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LennyDVM, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 548
Experience:  30 years as owner of a mobile practice treating dogs, cats, horses and other pets.
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Any ideas on sick 10 yr. old Am. Staff.

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Any ideas on sick 10 yr. old Am. Staff. Terrier illness? She had a sudden onset loss of appetite, fever, labored breathing and inability to walk. Went to vet, got blood tests done-came back with elevated WBC 26.12, MCHC 37.8, neutrophils 22.56, basophils 0.16 and glob 4.6. Vet prescribed cipro and after 1 week, her appetite is slightly improved, fever gone. But walking is still not good, she pants at odd times and has rear leg pain upon touch-she yelps- and is still hangdog and depressed. Vet referred me to neurologist

Was a blood chemistry screen done (liver, kidney, electrolytes, muscle enzyme levels)? Was your girl tested for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis)? In some geographic areas, these are common causes of sudden onset lameness with fever and elevated WBC. These diseases often respond better to doxycycline than to cipro and antibiotics in the penicillin class. They also require more than a week of treatment. Are you still giving the cipro? A common side effect of Cipro is decreased appetite.


Non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help reduce pain and inflammation. Examples include RIMADYL/NOVOX (carprofen), PREVICOX (firocoxib), DERAMAXX (deracoxib), ETOGESIC (etodolac), METACAM (meloxicam), ZUBRIN (tepoxalin). They help differentiate between pain and neurologic problems. They can improve neurologic conditions, but generally do not obscure them. Panting (sign of pain and fever), pain and lameness should improve with therapeutic levels of one of these drugs.


Aspirin is a NSAIDs, but not very effective at low dose and tends to cause side effects at or below therapeutic levels. You indicated you used it to reduce fever, which is OK for high fevers, but removes it as an indication of effectiveness of the treatment. NSAIDs do the same for pain and there are pros and cons to treating both fever and pain.


Further workup is indicated and a neurologist is a reasonable place to start since some of the signs can indicate neurological disorders. Someone trained in infectious diseases and internal medicine would be another option if the neurologist doesn't resolve the problem.


Let me know if you have follow up questions. I'll be on and off the computer throughout the day.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes, a full chem work-up was done-all okay except Glob at 4.6 g/dl and slightly low ALT at 10 U/L. Are those NSAIDs only by prescription or is a dose of Aleve okay? Going to get doxy today. This is the South Florida region, no too much Lyme disease here, but concerned about tick-borne disease anyway. Really can't afford pet specialists at this time

The NSAIDs I listed are veterinary drugs labeled for use in dogs.


Human OTC NSAIDS are generally not considered safe in part because an effective and safe dosage has not been established. This is expensive, which is a primary reason that species approved drugs cost more than unapproved drugs.


Human NSAIDs often work in dogs and cats. A number of years ago a client of mine used her prescription Naproxyn on her dog. It reduced the dogs pain significantly. She called me after a couple days because her dog didn't eat breakfast. Regretfully, the dog died a few hours later from a full thickness bleeding gastric ulcer. Alleve is the OTC version of Naprosyn.


Human OTC NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and ketoprofen (ORudis KT). Alleve is not safe. Ibuprofen is sometimes used by owners. An effective dose that has been mentioned is 5 mg/kg/day. Toxicity (gastric ulcers without other clinical signs) have been reported at 8 mg/kg/day. This is not an adequate margin of safety and sensitive dogs are likely to have more severe toxicosis at lower dosages given that drug effects vary within populations. Ketoprofen is approved in dogs at 1 mg/kg PO (tablets) q24h for 5 days. 0.25 mg/kg has been recommended for chronic therapy. Side effects are bleeding and kidney/liver failure, which are similar to NSAIDs in general.


Meloxicam is available by RX in humans and dogs.


For completeness, the commonly referenced aspirin dose in dogs is 5-15 mg/lb 2-3 times a day. I've always seen side effects well below the maximum dose and often below the minimum effective dose. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not a NSAID, but is sold OTC for pain and fever in humans. In dogs acute toxicity is generally not seen at dosages under 100 mg/kg/day. I've had clients use it compounded with narcotics long term for dogs in pain from terminal cancer. They all died of the cancer, not the acetaminophen. Toxic effects include liver necrosis, which can result in death.


Doxycycline dosage is 5 mg/lb/day. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and photosensitivity particularly at higher dosages. In dogs, signs of acute toxicity are usually not observed unless the dosage of exceeds.


That is a summary of the NSAIDs etc. info I have. The numbers are from websites and a book titled the Pill Book Guide to medications for your dog and cat (1988).

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much.