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Ask Karen Purcell Your Own Question

Karen Purcell
Karen Purcell, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 945
Experience:  1992 Graduate Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine
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My dog can not pant or bark anymore she lost her ability and

Customer Question

My dog can not pant or bark anymore she lost her ability and has neurological problems, can not rum, going to corners and sTaring, can't run or jump, sometimes her tail does not work/wag just very tip moves. Spent $2,300 on diagnostic test for liver, kidney bile function and then ran out of money, it was 3,500 for catscan and spine fluids and then would have to send to NCSvet for MRi if needed. Are treating for menigitus or encephalitis with month of prednisone and two broadbased antibiotics for a month. she is showing signs of remembering/doing normal things she used to, trouble with steps, stopped circling but still noted neurological abnormalities. Weather is getting hot and she can't pant, when i take her outside she drools horrible, she has been drooling constantly since sick but it is 3xs more when she is moving outside. Any ideas? how can I keep her cool in summer other than restricting to inside exceptd for bathroom?
Thanks for any thoughts!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

I can completely understand your concern. There are a number of possibilities for what you are seeing in Molly, including polyradiculitis, a parasite infection of her brain/neural network, and/or a brain tumor. I highly suggest you call the local vet school and see if they would be willing to consult based on a video of Molly sent to their neurologist or if they have a program that would provide a grant for her diagnostics so you can get to the root of this problem. There is no question in my mind that she needs an MRI and a neurology consult. You can find other neurologists outside the vet school at www.acvim.org

As for keeping her cool, provide her with a children's wading pool to lie in or dip her feet in when she is outside, give her ice cubes in her drinking water and keep her inside in the air conditioning if the temperature is over 80 F.

 

I hope this gives you some guidance,

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Dr. Karen,

 

Thanks for your reply. I do not know if this means anything but last night I noticed her ears were horrible, she had runny brown crude which I gently wiped out with Q-tips and I put some medication the doctor had given me for when they go swimming and get ear mites or water in their ears. I will see if I can contact North Carolina State University. I know that they had a grant for extration of Spinal Fluids. I think an MRI is$1,200 there which is cheaper than the $3,000 I was quoted from the Emergency Vet which they can not do but will refer her out to Leesburg, Virginia to have done. If she does have a brain infection, would the prednisone and antibiotics have any effect at all. She is much stronger since I brought her home from the vet and she has made small gains but still has many neurological things going on, tongue sticking out, no barking, panting, going to corners and staring and she can not run or jump. Her front feet do this little hop but her back feet don't work in conjunction with her front feet. Thanks again for your opinion. I was thinking since she has gotten stronger and it does look like she is going to live (at one point vet was not sure if she would even survive if they kept her or I took her home)

an MRI would be more definitive than a CatScan which the Emergency vet had wanted to do. Should I be concerned about her being put under for the MRI? I worry she may not wake up. She is much easier to arouse now than she was 10 days ago but still sometimes she is slow to come around. Again, thanks for your help!

 

Ginny

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

Certainly the ear infection would be making her balance worse. I recommend a good thorough cleaning every day with a canine ear cleanser and talk to your vet about some topical antibiotics (dogs seldom have mites).

The prednisone and antibiotics are exactly the right treatment for possible meningitis. I do think the MRI will tell you alot more than a CAT scan. The neurologist will take her condition into account when they sedate her for the scan, they will make sure she is as safe as possible. The newer anesthetics are out of the system very fast.

 

Glad I could help, hope she continues to recover,

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much! I am going to call the emergency vet tomorrow and have them send a referral along with all her records to NCSU Veternary Teaching

Hospital. It is my understanding from visiting the website that you must have a referral from your vet in order to schedule an apoinment with neurologist. Is polyradiculitis the same as meningitis? I have over a month's worth of antibiotics and prednisone. I read it can take months of meds for it to get better if that is what she has.

Thanks Again!

 

Ginny

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

Your vet can probably do the referral on line for you as well as faxing a copy of the records to the school. Meningitis is an inflammation, often infectious, of the tissues around the brain. Polyradiculitis is a more general neurologic problem of the entire musculoskeletal system.

 

Glad I could help,

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Karen,

 

I am sorry to keep bothering you. I called my vet today and he is out of town until tomorrow night and I called the Emergency Vet to ask for the referral. I had to leave a voicemail and they have not returned my call. I will call again tomorrow but I was going to inquire about the polyradiculitus. I tried to Google it and find out about the treatment of it but I could not find anything accept for information from findings of dogs who had it and had been autopsied. Is there a cure or a treatment for it?

 

Thanks,

Ginny

 

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

Generally polyradiculitis is caused by a parasite, which responds to appropriate therapy. This is usually diagnosed by a spinal tap or muscle biopsy. The important thing is to rule it out, which the neurologist will be able to do. Here is a good definition:

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/polyradiculitis.

 

I'm glad I've been able to help,

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Karen,

 

It sounds like it is related to Mystenis Gravis. my vet treated her for that and it was one of the medicines the emergency vet said made her crash. they told me not to give it to her anymore. However, my regular vet said today..he still thought it was M.G. I do remember the one night she had it..her tail was out and wagging lkie it should be and she was running some. She had not run proir to this in a month. The Emergency Vet said she was given a high doase of medications and they always start at the lowest dosage incase of side effects.

I have the referral for NCS and just need to get an appoinment date and time from them tomorrow!

Thanks Again for Your Help! I only pray, she will make it until her appoinment and that whatever she has is treatable. I am going to eamil you after her appoinment and let you know if and what they found.

 

Sincerely,

Ginny

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

Thanks for keeping me updated. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

 

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Karen,

 

I took Molly to NCSU vet on monday, they needed to keep her for a few days. They have done ultrasound, MRI, spinal tap and new blood work panel to make things have not changed from last one. She has significant swelling in the brain affecting her brainstem, they feel it is either baterial or infection that needs immune supressive drugs. They need to send fluid out for more extensive testing to try to figure which it is, steroids could be harmful if it is baterial, They are also giving her low doses of anti fungal medication just in case it is fungal until they get results of fluid tests back. I will keep you posted. I believe it is important to share because what I convey to you may help you with other animals that present with the same or similiar symptoms. I hope I still have a house by the time this is all over with! Thanks again for your help!

 

Ginny : )

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

Thanks for the update, I'm glad they are able to help you and Molly.

 

Keeping my fingers crossed,

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Oh Karen,

 

I do not know if they are going to be able to help or not. They just called and said they are waiting for antifungal test and some other spinal fluid test results they sent to California. they have added another antibiotic and a antifungal drug but she is no better, if they don't receive test results tomorrow and iv antibiotics habve shown no improvement they are going to take a chance and start high doses of steroids. they told me she can not stay there forever and they plan to have me come and get her Saturday whether she is better or not. I have spent $5,500 and still paying and no results. Is there anything left that I can do? If not, the dog can not continue to live like this. there is no quality of life and I have no way of knowing how much pain or suffering she is enduring. Any thoughts or suggestions. She is only two, I hate to give up but may have too!

Sadly,

Ginny

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Don't give up, the steroids may be just what she needs. I would definitely see if she responds to that therapy, she should show improvement within 48 hours if it is going to help.

 

Still hoping,

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Karen,

 

Last night, I emailed the head neurologist I did not get to meet on Monday. He called me at work today and explained that Molly is not getting. He said test results or no test results that she was not going to get any better if they continued to treat her as they have been for the last two days. He said the only thing left he could try was to give her

medicine like they use for chemotharpy and they switched steroids to citozar (sp?) and increased the amount they are giving her. If this does not work they do not have any other treatments. I guess I will ask them if I should continue to look for answers or if they think it is best to put her to sleep. The thought wrenches my heart. Thank you for letting me share and for your kindness and response.

 

Ginny

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

I'm very sorry to hear that.

 

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Dr. Karen,

 

It is with a very sadened heart, I tell you that we had to let Molly go yesterday. Her quality of life was minumal at best. She could no longer stand, walk, or eat or drink. She wanted to eat but her tongue kept freezing and most of what she tried to eat spilled out of her mouth or would be in the pockets of her checks. I guess if I wanted to pass anything along to pet owners it would be the importance of finding out way your pet has had a change in their personality. Had I know that this was the first and a major sign of neuroligical disorder, maybe I could have acted sooner and it would have made a difference. Although I was told not to second guess myself. It was diagnosed ad ideopathic encephalitis, However, they told me it very well could have been auto ammuine disease where her own cells were attacking he, I think it falls under the catergory of GME which UNSC mentions on their website. I know once I realized she was sick I took her to the vet and $7,000 later she is still gone. I would have paid more and more if they could have saved her. Thank you for sticking with me through the very long emotionally driven journey. Best of luck to you with your four legged friends!

 

sincerely,

Ginny

Expert:  Karen Purcell replied 4 years ago.

Ginny,

 

I'm so sorry for your loss. As I'm sure they told you at the vet school, this is an extremely rare condition.

 

Please take care,

Dr. Karen

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you dr. Karen,

 

Neither the veterinary school or the emergency clinic said anything about it being extremeky rare....however, my veterinarian put her to sleep and he said it happens to maybe one in one-hundred thousand dogs. I have her brother and just hope it is noy genetic...they did not seem to think so. he will need a companion and he is already showing signs of depression from being without her. I thought he andi would go together after a little time has passed and perhaps he andI could pick a rescue dog from an adoption at Pet Smart or the SPCA. however, I am extremely tired from going through all this with Molly andi need some down time before giving my heart to another dog. Take care and thanks for all your support throughout this difficult time for me!

 

Sincerely,

Ginny :-)

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