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My 8 year old 13lb Shitzu has been acting strangely since…

Customer Question
Hi my 8 year...

Hi my 8 year old 13lb Shitzu has been acting strangely since December. He’s restless at night, has had episodes of stumbling, staring at walls, aggression, loud stomach noises, smacking of mouth constantly, 3lb weight loss, and loss of interest. He’s eating and drinking normally. No seizures, no fever. All blood work, leg X-rays, stomach ultrasound, thyroid tests, Lyme &heartworm disease tests came back normal. He was bit by a tick right before all these symptoms came about in December and he also had a skin yeast infection right under his mouth that has now healed. The strangest part of all of this is he has been on antibiotics 3 times since December to rule out other bacterial infections or inner ear infection. Each time he is on antibiotics, he’s 100% back to normal. Sleeps fine, no wobbling when walking or falling over, and seems more upbeat. My vet says the neurologist is the next step but I don’t have $3k for the MRI. Why are the antibiotics working? And 2 or 3 days after they’re done, he’s back to the same issues? What brain issue would be helped by antibiotics?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. It could be an infection. The Expert will know what to do. What is the dog's name?

Charlie

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Charlie?

The 14 day antibiotics he was on which he finished on Wednesday last week were Baytril and he took a anti nausea pill for a few days. Prior to that he was on amoxicillin/clavamox for 5 days and 10 days. Each time he was 100% better.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
3/25/2018
Dog Veterinarian: petdrz, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago
petdrz
petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7,676
Experience: Over 30 years of experience caring for dogs and cats
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Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. I am Dr Z. I'm reviewing your question now, and will post back with a reply ASAP.

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Dog Veterinarian: petdrz, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

Thanks for trusting me to help you and Charlie today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 30 years of experience and would be happy work with you but need a bit more information to better assist you if you don’t mind.

Has your vet mentioned having a CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) tap performed. His symptoms and response to therapy could be suggesting a possible meningitis.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you. I forgot to mention I actually went to a neurologist in January who did a regular office exam and said if symptoms persist to get an ultrasound of stomach (which I did and nothing came back) because he seemed normal to him and passed all physical exams. He also did a urinalysis and culture which came back normal. No spinal tap was done. Can that be done without an MRI? And would it actually determine an actual diagnosis of meningitis?
Dog Veterinarian: petdrz, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

There may be two separate disease conditions going on as dogs with neurologic disease do not usually have GI signs too as well as that degree of weight loss. If there was GI disease, an ultrasound does not always pick that up and he may end up needing a biopsy of the stomach to rule out intestinal inflammation or cancer. But I can't think of a GI disease that would improve with antibiotics and return when they were discontinued. The neurologic signs certainly suggest brain involvement and I can't think of a GI disease that would do that.

If there is meningitis occurring, there are changes on the MRI that will suggest inflammation, but a CSF tap is usually performed as well to help identify the cause. I think it would be possible to proceed with just a CSF tap first, but that is something that you would need to discuss with the neurologist.

Here is a link with more information about meningitis in dogs. LINK HERE

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen.

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