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Unexplained Illness - please help

Posted: 09 Apr 2019, 08:59
by JetLag
This is my first post to this or any forum about our Miniature Schnauzer Dennis (named after the great Dennis Healey because of the similarities in crazy eye-brows).

Unfortunately Dennis, who is 2 ½ years old, is extremely unwell and I am desperately hoping that somebody here will have encountered something similar before.

Almost 3 weeks ago, Dennis began vomiting and refusing to eat, initially we though is was a virus but after 3 days, he was still declining food and when he did eat was sick. Our local vet gave him an anti-sickness injection and sent him home and indeed, he stopped vomiting. He still wasn't right and still wouldn't eat, after a couple of days the vomiting returned. And we returned to the vets.

At this point blood tests were taken, and found an elevated white blood cell count. He didn't have a temperature and so the results were thought to be a stress response. The decline continued, and so we went back for an X-Ray & Ultrasound scan of his stomach to determine if he had a blockage. The results seemed to suggest that there was something in his stomach, he was given medicine to try and increase mobility in his stomach and we were asked to return 24h later to see if anything had changed.

We returned 24h later, more sedation, X-rays & scans, to find that there had been a very slight change, however it was felt that it was insufficient and that emergency surgery was in order. Having opened him up, and traced his digestive system from stomach to bowel, no blockage was found, only a small amount of sludge that was encouraged to move through his intestine to bowel. Re-assembled he was given antibiotics and pain relief and sent home.

What followed was a dreadful night, poor Dennis was in a lot of pain, and a visit to the emergency vet for a methadone injection.

Back to our local vets, where we were referred to a specialist Vet unit.

Dennis was admitted to the new vets, immediately placed on a drip, and given various drugs to try and stabilise him.
Numerous blood tests, scans & x-rays have been carried out, Pancreatitis was ruled out, poison seems unlikely, no blockage in the stomach.
All the time he is still not eating, it had been several weeks since he ate normally, and had lost almost 1/5th of his body weight,

The vets were becoming increasing concerned, the leading theory being that he has IMS / a significant food intolerance event..
As there were signs of internal bleeding (black tar-like stools) a colonoscopy & endoscopy followed to look at the stomach and bowel to try and confirm the theory. Biopsies were taken... and we are still awaiting the results..

An oesophageal feeding tube was inserted in to stomach so that we could try and aid recovery, and he was sent home.

We now have a strict medicine & hypoallergenic feeding regime that we follow 5 times a day, the tube feeding is working, however he is still reluctant to eat. He has shown interest in a few treats and some ham, but nothing more. We are now seeing increased energy levels and his stomach is slowly starting to regulate itself.

Although things appear to be improving, we have now noticed a new and worrying development, whenever Dennis passes stools (poo) he then returns to the house and spends the next hour trembling/shaking and licking his lips like he is nauseous. Over the course of the hour it does subside, but he is clearly distressed.

I do apologise for the long and detailed post, but I just wanted to reach out to the Schnauzer community to see if anybody here has any idea what is going on with poor Dennis ? Any help or advise would be hugely appreciated.



Re: Unexplained Illness - please help

Posted: 09 Apr 2019, 14:49
by zeta1454
Hello Jamieson and welcome to the Forum although I am really sorry that it is such an awful situation that has brought you here.

Poor Dennis - and what a traumatic time for you and your family.

I have not had any experience of this kind of situation with our dogs so hope that someone else on the Forum may be able to offer some insight or suggestion.

Just as a long shot since I saw this online only today, had Dennis received any medication, vaccine or any other kind of product shortly before this sickness and refusal to eat started? Someone has started an online petition regarding Lepto4 after their dog began refusing food after receiving the vaccine and became very ill although tests and scans revealed nothing and others have reported the same with their dogs. Further details of the symptoms of these dogs are on this link if you think it could be relevant: ... -1?bucket=

Although this may have nothing to do with what has happened to Dennis, the mystifying loss of appetite reminded me of seeing the post on social media this morning. It would also (if you have not already done so, of course) be worthwhile going back over everything that happened re places visited, anything eaten, etc. in the week or so prior to Dennis's illness for any clue as to what may have triggered it.

I hope the colonoscopy and biopsy do give you a positive diagnosis to work with but, if you continue to draw a blank with the conventional veterinary treatment or Dennis is not responding fully, it could be worth exploring other options via a holistic / integrative veterinary surgery.

Good luck and paws and fingers crossed for Dennis that he does recover his good health very soon.

Re: Unexplained Illness - please help

Posted: 09 Apr 2019, 15:29
by Oscar 12345
Really wish I could offer some help for you and Dennis. What a dreadful time for you all. :( :( Sending positive thoughts and hugs in the hope that Dennis makes a full recovery. :ymhug: :ymhug:

Re: Unexplained Illness - please help

Posted: 09 Apr 2019, 20:02
by zeta1454
Is Dennis still receiving Methadone or was it just a one-off? I only ask as some of the symptoms you have described that Dennis has shown recently are similar to possible side effects of Methadone in dogs:

"Dogs: Respiratory and bradycardia depression may be seen. Mild reactions have been observed: panting, lip licking, salivation, vocalisation, irregular breathing, hypothermia, fixed stare and body tremors. Occasional urination and defaecation can be seen within the first hour post dose. All reactions were transient."

As Dennis has undergone a very traumatic few weeks in respect of surgery and invasive procedures to try and discover the cause of the initial symptoms, it is possible that some of his recent issues such as nausea and reluctance to eat may be a result of the pain and stress from the treatment (however necessary). It is a common problem with people and dogs who are undergoing medical treatments that it is not always easy to distinguish between issues due to the original cause or whether other issues arise from the medication / procedures.

A few links here are to supplements from a licensed veterinary supplements company that may help with digestive issues generally . Many can be used alongside medication if need be but do discuss with your vet if you are concerned. They can help rebalance the gut bacteria, ease pain in the digestive system and encourage appetite: ... -and-cats/ ... -and-cats/ ... s-for-dogs

Re: Unexplained Illness - please help

Posted: 09 Apr 2019, 21:03
by JetLag
Thank you all for the very kind words and support. It has been a very challenging time for my family & I.

In answers to the question :-

- Before all this began, there was nothing out of the ordinary, no vaccinations or medications. he was his usual slightly crazy and mischievous self.
- Fortunately the methadone injection was just a one-off, after the big surgery.

We have now had a further update from the vets, they don't know what is behind it, however the biopsy results have reported significant inflammation of the bowel and intestine. More worryingly is that they are seeing ulceration of the stomach, and cysts packed with white blood cells. This would seem correlate with the very high white blood cell count and reinforce the idea that he had a significant food intolerance event.

Im not sure what to make of this as Dennis is a picky eater and he has been on a stable and unchanging diet.

On a positive note, for the first time in weeks we are this evening seeing glimmers of the old Dennis, which is giving us hope...

Thanks again...

Re: Unexplained Illness - please help

Posted: 10 Apr 2019, 07:00
by zeta1454
Re the update, that does sound unpleasant! Glad to hear that Dennis is looking up a bit in himself though.

The food intolerance diagnosis does offer some hope too in that if this is the cause it should be able to be dealt with avoiding any worrying surgery / medication in the future.

I would recommend checking out Honeys, even just for a chat with them as there is no obligation to use their food by doing so:

We have fed our dogs on raw food for well over a decade and find they are very fit and well on it and rarely have any digestive issues. I have also known people with dogs who are picky, generally unwell or have constant tummy upsets who have resolved the issues in their dog by switching to raw. The food is not subject to nutritionally destructive heat treatment, contains only fresh meat or fresh meat and vegetables so no cereals or other foodstuffs that may cause issues. Many of the smaller companies offering raw food for dogs use only the best quality meat and are very careful as to what is added to their products. The gentlest and most nutritious is raw green tripe but raw meals can be easily adapted to include or exclude proteins that may be an issue in a dog with digestive sensitivities. Honeys will advise if you are interested in trying this with Dennis:

If you are already feeding Dennis a raw diet, it may still be worth speaking to Honeys as a friend of mine who was noticing mild but constant digestive issues with one of her miniature schnauzer boys did move to Honeys from the raw food brand she was using and found the problems did resolve. We actually use Paleo Ridge food with our dogs (which has been fine for ours and available locally to us) but I recommend Honeys as I have heard very good reports from a number of people regarding the food (both vets and dog owners).

Paws and fingers crossed for Dennis for a speedy recovery.