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Ask Dr. Todd Lawmaster Your Own Question
Dr. Todd Lawmaster
Dr. Todd Lawmaster, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 60
Experience:  DVM - Small Animal Internal Medicine & Surgery; Certified - Ultrasound
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high white blood count (30,000 + 12/1), fever initially ...

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high white blood count (30,000 + 12/1), fever initially 103.?, been on amoxicillin 200 mg 1 tablet twice daily since 12/1 plus zeniquin 25mg 1 1/2 tabs once daily in addition since 12/5. White blood count 36,000 12/5. Fever mostly normal from 12/5 after injections of antibiotics until 12/8 then up to 104.1. Has severe back pain and rimadyl seems to help for a while. Must take small steps and can step up easier than down. Lymph nodes in neck initially 1 1/2 times larger than normal on 12/1 normal on 12/5. Waits so long to get up to go to bathroom cannot make it. There is one area at lower end of spine that shows different on xray than rest of spine. Local vet stumped & referring to vet school. Any ideas as to what it might be? I'm not really able to afford much more. Already $600.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Todd Lawmaster replied 10 years ago.
Hello...

How old is your dog? Male or female? What Breed? What part of the country does he live? Besides CBC (white blood cell and red count), did your veterinarian do any blood chemistries (ie liver and kidneys values)? Does your dog have a heart murmur?

Besides Amoxicillin and Zeniquin and Rimadyl, any other medications?

Dr. Lawmaster
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
8 month old male beagle. Lives in Salina, Kansas. Didn't discuss liver and kidneys. No heart murmur. I got him 11/17 and he was very, very active and energetic until 11/30. Illness happened very quickly. Also, good appetite through most of this whole experience.
Expert:  Dr. Todd Lawmaster replied 10 years ago.
Hello again...

OK...give me a few minutes to answer this question since there are several variables.

Sincerely

Dr. Lawmaster
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
okay, thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Todd Lawmaster replied 10 years ago.
Hello again...

I am very sorry to hear about your puppy. From what you are describing he seems very uncomfortable.

Given your dog's symptoms, age, breed, and location in the country, there are several possibilities that include:

1. Septic arthritis - bacterial infection of several joints. Usually a fine needle aspirate of one or more affected joints is needed to identify this condition and perhaps determine which antibiotics will get rid of the bacteria.
2. Fungal Infection - and in particular a fungal infection that may have invaded the bones. In your part of the country this can be either blastomycosis or histoplasmosis. A fine needle aspirate or biopsy of one of the enlarged lymph nodes may reveal the infectious agent. FYI, antibiotics kill bacteria, not fungus. Only antifungals (ie itraconazole) will kill fungus.
3. Viral Infection - there are some viruses that can create a high white blood cell count and fever. Also, antibiotics can not get rid of a virus. The most common viral infections seen in puppies include parvovirus, coronavirus, and distemper. There are some more unusal viruses, but they are not very common. A blood titer or PCR test may be useful to identify this type of infection.
4. Septicemia - bacterial infection in the blood system. These bacterial infections can be difficult to treat and require blood cultures to identify and to determine which antibiotics will get rid of the bacteria. Long term antibiotics are usually required (ie 4-12 weeks).
5. Juvenile Cancer - this is not very common, but some young dogs do acquire malignant cancers. In this case, I would suspect lyphoma and/or leukemia due to the high white blood cell count. Depending on the distribution of white blood cell types, a veterinarian can sometimes determine if either one of these forms of cancer are present. However, a fine needle aspirate or biopsy of one of the enlarged lymph nodes would help to confirm lymphoma. A bone marrow aspirate would be more likely to uncover a form of leukemia. Once a diagnosis of cancer is made, an appropriate treatment protocol can be designed. The prognosis depends on the type and grade of cancer involved.
6. Autoimmune Disease - this occurs when a dog's immune system over reacts to an infection or some type inflammatory response. In essence the immune system does not turn off and ends up attacking normal healthy cells. The cells the immune system attacks can vary from skin cells, to cells of the intestines, and to even blood cells and bone cells. There are special blood tests, usually combined into an "immune panel" that can be ran by a veterinarian to see if this condition is present. Once an autoimmune disease is diagnosed, a course of immunosuppressive drugs is usually prescribed for a period of a few weeks to a few months.

I hope this sheds some new light on your dog's illness. If you have more questions or need clarification on something mentioned above, I am available.
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