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stumped on health problem

3971 Views 24 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Erin
Ok... this is going to probably be a long post regarding Daisy's health problem that no one can figure out...

We got her from the Jacksonville Humane Society last September (almost a year ago to date). When we looked at her they told us that she had some snorting problems, including the whole reverse sneeze thing. We just figured she had some minor allergies and didn't give it much thought. She seemed healthy and happy other than the snorting sound she would make occasionally.
About two months after we got her she, out of the blue, began having what we called fits. The following links will take you to videos of what she does, but I will try to explain it also:

Daisy's Problem: Video 1
Daisy's Problem: Video 2
Daisy's Problem: Video 3

There are no common threads to when she has these problems. She could be outside playing or inside sleeping. She will be acting perfectly normal and then out of the blue she'll frantically start licking the floor, couch, or anything she get can her mouth on. She'll also try to eat fuzz, grass, even my hair! All things she wouldn't normally give a second glance to. During this fit she tucks her tail, licks, swallows, snorts (not reverse sneezing), and coughs up white mucus. Nothing we do makes her stop. These fits can literally last for HOURS, even all night long once they start. We have had many sleepless nights preventing her from eating things, cleaning up mucus, and just trying to comfort her. If we crate her she'll lick the sides of the crate, bottom, and try and eat/lick the comforter that we have in there, especially if there's a small thread sticking off of it. These fits began in Nov. of 2007 and have been sporadic since then. Sometimes she's had them once or twice a week, and sometimes once a month or once every two weeks. When she isn't having fits, she licks her feet a lot as well as her belly, and sometimes even has a small rash on her tummy which our vet attributed to a contact dermatitis. We're pretty sure she has skin allergies, but she has not been tested. Listed below are all of the things we've done to try and figure out what the problem is and the one thing that seems to work
(although we don't know why):

Things we've done that don't work, tests that came back normal:

Antihistamines (various types and dosages)
Throat wash
Chest X-rays
Valium (during the episode, which didn't really work)
Spoken with 5 different vets, including an internal medicine specialist
Anti-nausea medications
Phenobarbital (one vet thought it might be a partial motor seizure)
Food change (from Pedigree to Eukanuba: Natural Lamb and Rice to Blue and back to Eukanuba)
Full blood panel
Throat Scope (the specialist put a camera down her throat and also back of her nose)

The ONE thing that seems to help:

Temparil-P (I believe each pill has 5mg of antihistamine, 2mg of Prednisone)

She has been fit free for 3 months since being on one pill per day. We've recently cut it down to half a pill per day and she seems to be doing ok. She still snorts but has had no episodes. The problem is... no one knows WHY it works! I'm thinking she's having some kind of reaction in her throat that's causing inflamation and making her feel like she can't swallow. All the licking builds up some mucus and she has to cough it up. But I'm not a vet, and the vets don't know. Any ideas??? Our current vet wants to keep her on 1 pill/day or 1/2 pill/day for six months and then try to take her off, hoping the tissue that was getting inflamed has been given time to heal. If that doesn't work we'll probably end up at Auburn University's vet clinic. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! It's been a LONG year trying to help her.

Thanks and sorry the post was so long!!
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Glenda - you may absolutely post anywhere you might think could offer advice! I'm always open!

Just a side note. I've also spoken with a behavioralist and from the description she didn't seem to think it was a behavioral problem. I myself am still leaning towards an allergy. Mainly because of all the things we've tried, but also because our other dog (Rocky) occasionally does something similar. It's MUCH more minor and he doesn't spit up mucus. I can usually stop him just by giving him a little something to eat. I think his may be more related to getting something caught in his throat. It usually happens after he's been licking himself or munching on little pieces of grass (which he does sometimes I think just because he can). Thank you so much for your help, maybe someone from Beagle Bay will have more suggestions!
And thank you for the compliments, she is my beautiful pound puppy!

Chloe's Mom - Thank you!
Although we don't know what it is, we're so grateful to have found something that gives her relief, and us as well!
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Judy - Thanks! One vet suggested some kind of behavior medication and that's when I called the behaviorist. Since the licking only occurs during these episodes we're pretty sure she's just not feeling good. But when it happens, it's definitely compulsive. I've spoken with the vet about the Temaril-P because I had the same concerns about the steroid part of it. He assured me that as long as she's on 1/2 pill per day she'll be fine. Apparently the amount of prednisone is very low. However, we would like to eventually be able to get her off of it, which is why we're keeping Auburn in the back of our mind. They have a wonderful clinic there. I'm sorry to hear about your pooch's licking problem, but at least your walls will be clean.
Thank you so much for the support!

Glenda - What a shame that he wasn't able/didn't keep his dog. I can imagine she had a tough time. When my parents first adopted one of their labs, Lexi would sit at the window and cry. But she too is now quite happy and healthy, it just took time.
Thank you for all of your help and I look forward to hearing if anyone from BB has a suggestion!
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I was responding individually to posts but there are so many! I very much appreciate all of your suggestions!! It relieves me that at least she doesn't have some rare tropical disease or something...
Here's some further info with Daisy:

1. I have given a lot of thought to the allergy thing over the last year. She almost ALWAYS sounds mucusy (like she's got a cold or something), but all of the tests we've had done come back that she's in perfect health. However, we have not had her tested for allergies.

2. We've tried just putting her in her crate (where she can't eat anything), turning off all the lights, and leaving her by herself so that we're not encouraging the behavior. But she will still continue for hours and hours until she just wears herself out.

3. We have also tried feeding her during her fits and she just ends up throwing it all back up. One time I even tried giving her some warm water. She just sucked it all down then threw it all up. Our other dog, however, will stop if we give him something to eat.

4. I don't believe Eukanuba is the same as Iams. The food we give her lists chicken as the first ingredient. Here's the website for Eukanuba: http://www.eukanuba.com/EukGlobal/US/en/jsp/home/LocalHome.jsp

5. We've tried benadryl, along with a few other antihistamines, but haven't had any luck.

6. The post nasal drip sounds very interesting! I've offered something similar to the vets as a suggestion but haven't really gotten anywhere with it. When they did the throat scope (endoscopy), the specialist didn't see any signs of a problem so who knows! I may bring up the post nasal drip thing with our current vet though and see what he thinks.

7. She doesn't really do any damage to herself. She licks her feet but doesn't chew, so there haven't been any cuts or other wounds.

8. Our goal is to get her off of the Temaril-P, but each pill only has 2mg of prednisone, with 5 mg of an antihistamine. The vet wants to keep her on the low dose for another 3-4 months and then try to get her off of it completely. If that doesn't work, we'll be going to Auburn OR beginning some allergy treatment.

I guess the worst, besides the fact that she's miserable when these fits happen, is that before the Temaril-P we were terrified to leave her alone. We were always worried a fit would happen while we were away and that she would get into something that could hurt her. Even if we crated her she'd sometimes try to eat the comforter.

Anyway, thank you all so much for your support and responses. Jason, Rocky, Daisy, and I really appreciate them! It's been a rough year... not to mention an expensive one!
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That all sounds great! I think I will look into switching their food. We've tried a couple of nausea meds given during Daisy's fits and none seemed to help. One was an orange liquid and one was an actual shot that the vet administered.

Again, a continued thank you too all of you for posting and helping!

I read through the food list (very helpful) and was just wondering what kinds of food you all give your pups?
What an adorable pack!!
We've pretty much stopped giving the regular dog biscuits and have starting giving either pieces of their food, little pieces of cheese, or a treat called Chicken Chips from VitaLife. The listed ingredient is just chicken and the dogs LOVE them.
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We're in the process of switching to Innova, so we'll see what happens!!
I like that it has apples, carrots, etc. so hopefully they'll enjoy it.
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