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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27448
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My dog Smokey is a 4 year old pit . I got him at

Customer Question

My dog Smokey is a 4 year old pit bull. I got him at 1 year old, and had him neutered. He is up to date with immunizations, is checked every year for heartworm ect.
Approx. mid April--I noticed he was not as active, could not keep up with his friends playing. At first-It is spring and getting hot and muggy....,With in a week he would not even get off the couch to play-I thought he looked a little thinner, but.. I would say over maybe 2 weeks his muscle was gone, the muscle around his jaw, the top of his head, his chest and backend. I don't know really if this just happened over a short time or if it had been insidious and I did not notice? He lives in the house and sleeps in the bed. In hind sight there may have been signs I just did not see or attributed to other things: for instance I have been taking care of a dying niece 2-3 days a week- since December. Smokey goes next door while I'm gone, They have 5 kids which he loves, ; they are good to him. I thought maybe this bothered him? Took him to the vet beginning of May. Had - stool sample, Heme/chem workup, heartworm-, but + for Lyme's Disease. Vet said certainly the lethargy was a symptom but was not convinced the muscle wasting was from Lyme's. Commented that muscle loss could be from being neutered????He had never seen Smokey before so I don't think he get's this marked change. Smokey was started on Doxycycline 100mg. 2 bid. He has not tolerated them at all. I've tried with and without food, after and before meals.... He vomited at least half of the doses along with his meals. Diet prior to illness: Purina One for large breeds, generous with treats, and I ample whatever I'm having, keep food in his dish at all times. Back-up a bit- his weight was around 80# ***** months ago, was down 4# ***** Since he has been ill, I added 1 large can of pedigree canned food to his dinner which he loves(he does share maybe 1/4 can with my other dogs, 2 small Chihuahua's, they are fine). Appetite really decreased even with added goodies. Called the vet re : Gi problems, Antibiotic decreased to 1 dose a day on Friday. No further emesis but his appetite is really poor. I even offered him a bacon sandwhich, and strips of bacon- he was not interested. He usually loves any bread. Today the vet said to hold the Doxycycline for 2 days to see if his appetite improves, then call Thursday.
From what I understand= he should have felt a lot better after 3-5 days of treatment. He did improve a very little-he barked at dogs passing by my house. Not with the same enthusiasm but some interest. To describe the physical changes-If you looked in his mouth-at his cheeks-Smokey had huge muscles, I would look at him in amazement at his beautiful muscular chest and gluteal muscles.... now this long sad face, red kind of droopy eyes, he looks kind of like those dogs with myositis. I hope this is enough info for you, I am happy to answer any questions. Could this be just Lyme's? Any suggestions? I hope it is not the myositis. Thank you in advance. Renee St Jacque ***@******.***
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. When we see facial muscle wasting involving the muscles of mastication - the temporal and masseter muscles, our first thought is masticatory myositis or trigeminal neuropathy. Those are the only differentials strictly confined to facial muscle atrophy.
Smokey, however, is demonstrating a more generalized muscle atrophy and although the facial muscles are involved, neither masticatory myositis nor trigeminal neuropathy are expected. Instead, idiopathic (unknown cause) polymyositis, muscular dystrophy, or polyneuropathy should be considered. These can be a challenge to clarify and referral to a specialist veterinary neurologist should be considered. Please see here: The initial database should include a complete blood count and serum biochemistry profile. Muscle biopsies and serologic titers for Toxoplasma and Neospora are likely to be recommended. Electromyography is useful in determining neurologic rather than muscular etiologies of the atrophy.
Treatment will be predicated upon the underlying cause and may include glucocorticoid (prednisone, e.g.) therapy to halt the process of muscle inflammation and atrophy. Appropriate antibiotics or antiprotozoal therapy should be used for infectious myositis.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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