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Is my dog seriously ill?(64 Posts)
Apologies in advance for the long post, will try to keep it as brief as possible.
5 weeks ago my previously healthy 5 year old mini schnauzer suddenly became very ill overnight - vomiting and bloody diarrhoea in the house. The vet diagnosed Acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome and kept him in for four nights on fluids and intravenous feeding. After we took him home he didn’t seem to be getting much better and was refusing food so he went back to the vets where they took a stool sample, prescribed antibiotics and digestive care paste and sent us off again.
For the next week he seemed to get worse, crying to go out every hour, all day and night, where he’d mostly do a little diarrhoea or just squat and strain with nothing coming out and his head thrown back in a kind of ‘silent howl’.
The stool sample came back showing positive for campylobacter and after another period of vomiting and refusing food we went back to the vet and he was kept in for another four nights.
He’s now back with us with another, longer prescription for antibiotics (metrobactin 250mg) and the digestive paste. He’s making it through the night now (in a crate in the bedroom) but a few times during the day he has had diarrhoea in the house (he never does this) and has vomited most days over the past five days.
He’s obviously lost quite a bit of weight, and seems very depressed. His walks are hard as he stops every 10 paces to squat and strain (with just a tiny drop coming out most of the time) is a bit wobbly and sometimes will just stop and stare, refusing to walk. The diarrhoea has been constant for 5 weeks.
Things that would normally excite him like seeing a squirrel or fox or meeting another dog get no reaction now, and trying to engage him with a toy or ball at home get nothing either. He also needs to go in the bath 4 times a day to clean the poo from the fur at his back end.
On the vets advice we changed his food from wellbeloved to hills Id digestive care (the pebbles) and nothing else.
The vets seem to have given up a little - they keep saying he should be better by now and don’t seem concerned that he’ll only walk ten paces at a time or the silent howling. The bills are over £5000 now and though I’m trying not to think about it I will soon.
DP had lots of childhood dogs and is quite matter of fact about when dogs reach the end of their life but he’s my first dog.
Does anyone have any experience of an illness like this? Did your dog recover? Am I expecting too much of him?
Thanks in advance
poor mini, we have one too so sending positive vibes...sorry no advice as no experience but it sounds awful. Have they scanned him at all?
I think your dog is ill and needs to see the vet again. I would be asking for diagnostic tests which unfortunately at this time may be difficult given that most vets are emergency only.
Our dog had many months of vomiting and diarrhoea and was treated for symptoms only until we said enough and we wanted invasive tests. That gave us a diagnosis and treatment was then changed and we now have a healthy dog with only the occasional flare up of his condition.
* DP had lots of childhood dogs and is quite matter of fact about when dogs reach the end of their life but he’s my first dog.*
What I am saying is that it sounds like you think your dog is at the end of his life but to me he sounds like he has a chronic condition which merits further investigation but I realise times are difficult right now in terms of seeing a vet and asking lots of questions but from your symptoms I would push further or maybe ask to be referred to a specialist vet if they can't get it under control.
Have they checked him for a blockage?
Thanks all - we had talked to the vet about scanning to check for a blockage but they said they felt confident that it wasn’t the case and advised against it.
They did do a few other tests while he was in - I think for IBS and vitamin B (?) absorption which came back negative.
The vets are doing phone/video consultations at the moment so it’s an option.
I would push for them to check for a blockage. If he's been in for several nights already then they could easily have done an x-ray on him - poor thing sounds so miserable!
That sounds tough. My dog had similar symptoms (the thing that really resonates is the wobbly walk, standing and staring and losing interest in things - like his personality had gone. Also the sudden onset in a usually healthy dog - like you, it was literally overnight.) I'm afraid it was not a good outcome for us - the vet tried similar treatments -digestive/antibiotics/dementia and he seemed to perk upper a bit but after about a month my poor doggo suddenly collapsed and died (sorry if tmi). The vet then said they suspected a brain tumour or undetected stroke had occurred previously. I'm not saying this is the case here but sometimes serious conditions present differently.
I'd be pushing for a xray for blockage too.
I'm dog had flare ups of pancreatitis for about a year, with vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.
She was put on Royal Canin Sensitive wet food, which helped. She's been on it for well over a year now and hasn't had an attack for about nine months.
I keep her meals small, much less than they advise on the can. I did feed her the recommended amount but the diarrhoea continued.
She can't take dry food at all, even the dry version of the food she's on, it really upsets her stomach.
Also meant to say that I wouldn't be walking him while he's like that.
He's in pain and he's probably feeling weak. He's not going to get anything from his walks, I'd just let him rest and sleep as much as he wants to.
I know vets are only seeing emergencies but I really would be pushing this with my vet.
I had a slightly similar thing with the vet I was with when my dog was first ill - with a different vet now - they seems to lose interest and it wasn't until I managed to pick up a sample of her very bloody liquid poo to show them, after yet another night with no sleep when I was almost in tears with exhaustion, that they seem to realise how serious it was.
I would also be getting him checked for Addison’s disease , it’s not unusual at all in dogs and the symptoms do fit .
* they seems to lose interest and it wasn't until I managed to pick up a sample of her very bloody liquid poo to show them, after yet another night with no sleep when I was almost in tears with exhaustion, that they seem to realise how serious it was.*
Similarly when I went in and said I hadn't slept for several nights as I had been up every hour with mine needing to poo that they recognised how bad it had got. The issue is lots of dogs have poorly stomachs that I think it's only when you say this can't continue that sometimes the vet realises it's needs more than simply treating the symptoms (and I am not getting at vets as it's the same as going to your GP and saying we need to actually get to the bottom of the issue as it can't continue).
Poor love, I hope he's better soon. Perhaps if you don't feel that your vet is doing everything they can you could try another one?
Have they checked his kidney function?
I'm no expert but it seems like a scan is the obvious next step.
You poor things.
How on Earth have they got the bill up to £5k without even a scan or X-ray! I’d be a bit annoyed at the lack of urgency here and, under other circumstances, would perhaps be wanting a second opinion somewhere else.
Definitely cut the walks. A potter in the garden is enough at this point. And get back onto the vets. It may perhaps be the end of the road for him, but more needs to be done to find out whether it actually is that serious.
I also, at my lowest, thought I was going to lose my dog.
Thankfully, when she got the treatment she needed we managed to get it under control.
Thanks all for your posts - really appreciate them.
Addison’s disease and kidney function are two things the vet hasn’t mentioned so will raise with them, thanks.
This is actually the second vet he’s been to - his regular vet doesn’t have 24 hour care and also didn’t really diagnose him with anything so at the end of his first day we took him to a 24hr vets as he was so ill we definitely couldn’t care for him at home. They’re Village Vet in London if anyone knows them.
He’s had 8 nights overnight care altogether which has pushed the costs up quite a bit.
I’m finding the vets half the battle as we did 4 nights getting up every hour and they didn’t seem too concerned. Or with his being unable to walk without squatting constantly.
I also asked about whether he should be on short walks last time he left the vet and they suggested longer walks to tire him out.
We’re trying to follow vets advice but it does seem to contradict posts here. It’s so hard. Thanks for all the advice.
@puptent so sorry to hear about your dog. That’s so hard.
I don't understand why you would need to tire out a sick dog.
When I'm ill the last thing I need is a brisk walk.
I really think I'd be looking for a second/third opinion in your shoes.
They're racking up the bills but you're not getting any help for your poor dog as far as I can see.
I’d have been demanding a scan a month ago. That dog could have been in agony all this time because of a simple blockage. At least you’d be able to rule it out if they can’t find anything but to me constant painful squatting with nothing coming out suggests a blockage. Your poor dog, I’m so sorry.
Personally would avoid using village vet. When my dog had d and v and tender to palpation after 48 hours I took her to the vet and they said they could x-ray now (£120 Inc the sedation) or leave it another 24 hours if I wanted, and then X ray for any objects. I opted to do it immediately and fortunately it showed nothing up, and after a further 72 hours she was fine.
Go and see another vet, that is not affiliated with village vet. They need to X ray and run bloods. No dog should be left in that condition for that long. I have also always fed my dogs boiled chicken and rice or white fish and rice when they are ill, sometime madding scrambled egg. There could be something in the hills that is upsetting your dog.
Your poor dog, I too think I'd seek another vet and push for scans. I'm shocked they hadn't already done that considering the bill is at £5K
I sincerely hope they can find out what the problem is and treat your pup, you've both been through the wringer
Did they check antibiotic sensitivity before prescribing the metrobactin? Campylobacter can sometimes be resistant to that antibiotic
If so, then agree that at a minimum he needs screening for chronic pancreatitis, addisons, and foreign bodies (X-ray/ultrasound)
Your vets should have offered you diagnostics - certainly the second time around.
5 weeks and there’s been no ultrasound or x-ray?
The vet sounds incompetent, I’d be getting a new vet or referral to vet hospital ; depending where you live.
That seems a long time for a dog to be poorly. I would be pushing for further investigations. He is clearly suffering.