Canine Dysautonomia-PETOWNERS ALERT

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Sandyb from Texas

Amarillo, TX

#1 Jun 13, 2012
Hello, my name is Sandy from Shamrock, in the eastern Texas Panhandle. We lost our 7 year old Pembroke Corgi 4/23/12 to a disease I had never heard of, Canine Dysautonomia. It is a neurological disease first diagnosed in a dog in the state of Missouri in 1986. To this day it is still unknown what causes this horrid disease or worse, there is no known cure. There is a 92% mortality rate in dogs, about 70% in cats. Most cases have occurred in the states of Kansas and Missouri but there have been cases diagnosed in Wyoming, Illinois, Utah, Oklahoma and Buffy here in the panhandle of Texas. The disease is thought to be caused by the c. Botulinum bacteria which is a soil borne bacteria. The toxin in this bacteria strikes the neurons in the ganglia of the sympathic and parasympathic functions of the pet. Heartbeat, respiratory, digestive involuntary functions, swallowing, eye dilation, spincter function in stomach as well as anal. It shows no mercy but within days or weeks your pet can be totally healthy and then you either have to have the animal put down or it dies of the disease. Please, pet owners, vets in our area, anyone who loves animals google canine dysautonomia and read the article from Dr. O'Brien of the University of Missouri Veterinary Lab. He performed research on this disease and we still aren't close to a cause and cure. If your pet begins having symptoms outlined in his article, PLEASE have your vet contact Dr. O'Brien and also Owners can complete a survey at the University of Wyoming Veterinary Lab website who are also currently conducting a study. Dr. Brant Schumacker is heading this research. I can't stress enough the urgency in getting the word out to pet owners and veterinarians as more and more cases are being seen. The UK ended up having an epidemic in the 1980's when hundreds of cats came down with the disease. There is also information about it in the Merck Veterinarian Manual online. Until a cause and cure is found, No Pet is Safe. It is not partial to age however younger dogs are in the majority. Breed, gender, spay or neutered is not a consideration either. They do know it strikes dogs that live in rural areas and have access to pasture land that has horses, cattle, ponds, farmland, rather than urban or city areas. Please help find a cure so we can know how our little Buffy got this horrid disease.

Thank you, Sandyb from Texas
Trish Fenwick

North Bay, Canada

#2 Jun 24, 2012
Sandy, I am so sorry for your loss. My Gordon Setter, Cooper was diagnosed with Canine Dysautonomia last year. We were travelling near Kansas City MO on April 22 when he began to exhibit symptoms although we live in Ontario Canada. I was very fortunate that my vet referred me to an Internal Medicine Specialist working at a Specialty Hospital in Oakville ON and she had a Neurologist and Opthamologist working on Cooper's case as well. He was diagnosed on day 11 and at that time he had already lost close to 10 lbs (from 55lbs) and had not eaten in five days. He was immediately started on Bethanechol 7.5mg/3x per day, Prazocin 1g/2x per day and dilute Pilocarpine eyedrops as needed. After 4 days he was allowed to come home with visits back to the hospital at first every couple of days and then weekly, biweekly, etc. His symptoms gradually improved over the next 6 months and was finally cleared to continue on the drugs with blood tests 2x per year and an annual Optho exam.

Cooper is still with me! He is not cured, because as you correctly noted, there is no cure. The drugs maintain his current condition, help him urinate and defecate and allow him to be more comfortable. To an outside observer he appears to be healthy but he is a much more subdued dog than he was a year ago. I am very fortunate that he survived although the cost in both dollars and time was almost prohibitive. This is indeed a serious disease. If anyone is reading this thread and would like to contact me regarding living with Canine Dysautonomia, feel free at duc_grrl@hotmail.com.

Trish in Ontario Canada
Sandyb from Texas

Amarillo, TX

#3 Jun 26, 2012
Hi Trish,
Thank you so much for replying to my thread about Buffy and Canine Dysautonomia. Cooper is the second survival story I have read who survived this disease. I am so thankful for you that you still have Cooper. From your information he was diagnosed pretty early. My vet did not give me a diagnosis and we were into the 7-8 week with Buffy continuing to have worse symptoms. The meds Cooper is on was tried by the 10th week but she was suffering and nothing was helping.
Buffy was never allowed to roam so she had to have gotten it from something in our soil in our backyard, or something brought in. Does Cooper have access to pastureland, ponds, or did he come in contact with this type of environment in Missouri? Is Cooper a young dog? I am sorry for all the questions but I have read so many articles even going to studies done to horses in the UK, the very first case was to a horse in Scotland in the early 1900's. They called it equine grass sickness.
I had contacted Dr. Schumaker at the Wyoming Vet Lab and he kind of questioned whether Buffy had CD as we are so far south. Granted, my vet did not know what was wrong with Buffy as apparently she had not seen it before but after finding Dr. O'Brien's article, I faxed it to her, she performed the eye drop test and the other symptoms correlated with the diagnosis of CD. I have no doubt that's what Buffy had. I am in the process of getting sterile soil samples of areas of my backyard to send to Dr. Schumaker for testing. I have this idea that a strange bird, the yellow-headed blackbird may have been exposed to the toxin C. Botulinum in the horse pasture just east of our house, left droppings while drinking water, eating bird seed in my backyard, and then when my husband aerated our backyard in early spring, it disturbed the soil and somehow that's how Buffy got the toxin which caused this disease. I studied the migration of these particular birds as I had never seen them before and they weren't around but a little while in very early spring, mid-February-to first part of March of this year. They are known to carry ecoli so why couldn't they carry this too? Anyway, they winter in northwest Mexico, migrate from there northeast through AZ, NM, Texas panhandle, northwestern OK, into Kansas, western part of MO, UT, on up into Canada where they reproduce and have nesting areas. They like nesting near ponds, lakes, and are for the most part seed eaters. I may be way off but my County Extension agent said I may also want to send soil samples to a lab in OK who are well known and reputable.
Dr. O'Brien feels there may be some correlation to the dog's auto immune system being weak in order to contract CD.
I thank you again for your information and my prayers are with you as you and Cooper battle this ongoing disease, what a marvelous dog he must be. Gordon Setters are so beautiful. I tried your email you gave but it states does not exist?? anyway, hope to hear from you soon Trish,
Sandyb
Trish Fenwick

North Bay, Canada

#4 Jun 30, 2012
Hi Sandy, it's strange, I posted a huge long reply yesterday but I don't see it here now so if this is a duplicate, my apologies. When you typed my email address did you notice it is two "r"s in the middle duc_grrl@hotmail.com? Should work i've had this address for years.

Yes I was very fortunate in many regards to have Cooper diagnosed so early. He was very very ill by day 11 so I can't imagine what it must have been like for you and Buffy.

Cooper was about 4 yrs old at the time, he is a rescue dog so not totally sure about age but he is well over the 24 months that the studies seem to imply. He is also a heartworm survivor, I don't know if that compromises his immune system at all, but certainly my vets mentioned the same connection. Although I think ALL the vets are getting the information from Dr. O'Brien's study so it makes sense they would be saying the same thing.

I can't see why you would be too far south. The UMO study was almost 10 yrs ago now and at that time they said it was reaching endemic proportions in KS and MO. Perhaps the fellow in WY doesn't realize how far north the panhandle is? If we don't know what causes it, then we certainly don't know how fast it spreads.

As to the details regarding Cooper's exposure. I BELIEVE he was exposed in St. Joseph MO (just north of Kansas City) but my belief is also based on Dr. O'Brien's work. I am a long-haul truck driver and Cooper is my constant companion. That spring, I did a number of back to back trips from Toronto ON to Edmonton AB to Kansas City MO and back to Toronto. This route involves crossing 4 provinces and 7 states. I walk Cooper approx 4 hrs a day while on the road and try to make as many walks off-leash as possible. In Canada that usually means wooded areas (Crown land) and in the northern states, the Dakotas and Nebraska, I have had good luck finding WMA's which are also either wooded or grasslands. By the time I get into the more populated areas of the south, I'm usually restricted to on-leash walks at rest areas or customer sites (if suitable). He doesn't have access to farmland although some of these locations border on farmland. Cooper digs up and sometimes eats voles and mice and he can catch and sometimes eats birds. In general he is not interested in already-dead wildlife. He has no access to farm animals. He frequently drinks standing water despite my discouragement and even if there is a wonderful supply of nice fresh water just a few yards away. Nevertheless, due to his life as a truck dog, he certainly doesn't fit the bill outlined in Dr. O'Brien's work as an outdoor or rural dog.

What made you suspect CD if your vet had not seen it before? As I mentioned I was VERY FORTUNATE to live only 20 minutes from a specialist hospital (only 3 in all of Canada!) and the Neurologist was the first to suggest CD and the Opthamologist did the tests to confirm. The Neuro had seen two other cases although I have no information on whether those dogs had travelled at all. I was also VERY FORTUNATE in that my profession allows me to just drop everything and take three weeks off work to attend to my sick dog. Most people have lives outside their dog but not me (kind of pathetic LOL).

Well I hope this reply makes it to the forum and that I haven't bored you with two of them.

Trish & Cooper
Sarah

White City, KS

#5 Aug 6, 2012
Hi Trish,
I wanted to know if you could tell me more about your story with your dog at least what you can remember like his first symptoms and how long it took for each to get better? How long it took for him to start gaining some weight back? Sorry, I have so many questions for you! My 5 month old Weimaraner was diagnosed a little over a week ago with CD but first symptom started 28 days go. The vet said they have high hopes for him but of course it's unknown if he will make it. Everyday his a challenge but my husband and I agreed to work together to take care of his needs. So I would love to hear more details to your story if you could please! Thanks! I will also try and send you a copy of this your email, hope that's ok.
Sandyb

Amarillo, TX

#6 Aug 8, 2012
Sarah wrote:
Hi Trish,
I wanted to know if you could tell me more about your story with your dog at least what you can remember like his first symptoms and how long it took for each to get better? How long it took for him to start gaining some weight back? Sorry, I have so many questions for you! My 5 month old Weimaraner was diagnosed a little over a week ago with CD but first symptom started 28 days go. The vet said they have high hopes for him but of course it's unknown if he will make it. Everyday his a challenge but my husband and I agreed to work together to take care of his needs. So I would love to hear more details to your story if you could please! Thanks! I will also try and send you a copy of this your email, hope that's ok.
Dear Sarah,

I read your thread and just wantted to let you know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your Weimaraner puppy. We know what you are going through and our hearts are heavy knowing what you and your puppy are facing. Trish's Gordon Setter is a success story and I pray yours will be too!!!!!

Sandyb from Texas
Sarah

Euless, TX

#7 Aug 9, 2012
Sandy,
Thank you for your prayers! I'm sorry to hear about your dog also. CD is a terrible disease. When we found out, I researched it and read EVERY article there was on the Internet about it and trish's story is the only one I found with a positive ending. My husband and I have had other dogs in the past and I'm going to be honest I'm really not a dog person I always grew with cats so all of our dogs have technically been my husbands but this puppy (max) is MY first one and OH MY I have grown so attached to him!:) we have another Weim who is 4. Max has had really improved this week.... Started eating more and eating hard food again, he actually ran after a grasshopper last night wore him extremely out of course and he starting to get some control over peeing. I just keep telling myself take one day at a time!:)
Sandyb from Texas

Amarillo, TX

#8 Aug 9, 2012
Sarah wrote:
Sandy,
Thank you for your prayers! I'm sorry to hear about your dog also. CD is a terrible disease. When we found out, I researched it and read EVERY article there was on the Internet about it and trish's story is the only one I found with a positive ending. My husband and I have had other dogs in the past and I'm going to be honest I'm really not a dog person I always grew with cats so all of our dogs have technically been my husbands but this puppy (max) is MY first one and OH MY I have grown so attached to him!:) we have another Weim who is 4. Max has had really improved this week.... Started eating more and eating hard food again, he actually ran after a grasshopper last night wore him extremely out of course and he starting to get some control over peeing. I just keep telling myself take one day at a time!:)
Oh Sarah, such wonderful news about Max!!!!! These puppies can really get into your heart, huh!! My husband is a cat lover but I have had dogs all my life and, well, he has been won over!! We will continue to pray for Max's recovery and strength for you all as you take "one day at a time".

Sandyb
Trish from Canada

North Bay, Canada

#9 Aug 12, 2012
Hi Sarah! I sent you an email answering your questions, hope you recieved it. Let me know if you didn't, I also sent you my phone number and I'd be happy to talk to you further about Max. I'm glad to hear he is holding his own. I found that when Cooper first began treatment, he did not actually get alot better at first, he just stopped getting worse. It's a slow process but it sounds like Max is out of the woods and hopefully will have developed immunity to further exposure to the disease. Anyhow, if you don't get my email drop another note into the forum here, thanks. Trish & Cooper
Jamie

United States

#10 Oct 4, 2012
I wanted to pop in and comment as I am currently researching, yet again, this horrid condition. We live in TN and lost our first PW 4 month old Corgi to CD Easter weekend of this year.

We recently purchased three new PW Corgi puppies. They are all sisters, about 10 weeks old. Yesterday we lost one of the girls. Soon we will lose a second. It looks as though the third is healthy for now though this time, the CD occurred very, very rapidly. We are assuming because of age.

We do live on a farm, but because of our prior experience, these girls have YET to touch grass. I purposely have been keeping them in so that if there was an immune system issue maybe they might be stronger.

This is the first I've seen on the botulinum toxin being linked to CD. I have been wondering if something was present in our dog food particularlu since we found out it was manufactured in Missouri. We are considering getting it tested. Also, We sent our first puppy's samples to Missouri so that further research could be done. This is an awful disease & experience. We've had well over twenty dogs of varying breeds on this property in over twenty years of my family's living here. We've never experienced anything like this before. In fact, when mentioning it to some vet friends, I've gotten strange looks and responses of "that only happens in..." Yesterday one vet even admitted he felt it was under diagnosed because it can look like other things and with the often rapid decline we assume the dog died of pneumonia or the like.

Thank you for helping to get information out to others. We need to be aware of this issue and I would do anything to stop it. It has caused major heartbreak in my three young babies. We are praying the third stays healthy and once again calling Missouri again today for any further help. At this stage and with our experience, we are hoping for a case study that will eventually help others!

So sorry for the rest of your experiences. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. However, a great vet makes all the difference!
Sandyb from Texas

Amarillo, TX

#11 Oct 4, 2012
Jamie wrote:
I wanted to pop in and comment as I am currently researching, yet again, this horrid condition. We live in TN and lost our first PW 4 month old Corgi to CD Easter weekend of this year.
We recently purchased three new PW Corgi puppies. They are all sisters, about 10 weeks old. Yesterday we lost one of the girls. Soon we will lose a second. It looks as though the third is healthy for now though this time, the CD occurred very, very rapidly. We are assuming because of age.
We do live on a farm, but because of our prior experience, these girls have YET to touch grass. I purposely have been keeping them in so that if there was an immune system issue maybe they might be stronger.
This is the first I've seen on the botulinum toxin being linked to CD. I have been wondering if something was present in our dog food particularlu since we found out it was manufactured in Missouri. We are considering getting it tested. Also, We sent our first puppy's samples to Missouri so that further research could be done. This is an awful disease & experience. We've had well over twenty dogs of varying breeds on this property in over twenty years of my family's living here. We've never experienced anything like this before. In fact, when mentioning it to some vet friends, I've gotten strange looks and responses of "that only happens in..." Yesterday one vet even admitted he felt it was under diagnosed because it can look like other things and with the often rapid decline we assume the dog died of pneumonia or the like.
Thank you for helping to get information out to others. We need to be aware of this issue and I would do anything to stop it. It has caused major heartbreak in my three young babies. We are praying the third stays healthy and once again calling Missouri again today for any further help. At this stage and with our experience, we are hoping for a case study that will eventually help others!
So sorry for the rest of your experiences. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. However, a great vet makes all the difference!
Dear Jamie,

Just wanted to reply to your post about your Corgis contracting CD. I am so sorry you have gone through and are now going through this with your furbabies. Corgis have a very special place in my heart, having owned four now. I hope and pray your third little girl Corgi is still symptom free. It is the most horrid disease I have ever seen that can strike so mercilessly our beloved pets. I hope you find out something on the dog food question. I had never thought of that. Since no cause has been definitively determined, this route of research into food manufactured in Missouri could prove to be very beneficial into a cause and hopefully a vaccine. There are over fifty posts on the Jackson, MO topix forum that I think you will find very informative. Our prayers are with you and your little Corgi girl. Here is the url to the site in Jackson,

http://www.topix.com/forum/city/jackson-mo/TV...
Dr Summers

Atchison, KS

#12 Nov 4, 2012
I have recently diagnosed three dogs with CD. I had yet to hear of multiple dogs from the same household getting the disease until I diagnosed three that were on the same property. We are in northeast Kansas and I would definitely like to help in any way to get this disease figured out. Two of the three dogs are still alive and seem to be doing well for now. It's nice to be able to read about other cases since there's not a lot of information out there on the disease. I'm glad to hear that there are cases that do survive and get better. dr.melaniesummers@hotmail.com
Maria in Millersville

United States

#13 Dec 22, 2012
Sandyb from Texas wrote:
<quoted text>
Dear Jamie,
Just wanted to reply to your post about your Corgis contracting CD. I am so sorry you have gone through and are now going through this with your furbabies. Corgis have a very special place in my heart, having owned four now. I hope and pray your third little girl Corgi is still symptom free. It is the most horrid disease I have ever seen that can strike so mercilessly our beloved pets. I hope you
find out something on the dog food question. I had never thought of that. Since no cause has been definitively determined, this route of research into food manufactured in Missouri could prove to be very beneficial into a cause and hopefully a vaccine. There are over fifty posts on the Jackson, MO topix forum that I think you will find very informative. Our prayers are with you and your little Corgi girl. Here is the url to the site in Jackson,
http://www.topix.com/forum/city/jackson-mo/TV...
I live close to Jackson and just list a 6 month old puppy to this. It's horrible.
maggie

United States

#14 May 19, 2013
Yesterday, I lost my 10 mo old mini aussie sadie to this horrid disease. I live in a rural part of Wyoming and have much pasture land. She was absolutely fine and 7 dsys later gone. Terrible disease. I have two grown dogs that show no signs at all.
Trish from Canada

North Bay, Canada

#15 May 20, 2013
Oh Maggie, I am so sorry for your loss. I know just how awful those 7 days were!

If you haven't already you should fill out the UWYO study on CD maybe it will help them find a cure for this horrible disease. http://www.uwyo.edu/wyovet/disease-updates/in...
maggie

United States

#16 May 20, 2013
Thank you Trish for thosr kind words. I will go to the website tonight. I spoke with local vet here and she stated they now believe it to be pedticide exposure. Is this true?
Beth

Columbia, MO

#17 Jun 6, 2013
Hi guys, We lost our 5 year old German Shepherd to this disease several years ago. Low and behold Dr. O'Brien lives about 1 mile down the road from us. We live in a horse/pasture area in the center of MO and now have a boxer showing some of the signs. I'm SO concerned. Dysautonomia ravaged our shepherd, broke our hearts. Please wish us luck.
Brad

Forsyth, MO

#18 Sep 27, 2013
I live near Springfield, MO and lost a dog breed called Drahthaar, he got it at 9 months of age, This happened 4 years ago. Other dogs that run lose never got it. We do live out in the country
Sandyb from TX

Amarillo, TX

#20 Sep 29, 2013
Brad wrote:
I live near Springfield, MO and lost a dog breed called Drahthaar, he got it at 9 months of age, This happened 4 years ago. Other dogs that run lose never got it. We do live out in the country
Dear Brad,

I am so sorry to hear about your pet getting this horrid disease. I had not heard of the breed and looked it up. A Beautiful breed. Being in the sporting group, I guess he had pasture land and rural settings that the researchers say the disease is mostly seen. I read these posts and go back over and over things my husband and I did differently that early spring when Buffy, our Corgi contracted it. We did purchase top soil from a local lumbar yard and filled in some low places in the backyard. The disease is thought to be from the c botulinum strain, a soil borne bacteria. I even called the manufacturer to see if any of the top soil (we had bags left over) were from Missouri and they were not. Thank you for posting and hopefully some day soon a cure will be found.
MarBaer from Kansas

Abilene, KS

#21 Oct 31, 2013
I, too have a puppy diagnosed with CD. Gracie is a Standard Poodle. She was born 12-12-12 and was diagnosed on April Fool's day. We had noticed that she was having quite a bit of mucus from her nose, frequent squatting to urinate and listlessness. We immediately called our vet, who had us immediately bring her in. She diagnosed her with CD, which she had seen before in her internship practice. Gave us the details she knew about the disease and told us to expect the worst.(she said usually 1-3 weeks, from what she had seen previously in her practice.) She put Gracie on antibiotics,(not to help with the disease but so that Gracie would not have any other issues to deal with and her little body could concentrate on the CD), eye drops and pills to help with the urination. I have all the names of the above at home, but currently at work. That was 7 months ago and our Gracie is still with her. She is still on eye drops, eye gel, urinate pills, her coat has changed colors and she has developed grey hair.(heavily in some areas.) When I asked the vet if this was part of the disease, she said "Honestly, I don't know. I have never seen a dog pull through." From everything I read on the internet, if she does make it...she will continue to be on medication. We have been through the emotional ups and downs of this disease, the financial end of this disease and we still have more to come. Gracie is not through the disease, our vet tells us if she makes the year, we can celebrate.
We are farmers, yet Gracie was a puppy when we brought her home and she was not allowed to roam freely.
Pray please for our Gracie...we want her to be the "miracle dog" of our community.(for selfish reasons...I am attached!) Thank you,
Mary

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