R a d a r ' s     a i l m e n t

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 7:28 PM

Our little Papillon -- Radar -- got sick on us.
He started vomiting his food 2 Sundays ago, and acquired "The Shakes" -- whole body shakes.   He couldn't keep anything down.   He soon began not eating anymore.

I think all that vomiting must also have given him a sore throat.

So . . . we took him to our vet.   He ran a series of blood tests, which came back negative . . . except for a slight number value rise denoting the condition of his pancreas.   Normal is 1200 . . . his was 1500.
He had a mild case of pancreatitus.
The vet gave him an injection for his now 'unsteady' stomach, and an anti-bacterial injection for the pancreatitus.
After a couple of days, when the shaking still continued, now accompanied with his balance being slightly off, we took him back to the vet, who now took a second series of blood tests, to see if there were any differences in the readouts from the first series.

The second series also included 6 barium x-rays.

The result showed that the wall thickness of his pyloric sphinctor ( a valve, or strong ring of smooth muscle at the end of the pyloric canal that lets food pass from the stomach to the duodenum (small intestine) was 3 to 4 times thicker than normal.   The vet said he obviously had this since birth.
In essence, this muscle contricts around the pyloric canal (the actual tube that connects the stomach to the small intestine) and prevents undigested food from passing through it prematurely.   When the time is right, and the volume of food has been mostly digested by the stomach acids and enzymes, it then contracts, or lets the canal open up to allow food passage.

Because of the wall thickness being so abnormally thick, the passage--of--food event is hindered considerably, and whatever food he has eaten, will now be vomited out from all this abnormal irritation going on.

Well, we made a decision to have a surgical procedure done that would alleviate this condition.

The vet would make an incision from the top of the muscle -- along its length -- and cut down towards the canal wall.   This would adjust and lessen the pressure the muscle was making to keep tension on the tube, thus keeping it closed.   With the incision made, the muscle would now relax and constrict in a normal fashion.

However, this did not cure his shaking.

Linda did some research and found that he might have a rare condition known as White Shaker Dog Syndrone, a strange condition that is not fully understood.   It seems to affect primarily small breed dogs with white hair coats, thus the name of the syndrome.   Affected dogs suddenly develop continuous shaking or tremors, which can be mild or severe enough to cause difficulty standing or walking.   The dog is alert and responsive, although he has constant tremors.   There are no other neurologic problems or health concerns.   The tremors seem to worsen with stress, handling or excitement and lessen or resolve when the dog is relaxed or sleeping.

Dogs affected with White Shaker Dog Syndrone are young adult dogs between the ages of 1-6 years.   White coated dog breeds such as the Maltese, West Highland white terrier, poodles and bichon, are most often affected.

The cause of White Shaker Dog Syndrone is unknown.

As it stands now, if he doesn't start coming out of it by Wednesday, the vet is considering giving him a 12-week regimen of steroids.
The primary treatment for White Shaker Dog Syndrone is glucocorticoids (steroids), most commonly prednisone.   In severe cases, diazapam (Valium) may also be prescribed.

Prednisone is initially given twice a day for 4 weeks and then gradually tapered off over the next 8 weeks.   This has been found to be the most effective treatment for White Shaker Dog Syndrone.

Some dogs recover spontaneously (without treatment) after several weeks.   The prognosis for recovery is good.
Unfortunately, since the cause is unknown, relapses may occur.

Linda found that he loves chicken with rice.   He snubs his regular dog food.
Hopefully he will continue eating (without vomiting) and regain his strength.
This might eliminate his shakes.

Poor little guy has been through hell.

So . . . . . tonight, I went to the vet to get that Prednisolone prescription from him.
If this doesn't work out, there is hardly any more options left.
My fingers are crossed.   Tonight he gets his first pill.

The vet is hoping he doesn't have an arterial shunt condition which defines as: instead of the body poisons going straight into the liver to be detoxified, they instead go through a heriditary condition which creates an arterial bypass (shunt) around the liver, back into the bloodstream.

That would probably involve a major surgery event.
Big bucks!
Money I don't have.
Already spent megabucks on the 2 blood tests and the minor surgery on his pyloric sphincter (muscle group that regulates food passage from the stomach to the small intestine).

Well, he has had a positive recovery, and nothing more has developed since then.
The good Doctor advised us to get dog food with a maximum of 7% - 9% crude fat content.   I get Blue Seal 'weight control' dry food, and both dogs eat out of the same bowl.