DoperVets - What's wrong with my dog?

Wolf is a large old barn dogs I took in a few months ago after he was abandoned by his scum of an old owner. He’s a 120 lb Alaskan Malamute about 8 years old. Monday morning I left for work and he was fine and dandy. I gave him a big bowl of fresh water before I left. When I got back at about 7:30 that evening, he wasn’t moving. He could lift his head, but he didn’t greet me as usual. He’d drink water if I pressed him to and ate a hot dog. Tuesday I took him to my vet, but none of the three vets at the clinic can figure out what’s wrong without doing a lot of expensive tests (and they were quite frank in saying that at his age and size options weren’t looking good). There’s no sign of trauma, no sign if light. He shows anal muscle tone and bladder control, but at first no pain response in his back legs or to the middle of his back. We literally had the needle ready to put him to sleep when we checked again and then he had delayed pain response. THey were closed yesterday, but kept him there (because he’s too big for me to manage by myself). He’s showing some improvement today. I haven’t been able to speak to the vets today because they’re in surgery in the morning.

Do any DoperVets have any bright ideas? Wolf did kill a snake in the back yard a week ago, but it didn’t appear to be a venomous one. A disc problem was my only other idea, but there’s not much I can do about that. Thanks for any help.


Just a stab…check his gums. If they are white, instead of gray-black to mostly black, he might have cancer. ( My neighbor lost her beloved dog to cancer and that is apparently a warning sign.)

You have my sympathy on what you are dealing with right now . It is so hard to see our pets suffer and not know what is wrong with them .

My 10 year old Gordon Setter Fancy has bone spurs on her spine - my vet says they are the worst he has ever seen . She shows many of the same symptoms as your Wolf when she is having a ‘bad’ day . We put her on Deramaxx and it has helped her a lot ; we were ready to put her down New Year’s Eve , but she has rallied for now . I know my days with my sweet , goofy Gordon Girl are numbers so I treasure every one . :frowning:

Best of luck to you both .

Sounds like some lower motor neuron problems, just by reading your description. Have you or the vets treated the dog for ticks to rule out tick paralysis?

–ywtf, dvm

PapSett - I love Gordon Setters! Such an elegant dog!

Shirley - Wolf’s gums are a healthy pink. I checked for dehydration.

The thing is, when I took this dog in, I said all I’d do is give him a place to live and three squares for the rest of his natural life. He wasn’t supposed to be a pet. He’s just a guest until he dies. Right. He’s an outside dog, unlike my others. He doesn’t require as much attention as the others. A pat on the head, a “good dog, Wolfie” seems to be all he wants. Nobody else wanted him, so I took him in. sigh


you with the face - We discussed tick paralysis, but at the time there was no pain sensation, and apparently that’s not a symptom.


You are a better person for it and Wolfie appreciates your kindness more than you will ever know.

StG , I have had Gordons since 1982 ; I got my first one because I liked the way they looked , but fell head over heels in love with their personalities . They are silly and goofy and serious all at the same time . I have my old girl , Fancy , and a year old girl , Kharma , and will be getting a 9 week old baby boy July 30 ! :smiley:
Yeah , I’m a little excited !

Good news! I talked to the vet this afternoon and Wolf walked across the floor of the vet’s office. They still don’t know what happened, but he’s on the mend and I can pick him up tomorrow. YAY!!!


Spooky. Glad he’s feeling better.

For the future, if something should happen, just remember that Wolfie’s life was better with you than without. With you, he had someone caring about him to the end. Even if that end comes sooner than anyone expected, it’s still better than being alone.

Best wishes for long, happy, healthy lives together.

Did they test him for heart worm? Despite having been medicated against it her whole life, my dog Princess got it about 5 years before she died. It was discovered she had it after she passed out twice (the incidents were about 3 months apart) and was super lethargic after coming to the second time. The vet said only about 50% of dogs live through the cure - which involves some sort of poisoning to kill the worms - but she lucked out. Not so lucky is the fact that 15% of dogs who are medicated can still get the worms.

Wolf is home tonight. He’s to be on restricted activity for 30 days, with antibiotics and prednisone. He’s walking okay, but slowly and not far. He had three days stay at the vet clinc, meds, heartworm test (negative), routine shots, meds and all the meds I took home with me for $147.


Damn. That’s a bargain. That kind of care at my vet clinic would probably top $300.

Keep us posted on his progress!

What Pullet said, only here it would be $500-$1000.

I could hazard a few guesses, but I won’t. I will say that you have done a noble thing in giving him a home for his remaining time, and I wish you both joy.

Call me insane (“You’re insane!”), but I was at the dogpound Saturday and saw a lovely dog, looks a lot like a Scottish deerhound or lurcher, is listed as a terrier mix. She’s about a year old was surrendered by her old owners for being destructive, chewing, etcetera. Basically for being a puppy, in my opinion. She’s about 55 lbs now, still in that gawky stage. Since I have lots of acres and my year-old standard poodle Maggie needs someone to play with, I guess I"m getting a fourth dog. Here’s a very bad picture of her. However Leigh: won’t do as a name. Maybe Fiona…

Ooh, she does look like a Fiona