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Thread: Spaniel problem

  1. #1

    Spaniel problem

    Righty ho.

    10 1/2 yr old working cocker. Worked hard so is VERY fit. Up until 4 weeks ago was still working cover on every walk and is addicted to getting wet.

    Had the shits for a few days, but lost a fair bit of weight, went all scrawny round the hips and spine.

    After that, his stomach bloated up, really hard. Consulted the vet and found the following

    Stomach contents were almost pure water (not drinking excessively)
    Protiens in blood were very low. Ultrasound clear no blockages.

    So, water retention and possible gut / bowel issue, stopping the transfer of protiens into the system

    Took water tablets, swelling went down. This has been reoccuring over the last 3 weeks, the tablets keep it down, but then it reappears and goes again.

    The wieght has not really came back. Diet has been changed, and stools are now solid, (has relapses when suspected of stealing the lurchers food,, attempting to separate strictly)

    Vet has decided to try antibiotics to combat possible gut infection to see if weight comes back and food is properly digested, this starts tonight.
    Failing that wants to try steroids to combat the gut issue. Will try this but that will be a last resort.


    The dog seems chirpy enough, but gets lethargic when swollen, seems to be discomferted and has the odd pee accident (not dogs fault at all so no issue)

    The weight sems to have steadied, but is not increasing, any further reduction in weight will become an issue for the dog as he is losing muscle mass from the hip, rear end area.


    So , to recap. the main issue is the failure to absorb protiens from food, (higher protien food won`t work as he is not absorbing it) The wtaer retention may be a symton of the gut issue, kidneys not funtioning correctly ??

    Could this be a poisoning issue??


    As I say, I am consulting the vet and trust them to be honest but thought I would throw this one on SD as there may be someone who has had experience of similar issues.

    I`ve already had one Spaniel PTS this year, would prefer not to make it two.

    Thanks for any info or ideas folks

  2. #2
    Try and pm Apache on this site i believe hes a vet he maybe able to help hope your dog improves

  3. #3
    Ok lets try and break this down a little. Please bear in mind that I am definitively a surgeon therefore my knuckles drag on the ground when I walk and I am incapable of complex thought!!

    Also the following comments are general advice that should be discussed in detail with your own vet who is clearly in posession of greater information than I. I cannot make a specific diagnosis regarding your dog but will try to help with the though process. I am not trying to speak for them but I am certain that both Apache and Buchan would say the same

    Is the fluid in his stomach or in his abdominal cavity? I assume from the use of diuretics it is in the abdomen therefore called ascites. Has this fluid been tested, are there any signs of cells present in the fluid and how does the protein concentration in the abdominal fluid compare to that of blood? There are a few different types of fluid that can be produced depending on the cause that vary in their composition (exudate - thick and gloopy most often infection/inflammation, transudate - low protein levels allowing fluid to be drawn away from the circulation or heart problems that force fluid out of the blood vessels and modified transudate same as transudate but more cells (can occur following problems like vasculitis, tumours, strangulation of tissue or obstruction of the thoracic duct - produces milky looking chyle )
    The composition of this fluid is important and may affect how the investigations are managed e.g. a cardiac workup may be needed

    The low blood proteins may well be significant as without these fluid can be lost into body cavities like the abdomen/chest or into the peripheral tissues as the osmotic pressure of the plasma decreases so water moves out of the circulation

    Low blood protein can only happen for a few reasons

    1. inadequate protein supply ie inadequate dietary protein intake - assuming the diet is reasonably normal can the dog move to food, pick it up, swallow it and keep it down. If it is vomiting does it retch a few times before being sick or does the food just drop out of its mouth with little effort?

    2. Inability to absorb protein - this is where the gut really comes into it. We may need to find out if the food is able to pass from the stomach through the digestive tract. Then we need to know if the digestive process (enzymes etc) are normally present (pancreatic testing may be necessary) and then if the gut is able to absorb protein (faecal testing needed for bacterial culture and parasites and possibly then gut biopsies)

    3. Inability to make use of the absorbed protein - basically the liver is responsible for this, so liver enzymes should be checked and probably already have been. Specific liver function tests may be needed if liver problems are suspected

    4. increased loss of protein - in the absence of severe wounds, burns etc this can only really occur into the gut (most likely in this case) or the urinary tract (urine testing needed). Increased protein loss can occur into body cavities following infections, development of tumours etc but this would change the composition of the fluid

    Whilst no abnormalities have been detected on ultrasound, it may be necessary to consider other imaging modalities such as xrays, CT or MRI

    Only by following things through in a logical manner can the diagnosis be made with certainty, only by having a diagnosis can treatment be most effective. Please be patient with this process, it can sometimes take some time and as you may have guessed can be costly, especially when multiple tests are needed. Once again please make sure you involve your vet throughout.

    Apache and Buchan - have I missed owt??

    Hope it helps

    S

  4. #4
    Sorry to hear about the problem but it's one of those cases where it is difficult to give an opinion without seeing your dog, or all the test results. However, reading your post, it looks like your dog has had diarrhoea weight loss and then ascites (fluid in the abdomen). I'm assuming that your comment "stomach contents almost pure water" means fluid in the abdomen (belly) as opposed to the true stomach (intestines). It could be that your dog is losing protein through the gut (assuming liver and kidney results are normal) as well as not absorbing properly. In some of these cases, steroids can be very effective, with little harm. It is not likely to be poisoning.
    I hope that helps, good luck.

  5. #5
    Apache and Buchan - have I missed owt??

    No, don't think so

  6. #6
    Thanks for that, The Acites is bang on, the lack of blood protein being the cause of this according to the vet.
    The Liver and Kidney functions were fine and ruled out.

    I suppose what I am looking for is root causes for the malabsorbtion. This is what they want to treat with antibiotics first and then failing that , streroids. The inability to absorb the protien,,what would cause this ?

    "2. Inability to absorb protein - this is where the gut really comes into it. We may need to find out if the food is able to pass from the stomach through the digestive tract. Then we need to know if the digestive process (enzymes etc) are normally present (pancreatic testing may be necessary) and then if the gut is able to absorb protein (faecal testing needed for bacterial culture and parasites and possibly then gut biopsies)"

    The above seems closest to what I am being told.. It appears that you would do exactely the same as my vet, that is, treat with antibiotics, and then steroids. This is good to know.




    A biopsy won`t happen I`m afraid. If we get to that stage I`m more inclined to allow the dog to continue until I see him becoming in any way distressed, then deal with that issue.

    Thanks for this guys,, the more info I have the more I am prepared for when I get home on Wed. My missus is in bits having to deal with this as well.

  7. #7
    possible causes would include
    infections - bacterial e.g salmonella, e coli, campylobacter, viral e.g parvo, distemper
    parasitic - giardia, heavy worm burden
    inflammatory bowel disease - various sorts
    neoplasia - tumours
    immune mediated disease

    hope all goes well

  8. #8
    Ascites is never a 'good' diagnosis.

    In all honesty if money is an issue - "A biopsy won`t happen I`m afraid" then I'd get started on the steroids as well as the antibiotics and hope to God that it is caused by an inflammatory bowel disease or something immune mediated. These work by infiltrating the gut with immune cells and reducing the ability of the gut to absorb protein (and other things).

    Did your vet tell you what the albumin (main blood protein) and globulin (a protein raised in infection) were?

    If albumin low and globulin normal infection less likely. Still can't totally rule out liver disease even with normal liver enzymes.

    Don't be afraid of trying steroids. Really.

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    Ascites is never a 'good' diagnosis.

    In all honesty if money is an issue - "A biopsy won`t happen I`m afraid" then I'd get started on the steroids as well as the antibiotics and hope to God that it is caused by an inflammatory bowel disease or something immune mediated. These work by infiltrating the gut with immune cells and reducing the ability of the gut to absorb protein (and other things).

    Did your vet tell you what the albumin (main blood protein) and globulin (a protein raised in infection) were?

    If albumin low and globulin normal infection less likely. Still can't totally rule out liver disease even with normal liver enzymes.

    Don't be afraid of trying steroids. Really.
    Money is not an issue. I just don`t want to start operations etc for a 10 + yr old dog. Better to ensure they have a good quality of life for whatever life they have left. I just hope it is one of the infectious reasons mentioned.

    One thing I haven`t done, is worm him,! Thats a very good point. He is regularly wormed, but I can`t remember when his last worming was.

    The Steroids aren`t really an issue for me, I will try them when the vet decides it`s time to do it. They haven`t reccomended both at the same time, he is on antibiotics as of today. Is this something you would do,,? Both at once ?

    I have the levels you mention, but at home I`m afraid, I`m still stuck out at sea till Wed.
    Thanks again for all the info folks,, I realy appreciate you taking the time to educate me.

  10. #10
    Update.

    After extended treatment with antibiotics there was no real improvement in the dogs condition, He stayed really perky, so he has been taken off all medication to observe whats next.

    He has improved all week. No water retention which can only mean his albumin levels are improving, and the dogs demeanor is getting better day by day.

    Wiating game.

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