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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc (DVM equivalent). Special interest in canine and feline medicine and surgery.
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How severe can a dogs reaction to worms be if they have had

Resolved Question:

How severe can a dogs reaction to worms be if they have had them a long time? My dog has symptoms of worms and had a raised heart rate of 160 (she is a 10 year old pyrenean mountain dog), she had a high temp, lethargic, back legs giving way, a weird cough, small white things in her stools, wiping her bottom along the floor. The vets are ruling out worms as a cause but they have no other suggestions.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 1 year ago.

Hi there,

Thanks for your question regarding your girl Tina. Are your vets suspecting gastrointestinal worms here? Have they sent a faecal sample away to a local veterinary lab to run a faecal float for worms? Has your girl been having deworming treatments?

It would also be helpful to know how long these symptoms have been occurring for and how old your girl is. Has she had any vomiting or diarrhea? What did your vet focus on with the ultrasound (ie was this an abdominal ultrasound)? Has your vet referred you to a specialist yet?

I will wait to hear from you.

Kind Regards,

Dr E

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, the vets were suspecting a heart problem but ruled that out when her heart rate dropped to 80 when they got her temperature down. The ultrasound looked at her spleen and liver but showed nothing. We as owners were wondering if a serious worm infestation could cause her to become so ill so no the vets haven't taken a sample, they told us that worms wouldn't make her this ill. But they have no idea what is making her ill. She has symptoms of worms even though we had wormed her maybe it didn't work. She hasn't had vomiting or diarrhoea recently. We were referred to a cardiologist but she has told us that if we wouldn't operate on her at the age of 10 then there is no point even putting her through an X-ray. They have spoken about having her put down but I feel we need to know what is wrong before we can decide that. If its a possibility it could be worms thats got severe surely we should at least try. They have just said they don't know whats wrong and given up really. The ultrasound was done by two different vets and both found no tumours or any problems there. She groans when her abdominal area is pushed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, the vets were suspecting a heart problem but ruled that out when her heart rate dropped to 80 when they got her temperature down. The ultrasound looked at her spleen and liver but showed nothing. We as owners were wondering if a serious worm infestation could cause her to become so ill so no the vets haven't taken a sample, they told us that worms wouldn't make her this ill. But they have no idea what is making her ill.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, the vets were suspecting a heart problem but ruled that out when her heart rate dropped to 80 when they got her temperature down. The ultrasound looked at her spleen and liver but showed nothing. We as owners were wondering if a serious worm infestation could cause her to become so ill so no the vets haven't taken a sample, they told us that worms wouldn't make her this ill. But they have no idea what is making her ill. She has symptoms of worms even though we had wormed her maybe it didn't work. She hasn't had vomiting or diarrhoea recently. We were referred to a cardiologist but she has told us that if we wouldn't operate on her at the age of 10 then there is no point even putting her through an X-ray. They have spoken about having her put down but I feel we need to know what is wrong before we can decide that. If its a possibility it could be worms thats got severe surely we should at least try. They have just said they don't know whats wrong and given up really. The ultrasound was done by two different vets and both found no tumours or any problems there. She groans when her abdominal area is pushed.
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

Thanks for getting back to me. It certainly sounds like you have followed up on Tina's symptoms very thoroughly with your local vet and this is great to hear. The combination of symptoms she has had certainly is a worry, and it is a concern that your vets cannot find a definitive diagnosis at this time. The symptoms you have mentioned certainly do not tie in with a severe gastrotintestinal worm infestation, and if you have been giving an appropriate dewormer (such as Milbemax of Drontal), then we can safely assume that worms are not contributing to the issue here. If you wanted absolute certainty that this is the case however, then it is just a matter of getting a fresh faecal sample to your local vet to have a faecal float run to rule intestinal parasites in or out.

So, assuming intestinal worms aren't an issue here - what are the next best steps? Your girl isn't young, but that isn't a reason to give up looking for the diagnosis here. Because this is certainly quite a complex case, I would definitely suggest that you ask for a referral to a veterinary internal medicine specialist. Thankfully, there are quite a number of these vets scattered throughout the UK, so if this idea appeals, please let me know and I can give you and idea of your closest veterinary referral centre. Here the specialist team can look at your girl's history, the work and diagnostics your vets have done so far, and from there carry out extra diagnostics as necessary in order to try and make a definitive diagnosis of her problem. I feel that any non-invasive, non-stressful diagnostic procedure that may help give us an indication of her issue, would be warranted here. This could certainly involve a cardiac ultrasound, and potentially even chest xrays, if Tina could tolerate these being done consciously. You would have to make a call about whether diagnostics that would involve anaesthesia would be warranted here. My thoughts are that your girl is too unwell, and too old to warrant the use of anaesthesia just for diagnostic tests.

Tina's case is certainly complex, and because your vets sound as though they may be a little stumped at this time, I would definitely recommend referral. Please let me know if you want help finding a local referral centre.

All the best with your girl and please keep me posted on your progress with the next steps.

Kind Regards,

Dr E

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for helping. Its good to have an extra point of view when the other vets are so stuck for ideas. The vet now thinks that it may all be caused by a bad phantom pregnancy and wants to remove her womb and ovaries. She is going to stay at the vets again over night on a drip and see if she improves as I don't want her operated on if not necessary. She had a chest X-ray and no problems there.
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 1 year ago.

No problem at all. It sounds like your vets may have cracked the code here as a pyometra (womb infection) would certainly make sense here given the symptoms you've seen, along with the white specks (pus) at her back end.

All the best and I hope your girl's surgery goes well.

Dr E

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