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Sick Golden

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retriever
Age: 5-8 years
Dr.,

I try to keep this short:

My kids golden, 7+ years old, got lyme like 3 years ago, came back 3 weeks ago, tired, not eating, limping, went on dioxocycline i believe it was, had bad reactions, she then got an enlarged spleen, became anemic and has a lump on her right shoulder joint, took her off that anti biotic and went on easier one, she somewhat came back, but not 100%, lump may be a fatty tissue cyst, but gums went white, there are also 2 house cats that came to live with them 1.5 years ago, she is afraid of them, they drink from her water bowl too, could she have contacted something from them. she has been to vet a few times, testing the lump, blood test, ultrasound, could all of theis have been cuased by the cats ? by the lyme ? from the first antibiotic ?...thanks, they are in northern NJ.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question. It sounds like Pearl has been through quite a lot.

From what you've described, it sounds like the lump is not connected to Pearl's other problems. There really isn't a connection between lyme disease and any sort of skin lump.

It's possible that a lump could be an abscess caused by a scratch or bite from one of the cats. However, an abscess is pretty easy for a vet to diagnose and so this is really not a likely possibility.

Lyme disease is a disease that is spread by ticks. There are other tick borne diseases that can cause the symptoms that she currently has. Some tick borne diseases such as ehrlichiosis and rocky mountain spotted fever can cause an enlarged spleen and a decrease in platelets which can cause bleeding and anemia.

There are rumors of a new tick borne disease surfacing (mostly in the northeastern states) that we haven't put a name on yet. They believe it is a form of ehrlichiosis, but it doesn't always cause a dog to test positive for ehlrichiosis. This disease is being treated successfully by some vets with doxycycline. However, if your dog is having problems with doxycycline this may be a problem. (I'm wondering though if the problems were not with the doxycycline, but rather the disease just getting worse.)

To answer your questions:

-I can't think of anything that the cats would spread that would cause these symptoms in Pearl.

-Lyme does not usually cause anemia. This doesn't sound like a recurrence of lyme disease, but it could be another tick borne illness.

-This is extremely unlikely to be caused by the antibiotic.

I'm really concerned by the fact that her gums are white. Is this something your vet is investigating? This could mean some serious bleeding. Many of the tick borne diseases will affect platelets (cells responsible for blood clotting) and this can cause life threatening bleeding.

Let me know if you have more questions...this is a complicated situation.

I'll be online till about 10pm EST tonight.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dr,

If i can call you i will, i just got back from there house...here is the issue:

The vet brought pearl in today for blood testing and then an ultrasound and they found several tumors in her, including her liver and spleen, the vet told the mom they better put here down becuase the tumors will start to invade organs that will result in loss of functions, all in a matter of a week or two, the mom was so upset she could not look at the ultrasound. She brought her home, she hasent eaten well lately, so she made her a steak, i went over and she is a lovable dog, never barks, nothing, the thing that is getting to me is that she is not screaming in pain, shes wagging her tail and her nose is wet, she is not as chipper as she should be, and you can feel some lumps around her stomach and side, but thats all, and they want to put her down tomorrow, the vet is the moms friend and actually recommeneded her to adopt her form the seeing eye institute, so everyone is upset, my kids came home from camp, i am just out of my mind with the fact that ok, if your dog it terminal and she is in pain, u have to do something, but she doesnt seem to be and i have never heard of a vet that is recommending putting a dog down that is wagging her tail ?????????????? and they are justifying it as well it's going to get worse so u better do it now, these all are great loving people, i dont want to critique anyone, but every story about someone putting there dog down is becuause the dog collapsed, cant breathe etc, apparently there are so many tumors the vet said it's hopeless, she had a full exam in June and she was fine ??????????????? same vet...then they went on vacation, left the dog with a sitter, come back and then it all started....she is anemic yes, but could these tumors not be just fatty tissue cysts that were always there...the mom was too upset so i dont think they have said that the tumors are cancer....its such an emootional time, what do i do, go over and say your all wrong im taking pearl with me, i just dont know what to do...this is the 2nd vet at the hospital who looked her over too...i will send you another fee for this question...


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for the generous bonus, Tim.

I'm really sorry to hear this bad news about Pearl. What you have described about her ultrasound is really not good.

Unfortunately Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer. What you are describing on the ultrasound is definitely serious. If they saw just a single possible tumor in the spleen I would be saying that perhaps we could consider surgery to remove the spleen. But, if they are seeing a bunch of tumors and they have spread to the liver then this is a cancer that is spreading.

Dogs with this type of cancer will not show you direct signs of pain. But, she is showing you signs of discomfort by not eating and not being as active as normal. When a Golden doesn't want to eat, you know there is a problem.

I would agree with the vet that she likely needs to be put down and really it should be done soon. This is something that is not going to be cured.

These tumors are likely bleeding (hence the white gums). If one suddenly ruptures you could end up with her being in extreme distress and having difficulty breathing. I would hate for her end to be like this.

With cancer like this there is a chance that you could buy her some time with chemotherapy. You could ask your vet for a referral to an oncologist (cancer vet) for a second opinion to see if she can be treated. But, I think the chances of helping her are small.

I'm so sorry.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.