Canine Intestinal Lymphoma or Dog Inflammatory Bowel Disease
by Andrea Owens
(Ft Smith, Arkansas)
Emma Marie is only 1 Year Old
I couldn't be more terrified! My Yorkie is 16 months old. She was hand raised after being rejected at birth and was a little behind for a few weeks. She wasn't able to pass her fecal matter, even though we knew to stimulate her with a warm rag. We also had a foster dog helping (supervised) so I was told to give an enema when she couldn't go. It was to be warm water with a dab of dawn liquid. She never went for the beginning weeks and so the enemas were too often in my opinion.
I am beginning this story blaming myself:
Emma is my Yorkie and she turned one back in April. She had her first heat cycle and was under an unusual amount of stress all at the same time. She had bloody diarrhea and ended up at the vet. She had to have an IV but I took her home same day. No diagnosis...assumed pancreatitis.
I have always cooked for her, and the vet, who we regularly see, love, and have no negative words ever for, said to feed a particular dog food from her shelf. I tried and that wasn't ever going to happen. Emma hardly eats human. She had thrown up with that bout of diarrhea too, by the way.
Then in June, we had an emergency in Texas for my brother. No one in the whole world could go get him from the hospital except me, of course. So I really deliberated on it. Emma stay without me or go? Either way, I am in big trouble. She is unable to cope with stress since first heat cycle and maybe before that, but not quite as bad. So I took her and drove all night, hoping she would sleep (on my shoulders while I drive is her spot)and drove all day long to get home for bed.
She had bloody diarrhea and throwing up and it has all gone down hill since. My regular vet has spayed her and did exploratory for a blockage or twist in intestines, but we didn't realize the magnitude of whatever she has at that time. My vet stopped the symptoms going on from the trip, but Emma was doing so poorly after her surgery, vet was out of town, and Emma was so skinny. I thought maybe she wasn't absorbing anything from what little food she was eating. We called the vet we use when ours isn't available.
They tested for Addison's disease. Negative. The symptoms fit it and then some! She also seems to have legg calve perthes disease and will have an x-ray this week. The internal situation is the first concern. For all of these months she does not want any water and hardly a drop of food. She might eat one
thing today and then tomorrow she won't touch that food ever again. She doesn't really want any protein anymore. She used to only want chicken.
Her liver was in question by the vets that did the Addison's test. They said maybe a small shunt. All tests and blood work they did were never totally clear cut on something for sure. That is where we are now at my regular vet too.
I left there with a bill of several hundred dollars to make payments on. My vet for Emma is doing everything and conferences with internist in Tulsa, Okla. The other vets were so unsure that they posted Emma's case on a veterinarian's website for other vets to view and give their opinion. Still no answers. She has had really green feces, no desire for water, little desire to eat, won't eat any dog food at all of any kind and she used to eat dry dog food about 10 months ago. Oh, on the tests that she had, her cortisol levels were the only one that was low.
But she had been given a long lasting steroid shot so we retested her and she did not have Addison's disease. Her body is highly sensitive to touch. She doesn't want to be touched, but wants me to hold her and her body temp. doesn't regulate well. She is on prednisone though. It is probably that. I have looked up pred. but can't bare to look too closely at the side effects.
I have to have her on it or she is completely lethargic. Please offer me....... thoughts?
Andrea Owens Vet Suggestions Dog Inflammatory Bowel Disease
I am so sorry to hear about all that you and your Emma have been through together. After reading your letter, the main question that I have is, when your veterinarian performed the exploratory, did he or she take multiple tissue biopsies from throughout her intestinal tract and send them off to a pathologist for evaluation? If not, this would be the next step that I would take. Intestinal biopsies can either be gathered during exploratory surgery (with the benefit that the whole intestinal tract can be evaluated and sampled, if necessary) or using an endoscope. Endoscopy is less invasive but still requires general anesthesia and only the front and back aspects of the GI tract can be evaluated.
It is possible that your dog has a condition like inflammatory bowel disease that if definitively diagnosed via biopsies, could be effectively managed. I know your dog is already on prednisone, but some cases of inflammatory bowel disease require more powerful immunosuppressants like azathioprine and feeding a hypoallergenic diet
Lymphoma is a possibility also but it would be surprising to find it in such a young dog.
Best of luck,
Jennifer Coates, DVM