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 Unexplained loss of motor skills/paralysis
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Rob_Valli

USA
538 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  09:20:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Rob_Valli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I am having major problems down here: I have 2 yearlings which have lost motor coordination..... one got sick within a matter of 2 days.... from normal, to on his side, paralyzed, for 4 days. That was the first week of April and its now the end of May. That dog slowly recovered until maybe 2 weeks ago and now has plateaued off at an unacceptable level... very clumsy, slightly drunken gait. The other one, a litter mate, located about 25 yards away in another fenced off kennel, exhibited somewhat similar symptoms within a day or so but never was completely paralyzed. A third neighbor dog down the road just got it less than 2 weeks ago, and I think they just put it down. A chicken in a pen about 100yrds away from the pen exhibited the same type of symptoms and was taken to a diagnostic lab to be killed and tested.... results due very soon, but (most likely) may be completely unrelated to the dogs. And yesterday, to my dismay, my main 3 yr old leader seemed to be having troubles.

The first dog that went down hard went to the vet, was examined, normal temp and blood work. then spinal fluid tap was taken which was also normal. catscan and xrays were not undertaken. The preliminary diagnosis was ‘Coonhound Paralysis’, a very rare disease. However with 2 or more additional dogs going down, this seems more and more unlikely. And, if the chicken has the same thing, well, chickens don't get this disease. All of them, even the chicken, eat and drink water if you put it in front of them. the dogs seems to have no change in personality or temperament, and their heads seem to be pretty normal with one exception.... if you offer food, they will smell it first and then open their mouth to bite it... for some reason they seem to miss it though, and the food will drop to the ground, however, they don't notice this and attempt to chew/bite at the food for a few seconds, as if they think it is still in their mouth but aren’t sure.

Other than this, there seems to be no seizures, normal bowel movements, etc... in fact the dogs are normal except they look like they are drunk. I saw that their reflexes on their rear legs looked normal but that when you pull on one of their front toes, they don’t pull away from you. They also fail the test where you flip their feet over.... these dogs don’t correct and just stand on the top of their feet/wrists, unaware they aren't standing on their pads. As far as food goes, we are feeding straight, fresh, 30/20 dry (since 2 weeks before this occurred) and watering with cold, clear municiple water. I have no idea what the neighbor dog was on. I have a meeting with a neurological specialist tomorrow.... he says he thinks its NOT coonhound paralysis but maybe possibly toxin related... but as to what that toxin is, I don’t know. It could be possible that I somehow brought this back from Russia, but the 2 yearlings didn’t go there and got sick a few days after my return. And Magali and Jaques havent reported anything, so I kind of doubt it.... plus you would think that my main leader would have been the first to get it and the pups later... not wait 7 weeks. But, like I said, I just saw her acting strange yesterday, so I dont know for sure if she is like the yearlings yet... just getting sick with paranoia.

any ideas would be greatly appreciated. We are at a loss here and I’m losing my team as we speak.

Rob_Valli

USA
538 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  10:00:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit Rob_Valli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
oh.... never seen ticks here, although the dogs are close to horses (not mine) so maybe it came from them?

Dogs live on old cattle farm... there is lots of old cow droppings around, the horses are kinda nasty too. Some of the dogs live in a pole barn and there are lots of pigeons around too... I don't want it to sound too bad though, maybe its not the nicest around, but it isnt a bad place
http://www.dog-sled.com/images/full_size/kennel_9-22.gif
... that is if it is healthy.... but I've been here 5 yrs.



Edited by - Rob_Valli on 05/27/2004 10:00:54 AM
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Rob_Valli

USA
538 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  10:13:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit Rob_Valli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
chicken test showed it was egg related/ it was unrelated to dogs

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John Wood

USA
353 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  11:40:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rob, I have never seen it myself but long ago, an acquaintance had similar problems and found it was linked to mushrooms that the dogs had gotten into. Take a close look around and see if you have any mushrooms (or possibly other fungi) in the area of the dogs that are being affected. I wish you the best of luck and keep us posted please.

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Scott L.P.

USA
1022 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  12:24:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This sounds like some of symtoms my dog had. She was 3 years old and acted drunk like you said. X-rays and blood test came back normal but she did have an elevated temp. and as the days wore on she quit eating and was having mild seizures and was slowing fading away. In hindsite I think it started coming on in early Jan. when I had to carry her for a 105 miles of a race then it went away and she was fine and ran good then when it came back it was the end. I have her brother also who is fine.

Scott L.P.
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Dominique

France
1 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  1:17:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dear Rob, it took me quite a while to show up here and get these informations...
Much more questions than answers for sure, cause several causes might be involved:
-toxic? well....carbamates on a long term may cause flask paralysis; dioxin can also be a problem...I don't know where you live so it's tough for me to say anything but...are these 4 dogs fed the same way? I would doubt the chicken is!
-infectious? to read you it looks like what we call in France idiopatic polyradiculonevritis...very few are infectious, but things like vaccination (rarely but it happens, some rabies vaccines made out of nervous cells can generate that kind of symptoms through an immunologic reaction; same consequences might also have racoon bites (racoon saliva induces the same type of problem); finally encephalitis may occur with neosporosis problems or other infectious diseases
-botulims? do you know if you have this problem around? did your dogs eat fish recently?
Very tough to be really usefull without some more information. So please keep us informed of the evolution and of the neurologist conclusions.
Personnaly I would need more info:
-spinal fluid: results for proteins, cell count, cell formula?
-is breething normal?
-how are the dogs reflexes when laying down?
-recent vaccinations? food?
I did show up here as quick as possible when Magali sent me the email, but I guess I'm not of great help for you...stay in touch,

Dominique Grandjean


Dominique Grandjean DVM
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Rob_Valli

USA
538 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  2:07:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit Rob_Valli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
... thank you all very much for your responses. I am late to go to the first vet to pick up all of the paperwork and test results. Let me do that and then answer the questions, with the papers in hand, or maybe I can scan them in and post the url of the files.





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Rob_Valli

USA
538 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  2:18:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit Rob_Valli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm getting some emails, so I'm just going to post them here so all the info and ideas are together in one place:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
From Al (DMV)

Hi Rob,
   Sorry to hear of your most serious problem.
   It is obvious too that it is more than likely environmental and/or
infectious. Tick borne diseases can cause neurological signs. Tick
paralysis, which is similar to Coondog Paralysis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted
Fever (RMSF) will cause significant neurological signs. Testing can be done
for RMSF and a cheap drug Tetracycline three times a day for three weeks
works in most cases.
   Unusual forms of Distemper can do the same.
   Toxins are also a possibility. Move the dogs far enough away to avoid the
same environment (including the same ticks, if ticks are a problem). Any
heavy mining done in the area even years ago will sometimes leave toxins as
well.
   I wish you the best with this. Keep me posted.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

from Joe @ Cornell

Rob,

Symptoms of your dogs sound similar to subacute necrotizing
encephalopathy.  May want to mention the condition to your neurology
specialist (they probably won't have a clue either)  I have done some work
on the disease here at Cornell awhile back.  What lines do you have and are
they doubled up on any side with a specific sire or dam?  I see you have
quite a bit of Bruce in your dogs (he is a carrier) and with the signs you
are describing it sounds just like the dogs Chuck Gould and Gwen Holdman
sent to us a few years back.  It is incurable, the dogs will never fully
recover, and the only case I saw to recover at all, ended up dying of the
disease about 2 years later.  A CT scan or an MRI will nail the disease for
you.  A bit expensive though.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, hope I
am wrong.  here the abstract from our paper.

Subacute necrotising encephalopathy in an Alaskan husky.

Wakshlag JJ, de Lahunta A, Robinson T, Cooper BJ, Brenner O, O'Toole TD,
Olson J, Beckman KB, Glass E, Reynolds AJ.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
A 29-month-old female Alaskan husky was presented recumbent, tetraparetic
and in a state of dementia, with blindness and cranial nerve deficits. The
dog's progress was followed for over two months, as the signs resolved to
an non-progressive mild hypermetria with slight proprioceptive ataxia, a
diminished menace response and inability to prehend food. Magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) revealed bilateral cavitation extending from the
thalamus to the medulla, with less pronounced degenerative lesions in the
caudate nucleus, putamen and claustrum. Cerebrospinal fluid lactate and
pyruvate concentrations were in their normal ranges. Necropsy and
histological examination confirmed the MRI findings as well as neuronal
degeneration of the cerebellar cortex in the vermis and degenerative
changes in the neocortex at the depths of the cerebral sulci. In view of
the similarity of lesions to subacute necrotising encephalomyelopathy,
known as Leigh's disease in humans, a tentative diagnosis of a
mitochondrial encephalopathy was made.

Best of Luck,
Joe Wakshlag

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

my response to Joe:

Thank you so much for responding... I will explore this possibilty.... CT or MRI
is in the works, for peace of mind if nothing less.

But how is this transmitted? just genetically?  The neighbor dog is not related.
 However The pups that got it together are the nephews of my main leader
ginger.... but there again, 17 of my 19 are related, so its not surprising the
dogs are related.

Bruce was the father of 2 litters/father of the 2 pups... the mothers were
sisters and I bred their parents but know nothing more upstream.
http://www.dogtec.com/kennel/PedPreview.asp?idDog=6249&gen=5&showpics=1
(BTW: one of the pups littermates went to cornell ICU for a week with an eye
problem... you saved it:)

wow, i hope you are wrong:)
take care,
rob

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Joe's reponse back to me:

Rob,

Saw your truck up here when you came in for the eye problem!  I always
notice a nice dog truck when its in the parking lot.  Actually saw your dog
too!  Nice looking Alaskan pup!

The SNE is purely genetic, so I am hoping the dog down the road is a
related problem,and not a red herring.

An MRI is best to see the lesions, CT is OK if a well trained individual is
looking at them.  Looking at Runts side of the pedigree doesn't show much
but the dogs from Adkins are likely Reddington/Attla lines (especially by
the looks of them) which may fit since a lot of the dogs we have seen have
had Attla's, Grover or Chris prominently in the background.  If I am right,
then the two sisters shouldn't be bred again since they are both carriers
(but I guess that all depends on how good the pups are :)

Hope things work out.  this is a problem when you genetically bottleneck
any breed with a small group of sires, the recessive nasty genes will rear
their ugly heads once in a blue moon.

DO the pups have a high-stepping front limb gait (overextension of the
forelimbs) and does their lope look kind of like a see-saw?  This disease
varies in intensity, we have seen some with a peculiar gait, to those with
complete recumbency and paralysis.  All dogs have had the same lesions in
their brains, just to varying degrees.

Joe

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

This part is what interested me:
"DO the pups have a high-stepping front limb gait" .... the answer is YES, one does.... I forgot to mention it.... I havent responded back yet







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juice

USA
107 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  2:25:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit juice's Homepage  Reply with Quote
rob,
because so many animals are affected, i agree -- it makes me concerned it's a possible toxin. there are only a few diseases that causes signs that you are describing: what we call lower motor neuron disease (LMND). if your dogs limbs are very soft and easy and flex and extend (vs rigid and difficult to break down in movement), it's LMND. the few things that cause that include botulism, coonhound paralysis (which has been associated with raccoon saliva, feeding horsemeat, and unknown causes -- but in humans, vaccines...this is also called idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis), tick paralysis, toxins, etc.

dogs respond with supportive care; the biggest risk is that they can lose the innervation to their intercostal muscles causing them not to be able to breath (little chest movement) -- they can die painfully and slowly from that, so keep a close eye on them. you must, must, must look for ticks on them very carefully -- once you remove it, signs will resolve quickly (this is common in australia). if it's toxin, make sure there's no possibility of them getting into compost or dead, decaying meat (botulism). let me know what the neurologist says -- very curious. hope it works out :(

justine

Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC
Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Specialist
University of Minnesota
College of Veterinary Medicine
1365 Gortner Avenue
St Paul, MN 55108
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juice

USA
107 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  2:28:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit juice's Homepage  Reply with Quote
rob, it might be helpful if you videotape the dogs and bring that to the neurologist too... fyi, justine
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Scott L.P.

USA
1022 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  3:04:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is it possible to have a vaccination reaction and have symptoms go away to the eye and come back? Or have the vaccination set off an underlying symptom?

Scott L.P.
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John Wood

USA
353 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  3:07:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
WOW!!! Isn't this great that we have a forum where all of these respected experts are volunteering their advice to a musher in need? Thanks Judy and those responding.

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Admin

USA
1484 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  3:19:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
It is indeed very, very kind of the vets to provide this valuable information in such a timely and spontaneous way.

I'm sure for once I speak for all of our forum members...."Thank you so very much for your care and contributions!"

Judy Bergemann
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juice

USA
107 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  3:55:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit juice's Homepage  Reply with Quote
honestly, i think it's highly unlikely this is vaccine reaction related -- but we'll see what the neurologist thinks...they are definitely the best person for this kind of question, and are pretty well read on all the recent data out there, so i think that's your best bet!

justine
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Rob_Valli

USA
538 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  8:47:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Rob_Valli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
>Take a close look around and see if you have any mushrooms (or possibly other fungi) in the area.

...I haven’t ever noticed any, but maybe I’ll take a closer look at my boxes....maybe something is in there.


>as the days wore on she quit eating and was having mild seizures and was slowing fading

... this part doesn't seem like my situation... both have good appetite and no real seizures, although one (‘Rowdy’) seems very tense and has tremors. When the first dog (‘Magic’) got back from the vet, I brought him inside with me for weeks. His recovery was characterized by him getting better on a daily incremental basis. He would look the best in the morning, right out of the kennel, and worst right before bed. The ordeal seemed to exhaust him..... he would always keep moving and pacing during the day, then finally lie down and rest for hours at a time. after about 2 weeks of getting better on a daily basis, he would look better one morning, stay the same for 2 days, then look better again, etc. Then it became harder to see improvements, but I still felt/feel that the dog is improving, albeit slightly... but the rate at which he is progressing makes me wonder if we are talking weeks, months, or never.

His brother, Rowdy, was a different case... I thought I noticed him getting sick but then he seemed fine.... he slowly spiraled downward over the course of a month. I cant say I see too much improvement in him at all, although over the last week, he seems not to run directly into me when he sees me.... up until now, if the dog saw me, he would simply run and crash into me, and was unable to put on the brakes. Rowdy (more than Magic) has a problem with running straight into things.... Magic looked like he was a drunk puppy.... exaggerated high stepping front feet (like he was wearing flippers) and his rear end had a mind of its own, wandering from side to side. Balance was a big problem for Magic, and he almost always ways favoring his left side, either ‘crabbing’ or falling in that direction. Rowdy, on the other hand, just seems to almost run continuously and straight into things, whereas Magic would simply stumble sideways into things.


>carbamates on a long term may cause flask paralysis; dioxin can also be a problem

I’m not sure what this is, but I’ll research it.


>I don't know where you live.

In Utah, about 45miles South East of Salt Lake City, on a small ranch in an agricultural setting.


>are these 4 dogs fed the same way?

3 of the 4 are mine, so 3 are fed similarly.... the other one was someone else's pet dog. In fact the guy who owned the dogs had helped me for a week in my kennel and that was about 3 days before his dog got sick.


>idiopatic polyradiculonevritis

yes, many of the symptoms are similar.... in fact, its the closest thing I have heard of, besides ‘subacute necrotizing encephalopathy’.... especially the high stepping (‘Magic’) and see-saw lope (Rowdy)


>some rabies vaccines made out of nervous cells can generate that kind of symptoms through an immunologic reaction

yes, I have read that but the dogs were vaccinated for rabies in Oct ‘03


>botulims? do you know if you have this problem around?

no, but I read about it... I cant remember in particular what it was, but I remember thinking at first ‘maybe’ but then ‘no’ after reading more about it, although there were some similarities.


>did your dogs eat fish recently?

no, not really.... Ginger did at the race in Russia, but so did the rest of my team and Jaques and Magali’s... my 8 dogs ate about 40lbs of frozen whole fish. Ginger, by the way, looks ok today so far, but, like Rowdy, maybe the worst is yet to come


>spinal fluid: results for proteins, cell count, cell formula?

I got them back.... still sorting through them... give me a bit on this part.


>how are the dogs reflexes when laying down?

Only Magic was tested.... I saw his back knees jerk when they hit him, but when they were pulling on his front fingers, he didn’t really resist at all


>DO the pups have a high-stepping front limb gait (over extension of the forelimbs) and does their lope look kind of like a see-saw?

yes.
‘high-stepping front limb gait’ = Magic
‘lope look kind of like a see-saw’ = Rowdy


>if your dogs limbs are very soft and easy and flex and extend (vs rigid and difficult to break down in movement), it's LMND.

no... Magic seems at least a little tight (at best) and Rowdy is just flat out tense. In fact, when he runs into you, usually one of his front legs hooks your leg and he gets stuck on you... very tense... has some tremors, crouches a lot. Magic, however, seems looser... drunk in movement but not exactly fluid to the touch/exam

>dogs respond with supportive care; the biggest risk is that they can lose the innervation to their intercostal muscles causing them not to be able to breath (little chest movement) -- they can die painfully and slowly from that, so keep a close eye on them.

Rowdy seems to have exhibited labored breathing at times..... enough that I loosened his collar a few times until it was obvious it wasn't the culprit.

Magic was on meds after I found that he has some sort of skin disorder (I forgot to tell you about) on his cheek and right rear knee (vet said staff infection).... you had to be careful giving him the pills.... one got stuck in his throat and he almost suffocated.


> it might be helpful if you videotape the dogs and bring that to the neurologist too

I’m bringing both dogs and the papers and xrays




Edited by - Rob_Valli on 05/27/2004 9:01:50 PM
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Rob_Valli

USA
538 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2004 :  08:17:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Rob_Valli's Homepage  Reply with Quote
ok... I printed out the entire page of comments so I could take them in to the vet. I'd like to thank you all again for your comments and efforts.

I'll be back later today...

(continued on next page...)


Edited by - Rob_Valli on 05/28/2004 9:12:31 PM
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