, the vet has already taken this into consideration. He has worked with some animals from Australia before so is aware of most of the disease borne illnesses. Thank you for your question.

How worrying! The only thing I can think of is that perhaps decompression/pressure changes during the long-haul flight may have caused it? Nitrogen easily gets into fatty substances like the structures of the Spinal Cord. Your poor dog may have had or been prone to FCE (spinal stroke) disease already.

Yes, VERY! We have been here 5 months. I should have stated that initially! Thankyou for your kind words.

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I just want to point out that your vet should be made aware that ghs can typically have lower WBC and platelet counts. You may want to consider consulting with Dr Couto (he is THE to go to vet-ober gh experience). His consult fee is well worth his input. He's currently in Europe but, he should response within 24-48 hours.

http://www.coutovetconsultants.com

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Not sure what vet you are using, but you can email me Burpdog@msn.com and I'll try & steer you towards a clinic that can help you.

 

Hi Diane,

We met you very briefly at the Greyhound conference in San Antonio late last year! I recognise your face and we bought some handmade biscuits for Flashy. We just happened to be there on holiday from Houston with Flash ( who was very freaked out by all the Greyhounds on mass so you may have not met Flashy personally ). Many thanks for your message. My husband and I will email you this evening and I can tell you who we have been referred to and saw. We are most grateful for any help/opinions offered.

Regards,

Steph and Chris.

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I just want to point out that your vet should be made aware that ghs can typically have lower WBC and platelet counts. You may want to consider consulting with Dr Couto (he is THE to go to vet-ober gh experience). His consult fee is well worth his input. He's currently in Europe but, he should response within 24-48 hours.

http://www.coutovetconsultants.com

Thanks! We are a bit out of our depth here. We know all the "go-to" vets back in Australia, but are reasonably new here so have no clue ( hence my posting here ). He has been such a healthy dog! We are astounded to see him so very unwell. Thank you once again for your advice. We desperately want to know how to ease his pain AND the underlying cause.

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Guest wylie_coyote

Our Charlie had mysterious issues. Vet was very puzzled and ended up doing lots of test then finally did a tick test. He had rockie mountain spotted fever. Right meds and he is now fine. We could not believe it was from a tick we had not found one on him in almost a year.

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Our Charlie had mysterious issues. Vet was very puzzled and ended up doing lots of test then finally did a tick test. He had rockie mountain spotted fever. Right meds and he is now fine. We could not believe it was from a tick we had not found one on him in almost a year.

Thanks for your post! Any info/advice is most appreciated. : ) I am guessing he has not been tested for Rocky Mountain as per the results below. We were honestly flabbergasted that the vet thought of "tick" at all as we are living in an urban area but he informed us that they were all over Texas/US. We have kangaroo ticks back home.....but honestly, other than a nasty irritation at the tick site....no tick borne diseases that I know of! You generally have to take your dog outback or scrub/bushland to encounter them, in any case. We would be DELIGHTED to get ANY answers, especially tick as the prognosis is generally good from the tick boards I have read voraciously.

Spec # Animal Id Test Interpretation Result

1 Flash / 69828 Ehrlichia canis < 1:10 Negative

1 Flash / 69828 Rickettsia rickettsii < 1:40 Negative

1 Flash / 69828 Borrelia burgdorferi Lyme IFA < 1:640 Negative

1 Flash / 69828 Babesia canis < 1:40 Negative

Who is he booked with for acupuncture? If it's Dr. Baley or Dr. Robinett -- keep the appointment.

We have an initial appointment with Dr Marziani and a few booked down the road with Dr Robinett. ( Still had the flyer which was kindly handed to us at the conference ). : )

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Guest BiancasMom

Sounds like a spinal tap (CSF tap) would be helpful. I take it his clotting profile came back normal? They need to probably culture his CSF fluid and send it out for cytology.

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Sounds like a spinal tap (CSF tap) would be helpful. I take it his clotting profile came back normal? They need to probably culture his CSF fluid and send it out for cytology.

 

Hello there! Yes, we were sorry he had not had a CSF tap whilst he was sedated. The vet concerned was unsure of his clotting times ( which we have since found out are ok ) so he did not attend to this. He has attended an acupuncture session and has been commenced on a few chinese herbs to help him. His pain has decreased slightly, but still there. We are not sure if it is because his issue is resolving owing to the meds, or if the massive doses of analgesia are masking his pain. We are back to the vet on Thusday for follow-up. Such horrid times!

Thankyou for your query. : )

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