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#6805842 - 06/27/17 09:59 AM Mystery Illness
Cochise Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 4021
Loc: Texas
Seems like when it rains it pours here lately. Have had a string of horrible luck and now its transferred over into our dogs. Just goes to show that you can take top level care of your dogs and bad things can still happen.

Our oldest lab (3.5) Copper started showing signs that his back might be hurting early Sunday morning. This wasn't overly alarming because he rough houses with our younger lab. By noon it had progressed quite a bit so my wife called the Dr on call at her work and off we went. She treated the symptoms that were presenting at that time.

By 6 pm it had progressed even farther. He wasn't able to move on his own at all. He was sway backed and painful - couldn't stand, couldn't walk, etc.

By 6 am yesterday morning it had gotten much worse - now he was hunched up in his back - having what seemed like muscle spasms and constantly twitching. The head vet who was out of town met my wife at work early and told her to call me to get me to head that way from work in Dallas and that we were going to be taking a trip to A&M as at the time he was suspecting tick bite paralysis or coon hound fever or possibly some other neuromuscular problem.

A&M was waiting for us with a stretcher to get him inside. Noon yesterday was the last time I've seen my dog (who is like a child to us because we aren't able to have kids - and quite frankly is my best friend/hunting buddy). The 4th year student said they would go examine him and he'd be back within 30 minutes. A little over an hour later one of the doctors and the student came in. Basically they didn't know what was going on - they were waiting for the neurology department to finish their exam. Neurology finished up in about 30 minutes and they're leaning towards myasthenia gravis - which is an auto-immune / neuromuscular disease and a fairly rare one. That along with a few other possibilities. Had a lot of tests they wanted to run to come up with a solid diagnosis.

This morning we got an update - he improved some overnight on his own - is able to stand and walk. However, now he's developed nystagmus in his eyes which is making them walk back their suspected MG diagnosis - although not ruling it out completely. Now looking into the possibility of it being meningitis - but still unsure.

Basically he has no classical symptom of any one illness. It is obvious that is neuromuscular related, but beyond that they don't know. I'm just thankful that he's at the one place I trust they can figure it out...no telling what the end cost will be, but it doesn't matter. Just sucks seeing your buddy go through that. Hopefully this will help make some future great vets as they work to figure it out.

They did tell us he has quickly became the staff favorite because of his personality.

Sorry to go on and on - just don't really have anyone outside of immediate family to talk to about it.

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#6805951 - 06/27/17 11:23 AM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
Pointer Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 1545
Loc: Bishop, Texas
Sorry for your troubles. It does hurt to see them suffer.

I have been nursing a sick dog myself. Just barely getting around, humped up as with stomach cramps, did not eat for days, lots of blood in urine. I thought he was gone for sure, but I started him on antibiotics a few days ago, and at least for now, he seems to be coming around and he began eating some yesterday. Looking much better, but no where near his normal self.

Good luck to you and yours, sir. You couldnt have taken him to a better place for diagnosis and treatment.

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#6805995 - 06/27/17 12:08 PM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Pointer]
bobcat1 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Sanger, Texas
Prayers are with both of you. I agree to the good hands you are in.
_________________________
Bobby Barnett


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#6806019 - 06/27/17 12:31 PM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
Cochise Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 4021
Loc: Texas
Thanks guys. Head neurologist is now handling the case. Leaning heavily towards some type of brain infection. Full brain scan and spinal tap this afternoon then we'll hopefully have something more definitive this afternoon.

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#6806306 - 06/27/17 05:03 PM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
catslayer Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/11/12
Posts: 1017
Loc: Straight out of Johnson County
Wild deal.. meningitis is prob better than the other. At least treatable. Keep us updated
_________________________
Sombody smells like fried borritos...

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#6806827 - 06/28/17 08:57 AM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
Cochise Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 4021
Loc: Texas
Every test they've ran so far has came back good - brain scan, x-rays, spinal fluid, etc. Waiting on results from I think 3 tests but they will take a few days even a week for results.

He has responded quite well to anticholenase drugs - so at this time they're going with it being myasthenia gravis. Going to pick him up this afternoon - I'm not certain but we are hopeful he keeps responding well to these drugs as he will likely have to remain on them his entire life. With that said he should have a fairly normal life going forward with no implications to life span. Time will tell. The other drug options are steroids which would have much worse implications for future health and lifespan. With it being such a weird case and not presenting anything like they have ever seen we are optimistic. Aside from the neuromotor limb function early on (which the drugs have corrected) - he doesn't seem to have the other keynote issues of MG.

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#6806902 - 06/28/17 10:29 AM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
bobcat1 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Sanger, Texas
At least it's working! Congrats!
_________________________
Bobby Barnett


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#6807022 - 06/28/17 12:12 PM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
Flashprism Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 398
Loc: Corpus & Dickens
Praying for your best friends speedy recovery as I know how much they make a difference in our lives.

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#6807935 - 06/29/17 11:23 AM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
janie Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 17028
Loc: Collin County TX
Prayers and best wishes for continued good health. They are family.
_________________________
He is your friend defender your dog. Be worthy of such devotion

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#6808251 - 06/29/17 05:40 PM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
Judd Online   content


Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 11409
Loc: Sachse, TX
Man that is scary. I hope he continues to get better and it sounds like you have a good team working on him. Good luck!
_________________________
Originally Posted By: Phil Robertson
Don't let your ears hear what your eyes didn't see, and don't let your mouth say what your heart doesn't feel

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#6808746 - 06/30/17 09:38 AM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
Cochise Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 4021
Loc: Texas
Still no definitive diagnosis. Only thing we are waiting on is the myasthenia gravis test to come back. Apparently there is like only one place in North America that can test for it and it takes about 10 days.

Right now it's likely MG or a small stroke of some sorts - if it was a stroke there is zero long term damage - everything has come back great - they just can't rule out vestibular incident due to the nystagmus because it is not related to MG at all.

I was actually wrong about the MG drugs - if the test is positive he will remain on the drugs at least until we go back for a re-check in a month. They'll assess him and go from there. Would likely take him off the drugs and see how he responds - if no symptoms return he's off the drugs. If they do return back on them for another month or two and repeat. Most dogs are in full remission within 8-12 months. Some a lot sooner.

Hardest thing right now is really really limiting his activity and changing how he is fed and watered. Everything has to be elevated and slow. Biggest risk currently is aspiration pneumonia - which they want to be extremely cautious with even though chest X-rays were clear and he does not have an enlarged esophagus.

Prognosis, other than the short term hurdles, look good. He's back 100% mentally and about 85% physically and improving daily.

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#6816264 - 07/08/17 11:28 AM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
kindall Online   content


Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 3936
Loc: Spring, Tx
Prayers that he keeps improving, and that you get some answers.
_________________________

Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden.
Experience is what you get, when you didn't get what you wanted.



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#6817000 - 07/09/17 08:49 AM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
catslayer Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/11/12
Posts: 1017
Loc: Straight out of Johnson County
Sounds like better knews than you thought.
Good deal
_________________________
Sombody smells like fried borritos...

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#6818355 - 07/10/17 01:17 PM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
Cochise Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 4021
Loc: Texas
Thanks.

The test for MG came back negative last week. Very small possibility that is was a false negative.

May be one of those things we never figure out what happened.

Could have been a mild stroke, a really quick nose dive and very quick recovery of tick bite paralysis (on tick prevention and have never had a tick on them that we've seen), or who really knows what.

A&M wants to stay the course for MG treatment through his recheck on the 25th and then take him off those meds and see what happens. The bright side is that he went from 107 down to 95 - some weight he needed to lose anyways, although he is a big english lab and don't want him to lose too much. Didn't cut his food...just cut out the dog biscuits blush

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#6824299 - 07/16/17 03:13 PM Re: Mystery Illness [Re: Cochise]
sgtmajorbrad Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/07/12
Posts: 53
Loc: Grapevine, Texas
Prayers for you and your friend. God bless to you all.

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