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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all. I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I have been doing as much research as I can including searching exhaustively in doberman forums but nothing seems to match. My boy Ares is to turn 10 in February. Outside of allergies and sensitive stomach he has been a healthy dog with a big appetite. Just for background things have started going downhill this year. It began February he had onset of severe diarrhea found out he had whip worms which he was treated for.

July 6 the vet recommended to try the cytopoint injection because he has terrible case of lick granuloma the last few years and I had tried everything else. I think the obsessive licking is partly allergies the other ocd and attention. The allergy shot helped but he still licked his paws. In his vet appt this summer he also gets his vaccines, senior exam to include bloodwork and fecal everything came back normal. No issues from July until August.

Unfortunately I can't recall every detail but around third week of August his back legs could no longer hold grip and would slide and give out (carpet/grass he was fine). He began getting picky with his food. I feed him 2 cups dry kibble twice a day and typically do mix of limited ingredient kibble and pumpkin puree (or chicken/sweet potato) for lunch. It started with him not liking pumpkin. So I put chicken (i would swap between canned and rotisserie), white rice, eggs etc. Little by little he stopped eating each. His legs muscle mass are getting smaller and he's falling much more.. my fiance takes him to vet because I couldn't go and they did xrays including heart I wanted to rule out it being enlarged. Outside of being lethargic and lack of appetite he doesn't have a cough or anything. (I do know only test for dcm is ekg or 24 halter I haven't done that yet). He has minor hip dysplasia but doesnt explain the slipping all of a sudden and lack of appetite. Xray did show some gas in stomach. Vet said heart was within range. They prescribe him antibiotics and carprofen for pain/inflammation. They also gave him cerenia injection and another dose of cytopoint. From his appointment in July to August he had lost 8lbs. For the following week he still wont eat much. I basically tried to feed him anything he would eat. It came down to boiled eggs, blue buffalo chicken vegetable wet food, wendys nuggets, hot dogs and chicken. His slipping has gotten so worse to the point now its as if he forgets to lift his front paw and falls on it. I constantly massage and poke he never cries or make noise as if in pain but clearly something is wrong. We added extra rugs, i tried paw pads to help with grip etc. Sometimes you can see his leg muscle twitching when he's laying down. If he slips all four legs give out now and has to be helped to get up. For a few days he had black poop which my understanding is internal bleeding in small intestines. The 3rd day he didn't poop at all and 4th day it was brown diarrhea but immediately took stool sample to vet which came back normal. Sunday I gave him some pizza crust bread which he gobbled strangely enough about 10-20 minutes later he began gagging and not breathing properly. I finally let him out where he ate grass and threw up white foamy liquid and apparently unchewed pieces of bread. It was strange he was fine for so long. Since then he has been even eating less he doesn't want wet food and depending on day he may or may not eat whatever else i give him. He will eat Wendys nuggets. I ran out of carprofen so got him dog Nutri-Vet Asprin until his follow up appointment Tuesday but I'm just at a loss. I know dobes are prone to DCM, Wobblers, Von willebrand, bloat and hip dysplasia. So far his symptoms don't seem to fully match with any of them. He does have a lot of lipomas I got most tested over years and benign. Xrays this past visit were fine vet said physically she didnt see anything wrong maybe neurological. He des have a mass on his side that isn't soft like others I plan to get tested Tuesday.

Has anyone every dealt with similar situation and symptoms? Any suggestions?

I will say overall he's in good spirits he still using bathroom normally, drinking some water, still wants love and follows me everywhere when not sleeping. I hate to see him this way with not knowing what it could be.
 

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It seems like a such a complicated issue--If I had to guess, I would say some kind of spine problem with pain affecting how well he is eating. Has your vet suggested a myelogram? That would be a huge chunk of change but might help diagnose the reason for the weakness he is showing walking and standing.

I suppose there could be some kind of tumor pressing on something causing those symptoms too--but that should show up on an xray.

There's always the possibility that there is more than one thing going on too.

But those are complete guesses. I'm not a vet. But I hope you guys come up with a diagnosis soon. There's nothing worse than not knowing, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I appreciate. No he hasn't ekg/echocardiogram, holter, or myelogram tests. At his next appointment plan to discuss what out next options for diagnosis are. I am for sure testing the mass on his side and possibly ask for ultrasound. I think antibiotics ruled out any infection. The pain/anti-inflammatory meds help him eat a bit more I've noticed. Xrays ruled out anything swollen or out of place. Yes I told my family this is very strange as I agree I think might be multiple issues.

My previous dog lived to 15 and died of hemangiosarcoma in 2020 (he was a hunt terrier). That was a sudden decline. I'm partly wondering if there is some internal bleeding which could cause musless weakness, lethargy etc. I have been working on learning to measure his heart rate at home and when I do it it is normal.
 

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I am not a vet, I've worked for a vet clinic for many years and I've had Dobermans for many years.

Frankly, at the age of your Ares trying to even guess from the symptoms you list what might be going on with him and the degeneration of his rear end. Some of it, and possibly all of it might be secondary simply to aging.

I definitely don't know. But I was stunned when I read that when you ran out of carprofen (that's the generic for Rimadyl) you gave him dog advil? There is no such thing as dog advil. The active ingredient of Advil is ibuprofen--another NSAID which should never be given to dogs--ibuprofen toxicity can cause GI problems (nausea, bleeding--and you said that he was pooping black fecal matter--which very possibly was caused by the "dog advil" I hope you've gotten some of the carprofen and have stopped giving him the "dog advil"--it's entirely possible that using that is related to his lack of appetite--even the carprofen, which is a pretty safe NSAID can affect appetite if a dog is on a fairly high dosage and if he's not eating and taking almost any NSAID that can affect appetite and be hard of the GI tract.

Have you ever had a cardiologist look him over and look at the x-rays--ideally you'd have the cardiologist do an echo and a 24 hour Holter--and I'll tell you again, I am not a vet and certainly not a vet cardiologist but my dogs start having echo's and 24 hour Holters at around 2 years and have those yearly. You vet assured you that his heart was within normal limits? It's my opinion (and I am not a cardiologist but I have seen enough Doberman hearts in the last 40 years to think I might know a little bit) that his heart doesn't look normal to me--but maybe it is--I'd want a dog of mine seen by a cardiologist because of his age and I'd want him seen by at least a orthopedist with some experience with neurology (most of them do know enough to talk to you about the symptoms you've been seeing and direct you to a vet best able to tell you what is going on.)

I agree with Melbrod--I too hope you find out what is going on and it's awful when you don't know and nothing seems to be helping your dog.

dobebug
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Correction I keep saying advil but it's actually Dog Aspirin I purchased from pet store (Nutri-Vet Asprin it won't let me post picture) When the carprofen ran out I waited a day but it seemed he would only eat after I gave him the meds why got him the over counter asprin to last until his next appointment. Same for today he didn't even want treats or anything until after giving him the asprin. I did do a lot of reading on NSAIDs and as you said I found one of the side effects would could be dark/tar looking stools. Again by 4th day color of feces was normal but still taking carprofen. He had enough for 2 weeks. Dark stool was for two days of second week. With the carprofen I'll say I was able to feed him half of what he would normally eat for example I could only get him to eat some treats, two boiled eggs and 5oz of chicken hit dogs. He didn't want any chicken today.

He has never seen cardiologist. I personally thought his heart looked a little large I tried going through pictures in forums with DCM but as someone who doesn't know much about xrays is shooting in the dark. I had discussed years ago to get echo with his previous vet just for checkup but at the time I was told for echo and cardiologist was $800 and I do not have health insurance so all of this coming out of pocket. At the time he didn't have any issues so I declined the ekg. Again he definitely hasn't had any issues up until these last 3 weeks.

Thank you I do hope to find out what's wrong too. It is the worst not having a diagnosis. I just keep asking myself is he in pain 😞. Overall he seems fine but there is something majorly wrong.
 

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I'm not sure what's happening with your boy but I wish you both the best.

Can you not call your vet and ask for a refill of the med you ran out of to hold you over until your appointment? I can always call my vet for a refill of something I would really need if I had to so perhaps you should call them tomorrow and ask? Instead of giving him over the counter stuff.

9 years is actually pretty good in terms of longevity with dobes. My girl was 4 months shy of 10 when she developed osteosarcoma and I had to let her go.

Give that boy a hug and a kiss from me 💜💜
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So sorry for your loss. Yes I planned to get refill tomorrow. He ran out over weekend and I did want him off it for 24 hours to see if he still needed it. Unfortunately he had no appetite until gave him the over the counter asprin. So the meds help at least in that regard. I hope to know more Tuesday. Thank you ❤
 

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I looked up the Nutri-Vet aspirin--I don't care what Nutri-Vet claims--it's aspirin and aspirin is also contra indicated for dogs--same problems as ibuprofen--can greatly irritate the stomach and GI tract and cause instestinal bleeding. It is not a substitute for carprofen.

I would not give aspirin as a reasonable substitute for an NSAID like carprofen. And I definitely would not give any form of ibuprofen.

I'm sorry to be so blunt--but you have a dog who has multiple problems going on and you need to have a discussion with your vet and find out what kind of things you can substitute for what has been prescribed for him.

dobebug
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I appreciate the info. Me giving him the asprin was only temporary until vet opens tomorrow not a replacement. Getting him to eat and drink is my primary concern as he's losing weight quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Wanted to provide the latest update. Found a local cardiologist and tried to make appointment earliest is December! There's one more local need to reach out to. Ares is still slipping but we have been working on "walk slow" which has helped tremendously. He's learnig to get him self up overall he has good days and decent days. At his follow-up appointment Tuesday September 13th, we redid his CBC labs, verified no intestinal parasite, temperature was fine at 101 I believe, and gave him fluids. We did fine needle aspiration on the two masses but vet only saw fat cells. We scheduled an ultrasound for that Thursday which I was told nothing was found but waiting to speak with the vets. Vet still believed some form of neuropathy so we switched to Gabapentin. They also gave me more Metronidazole used as an antidiarrheal . She also gave be entyce canine appetite stimulant. That first night with entyce I was able to get him to eat but each day after got worse and worse until he didn't want to eat anymore. I tried force feed him Sunday because it has almost been 24 hours without food and they recommended all his meds to be taken with food. He ended up throwing it up several hours later. I decided not to do that again. His appetite has almost diminished and continues to lose weight. He is still drinking water thankfully. When Gebapentin wasn't helping I got a refill of Caprofen gave it to him yesterday still no luck with appetite.

Today I went to a new vet to get a second opinion. She couldn't find anything from physical exam. She reviewed xrays and lab work and agreed everything was within limits. She was able to get him to eat some treats there not much luck at home. He's down to 83lbs today from 91 last week from not eating. She doesn't believe he has DCM b/c no labored breathing, sneezing or cough. We went ahead and did ECG. She also couldn't give me a diagnosis but we did re-run his blood and only change is total protein, cholesterol and Albumin is low. We tried to do urinalysis but waiting if we got enough. The vet tech accidentally dropped most of it outside and I couldn't get him to pee much more b/c he's not drinking much water. Note from output SDMA is increased, CREA within reference interval: likely impaired GFR and kidney function. Recommend complete urinalysis.

Second vet gave us more Entyce appetite stimulant to try again and Cerenia for vomiting/motion sickness. She basically told me next step would be a specialist.

I'll post his results (6/23/22 was his senior profile exam just for baseline)
Hematology
  • RBC is 6.92 on 9/20/22 it was 7.54 on 6/23/22
  • Hematocrit is 38.8 on 9/20/22 it was 50.2 on 6/23/22
  • Hemoglobin is 13.9 on 9/20/22 it was 16.2 on 6/23/22
  • MCV is 56.2 on 9/20/22 it was 67 on 6/23/22
  • MCH is 20 on 9/20/22 it was 21.5 on 6/23/22
  • MCHC is 20 on 9/20/22 it was 32.3 on 6/23/22
  • RDW is 16.2 on 9/20/22
  • % Reticulocyte is 2.2 on 9/20/22 it was .7 on 6/23/22
- Reticulocytes is 153.9 on 9/20/22 it was 53 on 6/23/22
  • Reticulocyte Hemoglobin was 24.3 on 6/23/22
  • WBC is 12.85 on 9/20/22 was 9.5 on 6/23/22
  • % Neutrophils is 80.1 on 9/20/22 was 71.9 on 6/23/22
- % Lymphocytes is *4 on 9/20/22 was 10.3 on 6/23/22
- % Monocytes is *12.9 on 9/20/22 was 8 on 6/23/22
- % Eosinophils is 2.3 on 9/20/22 was 9.6 on 6/23/22
  • % Basophils is 0.9 on 9/20/22 was 0.019 on 6/23/22
  • Platelets is 495 on 9/20/22 was 350 on 6/23/22
  • PDW was 18.6 on 9/20/22
  • MPV was 12.5 on 9/20/22
  • Plateletcrit is 0.62 on 9/20/22

Endocrinology: Total T4 was 0.9 on 9/20/2022 and 6/23/2022 but was 1.3 on 9/13/2022

Chemistry
  • Glucose 97 today was 77 on 6/23/2022 - 92 on 9/13/22
  • IDEXX SDMA 17 today was 10 on 6/23/2022 - 11 on 9/13/22
  • Creatinine 0.8 today was 1 on 6/23/2022 - .7 on 9/13/22
  • BUN 10 day was 17 on 6/23/2022 - 10 on 9/13/22
  • BUN: Creatinine Ratio 12 today was 17 on 6/23/2022 - 14 on 9/13/22
  • Phosphorus 3.5 today was 4.7 on 6/23/2022 - 3.6 on 9/13/22
  • Calcium 9.1 today was 10.3 on 6/23/2022 - 8.8 on 9/13/22
  • Sodium 151 today was 146 on 6/23/2022
  • Potassium 4.1 today was 4.4 on 6/23/2022
  • Na: K Ratio 37 today was 33 on 6/23/2022
  • Chloride 111 today was 111 on 6/23/2022
  • TCO2 was 21 on 6/23/22
  • Anion Gap was 18 on 6/23/22
  • Total Protein 4.8 today was 7.2 on 6/23/2022 - 5.3 on 9/13/22
  • Albumin 1.9 today was 2.6 on 6/23/2022 - 2.3 on 9/13/22
  • Globulin 2.9 today was 4.6 on 6/23/2022 - 3.0 on 9/13/22
  • Albumin: Globulin Ration 0.7 today was 0.6 on 6/23/2022 - 0.8 on 9/13/22
- ALT 58 today was 77 on 6/23/2022 - 45 on 9/13/22

    • ALP 39 today was 167 on 6/23/2022 - 40 on 9/13/22

  • GGT 0 today was 1 on 6/23/2022
  • Bilirubin - Total < 0.1 today was .1 on 6/23/2022m - < .1 on 9/13/22
- Cholesterol 89 today was 190 on 6/23/2022 - 104 on 9/13/22
- Amylase 638 today was 572 on 6/23/2022 - 660 on 9/13/22
- Lipase 882 today was 201 on 6/23/2022 - 751 on 9/13/22
  • Osmolality 298 today
  • Creatine Kinase was 148 on 6/23/22
 

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I wonder about that drop in Hemoglobin. Increase in Reticulocytes means there are more new RBCS are out there in circulation--compensating for some kind of bleeding?

Sometimes it is the change in test results that is significant, rather than the fact that things are still within normal limits.

But I am NOT a vet. I'm not sure anyone here is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wonder about that drop in Hemoglobin. Increase in Reticulocytes means there are more new RBCS are out there in circulation--compensating for some kind of bleeding?

Sometimes it is the change in test results that is significant, rather than the fact that things are still within normal limits.

But I am NOT a vet. I'm not sure anyone here is.
I completely agree. Vet mentioned could be something with kidney, liver or intestines. She said the ultrasound should have more info. I emailed the vet office who did it asking for update since they were supposed to call me yesterday. We tried to do urinalysis today but the vet tech dropped most of it accidentally so may have to go back to do that if not enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thursday Update Sept 22, 2022
Just to provide update spoke with vet and regarding ultrasound there was some gas in stomach which made it difficult to see everything but kidney etc all looked fine. The intestines did have some swelling. She believes with everything leaning towards IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Only way to confirm would be a biopsy but probably also recommend endoscopy. Called recommended specialist Endoscopy ranges between $800-1500. Urinalysis did show some infection and blood in urine. She asked if Ares was having any accidents. I told her he has not & never had an issue with that. Apparently because of bacteria in urine sample they didn't run protein test vet wanted. She said we can try to get urine directly from bladder. Regarding IBD she is recommending Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food. If it is IBD (need biopsy) she recommends antibiotics and steroids but with his age etc she doesn't want to subscribe steroids until confirmed. There is no cure for IBD can only manage. Sad to see some forums where pets had to be euthanized because of this disease (this severity is not conmon). Tried giving him entyce it did absolutely nothing for trying to get him to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
So good news. After doing lots of research on IBD they mentioned metronidazole is also used to treat IBD. I had received a prescription from vet for his diarrhea but never gave it to him because he wasn't eating and supposed to give with food. He's on day 2 and although still picky he's actually eating! Even things he wouldn't touch last week like eggs or chicken. Here I thought it was carprofen helping it was in fact the metronidazole last time. When I switched from carprofen to gabapentin (for nerve pain) it did not help at all with appetite same when gave him more carprofen. (I did confirm with vet both can be given). Second vet recommended to not give any more carprofen unless absolutely need it (basically at my discretion). I haven't given him any since the first pill from second refill as it didn't help any way. Not sure IBD will explain all his issues. The antiobiotics imo are band-aid not fixing the underlying issue. When he finished last round of meds is when he got extremely worse. My fear is after the antiobiotics are done he relapses to not eating.

Next step is b12 test which would help identify ibd and start on hydrolyzed protein diet. Unfortunately no definitive answers so there will be more tests coming but I'll take a small win for Ares. Oh and also was reading carprofen or any NSAIDs should not be taken if have IBD can make things worse. If antiobiotics don't help they suggest prednisone (steroid).

He is still knuckling a bit on front paw and slips but overall he's moving much better and looks more lively. He has always had sensitive stomach it took me long time to find right brand for him so he could've had IBD all along and I just attributed his diarrhea to allergies and sensitive stomach.
 
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