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stumped on health problem

3975 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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I feed my pack Nutro Natural Choice - either Lamb and Rice or Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal (I switch around). I live in a very small town - there are no pet stores here, and the local Grange does carry Nutro products. Mine have all done very well on the Natural Choice, shiny, soft coats, clear eyes and they've all been healthy. When I first got Romeo his breeder was feeding Purina Pro Plan, so I kept him on that for a while - he had constant ear infections - then the vet said that most ear infections now are caused by food allergies - so I immediately switched him to the Nutro - corn and wheat are major allegens for many dogs. It is the best I can get for them locally. When I can get to a Costco store (the closest is over 60 miles from here), I buy Kirkland, it has a good rating and it's about 1/2 the price of the Nutro. You will find that feeding a good quality food it will take less (my kids get 1 cup a day or less - depending on their size), split into two meals. There's also less clean up. You might want to check into a food with NO grains - by the way, if you notice, IAMS does not have a very good rating, and Science Diet gets an F. I have boycotted IAMS for years because of their research practices. If you consider Nutro, make sure you don't go for the Nutro Max, which does contain wheat. There are several very good foods that don't have grains at all - I just can't get them here. The Nutro is roughly $43 for a 40# bag, and they go through about 2 bags a month. Of course, if I'd let them, they'd eat a bag a week and still tell me they're starved - but there's not a skinny beagle in the pack.
IF you use dog biscuits, you might want to make sure they don't contain wheat, too. Wheat is usually the first ingredient in most dog biscuits. It might <span style="text-decoration: underline">not be the cause, but it's worth a try</span>. I've completely stopped giving dog biscuits to the kids, and have switched to saving a little of their kibble out as treats, or for special treats, I slice hot dogs VERY thin and dole out slices of hot dogs. With the kids, it's not the size of the treat, but the idea of the treat! Cheerios makes a good training treat, too. One of my clients gets commodity deliveries and she often gives me 2 lb boxes of cheese, which I cut into TINY cubes for treats too. Good luck! Don't they LOOK undernourished???
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I use Innova. My last dog had a lot of skin problems and allergies. We tried several different treatment options but nothing worked long term. My vet thought that maybe it was a food allergy and suggested Innova for her. It worked great for us and her itching stopped. When I got Jersey, it just made sense to use Innova with her.
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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Lately I have been using the Wellness Core which is grain free for Maggie. I have been buying the low fat version because she needed to lose a little weight. I have also been impressed with Orijen.
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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