Posted by: Gabby | 2009/08/05

Spirocerca Lupi and GME in yorkie

We have just been devastated by the loss of our precious six year old yorkie. We had to put him to sleep on Saturday as his condition had deteriorated such that he had no balance, loss of coordination, seemed confused and was head pressing etc

I am left with so many questions but I dont want to appear to be second guessing my vet as I believe she did her best. That' s why I am hoping that you could perhaps help.

My dog had been vomiting for months - from about the end of February. He was also lethargic and from time to time appeared as though his reflexes were off / slowed-up (for instance if I was walking in one direction and he was at my feet and I changed direction, he would run into me. He also wouldnt move out of the way if I opened the cupboard door and he happened to be too close. I would end up hitting him witht he dorr by mistake. Things like that). He also started chewing things, which he hasnt done since a puppy.

We attributed it weakness from constant vomiting. After repeated trips to our previous vet and being told that he just had gastro and a throat infection, we went for a 2nd opinion at the beginning of July. The new vet immediately suspected spirocerca lupi and did x-rays which confirmed this was the case. He was put on Dectomax (0.15ml daily for six weeks).

About five days later, he kept us up all night long. He was vomiting and salivating and was unable to keep still. He would try to jump off the bed and fall flat on his face. We took him to the vet and she decided to keep him there for monitoring. She called me later that day to discuss the fact that he was showing other neurological signs (tremours, head tilting, back arched, a bit off balance while walking etc). She said not al of these signs could be attributed to spirocerca and wanted to do blood tests. All his tests came back normal. Three days later we brought him home and he seemed much better. She had given him soething for nausea and pain/inflammation.

About two weeks after that, we had another bad night with him and took him in again. He was head pressing, was walking very slowly, wasnt eating and just seemed out of it. The vet suggested that we could be looking at GME on top of the spirocerca. She said we might want to consider sending him for MRI and spinal tap at a specialist vet. Due the costs involved and because the specialist is quite some way away from us (and because we didnt want him tosuffer the trauma) we decided not to send him. She said the improvements he showed during his previous hospitalisation could have been attributed to the anti-inflammatories he was given, which would support the possibility that he had GME.

She did however, also suggest that the signs he was showing could be a side-effect of the dectomax. So she suggested we leave him in for monitoring. She would tube feed him, take him off the dectomax and start him on corticosteroids for the GME.

Three days later we brought him home. He seemed great. As dectomax has a half life of two weeks and would have still been in his body despite the fact that we' d taken him off it, the vet felt happy that it was in fact GME that was causing his symptoms and that the improvements he was showing were the result of him being on corticosteroids and not because he was off the dectomax.

But within a day or two of being home (on Friday last week), he started to deteroitorate again. He seemed unable to walk properly, was unable to jump on and off the bed etc. When we tried to feed him on Saturday, the food just rolled out of his mouth, like he was unable to chew. I held him for most of the day and his breathing seemed a bit laboured and he would whimper soflty when I moved him. By 17:00 he was whimpering quite badly. When we tried to put him on the floor to walk, his legs were wobbly and just seemed to slide apart. While holding him, he would just stay in whatever position I placed him in - as if he couldnt move to make himself confortable.

We took him to the vet and she examined him. She said that his balance and co-ords were off. She explained there' s a necrotising form of meningitis which yorkies get and that he might have that one and that' s why he isnt responding to the treatment. She advised us to put him down and she says there' s no other way to treat it and his quality of life was poor as it was.

I now wish I had sent him for the MRI to see if he really had GME, where the nodules were etc. I am left with so many questions.

My questions:
1. Could the dectomax have caused my dog' s symptoms? (it seems so coincidental that his condtion went downhill even more after he was put on it)
2. Can dectomax even be used in yorkies?
3. Is there anything else we could have done to save our beloved dog?
4. Does this necrotising leukoencephalitis that we suspect he had cause these types of symptoms?

Please help if you can. I feel so guilty that we didnt do enough for him.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Dear Gabby

1. No
2. Can be used but 'off label' use. This means that it has not been registered for use but lots of vets use it.
3. I dont think so.
4. Yes

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Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2009/08/05

Now look here, please. I know you' re feeling desperately sad about your dog, and that is totally understandable.

But after that whole long story, asking ' could we have done more for him?'  is nuts - you went to extraordinary lengths, and you did your very very best, and tried everything that was practicable - and then on top of it, you were still generous enough to give permission to end his suffering, in spite of the pain it cost you.

That dog was lucky to have such caring and thorough and responsible owners. Stop feeling guilty - you did all you could, and nobody could ask for more!

Reply to Chill

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