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My sister's dog, a 6 month old chocolate lab has paralysis…

My sister's dog, a 6...
My sister's dog, a 6 month old chocolate lab has paralysis in his hind legs, bloated stomach (possibly full?), excessive drooling, loss of appetite, and loss of bladder. Blood tests are fine, so what could it be? The vet he's at now wants to open his stomach up, but I'm afraid it might be IVDD
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/15/2018
Rebecca
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,098
Experience: More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. My name is Rebecca; I am a veterinarian. Please give me a moment to type my answer.

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I am sorry to hear you are concerned about your sister's dog's problems. How long has he had these problems?

Before opening him up, has any "imaging" been done to look for a blockage such as Xrays or ultrasound?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
He had an x-ray, where they noticed the stomach bloating. This happened at 4pm yesterday and he's been at the animal hospital last night where they made him vomit, but it didnt help. He's at another emergency clinic now in surgery...

Loss of bladder function and hind leg paralysis sound like a neurologic problem. It would be unusual for a dog this young to have IVDD, but Xrays may be helpful.

Another concern in a dog this young with these problems is a genetic disorder called lysosomal storage disease. It is rare, but that last dog I saw with it, was a chocolate lab.

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So he is in surgery now? I hope they find the problem.

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Please let me know how he is doing and if this is helpful and if you have other questions.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
If it is a neurological problem, is that something that could be treated? Why did the vet latch on to just the bloated stomach and not consider any other option? Is that normal practice? Does lysosomal storage disease cause a "full" or "bloated" stomach?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
They also didn't test for deep or superficial pain in his hind legs, so I'm worried they're not considering anything other than he ingested something and they are letting the real issue linger

Lysosomal storage diseases cause a breakdown of the nervous system so any part of the body, including the stomach, can be affected. These are quite rare, but they are seen in young dogs, and can start with hind limb paralysis.

I can't tell you for sure what is going on without being able to examine him, but loss of bladder control and hind legs sounds like a problem in the spinal cord. Your idea about IVDD is certainly possible, just rare in dogs this young.

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This does sound like a complicated case. If he is in surgery, you should soon know if it an intestinal blockage.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Are there any tests a layman can perform to rule anything out? If the problem isn't a blockage, should we seek another hospital?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Do you have any suggestions for us to ask the vet if there isn't a blockage?

A layman can test for deep and superficial pain in the hind legs, but that will not give you a diagnosis.

If this is not a blockage, I might consider MRI of the spine, and/or a consult with a neurologist.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok, thank you so much for your help. What are the chances of paralysis recovery from an intestinal blockage or a spinal problem? Do dogs typically recover after loosing that function?

It would be unusual for a dog to have paralysis from an intestinal blockage. Some, which could be genetic, toxic, infectious, etc. must be affecting either the spinal cord or the nerves to the hind legs if he is paralyzed.

Dogs can recover, depending on the cause of the paralysis. A diagnosis is needed.

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You are welcome; please let me know how he is doing.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I'm hoping that the surgery reveals the cause and Rocky makes a full recovery, but if not, our next step would be to request an MRI, correct?

That is what I would do; see a veterinary neurologist and probably have MRI and possibly a spinal tap.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok, thank you. I'll update you when I hear more. Is there anything I can say to my sister to comfort her based on your experience? Like, are his chances okay if it is a blockage?

If it is a blockage, the prognosis after surgery is usually very good. I just don't know how to explain the paralysis from an intestinal blockage. Please do let me know what you find out.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Absolutely will do. Thanks again

You are welcome. Best of luck to your sister and her dog. You are kind to help them.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The surgery showed nothing...

I am sorry to hear that. What does your sister want to do next? How is the dog doing?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
He's still in the same condition. They're transporting him to a 24 hour clinic to consult a neurologist. He had a lot of food still in his stomach even though he hadn't eaten in almost 36 hours, had vomited twice, and had a large bowel movement.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Does his inability to digest food give any more clues as to what it could be?

He may have paralysis of his digestive tract, or "ilieus" as part of his neurologic problem. How is he now? Sorry I was not still online last night.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Same condition, unfortunately. My sister is back at the vet about to talk to a neurologist. No one knows what it could be, so we don't know what to do

I am so sorry. I hope they help her get answers. Did they mention lysosomal storage disease?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I’m not sure, but I just the update that he didn’t make it. I don’t know how or why...

He didn't make it, meaning he passes away? I am so sorry. Is she going to have an autopsy?

My sincere condolences.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Yeah, he passed away. I’m not sure if they will perform an autopsy as they’ve already spent $7k over the past 3 days. I think the vet that operated on him wasted valuable time by opening him up instead of focusing on the cause of paralysis. Wouldn’t they have been able to see an intestinal blockage in the X-ray?

You can be suspicious but not certain sometimes about a blockage on Xrays. An ileum (paralysis of the intestines) can look like a blockage, since nothing is moving.

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I am so sorry; what a terrible and expensive ordeal.

Rebecca
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
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Satisfied Customers: 17,098
Experience: More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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