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Æthelthryth the Texan

Knowledgable Dog People- Update in post #1

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My vet is out of town, and I have an appointment for when she returns, as I don't want to see the sub vet, but thought I would ask here for thoughts in the meantime. 

One of my dogs is a mixed breed. She's 9 years old- weighs about 70 lbs, so I guess a largish/medium breed. She looks like a pit bull grey hound mix if you can picture that. Twice now in that last two weeks she has not recognized us. The first time, my dd was walking across the room and the dog saw her and ran at her barking aggressively as she would an intruder. When she was about 2 ft from dd she recognized her and slammed on the brakes and was very "embarrassed"- you know with the tucking of tail, coming up to dd and cowering and you could see she just seemed distressed for not having realized it was dd. Okay, didn't think a ton of it- maybe the light was in her face or something. But today, just a bit ago I had let the dogs out and went to call them in. She came around the corner and saw me and  backed off and raised her ears and got stiff- reacted like I was a stranger- she didn't recognize me at all and I was calling her, so even if she didn't recognize me because of vision problems, she still heard my voice. After a minute or so she realized it was me relaxed, and came in fine, but again acted embarrassed sort of and wary. 

Some health history-- We got her as a puppy from the SPCA, before she lost her puppy teeth. She came down with a virus within days of us getting her- they suspected Distemper at the time. She never had any seizures, but I can't tell you how many trips to the ER we had. Her adult teeth grew in without any enamel, so even if it wasn't Distemper the vets have all said it was clearly a severe virus. Besides that, she's been healthy as a horse until recently. She had a vomiting and diarrhea thing about two months ago where they hospitalized her for three days. But every test came back negative. The radiology was clear. Blood-work was clear. She stabilized on the meds (antibiotic, anti protozoa, antidiarrheal, and something like Zantac). The radiologist suggested to the Vet she test for Addison's, so we did. It came back negative. She was fine for several weeks, then started with the vomiting again. We put her back on the Rx food (which yes I know the ingredients are crap from the looks of it, but it did stop the vomiting and no issues that way since.) and that has solved the tummy troubles for now. 

We live in the country. No one else has access to our dogs, so it's not like a neighbor or something has had a chance to be mean to her. She hasn't had any injuries or anything I'm aware. 99% of the time she's normal- eating, sleeping, and playing like always. 

Her eyes seem fine- at least I don't see any obvious cataracts. I know y'all can't diagnose her online, but I was just curious if anyone had any thought here on what it could be. Our appointment is next Monday, but I'm not sure if she'll be able to tell anything. We spent a couple of thousand on her with the stomach thing so I don't have a ton to throw at testing now. 

Can dogs get dementia? 

Update 10/30- 

Talked to the vet yesterday at Daisy "The Snake" Doberman's snake bite recheck appointment, about Dog #1's symptoms and possible reaction to Bravecto. Ver asked me to send her all of the data I had along with the dates and is going to start the ball rolling to submit it to Merck for further investigation. She said they are usually very willing to pay for additional testing and what not when things like this arise around one of their animal products, so that was great news. 

Thanks for helping me dig up all of the info! It may not amount to anything but a coincidence but  it's nice to not be blown off or immediately discounted. 

Also, Daisy is doing really well, and you can't even tell she's been bitten at this point apart from the fang marks, which should supposedly heal up around the one week mark.....all in all the snake bite was far less involved than the brown recluse bite with our male dog. I guess be grateful for the little things, right? ?

Edited by texasmom33

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Yes, dogs can develop dementia. Our small terrier was 13 when his memory and recognition went. He stayed super docile, though. I'd be concerned that this dog may cause some damage to a family member as it's displaying aggression. 

Edited by wintermom
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Yes, I think they can get dementia and brain tumors. But it could be far more simple like a combination of diminishing eye sight and ear wax. Or a lot of other possibilities, I think. I hope you will learn that it is something simple and inexpensive to fix when you get her to vet. 

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6 minutes ago, wintermom said:

What about cataracs? Old dogs can develop the foggy lens just like humans. You mentioned that the dog eventually recognized your dd at closer range. Seems like it could be an eyesight issue. 

That's what I thought at first, but today I was talking to her, calling her and she had no idea who I was. It's like she blanked or something. She just seems young to me to start having issues. ?  but I guess 9 isn't that young for a medium dog. 

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Does she seem otherwise to have cognitive problems like forgetting where her dish is?  If no other sign that seems cognitive it may be hearing. 

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We had a doberman/lab who developed dementia when he was around that age. He would have episodes where he acted very frightened - he would cower and look all around like he didn't know where he was, and no amount of comfort from us would calm him down. A few minutes later, he would be totally back to normal.

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37 minutes ago, Pen said:

Does she seem otherwise to have cognitive problems like forgetting where her dish is?  If no other sign that seems cognitive it may be hearing. 

I looked up dementia and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction just now and she doesn't have any of the other symptoms that we've noticed. And she's honestly my most vigilant dog, even though she's the oldest. She can hear a crumb hit the floor from two rooms away and always is the first to hear the UPS truck or anything else rumble into the neighborhood. I never say never, but I'd be extremely surprised if it's her hearing. She's super guard dog still. 

She has had some really weird physical stuff though in the last six months. She's been panting a lot more and her belly seemed bloated- this was before the hospitalization- so the vet did tests back then- bloodworm as well as an ultrasound and all came back clean except she has a heart murmur, but nothing severe. 

I guess maybe she's just getting old. ?  Most of our previous dogs have lived to be 15-17 so I wasn't expecting things like this yet. The only exception was our pit bull that developed degenerative myopathy when she was 8 and had to be put to sleep, but apart from her we've been very blessed in the long lived large dog department. 

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I think she's probably young to have dementia/CCD, although I'm sure it does happen to not-really-elderly dogs sometimes. I hate to say it, but I'd tend to be thinking more along the lines of brain tumor. Hypothyroidism is common and can sometimes manifest as aggression. I'd think you'd be seeing some other signs/symptoms of that, but according to this WDJ article it's not uncommon for behavioral symptoms to be the first to show. And I don't think it's impossible that some of the other things you're seeing could be related to hypothyroidism. Do you know if she was tested for that?

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7 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

I think she's probably young to have dementia/CCD, although I'm sure it does happen to not-really-elderly dogs sometimes. I hate to say it, but I'd tend to be thinking more along the lines of brain tumor. Hypothyroidism is common and can sometimes manifest as aggression. I'd think you'd be seeing some other signs/symptoms of that, but according to this WDJ article it's not uncommon for behavioral symptoms to be the first to show. And I don't think it's impossible that some of the other things you're seeing could be related to hypothyroidism. Do you know if she was tested for that?

I know she tests it on the yearly blood-work panels for all of our dogs because one of my other dogs has borderline hypothyroidism caught this year and for now she's okay holding off on treatment because he's right on the cusp- and also because he was about to undergo surgery for what looked like a cancerous growth, (but turned out to be a necrotic lipoma) so she didn't want to throw anything else into the mix then. She was going to retest him at our 6 month check up. But I don't know if it's been run on any of the other panels the dog in question has had in the last 3 months - I don't have a print out of any of the results, we just always went over them on the phone.  I will make sure to ask at the appointment. 

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19 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

I think she's probably young to have dementia/CCD, although I'm sure it does happen to not-really-elderly dogs sometimes. I hate to say it, but I'd tend to be thinking more along the lines of brain tumor. Hypothyroidism is common and can sometimes manifest as aggression. I'd think you'd be seeing some other signs/symptoms of that, but according to this WDJ article it's not uncommon for behavioral symptoms to be the first to show. And I don't think it's impossible that some of the other things you're seeing could be related to hypothyroidism. Do you know if she was tested for that?

Also, thank you for the article. I had forgotten that she has had a few recent incidents (within 3 months) where she's gone after out cats, which is out of character for her. I blew it off because one of the cats is kind of ornery anyway and probably had it coming, and the other tries to share her food. It might not be related at all, but I'm going to mention it to the vet after reading that article. 

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Because she did neither seem to recognize your voice nor recognize you by sight, it seems something brain related. Or could hearing and sight be going at the same time but then there is scent.

Always heart breaking when something goes wrong with our pets. I suppose an ultrasound or similar could give some clarification if it's a tumor. 

A fMRI may show dementia like developments but that may be a little steep.

Edited by Liz CA
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6 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

Because she did neither seem to recognize your voice nor recognize you by sight, it seems something brain related. Or could hearing and sight be going at the same time but then there is scent.

Always heart breaking when something goes wrong with our pets. I suppose an ultrasound or similar could give some clarification if it's a tumor. 

A fMRI may show dementia like developments but that may be a little steep.

That's what I'm worried about. We've shelled out a lot on animals this year, and dh is a tolerant dh, but he doesn't view animals in the same way I do. Not to mention all of the job stuff is looming over his head, so where maybe last year a few grand for a diagnostic on a dog wasn't a big deal, this fall it is. ? I know our vet would work with us as I think we've paid her mortgage this whole year, but she's going to have to refer us out for something like that and there won't be any working with us on $$ at that point. 

Oh well. I will try not to borrow trouble. Maybe it will be something as simple as thyroid. That would be a blessing. 

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59 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

That's what I'm worried about. We've shelled out a lot on animals this year, and dh is a tolerant dh, but he doesn't view animals in the same way I do. Not to mention all of the job stuff is looming over his head, so where maybe last year a few grand for a diagnostic on a dog wasn't a big deal, this fall it is. ? I know our vet would work with us as I think we've paid her mortgage this whole year, but she's going to have to refer us out for something like that and there won't be any working with us on $$ at that point. 

Oh well. I will try not to borrow trouble. Maybe it will be something as simple as thyroid. That would be a blessing. 

 

I'd start with thyroid testing as well. I only know too well how this feels. We have spent thousands on the last two dogs we had during their last months of life and lost them anyway. I hope you come back with an update that it's a minor little hypothyroidism... and how she is getting her little pill every morning now.  ?

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5 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

I think she's probably young to have dementia/CCD, although I'm sure it does happen to not-really-elderly dogs sometimes. I hate to say it, but I'd tend to be thinking more along the lines of brain tumor. 

 

I'm so sorry you're doggie isn't well.This is the first thing I thought of when I read your post.  We lost our wonderful Golden Lab to a brain tumor last month. We had no idea it was coming, except that she was acting a little off. She was 10 1/2. 

I hope you get it figured out and it turns out to be something simple.

 

 

 

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It does seem young for dementia, but not impossible. Eyesight issues would be my first thought. Even though they do rely on smell and voice first, not recognizing you by sight can be enough to confuse them. Think of how some dogs will bark if the owner comes in wearing a hat/sunglasses/etc. 

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I would be concerned about a brain tumor or mass as well.  You mentioned excessive panting and a bloated abdomen.  Is she drinking a lot as well?   That could potentially fit with Cushing's Syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) -- it comes in different forms, but one form is due to a pituitary gland tumor which sometimes is large enough to cause brain tumor symptoms.  Unfortunately, diagnosis in a case like this can be challenging and pricey.

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4 hours ago, Kebo said:

I would be concerned about a brain tumor or mass as well.  You mentioned excessive panting and a bloated abdomen.  Is she drinking a lot as well?   That could potentially fit with Cushing's Syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) -- it comes in different forms, but one form is due to a pituitary gland tumor which sometimes is large enough to cause brain tumor symptoms.  Unfortunately, diagnosis in a case like this can be challenging and pricey.

I'm honestly not sure how much she's drinking. We have three dogs and they all drink from one of those 5 gallon bowls and then she and one of our other dogs supplement from toilets as well, so it's hard to tell. I'm not noticing anything that stands out. She's a huge chow hound, but she has been since we got her as a puppy. I know about Cushing's in horses, but I wasn't aware with dogs. I will look into that too. Thanks for the info. 

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I'm no expert, but Cushing's and Addison's are, I think, kind of opposite sides of the same coin. If your vet thought to test for Addison's (as you said in your first post), I wonder if that same testing would also have pointed to or at least hinted at Cushing's if it was there? IDK. It's sure worth asking about.

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1 hour ago, Pawz4me said:

I'm no expert, but Cushing's and Addison's are, I think, kind of opposite sides of the same coin. If your vet thought to test for Addison's (as you said in your first post), I wonder if that same testing would also have pointed to or at least hinted at Cushing's if it was there? IDK. It's sure worth asking about.

True, if they did an ACTH Stimulation test -- definitely worth asking about!   

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7 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

I'm no expert, but Cushing's and Addison's are, I think, kind of opposite sides of the same coin. If your vet thought to test for Addison's (as you said in your first post), I wonder if that same testing would also have pointed to or at least hinted at Cushing's if it was there? IDK. It's sure worth asking about.

I don’t remember what the test was called- she gave me the results over the phone and I threw the invoice away since it didn’t have shot records- I guess I should’ve kept it! I will be sure to ask her Monday though.  

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@Pawz4me @Ktgrok @Kebo @Liz CA and anyone else who wants to chime in---

Do you happen to know if there are any veterinary research websites/journals who have looked into oral form Bravecto induced side-effects, or where I could look to find such things besides Google? I've been thinking about when all of this started, and we tried Bravecto for the first and only time in the summer and everything weird has transpired since then. She and one of my other dogs vomited quite a bit for a week after the Bravecto dose, so it wasn't something I ever wanted to try again but didn't think much about it until now. We had a big flea problem starting in the spring- our vet told us it was an area-wide thing and that they suspected fleas were also growing resistant to the old-lines. I normally use Frontline drops on all of the animals, but I was having to reply every 3 weeks (which really adds up with 3 dogs and 2 cats) so she suggested Bravecto and I went ahead and tried it for all three dogs and then topical for the cats.  

I Googled it today and there are a ton of website horror stories, but I'd like to look at less anecdotal information to see if there's anything more confirmed, or at least being studied. I've looked the prescribing information up from Merck, but it's not telling me much. I know how to look into this sort of this for Rx's with people, but I don't really in the veterinary realms. Are there any good websites, reporting agencies, etc. I should check with? I don't want to leap to conclusions but I'd like to look a little further into things as the timing is a little weird. I don't know which websites are really reputable when it comes to dog information- some seem legit, but some seem like conspiracy theorists. I'd love tips for reputable websites if you have any. 

I checked my planner calendar and I gave them all the Bravecto on July 7th. She and the other dog had vomiting starting about 12 hours after administration that continued sporadically for 2 days. I wrote it down so I'd know if I should call the vet. I was getting ready to call, but then everything seemed to resolve and be fine. But then 2 or 3 weeks later- I can't remember exactly she started having really loose stool and acting "off". I took her to the vet, they ran a million tests, everything negative, sent her home, upped her fiber and watched her in the yard (they eat wild rabbits a lot) and things seemed better for a week, but then the night of August 7 she started having a lot diarrhea and became lethargic. I took her in on the morning of 8th of August and she stayed there in the vet's office for three days and that's when she got all of the IVs and Addison's tests and what not. All of the weird not-recognizing people stuff has happened since then. 

Suggestions on where I can seek more info? 

Edited by texasmom33

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This is scary. We  have our dog on Bravecto as well and while she has not shown any side effects, some website mention reports of kidney failure and seizures. I have looked but have not found any decent articles on Bravecto other than hype on either side of the issue.

ETA: Found this one: https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-3305-7-87

Evidently, beagle pups didn't have any adverse side effects but as we know there are other reports out there. I am trying to remember an article by a holistic vet about a year ago. I'll link if I can find it..

This is it, I think: http://yourpetsneedthis.com/latest-greatest-flea-control-dogs/

Edited by Liz CA
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Off the top of my head I don't know of any good veterinary sites available to lay people that would have the type of info you're looking for. There is the Veterinary Information Network which vet support staff, vet techs, etc. can join but IIRC during the registration process you're asked for employer info. You could maybe fake that, but I'd feel uncomfortable doing it. Anything on Google Scholar?

I saw that FDA alert when it first came out, and my dog is on Nexgard. But he's been on it for well over a year and tolerates it well, so the warning didn't (and still doesn't) concern me personally. All the flea/tick medications carry some risks, and there are horror stories about all of them. I don't think the ones mentioned in that warning are any more likely to cause an individual dog a problem than any of the other available products. Ours had a horrible (horrible) neurological reaction to K9 Advantix, but I don't think it's a bad product. Just not the right one for him. But of course that sure doesn't mean that your dog's issues couldn't be related to Bravecto. But I don't think it would be statistically very likely that both of them would have reacted to it? IDK.

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10 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

This is it, I think: http://yourpetsneedthis.com/latest-greatest-flea-control-dogs/

Several updates with links at the very bottom of this article.

Thank you for this. I'm going to print the report and take it to my vet and see if she can perhaps request updated numbers.  

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I found this too: https://dogzine.nl/en/newsarticle/european-medicines-agency-asks-merck-do-further-investigations-adverse-reactions

Judging by the AE numbers in the link Liz posted, I think something's up. I doubt I'd ever be able to link anything definitively but I'm going to push her to report the AE's at a minimum. 

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13 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Off the top of my head I don't know of any good veterinary sites available to lay people that would have the type of info you're looking for. There is the Veterinary Information Network which vet support staff, vet techs, etc. can join but IIRC during the registration process you're asked for employer info. You could maybe fake that, but I'd feel uncomfortable doing it. Anything on Google Scholar?

I saw that FDA alert when it first came out, and my dog is on Nexgard. But he's been on it for well over a year and tolerates it well, so the warning didn't (and still doesn't) concern me personally. All the flea/tick medications carry some risks, and there are horror stories about all of them. I don't think the ones mentioned in that warning are any more likely to cause an individual dog a problem than any of the other available products. Ours had a horrible (horrible) neurological reaction to K9 Advantix, but I don't think it's a bad product. Just not the right one for him. But of course that sure doesn't mean that your dog's issues couldn't be related to Bravecto. But I don't think it would be statistically very likely that both of them would have reacted to it? IDK.

The only thing I've found so far on Scholar are several efficacy trials comparing against other flea control drugs. I did find another one from 2017 that announced the European Medicines Agency was taking a second look at it, but there wasn't much helpful in it. It might be too that I'm unfamiliar with the veterinary terminology so I might be overlooking some studies that don't blatantly say BRAVECTO in the title or article synopsis.....

I won't attempt the Veterinary Info Network. I wouldn't want to misrepresent or do anything like that. We go in Monday, so I'll just wait. I just wanted to have done my research before I go in there and suggest a possible link. Having worked in pharma, it's not something I take lightly, so I'm trying to exercise due diligence here. 

Edited by texasmom33

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4 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

Maybe try searching using fluralaner, which is the active ingredient in Bravecto?

I tried- it just netted much the same. I got some PK studies and some other efficacies, and then a lot that my biochem knowledge is completely insufficient to even attempt to get past the abstract. I think I'll just take the 2016 AE printout with me. She knows everything that was tested and ruled out, and my dog had an awful lot of the AEs on that list. My other dog vomited with it but had none of the other symptoms, and third dog was totally fine besides, gas. So we'll see. 

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There is this:  http://yourpetsneedthis.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Bravecto-fluralaner-ADE-report.pdf

However, it really isn't terribly helpful.  It is not a controlled study, just reported adverse events, which can be similarly alarming for almost any medication, and many of which may be due to unrelated causes. 

Having said that, I would not repeat that medication.  It is possible that it caused at least some of the symptoms you are seeing.  Even if adverse reactions are rare they can happen at any time to any individual. 

Edited by Kebo
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Ok my poor dogs are jinxed. We are on our way to the animal ER with the Doberman. I was sitting looking up more articles and my Dobie came up to me and her muzzle looks like a balloon. Don’t see fang marks or sign of a bite of any sort, but worried about her breathing so dh is driving us all to the town over to the Animal ER. Prayers and good thoughts for the Dobie appreciated. 

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oh no! Praying it is a simple insect bite reaction and some benedryl/steroids calms it down. My hound's food had the happen a few months ago. 

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Well it’s a snake bite. They found the punctures. They’re running a clotting test right now- apparently that can be an even bigger problem with Dobermans? That will determine whether she can come home tonight or have to stay here for IVs and anti-venom. At a minimum antibiotics, steroids, and Toradol. Poor girl. ? 

oh and a bunch of Benadryl. 

Edited by texasmom33
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22 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

Well it’s a snake bite. They found the punctures. They’re running a clotting test right now- apparently that can be an even bigger problem with Dobermans? That will determine whether she can come home tonight or have to stay here for IVs and anti-venom. At a minimum antibiotics, steroids, and Toradol. Poor girl. ? 

oh and a bunch of Benadryl. 

Oh no! I’m so sorry for your poor girl. ? I’m  glad you got her in for treatment quickly. Hopefully she will make a full, quick recovery..,preferably at home!

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They’re going to keep her overnight just because the swelling got a lot worse and I’m sick and my ds is sick and I felt like they’d keep a closer eye on her than I could. The prognosis is good though. Apparently if you’re going to get bit by a pit viper the face is the place to have it happen if you’re a dog, which seems weird but ok! I pick her up at 7am so I’ll update in the morning. Thanks for the pup prayers! 

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40 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

They’re going to keep her overnight just because the swelling got a lot worse and I’m sick and my ds is sick and I felt like they’d keep a closer eye on her than I could. The prognosis is good though. Apparently if you’re going to get bit by a pit viper the face is the place to have it happen if you’re a dog, which seems weird but ok! I pick her up at 7am so I’ll update in the morning. Thanks for the pup prayers! 

I hope you all get some rest, and I'm glad you left her with them, where she can be watched over all night and you can rest. Plus they can give her any further pain management, etc if she needs it. Hugs to you all!!!

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Gosh, your pets are having a bad month, poor babies. Glad the prognosis is good. Hope the damage to your wallet is tolerable. ?

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I seem to recall Von Willebrand's disease is more of a problem in Dobies than in many other breeds? If my memory about that is right, I bet that's why the vet was more concerned about clotting. I'm SO glad it sounds like she's going to be okay!

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813B66E6-A977-4449-AE58-8BCC70838E42.thumb.jpeg.d77e264c09d8c3f16d0f3869ae4eba39.jpeg

She’s home! I can’t seem to get a picture that does it justice, because her face is so naturally thin. She looks like she had her wisdom teeth removed! She’s home resting happily with her Winnie the Pooh blankie and her dragon in the quietest corner we could find. She’s expected to make a full recovery. 

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I can see where she is swollen.  I hope you have an easier day today.

About the other pup,  younger dogs can have what we would class as mini strokes.  My friend’s newfound had the around 4yo. Stemmed from a heart defect I think.  But similar behavior.  It sounds like you are on the right track but wanted to throw that out there.

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