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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17889
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello My name isXXXXX have a 9 year old newfoundland dog

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My name isXXXXX have a 9 year old newfoundland dog and was wondering if you could help me with some information on him. about 3 months ago one morning I woke up went downstairs to let my dog out the garden as normal and he was having some trouble walking on his front legs anyway took him to the vets they have done every single test on him going and to one point thought he might have the condition myasthenia gravis this test has since come back negative and his been on steroids now for 3 weeks and my vets are baffled as to what is wrong with him and they can not find a diagnosis so they can not treat him with anything other than put him on steroids anyway the past week he has become very weak to a point he can not even walk himself out the garden without me having to lift him with a harness and my question to you is have you ever come across anything like this before in a dog I am so desperate to help my dog and I would be grateful for any information that you can tell me and any options that you may think will help me also I don't want him put to sleep as the vets have advised me to do. If there is any possibility in anyway possible I can get him better because I am not giving up on him or finding a cure and I would really like your help with this. Please if you can suggest anything at all I would be so grateful
Kind regards

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am so sorry to hear that your fellow Lenny has been through a tremendous amount of testing without getting any answers and he is not improving with steroid use. How frustrating and sad for all of you.


Myasthenia gravis would certianly fit with this picture so it made sense to test for this. Sometimes we do get false negatives when testing for antibody levels. Was a drug called edrophonium chloride (“Tensilon response test”) ever tried to see if he improved?


Another possible cause for weakness includes hypothyroidism. We have seen some cases lately where the only symptoms seem to be neurologic, including muscle weakness. If he has not had a full thyroid profile that should be done. T-4 testing alone is not suffucient as that hormone level fluctuates wildly, enough so that we can get reading that looks normal when it really is not.


If he doesn't have Myasthenia Gravis or hypothyroidism, and hasn't responded to high doses of steroids, then unfortunately we need to consider that he may have a tumor affecting the nerve roots that control his front legs. The only good way to diagnose those is to have an MRI done at a specialty clinic. Treatment would be surgery to try and remove the tumor and probably follow-up chemotherapy based upon the type of tumor present.


Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.

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