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Old 12th February 2011, 05:18 PM
jlyonswolfe's Avatar
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No idea what's wrong...bouts of lethargy, stiffness, loss of appetite

I am hoping that someone might be able to help us. Our two year old male, Jackson has us quite stumped. About two months ago, we came home one day and he just wasn't himself. Rather than meeting us at the door all wiggly and excited, he was lethergic, walking with his head hung below his shoulders and his spine slightly curved. He was only slighty interested in eating his food and just kinda stood around. He could lay down and stand up but once he was in one position he would just stay there for a while. The next day we made a vet appointment. We took him to our vet who checked him for worms, did a urinalysis, ordered blood work, put him on antibiotics and sent us home. A few days later we got a call for our vet that all tests came back negative with the exception of his white blood cell count which was 22,000. After a week on antibiotics, our vet wanted us to bring Jackson back for a check up. Over the course of the week, Jackson improved. Follow up blood tests showed that his white blood cell count had come down to the "high end of the normal range". He was a few pounds lighter (which was concerning because he's already pretty skinny), and was back to his normal self. Several weeks later, the same thing happened all over again, only this time it was only about two days before he was back to his excited slobbering self. He's been doing well for the past two weeks until yesterday. Once again Jackson is walking with his head hung below his shoulders, standing/laying in one place for long periods and eating less than half of what he normally does. He generally seems pretty stiff. My husband tried to stand him up on his hind legs, which he normally loves, but last night his shoulders were tight and he tried to get down rather quickly. I should probably also mention, that he's been having bouts of what appears to be urine leakage when he's laying down. We mentioned that to the vet and he said that he's "probably dreaming about going pee". So this morning we called our vet again and he was quick to prescribe another course of antibiotics. Since Jackson got better the second time without any antibiotics and his blood results came back mostly unremarkable both times, we are a little doubtful that this is some sort of infection. We have been searching the internet for answers and haven't come up with much. The only thing that sorta fits is arthritis. When we mentioned that to our vet this morning, he said Jackson was "too young for that".
Has anyone had or seen this behavior before? Is two years old too young for arthritis?
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Mahalo nui!
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Old 13th February 2011, 08:36 AM
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I'm sorry Jackson isn't feeling well. Often when a dog arches his back, it is because of abdominal pain. Their head hanging down is also a symptom of pain. Urine leaking is a key sign of a UTI. Personally, I would find another vet. It sounds like it could be a kidney problem to me. When Thor had his kidneys shut down, due to the use of the NSAID derramax, he was so weak he could hardly stand. Maybe even try to get to the vet school at a university. Good Luck! We're sending lots of positive, healthy ((vibes)) to Jackson.
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Old 13th February 2011, 10:37 AM
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I agree, I would go for a second opinion.

And yes, even dogs that young can suffer from arthritis. My girl was diagnosed around 12 month with immune mediated polyarthritis. She was very stiff and limping. Took us a while and many vet visits to find out what's wrong with her.

Did the vet test for Lyme disease?

Old 13th February 2011, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for the replies! My husband and I have definitely decided to take Jackson to another vet. We've got the name of a few and I'll start calling around tomorrow. Jackson is doing a bit better today, but last night he had us really worried. We went out for dinner and a movie and when we came home, Jackson didn't even get up off his pillow to greet us. He's never done that before. He struggled to get up when it was time to head to the bedroom and once he got himself comfortable, he hardly moved all night. We were getting ready to take him to the emergency clinic this morning when he decided it was time to get up and go for a walk. After his walk, which was slower and far less exciting than normal, he seemed ready to eat. He stood by his bowl and waited for breakfast but once we gave it to him he just whined and walked away. He came back a few minutes later and whined again. He's been eating less than half of what he normally does but still seems to be hungry. We decided we'd try mixing some wet food into a gravy and poured it over his dry food to see if that would entice him and it seemed to work. He ate 3/4 of his breakfast which is more than he's eatten in a few days. Since then his energy level and head has picked up a bit and his spine is a little less curved, but he's far from back to normal. He's still walking stiff, mostly his front legs, but at least he's getting up.

Our vet did ask us yesterday if he's been around ticks, but didn't test specifically for lyme's. And he did check for a UTI a few weeks ago and said that everything was clear. I'm hoping a new vet will be able to help us figure out what's wrong. Does anyone have any experience giving their boxer baby asprin? If Jackson is in pain, I'd like to do something to help until I can get a vet that will do more than prescribe antibiotics.

Mahalo nui for the support!

Old 13th February 2011, 04:44 PM
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Lyme is something that would be at the top of my list. Seems like he has a majority of the symptoms, and it would also explain why he started feeling better on antibiotics. Hope he is feeling better soon!
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Old 13th February 2011, 06:33 PM
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Lyme was my first thought. too.
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and Turbo (fawn, adopted from AABR 12/2008, born 2004)

Old 13th February 2011, 07:46 PM
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My dog has done something similar to this. It my be lyme but if you don't live is a woody area around deer it's not very likely the cause.

I would say that Jackson is eating something that is making him sick. My boy (Diesel) would act like this. He would be hunched over, stomach would feel real tight (cramping causing him to leak pee), lazy, sleppy and wouldn't care to eat.

Come to find out, he was eating my underware. I'm not talking about a little thong. He would swallow a whole pair of my briefs. I finally find him throwing up a whole pair one day and knew why he kept getting sick. They weren't shredded or chewed up. Just twisted up and swallowed whole. Because the underwear set in his stomach for a couple of days before he threw them up, he was getting stomach infections. (Thank God they never they got stuck and he was able to throw them.) He did this several times though. Now I never leave my underwear on the floor (Not when I shower or even soart laundry) cause he will gobble them up.

He also acted like this when he was licking frogs. So it could easily be something like this that is causing him to get sick. Watch him when he goes outside and see what he's up to. Check his poop for stuff and see if he's throwing any thing up (or trying). Also, think if your cleaning your house with something that may be causing him to get sick.

Hope your baby feels better!

Old 13th February 2011, 08:32 PM
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I had ruled out lyme disease because your post says you are in Hawaii. I don't think they have Lyme there. Unless your pup has been on the mainland or exposed to a tick from the mainland you can probably rule that out.

Old 13th February 2011, 08:47 PM
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The brown dog tick is common in Hawaii. I think it doesn't infect the dogs with lyme disease but with Ehrilchiosis and Basesiosois. Symptoms can be weakness, lameness, fever, ... so it's probably worth it to run a test.

Old 13th February 2011, 11:35 PM
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Hi Jennifer...we live on Oahu and I've found a tick once on Elton, in his ear. Don't think it had been there long at all, not engorged at all. No problems came of it.

We go to VCA in Pearl City and although it's one of the more (most?) expensive vets on island, it's also 24 hrs and a full hospital. I'm not sure where you've tried before. We've taken Elton elsewhere for his neutering and basic vaccines, but when it comes to illness or more complex issues, such as his bad allergies, we're most comfortable at VCA. The large number of vets and animals seen in there make it more likely that someone in the hospital has seen something of that nature, even if it's not your specific vet and they have to ask around. We've seen Dr. Dang, Hashimoto, and one more.

Good luck and I hope you can find a vet who can help you. I can understand being very concerned, I would be too if I saw those symptoms keep repeating themselves.


Old 14th February 2011, 05:53 AM
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We mentioned that to the vet and he said that he's "probably dreaming about going pee".
For the above statement alone I am glad you are seeking out the care of a new vet. That just struck me as oddly insane!
You are for sure describing symptoms of pain. Have any x-rays been done? Aside from various diseases that could be the culprit I'd be looking for something that could show up on x-ray. At minimum that could rule out the "what-ifs".
Kidney stone/crystals, spine issues or even something sitting in the stomach (although you would expect to see vomiting).
If that were all clear then of course have additional blood work looking for specific diseases other than your traditional CBC.
I hope you get answers soon.
Susi & Raine
Forever missing.....my angel Cami
3/25/03 - 2/17/10

Old 14th February 2011, 10:33 AM
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I am glad you are seeking a second opinion. Wow.
He is obviously in pain.. battling some type of 'invasion', whether it be infection, inflammation.. who knows? He needs a competent vet that takes you and your animal seriously.
Elliot and Dexter