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Thread: Sick/Lame Border Collie Puppy

  1. #1

    Default Sick/Lame Border Collie Puppy

    Hello everyone, My daughter has a 16 week old border collie puppy. Three days after his second vaccination he became sick - symptoms were very listless, hot (temp was 40.9), discharge from eyes (like conjunctivitis but found out this is a reaction to dehydration from the high temp), slight cough,whimpering, wouldn't eat or drink, wouldn't get up /couldn't walk. He was in hospital for three nights and they did a heap of tests, put him on a drip and treated him with anti-inflammatories and anbti-biotics.

    He came good enough to bring home (though he still couldn't use his back legs and was crawling on his front legs) but within two days was up and running and returned to normal in about a week. We didn't get a specific diagnosis from the vet, just confirmation it wasn't kennel cough, parvo, dog flu, blood disorder. This week (five weeks later) he started showing all the above symptoms again so we had to take him to the vet again. Had to see different vet as ours was closed and he was also stumped as to what it could be. Vet wanted to keep him in overnight and do a heap of tests again (at a cost $1200).

    We paid that last time so we weren't keen so he gave him an anti-inflammatory injection and let us bring him home. Almost immediately he started to get better. I took him to our usual vet the next morning who prescribed more oral anti inflammatories and he is now almost back to normal . Our vet has done some research and thinks he may have vaccine-induced poly arthritis (his second vaccine triggered the arthritis). To confirm this diagnosis (it doesn't actually confirm it but rules out everything else) they take some fluid from his leg joint (while he's sick) under general anaesthetic. This test will cost $800.

    My daughter was fully prepared for the cost of having a dog, with the occasional mis-hap but certainly not this. There is no cure for this condition and treatment is steroids when he gets sick and for a month after. They won't prescribe the steroid treatment unless he's had the joint fluid test though. We think he does ok on the anti inflammatories so think we might be better just treating him that way if/when he gets sick again. We're also too scared to get him vaccinated again when he's due in case it triggers a chronic attack. The poor baby is in a lot of pain when he gets these attacks and we have no way of knowing how often he's going to get sick - for all we know he could get sick every 6-8 weeks for the rest of his life or he may grow out of it??

    He's never been an overly active puppy and is a bit of a sook so we're wondering if he has joint pain all the time but we're only aware of it when he gets a chronic attack and becomes unwell. Does anyone have any experience with these symptoms and can advise us which road to take in regards to treatment options? We'd love any advice, especially if someone has a dog with this same or similar condition. Thanks
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 03-12-2012 at 10:37 PM. Reason: put some white space in for readability

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    vaccine-induced poly arthritis, we had this with a border collie cross many years ago.........When it was diagnosed we just never vaccinated him again. It is the risk we took. But we did get ours confirmed. It is sad,but sometimes it is the risk you take with taking on an animal, some cost you hardly anything and others just go from injury/ilness to more.

    I have 4 dogs, 3 out of four have only really had minor mishaps and vaccinations, the youngest dog has cost us $5000.00 so far......I hope your little one is feeling better soon........The only other thing is to go to a larger more experienced vet practice.
    Pets are forever

  3. #3

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    Personally $800 if a pretty minor cost when you think about all the things that can go wrong with a puppy and a dog. Like Newf one of my dogs has cost me well over $5000.00 (including a $1500 surgery before she was 12 months old and $1000 worth of maneg treatment at 4 months old) and she is only 4 years old now. The younger one cost me around $1500 last year in NON normal vet fees (not including desexing, vaccinations etc), luckily I have pet insurance for her so it wasn't a biggie.

    I think your daughter needs to fork out the money and get the test done because if it isn't this particular issue then the dog may deteriorate further down the track, better to try and get a clear idea of what the issue is now. It may be completely unrelated to what you have mentioned above and might be fixable with certain treatment, the dog shouldn't have to live in pain because your daughter doesn't want to spend $800.

    You bring home a dog then these are the things you are responsible for, unfortunately life isn't predictable and bad things happen.
    If your daughter is unwilling to pay for this then maybe she needs to reconsider having a dog as it is quite possible that there will be more expensive vet bills down the track.

  4. #4
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    Harvey, Wow so sorry your daughter really has had a tough time. Its really can be tough, and those are some really challanging bills her pup has wracked up, they would be challanging for anyone and your daughter must feel she has drawn the short straw. Cant really add any comments here as im not familiar with this condition but just wanted to wish you well and hope things improve.
    Post a pic of your puppy and send up dates if you can.
    There are some very experienced posters here whom in sure will be able to give youa bit of an idea of what to expect with your puppy. Good luck!
    The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
    Mohandas Gandhi

  5. #5
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    I would speak to a veterinarian that is actually knowledgeable in this matter and see their opinion on long term quality of life. It's all very well people saying keep forking out the cash, but 1) is it fair and 2) will it achieve anything. The OP has not been stingy, so they dont need the guilt trips. Personally get a solid opinion and decide if the pup will have any life at all.

  6. #6
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    Yes I dont hesitate when a general vet is unsure, to ask for a referral to a specialist vet. Can and has saved me money in the long run.

  7. #7
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    I think there are two choices here.

    Fork out the money... or get the puppy put to sleep (PTS).

    If money is an issue (most of us don't have an infinite supply) - then PTS might be the kindest option.

    Good question to ask the vet: "If it was your dog, what would you do?" and "what are the ongoing costs likely to be?".

    I'd be worried that this puppy is a border collie (BC) and not EXTREMELY active. All the BCs I've met have been over the top excited all the time. They're always looking for a job to do. And can get quite demanding about it.

    I would be interested to know more about this puppy's family history. Have both his parents been vaccinated without problems? Grand parents? Were any of them related (in breeding?). Were any of them "inactive and sooky" - most BCs I've known have been quite sooky but not inactive. Was this puppy the runt (weakest) of the litter? How are his siblings?

    We had an Australian Terror who was the runt of her litter, and keeping her was expensive in terms of vet bills. Your daughter could spend a lot of money to find out her puppy just isn't a very robust dog and will be very good for the vet's retirement fund. Or she could cut her losses now. Or she could spend a pile of money and "fix it" but given there is no clear diagnosis so far, I think this is the least likely scenario - but another good question for the vet. eg "How likely is it we can find something that is fixable?".

    I'm sure the vet has considered this - but some BCs are sensitive (highly allergic to?) certain flea spot on treatments - ivemectin might be one. Genetic Testing at the College of Veterinary Medicine

  8. #8

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    Newfie, thanks for your reply - did your dog live a good life and did he still get frequent attacks of complete lameness or just a gradual deterioration even though you didn't vaccinate him again? Both times our puppy has been perfectly fine with no signs of any symptoms one minute then very sick the next. We just don't know what to expect. It appears there is no preventative treatment, we just have to wait for him to get sick again then treat with either steroids (if we get the test done to confirm illness) or with anti inflammatories as we've done so far. How did you treat your dog?

  9. #9
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    Our dog was mostly really well...he lived a long time with some friends, because we did not work him, as we worried he would be injured in work. I think he lived to about 12.........He lived a very coddled life with very special people who made a country dog into a town dog
    Pets are forever

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