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Dog nqr: symptoms indicate...???

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  • Dog nqr: symptoms indicate...???

    Dog is mid-sized middle-aged terrier x, neutered male. Temperament is usually ebullient and friendly and energetic - your average terrier, in other words.

    Became more depressed, for want of a better word, gradually through yesterday afternoon, and didn't improve through the night or this morning. Seems lethargic, and barely interested in what's going on around the house.

    Didn't eat his supper last night (and this dog eats EVERYTHING - he's VERY food motivated), turned his head away; ditto this morning.

    Breathing seems a little shallow, and pulse *seems* elevated, but I'm not sure, as I don't know enough to know what his regular pulse is.

    He's not particularly hot, or cold. Don't have a thermometer to take his temp, unfortunately.

    Seems physically uncomfortable - not cramping, or humping his back, though.

    Tummy looks normal, and I can hear little gurgles if I put my head on his flank.

    He'd pooped on the porch yesterday, which is TOTALLY unlike him - he's normally very discreet. Fairly soft stools, softer than normal, but not diarhea.

    He's a house dog, but spends lots of time outdoors - we live on a farm. The only thing I can think that was different about yesterday was that it was garbage day, and the dogs came with me in the car to put the garbage out at the end of the road, and they scampered around for 10 minutes.

    So - could be he picked up something noxious there? But he's not been sick afaik.

    Oh, and he doesn't seem to want to drink, either.

    so if anyone has any ideas, fire away!

    Just waiting to schedule a trip to the vet for him, but last time we had a health scare with one of the other dogs, I got some really helpful suggestions here, so I thought it worth trying again.


  • #2
    Ok just as a reference point, when I took my trainers test (for racehorses in MD) there was a question like this:

    "A horse seems listeless, looking at its sides, laying down and rolling, seems uncomfortable. What should you do?"

    Now ok... this is colic 101. BUT the ONLY correct answer is "Call the vet." No points given for anything other than that. The point they make which I am gonna repeat to you... no matter how much experience you have dealing with sick animals you are not a vet.

    You can get tons and tons of great advice here, but unless it's a vet giving you the advice, you're still not guaranteed to get the best hands on advice.

    So rather than forestalling medical attention, I would go right to the vet.

    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


    • #3
      If the dog is not drinking water, that is vet ASAP.

      If it were my dog, I'd check the gum color. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/conten...tells-you.html

      You should probably get your dog to the vet regardless, but checking the gums could give you an idea whether you should leap in the car right now and burn rubber to get there or give them a call and wait an hour or two to go in.

      JMO, of course, but dogs are stoic creatures so if you're seeing that degree of distress your dog is probably much more uncomfortable than you'd think.


      • #4
        inappetance, lethargy, shallow breathing = possible life threatening emergency. monitor him closely and know you are taking your chances by not having him checked over right away. an internal bleed, perforation, pancreatitis or acute abdomen all have thesse symptoms and hours can mean the difference between life and death. keeping fingers crossed its nothing serious.


        • #5
          Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
          inappetance, lethargy, shallow breathing = possible life threatening emergency. monitor him closely and know you are taking your chances by not having him checked over right away. an internal bleed, perforation, pancreatitis or acute abdomen all have thesse symptoms and hours can mean the difference between life and death. keeping fingers crossed its nothing serious.
          Ditto -- I have seen dogs with those symptoms have bleeding internally either into the belly, chest, or sac around the heart (pericardium). Sepsis or internal perforation of some kind is also possible -- gall bladder, urinary bladder, intestine, etc.

          DON'T wait. A physical exam and some diagnostic tests (bloodwork, x-rays) could be lifesaving if done early.


          • Original Poster

            He got to the vet yesterday afternoon, and they took blood for tests, and kept him in overnight on a drip.

            In the last 20 hours 900ml of a 1l drip has gone into him (there must be a better way of wording this!).

            Nothing abnormal on the bloodwork.

            Nothing untoward showed up on xrays.

            Temp normal.

            He's still lethargic, or depressed, lacking in his normal energy.

            Heartrate was normal when we took him in, but today it's very erratic.

            The vets around here use a type of "phone in" EKG, for want of a better description, and they're going to run that test now.

            Stumped, so any ideas, keep 'em coming.

            And, one of you worded "get them to the vet ALWAYS" so well - can't access the right phrase right now, but the way you worded it was great, and a keeper.


            • #7
              Abdominal and cardiac ultrasound time!! Make sure its done by a radiologist (preferably) or internist/cardiologist.

              There is obviously SOMTHING going on, and these would be the next logical steps. Keepus posted!! Good luck!!


              • #8
                Couple of things spring to mind....but the biggest?

                Obstruction not yet seen on radiograph. I'd be doing an upper GI series w/ barium.

                My guy had had a history of pancreatitis/hepatitis (due to his meds making him more sensitive). went off food. Was still okayish but was off food. Did rads, saw nothing. Vomiting water too. For days, we did IV fluids and such thinking that he had pancreatitis, yada yada.

                Well the second upper GI indicated a blockage and sure enough, there was a rope toy in his small intestine.
                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                • #9
                  My Afghan who died of hemangiosarcoma presented like this. I second the suggestion of an abdominal ultrasound.


                  • #10
                    Yeah, he needs an echocardiogram and an abdominal ultrasound. I'd be worried about a heart issue first and foremost. If your heart isn't beating normally, your blood doesn't get pumped everywhere it needs to be, and that will cause those feelings of lethargy and malaise.

                    Hope your pup is doing OK until they can figure it out...Jingles!


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks, guys - I really appreciate the suggestions!

                      Latest update is:

                      - The heartbeat, which was OK yesterday, but racing the day before imo (before the vets saw him, so just mho), was all out of whack today, and sure enough an ekg confirmed this. The vet gave him a dose of Lidocaine on a drip, which improved matters considerably.

                      She called what he has "ventricular tachocardia," which I have since Wikipedia'd, of course, although I'd love a translation in layman's terms if anyone's up for that! Is it common in middle-aged dogs, for instance? He reminds me of the classic case of middle-aged guys who get over-excited playing hockey once a week, and have a heart attack. He's generally pretty steady - lively, but nothing outrageous, but the neighbours' dogs set him off when they come noseying over, and he about blows a gasket trying to see them off the property. Then, to add to the indignity, they blatantly ignore him, which gets him even more upset (drunken neighbour just phoned to apologize - good guy, lol - but it is a quarter to midnight here!).

                      - Back to the dog: he's still a bit too dehydrated, so he's with a vet probably throughout the weekend, and if he hasn't stabilized by early next week, we take him to see the cardiologist.

                      - Xrays of gut showed nothing; xray of chest showed his heart is slightly enlarged possibly; xray of his lungs showed a couple of grey-white areas - not sure what that means yet.

                      Our vet is away from her clinic (at her own farm) tonight, so she slotted us into the emergency clinic in town - very fancy and competent, expensive of course, but he's in good hands, and being monitored constantly, and he can go back to her tomorrow if he's still stable.

                      Poor dog - he was buuuursting for a pee in the car between our vet and the emergency clinic, which I was too clueless to read, and he eventually peed in my lap - instantly happier dog and less happy me, lol, but no harm done.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                        Abdominal and cardiac ultrasound time!! Make sure its done by a radiologist (preferably) or internist/cardiologist.

                        There is obviously SOMTHING going on, and these would be the next logical steps. Keepus posted!! Good luck!!
                        I am neither a radiologist, internist or cardiologist (just a simple anesthesiologist and criticalist) but I do U/S all the time and am pretty darned good at them. FWIW.


                        • #13
                          V-tach (ventricular tachycardia) simply means that the ventricles, which are the chambers of the hear that pumps blood to the body (from the left side via the aorta) or the lungs (from the right side via the pulmonary arteries), are pumping at too fast a rate.

                          The causes of V-tach are numerous, and eliminating systemic disease (such as cancer, bleeding somewhere, severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, etc) are essential. Looking directly at the heart muscle is important too to see if there is a problem in the structure of the heart, which could then affect the way that electrical signals regulating the rate are conducted.

                          The problem with V-tach is that the heart is going so fast that there isn't much time for the chambers to actually fill, so the amount of blood being pumped to the body isn't as great as if the heart was working normally. There is also a risk of the rhythm turning into V-Fib (ventricular fibrillation) which is when the ventricles essentially start quivering (and thus not pumping!). That rhythm needs to be shocked back into a normal rhythm (hence your defibrillators!) or else the patient can die.

                          I hope that you get to the bottom of things...sounds like a visit to the cardiologist will help greatly with that!


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for putting that in layman's terms, Pancake - I really appreciate it.

                            I just spoke to the emergency vet, and she says all systems pretty much back to normal - both ends functioning fully, ditto everything in between and only a very slight blip on one ekg.

                            The cardiologist is out of town until mid-July, but we'll probably take him either to see him or go to a specialist clinic sooner, as req.

                            In the meantime, he'll probably spend the weekend with our own vet, so she can monitor closely, I should think.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                              I am neither a radiologist, internist or cardiologist (just a simple anesthesiologist and criticalist) but I do U/S all the time and am pretty darned good at them. FWIW.
                              Im sure you are, wasnt saying that other vets cant do them but its like sending crashing DKA to a radiologist - sure they can probably treat but the best QUALITY exam will be with a criticalist Just had a dog admitted last week who has THREE ultrasounds done within 1 week - by RDVM,by 2 internists - wasnt until it saw the radiologist until the itty bitty insulinoma was found....and the forming clot in the vena cava (which was missed by them all as well).


                              • Original Poster

                                Sad follow-up: we had our little dog put to sleep on Sunday.

                                It was a holiday weekend here, and there was neither a veterinary cardiologist nor a vet with diagnostic ultrasound equipment available within an 6 hour drive from us, heart-breakingly.

                                Given what the CardioVet (or is it CardioPet?) experts had been able to determine, along with our own and the emergency vets' analyses, plus the dog's obvious discomfort and deteriorating state, we decided not to have him suffer any longer with the expectation that experts even further afield would be able to make an accurate diagnosis and turn his condition around.

                                All very distressful. Like all great dogs, he was the best dog ever, with an amazing history, who lived an extraordinary life, and we miss him horribly. Thank goodness for digital photography, so we can relive our many laughing memories of him.

                                Thanks again for all the knowledgeable, helpful, and thoughtful suggestions.


                                • #17
                                  What a sad update. I can understand your being heartbroken. Godspeed.
                                  McDowell Racing Stables

                                  Home Away From Home


                                  • #18
                                    Very sad. Sorry for your loss.

                                    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries