my dog is shutting down after tplo surgery please help

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Health Questions' started by johnj, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. johnj

    johnj New Member

    My name is john and my berner is 6 years old , On Jan 3 my 6 year old bernese mountain dog had TPLO surgery on her knee, After this surgery she has been completely shutting down and will not eat kibble at all, Before this surgery yes she had a limp from knee and arthritis but she was in perfect shape and always ate her food well,

    Jan 17th 2 weeks after surgery we took her in for stitches removal, at this time she was eating some but not like normal, brought this to there attention and the said try other foods, over days and weeks becoming harder and harder to get her to eat,

    Feb 6th she is just eating less and less and I called cleary lake but never received a call back, so I took her to shakopee vet ( her she weighed 91 pounds and Jan 3rd at surgery she was 104 ) she was checked out and blood work done all this okay with a couple numbers slightly elevated but dr did not seem worried, thought more of a behavior thing and not liking her food because of all the pills she was on and associated this with food, and try tough love only kibble with her, ( also told this by humane society behavior specialst on feb 14 )

    Feb 8th still extremely worried so called shakopee vet she suggested xrays chest and stomach, fecal test, heart work, urinalysis, and nothing found wrong or of much concern, she was stumped,

    Feb 13 got a hold of cleary lake to review everything and figure why this is happening after surgery, they also said blood work looked like healthy dog nothing much on xrays and they did a pancreatic lipase test and that was normal, so they gave her a cerenia injection, B 12 injection and put her on metroclopramide, also talked about behavior but never seen nothing like this,

    Feb 14 bad 24 hours after shots won't eat or drink, called cleary lake again, tell me to try treating her for ulcers, although no real signs of that, her stool was normal at shakopee vet, her stools have been for the most part normal considering she is not eating, brown in color but next day look black after drying, today ( feb 17 ) she did have brown diarea for first time, no blood ever nor in her urine, so now she is on pepsid ac, sucralfate, mirtazapine, continue metoclopamide,

    also Feb 14th talked to hamane society behavior specialst told me about nutra cal and pill shooter and other pointers how not to associate pills and food, she seemed to have perked up this weekend a little but not sure if it is because of nutri cal cause she still will not eat any of the many kinds of dog food I try and give her, only real things she will eat is peanuts very few also a little plain beef jerky and this morning she ate maybe a quarter cup of oatmeat,

    Other notes about her

    she started eating less from day one

    seems as though she struggles to chew teeth mouth gums?

    eats and licks snow alot also always sticking tongue out like dry or something?

    developed an ear redness and red bumps on stomach that have since went away with treatment,

    licks her bottom alot and it looks red,

    vets know of all this,

    We do not have a lot of money and have spent so much already on her but she is our child and just want her to be alright and back to normal, Could someone please review this and contact me if you may have other tests, suggestions or what we can do, Please
  2. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    I am sorry you and your girl are going through all of this.....her surgery was a major surgery with significant anesthesia time and it is very common to be off food for a few days following such a major procedure. Anesthesia is avery GI disruptive.

    Combine this with the fact that Berners have sensitive stomachs and it may just be Gi trouble.

    You have her on so many drugs it is hard to say as each and every one of these may be a problem. You did not mention if you have her on an NSAID so let us know....these are highly stomach irritating and could be to blame.

    If she were mine, i would get her off ALL drugs and work on feeding easy to digest foods. I have to disagree strongly with any advice you receive to treat this behaviorally and force her kibble at her.....Berners show us when there is something wrong and we should listen. If she has not been doing this her whole like, I will guarantee it is not behavioral.

    You did not mention what you tried feeding but eggs...scrambled are the easiest protein for a dog to digest. A long as she tolerates this, try bacon and eggs.....or if needed, scrambled eggs and rice are the easiest on the tummy. The bacon is a good enticer however as no dog refuses bacon unless something is really wrong.

    Good luck and let us know if something works,
  3. johnj

    johnj New Member

    Thank you for the reply, The vets are just stumped and just throwing things out there,

    the meds they have her on now is the pepsid ac and sucralfate for ulcers, and the mirtazapine is suppose to help with appetite and GI, same with the metoclopramide is for GI I believe,

    she has been off nsaid for just over a week now completely, it was previcox,

    and just yesterday we tryed eggs and sausage, at first a couple weeks out of surgery I could get her to eat eggs, also boiled hambuger or chicken with rice and could get her to eat that, but now last week and a half nothing really is working, beef jerky she will eat but heard that is not good either? giving nutra cal to lift her up and give her some calories for now,

    and before this surgery she was a great healthy eater just so frustrated with this, thank you
  4. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    Thanks for clarifying.....a you outlined, this is A LOT of drugs, which all have side effects and most vets dont know how most drugs will even interact with one another.

    I am not a vet and not trying to prescribe here but I would encourage you to thoroughly understand any drug you are giving and make sure they are needed and helping.

    I don't personally understand the metroclopramide....this is Reglan and is used to prevent nausea and vomiting. Was your dog ever doing this? It is also redundant with the mirtazipine but my main concern is Reglan can also cause abdominal pain and frankly if your dog needs to vomit ( which the body does if it needs to expel) I dont like to interfere with this anyway unless its excessive. So look closely at that one.

    Overall, I just want to encourage caution in using drugs with something that we dont have a diagnosis or understanding of.....that is the time to avoid drugs in my view. And since you describe that they are not working.....a good reason to re-evaluate.

    Any NSAID is very hard on the gut and it take 1 week to leave the consider that as well.

    If you want to move away from the drugs and Pepcid just know that you can use safe easy natural herbs to soothe the gut, prevent nausea and stimulate the appetite ( and much cheaper)..... Including slippery elm, marshmallow root, ginger and if an ulcer or serious irritation is suspected, I have cured a serious ulcer in my golden retriever with AMP Floracel ( never seen this without vomiting however).

    One last question to throw out: has the knee been looked t and any infection ruled out? Fever should be present if so........

    Good luck and I hope she starts eating and feeling better soon.

  5. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    One more asked about other tests and the one thing that any specialist I have would insist on and I would suggest here is an abdominal ultrasound.

    Ultrasound shows much more than x- ray and is needed to check out liver, kidneys, GI tract and pancreas.

    If you can swing that, it is in order here to make sure nothing else is brewing.

  6. johnj

    johnj New Member

    Thanks Rachel we totally agree about all the meds and she has been on them for four days and no improvment on eating, And she gives us that look she hates taking them, I could tell last night she was uncomfortable, the metoclopramide is not for gastrinol problems? and that is another thing she only threw up 1 time and that was partly my fault cause I gave her a instinct raw ham bone, so I think thats why, Same with the injections they gave her, They actually made her worse,

    That is what my main vet recommeded last Friday is ultra sound, She recommended Blue pearl have you heard of them? It is very expensive and we already have thousands in to this with no answers, We just want her well and back to normal, We have 4 grand daughters and Sophie just trys to be there mommy when they come over, I just need her better and wish we would of never done this surgery, so if no improvment this morning I guess we will take her there,

    Also starting yesterday she had a couple diarea bouts, was like a brownish clear, I have always been there when she goes and never no blood, after last night she actually seemed like she felt good after her last diarea, It was the same color as that ultra cal stuff, And not giving her much of it,

    We tryed giving her chicken breast last night and turns her lip up or shakes her head no, I made her beef liver and same thing, Yesterday she did have a quarter cup of oatmeal, a few plain peanuts and she loves plain beef jerky still but do not know how good any of this is for her so have not given her much, Eats jerky but not beef liver or chicken is confuseing, We just want her to eat something, seems she is drinking fine,

    And yes they checked out knee and it looks good she uses it fairly good, But little trouble sitting, She has arthritis in both knees, Just last year at this time we were going for 1 mile walks daily with no problems,


  7. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    The drugs you have her on have diarrhea as a side effect and my money would be on the Reglan. No it is not for anything other than stops the system from vomiting by suppressing the vomiting reflux action and can in some cases help with nausea. It is not curing anything or going to address any root cause of a is merely a symptom suppressor.

    In fact, we do not have any western drugs that cure anything - they simply treat symptoms so it always helps us to understand which symptoms necessitate treating and which are best to run their course.

    For example, we know it is unhealthy to suppress a cough - the body is designed to cough to expel and this is an essential part of healing. Likewise, I don't like to ever suppress vomiting for the same reason.....rather stop feeding any food or water and allow the body to rest.

    I am not familiar with Blue Pearl, but if you can get an ultrasound done, I would pursue that at this need to know what is going on.

    And if the drugs are only causing more side effects and discomfort and not helping her to eat - stop them.

    You mentioned her mouth - does she look like she has discomfort swallowing? have you experimented with feeding soft or liquid foods to see if those she is willing to get down?

    When my last Berner had cancer she got a strep infection and couldn't swallow - a simple amox. antibiotic cleared that and I think in a lot of cases, if vets are going to start guessing and experimmenting with drugs, an wimpy antibiotic like amox is a good one to use and rule out any type of infection in the gut first.

    In my girl's case, she was eating again as soon as we got a week of antibiotic into her. In the meantime, I diagnosed the issue and location by feeding liquid foods and realizing she was happy to take those but not solids. The recipe that always works for my cancer dogs is egg and raw beef liver blended together (food processor or blender) and we call this liver egg soup in our house. They always lap it up.

    Where is the beef jerky from? If it is not a homemade, made in the U.S. clean jerky I would not be feeding it given all the recalls and deaths from jerky. If nothing else, make sure it is not from China.

    Hope that helps and hang in there.

  8. johnj

    johnj New Member

    The jerky is just plain people jerky, I have tryed soft foods, and she will eat the jerky and a few dog biscuits, but yes chews funny so not sure about that, blue pearl is suppose to be calling with an appointment, do you use raw eggs with beef liver? and thats all?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  9. MosierDog

    MosierDog New Member

    So sorry that your dog is going through this! My dog just had double TPLO on both right and left knees. I've never heard of a dog shutting down after TPLO surgery, but definitely keep in touch with your vet for the next steps forward. Try to keep her interested with new toys (we bought our dog tons of toys) and try to keep her motivated to walk. Hang out with her for as long as possible during the day so she knows someone is there. The toys are very important. We bought some of the bird toys that makes a bird call when squeaked, and our dog absolutely adores them! Try one of those and see if they spark her interest. I would rub her belly for as long as possible.
    If your dog isn't drinking, try feeding her ice-chips (not cubes!) one by one by hand until she stops. When my dog didn't want to drink, I did this, and before long she started drinking a bowl about every few hours. Mix the ice-chips into some cold water and allow her to drink for a little bit.
    I hope this helps, and I wish for the best for you and your dog!
  10. johnj

    johnj New Member

    Hi Thank you so much for your concern, I have really never left her side thru this, Last week we had her in for an ultra sound and now found cancer on both kidneys, Our hearts were taken from us that day, Not a day goes by I do not cry, She is our child and only 6 years old, She is currently taking prednosone and eating some but still no kibble or dog food, Just so hard seeing her this way, they think stress from TPLO surgery made this cancer comeout or explode as she seemed fine before this, I hope and wish your girl all the best, life goes so fast and would give anything to go back to her puppy days,
  11. dnrw

    dnrw New Member

    Sounds aweful, any update on your situation??
  12. johnj

    johnj New Member

    Ultra sound shows kidney cancer, Our Hearts were ripped out, Every day is a battle to get food down here, Just so hard to watch her starve, And before this surgery she was a very healthy puppy, just a matter of time I guess, But every day is heart breaking, We love her as our child
  13. drew1575

    drew1575 New Member

    Stories like this are so heart breaking. I am so sorry for you and your girl. It makes me appreciate every day I have with my girl, as unfortunately particularly with berners, you just never know when that horrible health news can strike. I hope you enjoy every second you have with her.
  14. Whimzy

    Whimzy New Member

    Hello sorry to hear about your struggle.
    I do have a couple of thoughts. Pain can make them have no appetite. ( i know when I had knee surgery my weight went from 135 to 98 because of pain and loss of appetite) The same was with our Berner!
    After a stroke 3 mri's 2 surgeries he could barely lift his head. His weight went from 138 lbs to 98 lbs in a short time. He ran fevers and had uti's. He became a quadriplegic on top of it all. I pumped any food and water in to him that he would eat.
    He was on a lot if medications but the one that helped him was his pain killer. Once he had that within an hour he was interested in food.
    Louie list most of his weight within month post surgery. ( very quickly at first).
    This might be one idea to think about.
    They said Louie was "stoic" he did not show that he was in pain. We kept his pain killers going until he was obviously acting differently.
    We used cold cuts, canned food, kibbles, chicken, brith in his water, you name it. I also had to hand feed and water him because he could nit feed himself at first.
    Have you had your dig checked fir uti? Urinary tract infection. That will greatly affect his health. Many digs get them after surgery. Celeste
  15. BernerMax

    BernerMax New Member

    Gosh dont know how to help really (our Boxer had 2 Tplos about 12 years ago)- I cant really remember specifics except I remember the Vet came out to help load the dog into the back of our SUV post surgery and the dog jumped up himself!
    Maybe try white rice, cottage cheese and chicken broth to start (simple bland diet) and add white meat chicken later?
    hang in there. Its tough when your baby is sick!I hope she gets better soon!!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  16. Lizzy7428

    Lizzy7428 New Member

    Reply To JohnJ

    Im not sure if this will help you and when you said your dog isn't eating I was immediately thinking of friends of ours.
    Apparently Bernese mtn dogs are very prone to anxiety and depression. Bella (thats our friends dogs name) was devastated when the last of their 3 kids moved away to go to college. Their vet told them that these dogs are very sensitive to changes in the family or any major change. So She stopped eating all together. Lost a considerable amount of weight. At first they thought it was cancer but in the end the dog is depressed which is causing anorexia. The daughter came back from college for the summer but this did not help the dog at all, damage was done. Apparently now the only food the dog will eat is if the owners cook her eggs and such. The dog has been on antidepressents for a few months now and I haven't spoken to them in a month or so but if you would like to know if the antidepressants are solving the problem I can call and find out for you.
  17. johnj

    johnj New Member

    It ended up being Cancer on both her Kidneys, We had to put her to sleep april 15

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