Need Advice for Ongoing Strange Health Issues

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momofdaphne

Boxer Pal
I don't know where to start. I adopted my white boxer Daphne at the end of July. She was about 6-9 months old. No history on her; she was a stray. She was underweight and after some minor health issues (like skin infections and bowel issues), she was diagnosed with a liver infection. We battled this for a few months first with metrinidozole and antibiotics (which after 10 or so days her stomach couldn't handle it any longer) and later urosodiol. Throughout this, the vet had her on and off Hills Science Diet ID and a month long stint on WD to straighten out the diarrhea. During this she became lame, but we couldn't tell if it was her back or front legs. It was on and off and at times I had to help her out of her crate and she eventually couldn't put her front legs onto the bed or anything. I had her tested for Lyme's Disease. Meanwhile I gradually switched her over to Natural Balance Lamb Meal and Brown Rice and she loved it! She was still lame though. I had to take her in b/c I thought the tips of her ears were frostbit. Turns out that it was old scar tissue breaking open. Shortly after this, she stopped eating again and was extremely lame in the back legs. I thought the liver ALTs were elevated again, but they came out fine. She could hardly squat to urinate and I had to pick her up out of her crate all of the time. She also became extremely depressed. After a few days of battling to get her to eat, I found myself offering scrambled eggs with cheese, ground beef & rice, anything to get her to eat and she refused. I put it all in the blender and used a syringe to feed her. At this time, we had an appt scheduled with the university vet clinic in a week and a half and I just wanted her to hang in there. She spent a night at the vet's and wouldn't eat much for them. We started her on tramadal for pain and got her into U of I as soon as we could. After the pain meds kicked in, she slowly started eating again. We thought maybe it was myositis. Long story short--all x-rays, urine cultures and blood work have come back fine. I even had her tested for toxoplasmosis. My regular vet and 5 vets at the university have all consulted. They did a special muscle test, but it was not elevated enough to indicate that she'd be showing clinical signs of a problem. They had me keep her on the tramadal and gave me an appetite stimulant. The university team talked about Addison's Disease, but my vet and I think it is unlikely b/c the other blood work doesn't really point that way. Last week we decided to try a course of prednisone. She is getting 20mg pred, 1 pepcid, tramadal, and an appetite stimulant. She now has diarrhea and I have to give her metrinidizole again. The vet would like me to put her back on WD to get the stools straightened out, but I'm hesitant b/c of the amount of fiber and lack of some of the nutrients. She's so underweight and I swear she is just not absorbing any nutrients from the food. Can anyone offer any advice on cooking special diets to maintain her liver through this and calm her bowels? I feel like I need to stay away from the regular dog chow altogether and I don't want to try the raw diet just yet. At this point the vets seem to think this is all auto-immune. I'm also searching for any other advice or ideas? I will tell you that I lost a healthy 4 year old dog from immune mediated hemalytic anemia 3 months after I moved to my present location and I find it quite odd that this "new" dog has an immune problem. (Daphne was supposed to be a buddy for my other dog, but he passed away right before I brought her home.) We can't make any clear connections, but has anyone had these kind of problems with their boxers? I just can't give up. I appreciate any advice or support. Thanks and sorry that this was a little long.
 

gmacleod

Elusive Moderator
Staff member
I'm sorry to hear your dog is having such problems :( It's not easy to know what to suggest... the symptoms sound rather like HOD (hypertrophic osteodystrophy) or panosteitis (perhaps more likely for her age), but I see your vets have taken x-rays, so imagine they've already considered those possibilities.
 

nalabear

Super Boxer
I am so sorry for all the issues Daphne is having. Do you have a friend or family member were Daphne can stay to see if it is your home or something else? If she gets better you know its your home.
 

Stub

Completely Boxer Crazy
I would suggest the raw diet but as you say you don't want to try that just yet, I'd ask your vet about SAMe for liver support. For pets it is called Denosyl, and it was prescribed for Toby when he had highly elevated liver enzymes the last year of his life. It helped tremendously, and I was getting it on Amazon for about 1/2 the price the vet charged for the prescription. As I recall it did not interfere with any other meds and it really did work wonders for his liver numbers for many months.

I hope Daphne gets well again!
 

momofdaphne

Boxer Pal
Thanks!

Thanks for the thoughts everyone! I asked about SAMe, but he doesn't seemed concerned about the liver being affected by the short term use of the prednisone. I think I just need to insist on it. At this rate, I already give her 5 different meds a day. Ya know, she's never even undergone a full round of deworming and they don't want to b/c they never find anything in her stool. I may just have to deworm her myself. I almost left her with my parents, but they live about 8 1/2 hours a way and my dad was recently diagnosed with cancer and is now undergoing treatment. They don't need to worry about the dog. I really don't have anywhere else to leave her. We are in the process of trying to buy a house and after 4 months of waiting, we may close in 2 weeks. Let's just keep our fingers crossed. Perhaps I will look more into the raw diet. I'm in a rural area and don't know where I'd be able to get the food from...need to investigate more. Let me know if you have any other suggestions! Thanks again!
 

Tuff Love

Boxer Insane
Wow, poor Daphne and poor YOU! I'm so sorry to hear she's going through all this. I don't have much to offer but I hope you have some answers soon. My girl had a lot of issues when she was a young pup and the one thing that helped her with the diarrhea was a digestive aid called PanaKare. We also switched her food to one with a novel meat that she never had before (Nat Bal's Venison and Sweet Potato). None of those fancy veterinary formula foods did anything for my girl.

Hang in there Daphne! Hope you have some answers soon.
 

momofdaphne

Boxer Pal
Update

Wow, well. Daphne is improving being on such high doses of steroids. Her stools finally firmed up, she's gained weight and more peppy. However, now she's acting crazy and aggressive at times after being on the steroids. I'm not sure where to go with all of this. She's still a happy, friendly dog, but certain things are setting her off (people with hoods, certain men, people who look her in the eye and how can you tell people walking down the block "don't look my dog in the eye"?) and it worries me. I'm starting to wonder if she was abused or being trained to fight in the early stages of her life. I know the steroids can cause aggressive behavior, but still. I'm also wondering if whatever is wrong with her is also starting to affect her brain. She started to show signs of discomfort again and I had her steroid dose decreased there for awhile and now, he wants me to increase it again, but I have to really watch her around people. I just don't know if I should keep hanging in there or throw in the towel. Are we going to kick this medical condition? We can't keep her on the medication long term--it's not good for her. Suggestions on what other diseases to check for or any experiences with this sort of thing?
 
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