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Polyarthritis In My Iggy?

Guest tteague

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Guest tteague

I have a 2-year old Italian Greyhound who first showed signs of illness last summer. She was lame intermittently on each of her hind legs. I couldn't tell exactly what was going on, and had her at the vets several times. She was extremely lethargic, lost weight (which she didn't have--she is a 6 lb. runt at her healthiest!) and was unable to climb stairs. She also ran a fever.


The vet ran several tests:

X-rays of her legs and spine--nothing





I noticed that her wrist joints were swollen, and they began to suspect some type of arthritis. She was on tramadol and metacam (not at the same time--the metacam worked better for her pain), had two rounds of antibiotics, and never improved. Her weight loss continued; she was literally wasting away.


Finally, at my insistence, the vet put her on prednisone and I have gradually been decreasing the dose over the past few months. She is currently taking 1/4 pill every other day and I probably have enough for another month or two. Her wrist joints are still a bit swollen, but she gained back all of her weight (as expected) and except for her not really running like she did before, her mood is much improved and she's pretty much back to her sweet, energetic self.


So what now?? After reading several posts (I just found this board today and wish I had found it sooner!!), I am thinking I need to take her for a joint tap?? Do you folks with experience think it will be definitive?


My concern is that I had a miniature pinscher years back who also presented with swollen wrist joints, and I took him for many, many tests, including a joint tap, only to be told that it was an "unknown autoimmune disorder" and was told to put him on prednisone, long-term. I believe that's what eventually killed him--renal failure. Maybe we know more about these things now then we did back then? I just really need some answers, my baby suffered long enough, and eventually she'll need to come off the meds.


Thanks for any advice/help!





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Has your vet tested for tick-borne diseases? I realize they're more common in ex-racers than in IGs, but it's the first thing that comes to my mind.

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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Guest tteague

Yes, was tested for tick-borne diseases and all were negative. I was concerned that the Lyme vaccination would skew the results, but the vet assured me that it would not. However, the reason for all the rounds of antibiotics was, "just to be sure."


Thank you!

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I'm a big believer in specialists for things like this. My boy had autoimmune polyarthritis 2 years ago now: very severe, he couldn't even stand. Our GP vet initially told us it was wobblers and put him on a lowish dose of steroids but the diagnosis didn't feel right to me and he continued to deteriorate so I requested a referral to a specialist. They did joint taps and other tests which did confirm autoimmune polyarthritis and he was put on a very high dose of steroids. Within about 24 hours of him being on the high dose steroids the joint swelling and fever came down and he could move normally again. He did relapse once when the steroids were reduced too soon, but recovered again quickly once back on the higher dose. He's still on a very low dose of steroids every other day now, but he has no problems with his joints at all. My understanding is that GP vets don't see a lot of autoimmune diseases and are sometimes unwilling to use a high enough dose for long enough to bring it under control. There are also other drugs that can be used and a specialist is likely to be more familiar with these.


You could also have a look at this forum for dogs with autoimmune diseases: http://cimda.co.uk/ . They were very helpful to me when my boy was so ill.


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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