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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Question about neurological symptoms

Our 7YO boy has started to favor his front right leg; he drags it a little when he walks and it spreads to the side when he's standing or eating. We took him to the vet a couple of months ago, and she thought he had sprained it somehow and prescribed Tramadol and rest. We did that, but his condition has not improved. Over the past couple of weeks he has grown increasingly unsteady on his feet; he's not falling over, but he's not walking in a straight line either.

An additional consideration is that he's blind in his left eye (Horner syndrome), and we've noticed that his eye sight is deteriorating in his right eye as well (not neurological, more of a cataract). He started walking into things about a week ago. He's also being treated for low thyroid, which has put him a touch under weight, though definitely improved his energy level.

I've got an appointment with the vet for him and have asked for them to screen him for Wobblers. They're a lovely vet for our area, but they aren't doberman specialists (our other guy has copper storage, and they had some trouble treating him initially). Does anyone have any recommendations for additional things we should screen for, given these symptoms (or are there other symptoms I should be looking for ahead of the visit to better inform the vet's diagnosis)?

I'll update after the visit, but I'd really appreciate any recommendations you all have. I adopted him at 12 months, when he was a stray, so we have no idea about his lineage, but he's your typical red loverboy and I hate to see him like this.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 10:06 AM
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Do you have any Vet Specialists in your area. I highly recommend them as they have the knowledge and background for out of the ordinary issues. Good luck
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 10:20 AM
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could be wobblers.

have no other ideas, sorry.

Hoping the best for your boy.

Hugz.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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I'll ask the vet for a neurologist, if it looks like a neurological issue, but any specialist (cardio, internal meds, etc.), will be an hour or so away. That's no deal breaker, but I'd like to have the issue narrowed some first -- more for cost than drive time.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 11:29 AM
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You can start with some x-rays to rule out things like straight arthritis, but I'd second asking for a referral to a neurologist. Wobblers is not that easy to diagnose and the only real way to know for sure is to get an MRI or mylogram. They are expensive, and you need to know that ahead of time.... but sometimes it is better to spend the money and know for sure than mess around with possibilities. Lots of vets are very quick to jump on the wobblers diagnosis just because it is a Doberman.
Good luck to you and your boy.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 11:34 AM
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A vet school is another place you can find specialists who can help you with your dog--they are *sometimes* a little bit cheaper than a specialist with his own private practice. It would probably be well worth it, though expensive and time consuming unfortunately, to do your best to see a specialist for your dog’s initial diagnosis--then they can work with your local vet to figure out a treatment plan so he can handle it from there.

It might be possible, via a phone conversation to see what they need, to get your own vet to do an exam and some preliminary testing that you can take with you to speed up the process--but I think most specialists will want to do their own testing--so you would end up paying for the same tests twice.

Last edited by melbrod; 12-12-2016 at 11:39 AM.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 12:10 PM
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If the vert or neurologist suspects wobblers, I second the idea of a mylogram. And Fitzmar is correc, they are pretty pricey for a diagnostic procedure. The last time I was quoted the coset for one, procedure alone was $2500.

Hopefully, you have insurance.

John
Portland OR
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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I called the neurologist, and they will only see us after our primary vet refers us (so we do x-rays with our vet, and if that's not diagnostic, then they'll send us to the neurologist. If it is diagnostic, they'll send us to the rehab clinic, which is local). The neurologist does MRIs instead of the mylogram, which makes me happy, since it's non-invasive. I'm seeing something online about an Assissi Loop. Has anyone used that successfully before?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quick update -- the vet didn't take any x-rays on Saturday. She was more concerned with the amount of weight he has lost recently (10 pounds in 2 months). I thought the weight loss came from getting his thyroid regulated, but she said the weight loss was too significant. So, we're waiting on results from blood work to see what that tells us. She assessed his gait and said that it didn't look like Wobblers to her (I was pretty surprised that she'd seen it before), but if the blood work comes back clear that we'll schedule x-rays / ultrasound later this week.

She also told us that our sweet 7YO is actually 9YO or older. He had been a stray when he was brought into the rescue where I adopted him. The vet at that time said that he was roughly 12 months, but his retina has thickened in a way our vet says only happens after about 9 years. She said it's as predictive of age as baby teeth. Of course, that makes me incredibly sad, since it feels like I just lost 2 years with my pup. That said, he's been eating like a champ ever since we started putting raw eggs and canned salmon on his kibble. I hope that if we can put some weight back on him, that will build some muscle back, and we'll just deal with whatever the blood tests tell us. Fingers crossed!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 09:16 AM
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Thanks for the update. I hope you get to the bottom of this soon--it’s so hard not knowing. Glad to hear his appetite is good.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Blood work came back. All of his levels are normal, but the vet was clear that sometimes tumors develop that don't show up on the labs. So, we'll drop him for x-rays tomorrow morning and hopefully have a clearer picture of what's causing him to have trouble. I'm really hopeful that it's something that an enhanced diet and canine physical therapy can address!
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Another update: The x-rays and ultrasound didn't show anything. That combined with the behavior the vets observed while he was with them yesterday have led them to conclude that he very likely has a tumor in his brain or along his spine that's degrading his motor function. It could be a stroke, but that's not usually associated with the weight loss he's experienced. We're not going to do an MRI to confirm the diagnosis (it sucks enough to be told my guy is dying; no need to spend $2K to be told a second time). At his age, we aren't interested in putting him through chemo or radiation, so it's just a matter of spoiling him rotten until he tells us it's time to let him go. Definitely not the Christmas present I'd been hoping for, but the symptoms are still relatively minor and he seems happy, so we're hoping to have a while longer with him.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 09:37 AM
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Oh I am so incredibly sorry to hear you got such bad news. Enjoy each day, live it to the fullest, and bank those good memories!
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 09:50 AM
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Thank you for letting us know. I am so sorry to hear this news.

"Lots of people talk to animals...Not very many listen, though...That's the problem. " ~ The Tao of Pooh
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 02:58 PM
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Hope you still have a lot of happy times left - hugs

Mary Jo Ansel
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