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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9008
Experience:  13 years of experience with domestic and exotic dogs, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.
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, our 8 year old Labrador has been unwell a month.

Customer Question

Hi, our 8 year old Labrador has been unwell for nearly a month. On 9th Feb, she had pains in her back and trouble walking. The vet gave painkillers. On 15th Feb, she was in a bad way, breathly quickly, drinking lots of water and pretty lifeless. Her back legs collapsed when she walked. The vet took her in and said she had kidney disease. If it is acute kidney disease, then we are pretty sure it is from an infection. It doesn't appear to be chronic kidney disease. The vet has considered and ruled out Addison's disease. A consideration today was pyelonephritis. She has had regular blood and urine tests and several ultrasounds. The ultrasounds didn't show any lumps or anything of concern. The blood tests have shown that her levels were badly out (sodium and potassium, as well as creatinine) but they have gradually improved. On 16th Feb, her creatinine hit a high of 350. Today it was down to 250, but it seems to have plateaued. The vet was concerned today about her white blood cell levels (I forget whether they are high or low - he said it appeared that she was still fighting an infection). Her red blood cells are reproducing, so it looks as though her kidneys are working. Where we live, there is no option to have MRI scans or x-rays, so neither have been done. Please could you help us by letting me know if you have any other ideas? Thank you very much in advance. Andrew Pinel
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Dan replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.
I'm sorry that Piper is feeling so bad. In our area of the country this would sound very much like a tick associated disease like lyme, anaplasma, ehrlichia, or Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. Ticks that carry these have stages that are the size of a pin head so they will not always be seen. They can certainly cause the symptoms you are describing. Another disease that should be considered is leptospirosis. This is a bacteria that is spread in urine of wildlife and other dogs and can affect the liver and kidneys. I would consider sending out tests (blood) for these particular infections. If they come back up negative then I think it is time to travel where there is the possibility of xrays and ultrasound.
I hope this helps, if not please feel free to ask followup quesitons.
Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We live in Jersey, UK, a small island, so we don't have many of those problems. An infection is possible. All the blood tests have come back clear, showing no particular infections. She was pretty good today - bouncy, lively - but her white blood cells and creatinine are a problem, Our vet is struggling to work it out and he is a very good vet. Piper had parvovirus when she was 10 weeks old and survived it.

Expert:  Dr. Dan replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately the statement you just made ( we don't have many of those problems) is exactly why those diseases get missed. If you don't have ticks and you can't do xrays then sending out a Leptospirosis test an easy thing to do. The other alternative is a full exploratory and taking biopsies of the liver and kidneys.
Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, you might be right. We will mention it to our vet. The biopsy is the next option - either that or get to the UK for an MRI or x-ray. Vets in Jersey all seem to agree that ticks are not dangerous. Being an Island in the UK, many of those diseases don't reach us. We are trying to avoid the biopsy, as her kidneys are still weak and the anaesthetic could be dangerous.

Expert:  Dr. Dan replied 3 years ago.
Sounds like a good plan, if your vet doesn't feel lepto is in the area then biopsy or finding a way to get some imaging done is really important.
Dr. Dan