Jack, my 11 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier x Labrador Retriever dog has been poorly for about 2 weeks in total now.
Some background on Jack:
He has always had bad allergies and food intolerances which cause ear infections and eczema. He has now developed a habit where he licks and bites even when his skin isn't reacting to foods, causing skin infections. We have to bath him once a week with an eczema shampoo.
His diet now consists of boiled rice and fresh minced lamb cooked in sunflower oil. He has 2 garlic capsules and 2 evening primrose capsules a day.
Jack's weight has always fluctuated. He's either overwieght or thin. I think he suffers from anorexia as he goes through phases where he will not eat, or eat very little, for days on end, lose weight and then he will eat like a pig until he becomes overweight. The cycle then repeats again. He also does the same with his drinking habits.
About 4 months ago Jack just suddenly collapsed onto his right side. He could not get back up and laid there frightened for a about 10 minutes. Eventually he got up and was sick. He unsteadily went back to his basket and fell asleep. Since then his back legs have been a little unco-ordinated, a bit off balance and stiff, limping occassionally.
Well about 2 weeks ago he started to limp all the time with his right hind leg being the worst.
Then he started to go off his food which we thought was nothing unusual as he has patterns of not eating. He just refused to eat and if he did, he'd only have 1-2 mouthfuls.
His drinking has increased dramatically and so he has to go to the toilet much more often, including several times during the night. He has also wet in the house a few times.
Things have got progressively worse since Saturday 6th September...
He has experienced bad diahorrea and lost a massive amount of weight. Jack looks absolutely awful, rather like a cruelty case which is very scarey. He is all boney with no fat or muscle on him.
Also since Saturday, his back legs have gone. They were hot and swollen for about 3-4 days. He cannot cor-ordinate them properly, so cannot walk much and when he does he will drag his right leg or curl his toes over and walk on them. He now has sores on his feet from scraping them on the ground. He is falling over and needs help to just get to the toilet. His back legs just won't do what he tells them to. He has problems sitting and lying down as his back legs won't go down under him.
Now he has a cough, wheezes and gags. It's sounds like he has something stuck in his throat. His mouth is very pale.
Jack's appetite has returned (he is almost ravenous) but eating is a big problem- he can't seem to get the food into his mouth, so I am hand feeding him by putting it into the side of his mouth. Though today he has managed to eat a little on his own and his mouth seems more co-ordinated.
We took Jack to the vet's on Friday night (we were worried to go any earlier because of his extreme loss of weight, and we have tried to deal with his problems ourselves, but it's not working anymore, so we had no choice to take him) and all he wanted to do was put Jack to sleep. We said we wanted to give Jack a try so he took some blood to test, gave him injections of steroids and Antibiotics and gave us some electrolytes which we give him each 30-40mls, 1/2 to 1 hour apart. He also did a diabetes test which was negative.
Jack perked up by Saturday and we took him back to the vets that morning. The vet still wanted to put him down, but we decided to see if he gets any better by Monday. Jack's blood tests were all normal and the vet has no idea what is wrong with him, but still maintains he wants to put him to sleep on Monday if he sees no improvement.
The thing is, when Jack goes to the vets he puts on a massive 'drama queen' act. He sulks and pretends that's he's almost dying- lays down not moving, head on the table, with sulky eyes. Obviously this is influencing the vet into thinking Jack should be put down, as he admittedly looks dreadful on the vet's table. Though as soon as we get Jack home again, he perks up and is back to normal.
Jack is now much perkier, is interested in what's going on around him (including what's in the bin!), is being stubborn again (Jack is a very stong-willed dog), is eating now, looks forward to his electolytes, but his legs are still wobbly and he's still very pale. We do not want to put him to sleep. We want to find out what is wrong with him and not just put him down because the vet can't be bothered to investigate into what is Jack's problem. The vet is not in the slightest bit interested in Jack's leg problems. He says he thinks everything is due to diahorrea.
Can anyone suggest what could be wrong with Jack and what we should do. We think Jack should be given a chance as he is showing signs of 'being Jack' again (if you can understand that? It's qute hard to put into words but it's like he is himself again). How can we put him to sleep when he is starting to get a bit better?
I hope someone can help us save our dog, because the vet seems determined on putting him down tomorrow.