Update on Akiva’s Health Issues


I am adding information up here about what is going on with Akiva.  I made a post to a mailing list last night with much of this information in response to questions asked.  To respect the copyright of the people that asked the questions, I have removed their writing, and wrote generic versions of their questions in their place that convey the same question.

Please feel free to post comments here or to email me  jamiedolan@gmail.com

>Tested for Addison’s?

Not directly, but from what I know a number of lab values including
glucose and potassium would have been off on the regular blood panel
we ran, and they were all normal. Does something make you suspect
this in particular? Feel free to e-mail me directly about this if it
isn’t related to diet, Thank You.

>When did this start / time line, symptoms when it first happened
>was any diagnosis made when this first happened?  Which antibiotic is
>being used, and how was that one chosen
>Did Akiva have surgery for a torn ACL?
> How old is Akiva?

Note: Never was ACL surgery, ACL injury was only suspected as the
cause of most recent problems.

Akiva is a altered male Shih Tzu who will be 7 years old next week.

3/25/2003 – Akiva Born

11/2003 – Akiva suddenly stops being able to jump up onto chairs or
onto the bed, starts crying and whining constantly. We take him to
emergency, I believe his temp was slightly elevated. (I’ve been
unable to obtain records from this visit and have been told they were
destroyed, thus the lack of detail). We did a Spinal tap, sent it out
to Marshfield and Madison Vet College. It seemed to be a area in his
back what was more painful, but he screamed so much it was very hard
for anyone to get a good idea of what was going on. After all of
their tests they found nothing and didn’t know what to do. For some
reason, I thought the symptoms closely enough resembled an infection,
even though the lab work didn’t support that, that I told them to
start iv doxy. We make a prompt and what appeared to be a full

7/2004 – Akiva starts having problems jumping and showing signs of
pain / crying again. He had a mild fever. Appears to use to be
similar to what happened on 11/03. I take him to the local vet and
have doxy started, within a couple days, everything is back to normal.

2/27/2010 – Akiva is a little hesitant to walk a distance that would
normally be easy for him.

2/28/2010 – Akiva has trouble jumping well enough to make it up the
stairs, this is the last day he climbs our flight of stairs.

3/1/2010 – Akiva goes to vet, All labs are normal, showing signs of
mild dehydration, no temperature, 18.1 Pounds. All signs point
towards a muscle injury of sorts such as a partially torn acl. After
a long exam, we decide to try 10 days of a NSAID with rest.

3/11/2010 – Akiva shows no improvement on the NSAID so we go back to
the vet. We do another comprehensive exam, and get another vet
involved in looking at him and his walk. We take a full set of
x-rays. Everything looks normal, Akiva shows no signs of pain upon
manipulation of spine or legs. Akiva has had a reduced appetite, and
this vet visit his weight is down to 17.3, losing .8 pounds (about 5%
of his weight) in 10 days. It seems less likely it is an injury at
this point, due to the reduced appetite and the lack of improvement.
Based upon my knowledge of his events 5+ years prior, I requested that
we try some doxy, we started at 50mg once per day. I started working
harder to get more food into Akiva, including multiple hand fed meals,
which had all been raw until yesterday. As of yesterday, I had still
not felt like he was eating enough raw with all of my hand feeding,
and that is when I decided to try some cooked.

3/16/2010 – So 5 days on the doxy, difficult to say if there is any
response, (However he did gain the 1.5 pounds back during this time
frame, so it is hard to say if the doxy took any part in that) I found
a copy of the vet records from the 7/2004 visit and we had used 50mg
twice a day then, so we decide to up the dose to twice a day for a few
days, starting tomorrow 3/17.
3/17/2010 – Today, Last night I fed him a small cooked meal of pork, I
still didn’t feel like he had been eating enough. Today, I feed him 5
ounces of cooked hamburger. I decided to bring a stool sample to the
vet to just rule out and kind of weird parasite and to get a weight on
Akiva. The sample is negative. His weight is up to 18.8 Pounds, so
he is up 1.5 pounds in 6 days.

Despite his lack of interest in food, in 6 days I managed to get
enough into him to add that weight. The vet sees him briefly today,
notices his walk is about the same. His back end is kind of sloppy
and he won’t walk for very long. When he walks, he swings his head
back and forth more than normal and sits down frequently, not walking
much longer than 15 feet without sitting. When laying around,
sometimes he will get up, shift places, or roll over as if he is a bit
uncomfortable, but does not appear to be in any serious discomfort.

>Have you tried hand feeding small amounts of food and other “tricks”
>to help get him to eat?

Yes, basically all of this is what I have been doing for the past 18
days to get food into him, but have been pushing him more and feeding
multiple meals per day since last Thursday when I knew he lost the

>The antibiotics / and pain meds may have had an effect also.

I know we have many variables, and many unknowns here. At least now
that I know he put some weight on this past week and that if I am
having trouble getting him to eat I can use some cooked I feel a lot
better. I will continue to attempt the small raw hand fed meals,
perhaps mixing with some cooked will help him get back to eating

Today’s visit that showed he put back on the weight he lost is very
encouraging, and gives me every reason to believe that I can continue
with feeding him primary raw, as that appears to be what put the
weight back onto him (he has only has the 2 small cooked meals).

I will try a raw meal tonight, if he won’t eat it, I will try and mix
it with some cooked pulled pork I have boiling right now.

Are there any possible vitamin / nutrient type of deficiencies that
could lead to problems like Akiva is having? My incline is to say no,
but I thought I would ask. Looking at the past 6 months of his diet:
The past 6 months he has not had a lot of whole prey and may not have
had as much organ meat as he should have. He has a bit more ground
beef in the past 6 months than I care for also due to getting a bunch
at a low cost. He still has had plenty of chicken quarters, pork
roast, beef roasts, and turkey a couple times. He also gets eggs and
salmon oil. Real salmon (frozen) maybe a couple times a month. Fresh
chicken liver on and off, beef heart, beef liver here and there (I
have not been supper consistent / supper good at keeping tract).
Chicken hearts. A decent variety, but I may not have been feeding
organs (liver) as consistently as I should have been. (he does get a
fairly large amount of high quality us made freeze dried liver – that
is only liver, absolutely nothing else included). Much of his meat
has come from the grocery this past 6 months, with some of it coming
from local farmers, and only a very limited portion of the food being
high quality grass fed / organic, etc. for multiple reasons.
Again, I doubt this could be contributing to this problem, but since
this is the raw list, I thought I would throw in the information about
what he has been eating. He rarely gets anything off of the table
that is cooked, and if he does, it would be something like an ounce of
lean chicken or similar, but like I said, this is quite rare. He has
not had commercial foods or supplements. He has no access to stashes
of human food he could have raided or trash. He does not have access
to any types of drugs or poisons – there isn’t anything he could have
gotten into, other than perhaps chewing on a plant, which isn’t
something Akiva has ever shown interest in and I don’t believe that I
have any plants that are very toxic in the house. He on occasion gets
a bully stick or moo tube.

My plan (the vet and I) is to see what happens over the next 2 days or
so with the antibiotics at a higher dose. I still have no real clue
as to what is going on or what happened. If it was just an injury,
that doesn’t really explain the lack of interest in food (he has had
the lack of interest both while he was just on the nsaid and while he
was just on the doxy).

If we don’t see any results in the next couple days, I think we are
going to have to see a neurologist next, or maybe a orthopedist.

Hopefully I am going to be able to continue to keep his weight up with
primary raw food, even if it is one spoonful at a time.

Thank you again for the help. If you have any more in depth medical
suggestions / questions, I am open to hearing them, so do feel free to
e-mail me privately.

Jamie & Akiva The Dog
https://www.akivathedog.com (Cute photos and videos of Akiva & my other dogs)

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