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Any/all input needed for my very sick boy.

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  • Any/all input needed for my very sick boy.

    Where do I even begin? Our boy Jake has had a rough go of it, starting with bilateral OCD lesions that were operated on back in early May. His recovery from that was relatively easy and 8 weeks post-op, he was given the green light to lift exercise restrictions. The very next day, we noticed that he was showing some lameness in his left rear leg; when standing, he would not put pressure on it. X-rays under sedation revealed signs of Pano, so we started him on a pain regimen. It was also at this time that he began losing his appetite, which we thought was related to the pano. He went from inhaling 7 cups a day to not eating for almost 2 full days. We tried different foods, toppers, etc. and for awhile, the only thing he would eat was cooked hamburger. At this point, he was down from 130lbs to about 120.

    THEN, we realized on or around 7/22 that he appeared to be having some difficulty yawning and when we inspected his mouth, noticed that he was unable to open his mouth more than 2-3 inches. The diagnosis this time? Masticatory muscle myositis. Weight: 114. Our vet immediately started him on a high dose of prednisone to suppress his immune system and stop it from attacking the jaw muscles. A blood test was ordered and a few days later returned with negative results, which apparently happens in something like 15% of patients. The positive was that his appetite immediately returned after his first dose of steroids on 7/26. The negative, after 10 days on the prednisone and eating around 8-9 cups of food/day (and still wanting more) - he continues to lose weight.

    At his follow up visit yesterday, he was down to 107lbs, Jaw mobility seems to have increased by quite a lot, but we are now seeing his masticatory muscles begin to sink in along with his eyes, which is of course another side effect of the prednisone and as such, we tapered his dose back by 1 pill per day.

    I should also mention that throughout this whole ordeal, he has been extremely lethargic with only a few instances of playfulness. Also, through all of the testing we've done, it was discovered that his pancreatic levels are low, so we've been adding an enzyme powder to his food daily. Oh, and...runny poops have been an issue pretty much always. At some point during this ordeal, we did have him on a prescription diet for about 2 weeks and started to notice his stools becoming more normal, but this was around the time he stopped eating.

    Next steps are an internal medicine consult with a g/i ultrasound and a possible biopsy of the masticatory muscle, which I am trying to have done as soon as possible.

    I understand that this is a lot, but I'm desperate and open to any ideas or input. Our boy is literally wasting away in front of our eyes and I fear this will end in tragedy if we don't get some answers soon.
    Last edited by tonedef76; 08-07-2019, 08:17 PM.

  • #2
    wow, you really have a full plate with this poor pup! how old is jake?

    it sounds like you are doing everything you can and kudos to you for seeking out the advice of the specialists. you haven't mentioned blood work. i assume he's had a full panel done?

    i'm sorry i don't have any real input here but please do keep us updated with your findings!! hoping you get solid answers and all of these things can soon become a distant bad memory.


    • #3
      No real input either other then you need to see a specialist ASAP and also contact his breeder if you haven't done so already. Make sure that a complete blood panel has been done and hopefully sent out to a lab rather then done inhouse. Did he have vaccines prior to this all happening? How old is he?
      Dale AKC CGC Evaluator
      Associate Member GDCNE
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      Member Central Maine Kennel Club
      High Hopes Great Danes & German Shorthairs


      • #4
        Thank you both for your response, and apologies for taking so long to reply myself!

        To answer your questions, he is actually 11 months old today.

        We've discovered that our poor boy has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) after some additional blood testing, which explains the continued weight loss in spite of his increased appetite. We've started him on an enzyme supplement and a lower fat/fiber food and he's started to bounce back a little more each day, gained a few pounds and has had much more solid stools! The prognosis is good for him to live a long and healthy life, but unfortunately he'll likely need some amount of enzyme to aid his digestion/absorption of food.

        Thankfully, he's just the sweetest, best tempered dog I've ever met and has remained so even when he was at his sickest. There really is nothing like a Dane. <3
        Last edited by tonedef76; 08-20-2019, 07:54 PM.


        • #5
          so glad to hear you finally got some answers! have you contacted his breeder? i don't know if this is something genetic but the breeder should know about it, for sure.