I'm new to the forum and what brings me here is a health issue my basenji Jambi has been experiencing. I'm hoping to get some advice from someone who's dealt with this because my vet can't seem to figure out how to improve his condition.
In September of 14' he started having pain in where I thought was his throat. He would start yelping when eating his dry food or a hard treat. I started softening his food and stopped giving him hard treats. I thought he had cold/sore throat, but after his condition not improving for a couple weeks we took him to the vet. We also noticed that his skull/cheek bones were looking more prominent as well.
After his first exam the vet was able to determine that the source of the pain wasn't his throat. But rather he was experience muscle wasting in his skull, explaining the bone prominence, and so the muscles controlling his jaw [when eating] is causing the pain. She prescribed prednisone (a steroid) and took blood for extensive testing.
The test results indicated very low thyroid levels and he has been on soloxine, for hypothyroidism, ever since. The vet said the muscle wasting was related to the low thyroid levels and that the medication should help the situation. His thyroid levels went up to acceptable levels and the vet lowered his strength of prednisone. But his pain increased with the lower dosage and she raised it back up. Currently he's on 0.4 mg of soloxine twice a day and 20mg of prednisone once a day.
The pain is under control for the most part. But since this all started he's progressively had trouble breathing as well. Particularly through his nose. He sounds very congested and often clears his throat, sometimes the breathing is so heavy it sounds like he's going to stop breathing. Initially the vet thought that an antihistamine was the way to go, but after more blood testing they found he had very high levels of a type of blood cell that indicates his body is fighting off something. So fast forward to the present day and he recently finished 3 separate rounds of an antibiotic with no improvement.
He also had X-rays to check for obstructions/cancer. The X-rays were sent to a specialist for review and they found nothing abnormal in them. His blood test results were also sent to a pathologist and they determined the excessive blood cells were not cancerous.
Now the vet has no other suggestion than that he possibly see a specialist for an ultrasound to look for the source of the inflammation that she believes is causing the breathing problem. He just had his most recent blood test on Monday, so once the results are back we can further discuss our options with her. Other than the breathing issue and the pain that's been controllable he's eating normally, I still soften his food a bit, and he has no other symptoms other than that he's become less playful since the onset of this health issue. He's a recuse and I believe he's around 12 years old now, after averaging several estimates from different vets over the years - I've had him for about 10 years.
I realize he's in his old age and health issues are inevitable, but I just wish there was something I could do to improve his breathing. So, as I said, I'm hoping someone here can offer some advice based on there own similar experience with this troublesome health issue.
Thanks so much,