DD Chronic Bronchitis

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DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby DrahtLvr » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:30 pm

Hey everyone,

Been a while since I've posted in here, I've been really distracted on dog health issues and was hoping to get a little advice. My little two year old DD has been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. Approaching 11 months with the issue now. We've done everything the vet knows to do, including antibiotics (multiple versions), a lung scope and all associated testing including several tests at the local veterinarian school at university ($2K, ouch), over the counter antihistamines, sudafed, and Prednisone. Before anyone criticizes the treatments, these were all done progressively using multiple vets and most recently a respiratory specialist. Prednisone clears up the cough in only one pill and consistent treatment keeps the cough away. Problem is, she loses about half of her hair during the treatment evenly across her body. I'm now faced with the option of inhalant steriods and very likely as a long-term treatment option. Not sure if the dog will ever hunt hard again. Likely her health will continue to deteriorate. Any consistent exercise immediately brings back the cough without the steroids. Problem is, on the steroids, the hair becomes so thin she can't hunt cold weather due to a lack of skin protection and warmth during cold weather. We made opening day of pheasant this year, but that was during the Prednisone treatment, no way were we going hunting since she's been off the steroids because the cough immediately returns and worsens with activity. Haven't tried the inhalant steriods, but suspect a return to the hair loss issue, years of maintenance and expense, and ultimately an early death due to the steriod use. Total Catch-22.

Any miracle solutions from anyone? I'm at that last-ditch stage and I'm afraid putting her down may be my best option. This sucks. I'm really close to this dog, but I'm not the type to drag out the inevitable. One other option I'm considering is to find a new home for her in a different climate and see if a change from our dry climate in Colorado (mountain area) to a more climate could have an effect. I doubt anyone wants to take on that kind of risk.

Appreciate any of your thoughts.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby hicntry » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:56 pm

Have you tried benedryl?
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby DrahtLvr » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:59 pm

Benadryl and Claritin
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby Doc E » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:42 pm

You definitely need to be sure that it isn't a weed seed.
Some weed seeds can burrow and cause extreme problems.



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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby DrahtLvr » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:11 pm

She had a lung scope and associated testing done. Respiratory specialist said there was more mucous in her lungs than she had ever seen and that she got the best sample she had ever seen. Not sure she could have seen a seed if it were in the lungs. Is this what you were referring to? This dog's nose never leaves the ground, wouldn't surprise me at all if she had inhaled one. Would it show up on an Xray?
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby Doc E » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:04 am

DrahtLvr wrote:She had a lung scope and associated testing done. Respiratory specialist said there was more mucous in her lungs than she had ever seen and that she got the best sample she had ever seen. Not sure she could have seen a seed if it were in the lungs. Is this what you were referring to? This dog's nose never leaves the ground, wouldn't surprise me at all if she had inhaled one. Would it show up on an Xray?


The worst offenders are cheat grass and foxtail. Frequently difficult (nearly impossible to see) if they have "screwed' themselves into the tissue, even harder to see with huge amounts of mucous. I've heard of cases where the seed finally ended up in the heart.

Seeds won't show up on x-ray.



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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby DrahtLvr » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:41 am

Assume there isn't a solution beyond finding it and removing it?
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby lanco » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:14 am

Foreign material in the lung would ussually produce a focal appearance that the specialist would have differentiated from the more global (both lungs involved) diagnosis you have been given. Were full fungal titers run? (that is a long shot but at least a treatable one). Did they discuss using azathioprine to reduce the need for steroids or trying cyclosporine instead of prednisone? These types of reactive airway disease are pretty uncommon in dogs (much more common in cats). Are there any smokers in the house? Sounds like you have really done a lot to try and get to the bottom of this, there are other options (stated above) for immunosuppression rather than steroids but there are risks associated with each. Keep talking to your vets and try to find an answer that will work.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby orhunter » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:05 am

A sinus exam with an endoscope may turn up a seed. Would probably show up as a localizied infection with puss sac or redness/swelling. I'd look everywhere they can poke the thing.

Lanco brings up a fungal source which sounds reasonable since treatment to date has involved antibiotics with no cure.

Here's a shot in the dark, paralyzed larynx. A non-biological source.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby lanco » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:23 am

What to you do for a living Mr Healy, not to many people would recognize that drug.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby DrahtLvr » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:54 pm

Guys, I really appreciate the comments! Thanks for taking the time.

On azathioprine. What side effects or long-term effects should I expect with the drug? Are we suppressing vital functions of the immune system that may commonly cause other issues? Cyclosporine has not come into the discussion at all, but I've been pretty sensitive to steroid use based on the fact that the pup lost half her hair on the first run. The current suggestion by the respiratory specialist is to go with inhalant steroids. I'm obviously hesitating to try it again.

My understanding is that fungal sources have been eliminated by testing the lung samples. Not sure what a "fungal titer" is.

Mr. Healy - how expensive is azathioprine? I'm really glad to hear it was a solution for your wife's dog.

A paralyzed larynx is really interesting. From the start of this issue, I pointed out to multiple vets that my pup plays regularly with a Sheppard mix and that dog is constantly going for the throat, it's 99% playful, but once in a while they get too rough and my pup ends up yelping from a neck bite that probably included the larynx. This went on for many months, until this issue arose and I stopped the play. How would we diagnose a paralyzed larynx and would it cause heavy coughing and heavy phlegm? The coughing makes sense with this issue, but not the phlegm. During the lung scope, they said they thoroughly checked (visually) the entire airway into the lungs. After reading up on this, the symptoms don't seem to fit.

During outdoor play now, she will cough substantially for the first five minutes, then seem to settle-in and be fine for many hours, maybe even the remainder of the day. Getting the phlegm loosened up seems to help a lot, but I have the other issue that cold air doesn't seem to help...and of course it's winter.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby Pointergal » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:13 pm

I know this sounds insulting but have you tested him for lungworms? I had a similar problem with one of my dogs and I went through all of the same treatments. One day my vet asked if I worm the dogs....obviously, I said yes, but the typical over the counter workers don't get lungworm. Lungworm is becoming a much bigger problem in the us because of the proliferation of nonnative red foxes, who naturally carry and disperse the worm. The worms life cycle occurs entirely in one canine but is easily spread through snails, fox feces, sheep feces and other disgusting ways. Anyways, thousands of dollars of treatment later, the vet asks this question. One hundred dollars of a large bottle of fenbendazole remedied the bronchitis problem entirely. I, too, saw numerous vets who never thought of this. If you have tried using the PAnacur treatment and you ruled this out already, then look up Dr. Plechner. Here's his website...

http://drplechner.com/about/books-by-dr-plechner/

You need to find a progressive vet who's got an open mind to be your advocate on this issue. They need to be willing to work with dr. Plechner. Dr. Plechner can help dramatically. Read some of his writings on the website to get an idea of what he's doing. He'll ask you to get a blood test done on the dog and run it through a lab in Texas. BTW,Dr. Plechner's work is beingusedinhuman medicine now because doctors are willing to look at the endocrine-immune relationship. Vets are somewhat old school and have yet to buy into this.....he freed one of my dogs from chronic bronchitis with injectable cortisone and cortisol, thyroid treatments. Good luck and email me if you have more questions.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby DrahtLvr » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:29 pm

Tom - thanks

Pointergal - We did try Panicur for the potential of lungworm - no impact. Can you explain the working relationship between your vet and Dr. Plechner? Were you paying a "consulting fee" to Dr Plechner to work with your vet? I'm currently working with two vets, my local vet and a respiratory specialist at one of the better vet hospitals near Denver. They are both fairly progressive and work well together. Regardless, I really appreciate the advice and will give Dr Plechner's name to my vet.

This week, I gave-in and went back to Prednisone at a 5mg dosage. She hasn't coughed since minutes after the first 5mg dosage. Seems a bit lethargic today. Staring off into space a bit. Once the Pred is given enough time to clear the lungs again, the vets want me to move to an inhalant steroid that is supposedly much milder on the body and hopefully won't cause the hair follicles to go into neutral. Just waiting for the hair loss to kick-in...just as her coat finally recovered.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby Pointergal » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:22 pm

I personally set up a consult with Dr. Plechner. If your two vets have heard of him and are accepting of his treatments, you will benefit greatly. Talk to your vets about him and see what their reaction is. I gave Dr. Plechner my dog's history and info and we talked over the phone. Dr. Plechner is what some would call, a holistic vet, but he's been trained classically. I then coordinated a call between him and my vet. We had my local vet do a blood draw and fedexed the blood to Dr. Plechner's lab. My advice is to really understand and know Dr. Plechner's work. Many vets are "fearful" of his treatments because they aren't taught about the inextricable link between the endorcrine and the autoimmune system. I happen to be a biologist and understand this at a basic level so I understood Dr. Plechners' work. I also set up a phone consult between the vet and Dr. Plechner. Keeping an open mind, both yourself and your vet is essential. Dr. Plechners work is translating to the human medicine community particularly in understanding cancer and how it gets started and how both the endocrine and immune systems fail in attacking cancer cells. Dr. Plechner's work has been successful with dire, dire, death sentence health issues for many dogs and with his treatments, he's extended the health and lives of many animals. I think he's wonderful but I'm biased because he helped my dog successfully which is why I still have this animal. BTW, I was told by conventional vets, 5 to be exact, that I would have to live with a coughing dog and that we wouldnt be able to ever hunt much less field trial again. I'm here to tell you that this dog is doing both and winning as well. We have my dog's cough managed, which at times flares up but for the most part is controlled. He's happy, healthy and is doing what he's been bred to do. I wish you the best of luck and fortune, I feel your pain, as it is still all to fresh for me and my dog. Hang in there and don't give up. Just as with human medicine, we have to be the advocate for our and the dog's health, which means studying up.
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Re: DD Chronic Bronchitis

Postby DrahtLvr » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:20 pm

Just in case anyone needs the information for future internet searches, I thought I would provide an update on my Gracie and her bronchitis. After discussing Dr. Plechner with my vet, as others had mentioned, my vet was more than skeptical and after doing a couple of weeks of research on her own through vet circles. My vet talked me into another long and concentrated plan with prednisone. I really took my time and tried to observe Gracie for a period, wanting to see how she reacted with no treatment. It didn't go well and after about a month she had regressed to the point, especially within the fourth week, that I was really concerned for her health. I relented and went back on the prednisone plan. What this included was a month with two pills/day (sorry, I forget the mg); a month with 1 pill/day; a month with one-half pill/day; a month with one-quarter pill/day; and we're now down to one-quarter pill every other day.

Gracie's shown no return of symptoms whatsoever. You may recall that one of my biggest concerns was the only side affect we've seen in which Gracie's hair follicles go on "pause" during the pred treatment and she generally gets pretty lazy (this is a relative statement with a GWP). She doesn't lose hair, but actually doesn't replace the hair she loses in the natural hair cycle. Her coat was in pretty dire shape after the first three months, but now after dropping to one-quarter pill every other day, the coat is beginning to return. Her energy has also returned dramatically. After months, we're on the back-end of the cycle and things really have progressed exactly as the vet expected. We may ultimately be forced to continue prednisone treatment long-term, but at these very small doses it really may not be a big deal. Fingers crossed. Should have a much better idea in about two months as three months is the full hair re-growth cycle.
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