Sad story - can you help?

Just had a very emotional conversation with Mrs Pritchard who approached Tailwaggers Club Trust for some help.
Having heard the full story I thought I'd open this one up as many brains may help untangle this one...
Mrs Pritchard's husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and they had not long lost their beloved dog. He didn't want her to be left alone after he had passed so set about finding a new dog. They visited rescue sanctuaries but her husband couldn't find, "the one".
It was when they met a Sheltie that they realised this was the dog for them. They visited a breeder and Jack was found. A beautiful tricolour dog.
There was a lot of sadness in Mrs Pritchard's life. Not long after her husband died her ex husband was found to be terminally ill too. She nursed him and took in his dog, an elderly Corgi. Then Mrs Pritchard herself fell ill with Ovarian cancer.
Jack went in to be castrated, but shortly after coming home he couldn't stand up, he was falling over. His back legs didn't seem to work.
Lots and lots of tests were done at the vets but nothing could be found to explain his back leg weakness.
Jack appeared to get better, although he always did have a jippy tum. Mrs Pritchard put him onto James Wellbeloved and things seemed to calm down.
Then two weeks after his booster vaccine, Jack had some fits and was foaming at the mouth. He was hospitalised and more tests were done and the vet seemed to think the earlier problems were related and it could possibly be IBS.
Mrs Pritchard is a pensioner, a widow. The vet bills are massive and the problem as yet unresolved.
She has already cashed in an ISA and is now looking at extracting some equity from her house to pay the vet bills.
Jack is currently out of hospital and urinating every hour - which means she is getting up all night to let him out.
Jack means the world to her and she is worried sick about him. He is currently on prednisolone, zitac and netoclopranide. He has lost a lot of weight and his coat looks dull and seems to be changing colour.
She feels her vet couldn't try any harder, he wants Jack back in for more tests. He wants to look at possible Thyroid problems next.
Her total vet bills to date are close to £4k and rising.
I have suggested she might wish to consider a referral to a holistic vet - just to see what the alternative world can suggest in this case. Looking at perhaps changing the diet as if this is an extreme form of IBS then maybe a more simple diet may help. And also to try to reduce any further challenges to this poor dog's immune system by looking at blood testing before further routine revaccination.
It could just be coincidence that both health crisis have been after surgery and vaccination - but could this be an autoimmune condition that is flaring up after any challenge?
Money is very tight and after all the money spent to date Jack remains very poorly and without a clear diagnosis.
Mrs Pritchard says she is open to any logical suggestions and feels very worried for her beloved dog.
She lives in Cornwall between Plymouth and Tavistock.
Can anyone recommend a nearby holistic vet?
Mrs Pritchard said it had been lovely to talk to Tailwaggers as it has been so hard going through all this with Jack alone, but that she will go to any lengths to save Jack. She has every confidence in her vet, but would not like to leave any stone unturned.
I will set up a JustGiving appeal on the Tailwaggers blog for Jack as no matter what Mrs Pritchard who receives pensions credit is struggling with the bills she already has.
Anyone got any ideas? Anyone in Shelties seen or heard of something similar? Mrs Pritchard says that the stud dog owner has had some colitis problems in her dogs. Mum is apparently of Russian descent, but the breeder has moved so Mrs P can't contact her. The pups were reared on raw mince so it seems likely the breeder was a raw food feeder.
Here's a link to Jack's JustGiving page.
Beverley Cuddy, Editor and Chairman of Tailwaggers Club Trust

The excessive urination is probably being caused by the prednisolone - this
is a common and well recognised side effect of steroids.  It may be possible
to continue with the prednisolone but at a much reduced dose.
As your correspondent Queenie says, there may be a Burns food which is
suitable for Jack.  All our adult foods are very digestible and low in fat.
They will not cause irritation to the digestive system.  The feeding amount
should be less than the recommended amount and should cost no more than
40-45 p per day and possibly less.  Mrs Pritchard should not attempt to
manage this on her own; she needs to work in consultation with the Burns
Nutrition team.
When we decide what food to go with we would be willing to supply her with a
free bag to try.
Burns Pet Nutrition


Queenie said…
I feel so sorry for Mrs Pritchard and Jack, it sounds as though internal damage was done during the castration, and this should be investigated. My own dog has IBD and is now on Burns food. My other dog had a bad reaction to two annual boosters and will have no more vaccinations.
Could Mrs Pritchard contact the PDSA or the Blue Cross who may be able to help with treatment? If I can manage a donation, I will certainly help. I commend Mrs Pritchard for not giving up on Jack, God bless her.
Queenie said…
I would suggest that KJack has no more vaccinations, as they seem to bring a wealth of problems. My own dog has IBD and is now on Burns food, previously on James Wellbeloved. My second dog suffered a bad reaction after two annual booster vax, so he will have no more. I would also suggest that Mrs Pritchard contact the PDSA or the Blue Cross to see if they can help with treatment. I sincerely hope that Jack will recover, but it sounds as though internal damage was done during the castration, and that needs looking into.
bugs said…
Such a very sad story. I can't really offer advice, but hope this lovely lady gets some help to do the absolute best for her boy.
Anonymous said…
It clearly states on all vaccines that only a healthy being should be vaccinated. But do vets/doctors ever read instructions. This dog should never receive a booster.
Sprollie said…
I'm no medical expert, but given Jack's breed and the occasions when he's had these problems, has the vet considered it being an MDR1 (multi drug resistance) problem? Unfortunately, establishing if it is will involve more costs but if it is, even something as routine as some flea treatments could prove life threatening, so it would be best to know.
Mrs Pritchard sounds like an amazing woman and I hope she receives the help she deserves and that Jack makes a full recovery.
HandH said…
For hereditary problems in Shelties, see:

In particular, the section on the MDR1 gene - certain types of anaesthesia and antibiotics may trigger a reaction in susceptible Shelties. It now sounds as if Jack is being treated for auto-immune disease, and there is a Yahoo group called CIMDA who have a store of good advice on this subject, if Mrs Pritchard has internet access?
John Burns said…
I suspect that teh excessive urination may be down to the prednisolone which Jack is receiving. This is a common and well-known side effect of steroids. It may be possible to continue with them on a much reduced dose.
As your corresspondent Queenie suggests, it is possible that a Burns food may be helpful. All adult varieties are very digestible and low in fat and should not inflame the digestive system. The feeding amount should be kept lower than teh daily recommended amount of 10 grammes oper kilo. It shouldn't cost any more than 40 - 45p a day to feed him and possibly less. It is very important to consult with the Burns Nutrition team; it is sufficient for Mrs Pritchard to try to deal with teh feeding side on her own.
Anonymous said…
You can't run a government solely on a business basis... Government should be human. It should have a heart.

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