Low Platelet Count / Diharrea in lab puppy

ChuckLoverApril 4, 2011

Hello - I'm new to this so sorry if this is too long, but just looking for any and all advise I can get.

We got a chocolate lab puppy from a very reputable breeder on Christmas eve last year. He was young, 6 weeks old, and yes now looking back I would never take another dog that young, but that's NOT the issue.

He was on a high quality dog food, a food that is for all life stages of a dog called American natural Premium from the moment we switched him off of his food from the breeder, when we brought him home. A week after being home he developed a bladder infection, which i'm told is common in labs, expecially his size and age with bacteria being picked up when he peed outside for the firs time. WE treated that right away and had no issues. About a month after bringing him home he started to have bouts with diharrea. After about 24 hours of diharrea i consulted my vet who told me to try the bland diet (chicken and rice) We did this for a few days and things seamed to tighten up but nothing close to normal. We then slowly tried to switch back to our regular food - with no luck after day one, so back to rice and chicken. AFter a good 5 days on rice and chicken with virtually no change we used ID dog food prescribed from our local vet. Chuck was put on probiotics and antibiotics to help him pass normal stool. He did great on this new concoction, until one day out of the blue he had liquid feces. Not diharrea, but a completely watery discharge. The next day vomiting started, only once, but was completely un digested food. So back to the vet we went. They changed his food to EN - a different brand of still teh compleley bland diet, put him back on antibiotics and sent home more probiotics. Also gave him a second woming dosage, and a shot to stop the vomiting. He did great for two days on the new food, then vomited twice again. Refused to eat either type of food after he vomited. So back to the vet again, another shot, this time I insisted they take blood work, as well as an x- ray (The time laps over this is Feb 1 to present day (April 4th) The x ray came back normal, showing no sign of intestinal damage, or blockage. Colon looked normal, stomach was full. The vet reccomended we switch to a high fiber diet - he is now on a diabetic from of proscriptives dog food. He had a stool test taken which showed he tested positive for giardia - which he had been tested for a week prior, but not the sensetive sent out test. His blood work was all normal but his platlet count was 125,000. So the next day we re tested his blood, which came back better at 140,000 but still in the danger zone. He goes back in on Wed to re-test his platelet count yet again. He has been vaccinated, and we opted to give him a lyme vaccine as that can be a common problem in our area (lake area of southeastern WI)

After switching to the high fiber diet he had normal, amazing feces, trust me after 2 months of issues with feces i have never been so happy to see dog poo! He had great stool for two days, and now last night we are back to diharrea. He has never had a bite of people food, nor has he had a treat in two months. I have stuck to everything the vet has said to fix this, and we dont's eam to be getting anywhere. The most frustrating part is that he is happy, when we go to the vet he drags me around, he has a normal amount of energy. I have made sure he is getting enough water with all of the issues, and check his gums regularly. WE have tried smaller more frequent feedings, 6-8 times a day as to not fill his stomach.

Is it normal that his stool would be solid for two days then go right back to what it was?

What can exactly cause a low platelet count in dogs, i've read about thrombocytopenia, but he shows absolutley no symptoms of that, has never had blood in his urine or stool, nor has blood in eyes or any brusing?

Can this long of a dose on antibiotics affect how his immune system will be later in life?

Anyone had similar issues with their puppies and food? We have tried 5-8 different brands now, all with different qualities, i guess the next step is hypoalergenic protien free dog food.

If you took the time to read this I really appreciate it, i'm at a loss lately. I enjoy my vet, she's done a great job with him, but am getting to an extremely frustrated point. I know that diharrea in puppies can be extremely severe, so how do we stop it?

Any advice at all would be helpfull! Thanks!

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I think it is time to get a referral to a veterinary hospital. Not even the best vet can be an expert on everything.

Case in point, our dog became very suddenly critically ill last year. We immediately took him to our regulat vet, and several of the vets in the practice examined him and brainstormed, but really had no idea what the problem could be. The most experienced (and gray haired!) vet popped her head into the examining room, took one look at him, and said that although she'd only seen one other case in a dog in 30 years, she thought it might be tetanus. Within an hour we were at the emergency vet hospital, and he was under treatment. Even at this cutting-edge facility, they said they only see 2-3 cases a year. I know that the way he was going downhill so calamitously, he would have been dead within a few days if we hadn't gotten him to a new set of expert eyes. Even so, it was touch and go for a couple of weeks.

I hope you find out what's wrong with your little guy. When he's better, you might explore a raw food diet for him - it seems to suit a lot of dogs for a variety of reasons. Our 2 have been eating raw for several years and they have great digestions and amazing poops!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 5:09PM
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I am sure many will chime in here to help.

1. Was he tested specifically for ghiardia? Was he ever put on metronidazole? Usually vets cover this, but some don't, even though ghiardia is a common parasite and best identified in a specific test.

2. Has he been checked for Clostridium perfringens? (See link below.) My friend's cat had chronic diarrhea since a kitten, and the vet only checked for this when I told her to tell him to : (

3. If the vet has not fixed this problem by now, go to another vet. In fact, if I were you, I would take him to a specialist. (Bring all your lab results!)

4. Changing diets like you have is not good for treating diarrhea. And I don't think a diet would be responsible for such chronic diarrhea. Allergies in dogs usually show up as skin problems.

5. None of this is normal at all. And dogs don't get urinary tract infections from peeing outside, nor is this common in Labs. UTIs in puppies is rare.

I hope our Meghane weighs in here soon. She is a vet and will not diagnose, but will have way better advice than I.

Also, I know someone will say this, so I will be the first and hopefully the last: A reputable breeder would not ever let go of a puppy at 6 weeks. And the problems your poor little guy has had since 7 weeks of age is testimony to this. He is lucky he ended up in your loving and attentive home! Another owner may not have taken care of him like you are.

Please do get him to a specialist. All the money you have already put into this would have been better directed to a specialist.

Best, best of luck. Give your little guy a kiss from me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clostridia

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 5:10PM
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I have only said what I know of diarrhea. The low platelet count is a whole other problem, and there are numerous causes, which a vet should be able to identify and treat. What has your vet done to address this problem?

Again: Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 5:49PM
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Thanks for the advise!

1st - He was tested for giardia at our request a few weeks ago, when the diharea seemed to be sticking around someone at one of my mothers dog classes reccomended it. He was negative. The other two dogs in the home came back negative as well and were tested last week. Chuck went to day care two days the week prior and was tested on monday - just an in house test which was negative, then when the fecal sample was set out it came back positive. He has been on and is on metronidazole - he's on 1000mg a day - only two days left.

2 - he has not been checked to the best of my knowlege, it's so hard to keep them all straight - but I will research that and ask today!

3 - This is the 3rd vet we have been to - She's only been treating for the past month. And he has gotten a LOT better with them. All 4 vets at the clinic are involved in his case, and i really hesitate to use someone else and start over from scratch. Let me clarify - his feces have at points been solid, He was doing great for 2 weeks on the bland diet, then last weekend had the relapse, but the diharrea was different that time. The vet fully believes this is due to the Giardia, and that the two should be taken as different issues to treat. He started on Friday a high fiber diet - It's Prescriptives W/D. By saturday AM we had solid amazing, text book beautiful POOP! You can imagine how excited i was after two months of this. Sunday we had a little bout of dihherea, but I might have forgoten to put his probiotics in his food. :( Today we had solid poop again!

5. Actually UTI's are extremely common in labs, more so the females than the males, but still common in male labs. All three vets have agreed that because of his first experience outside at such a young age was what caused the infection. He has been fince since we treated, just wasn't sure if any of this was related.

Yeah - looking back I would never take a dog that young. I jsut really hope we can figure out what's going on and get him healthy. I feel like his entire imune system is compromised from being moved to quicly. :(

Thanks for the imput - he goes back in today to check his platelet levels. At this point that is my main concern, the diet i can adjust, but he should not have a low platelet count from what i've researched.

What type of specialist can you take him to? I'm sorry, never had a pet that required this much so im' new to this. Do they have blood specialists for dogs?

4 - I guess that i do believe that it has somethign to do with the diet at this point, because there is no other viable explination. He does better on different types of food, so fingers crossed we have one that is going to work.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Well, first of all, that platelet count is not that worrisome (or worriesome at all, actually). Most platelet counts result from a machine doing automated tests and do not alert a path review unless that platelet count is indeed what I would call low (less than 50,000)... or dangerously low (less than 25,000). I have even gotten platelet counts back at 15,000 with a comment about clumping platelets that did not warrant an alert. Platelets like to clump and that makes their numbers impossbile to count in automated systems. So those counts wouldn't even be worth mentioning normally and I would not lose sleep over them. You can always have a CBC with platelet count along with a specific path review done if you are still unconvinced. You certainly would not ever see symptoms of bleeding with platelet counts that high... even with counts as low as 20,000 the incidence of bleeding is probably rare, though it could occur more easily with trauma than it would with a normal count. Below that you would probably see problems. If his true count (non-automated) consistently registered below 50,000 to 75,000, then I would persue other diagnostics to see if there is some other disease causing a problem (poisoning, blood parasites, drug reaction, cancer etc.). Lower numbers would be more worrisome and associated with immune diseases, overwhelming infection, inflammation etc.

But your dog's counts are no where near these levels. If you still want to follow up on your dog's lab work, an internal medicine specialist is where you would want to go (very commonly available around here, but rare in some areas of the country).

Secondly, bladder infections are NOT common in laboradors (or any dogs for that matter at a young age, though they do occur). As a veterianrian for over 26 years now, I think I have seen 2 bladder infections in male lab puppies... one with a ton of bladder stones, too. Female puppies get bladder infections a lot more often (less distance to bladder from the outside world) but still, I would not say it is common, and certainly not more common in labs than other breeds. I asked the vets I worked with (I work at a large hospital in California) and few can think of any lab puppies they have seen with bladder infections (most had never seen a male lab puppy with a bladder infection). But it does happen sometimes (obviously).

The diarrhea problems (not spelled diharrhea by the way) have many potential causes, but it sounds like you are on the right tract to having them worked out. They can be very frustrating as there are so many reasons for diarrhea and many require different treatments and not all treatments work. As they mature, most dogs eventually settle down and get over it as long as there is not some glaring problem that has been missed.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 1:00AM
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Any updates on Walt?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 8:00AM
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