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Disc Surgery On A 10 1/2 Yr Old, Now Other Issues


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Guest greykat

My dog, Max, is 10 1/2. He's suffered on and off from "greyhound neck" and the pain comes a couple times a year, and lasts a couple of days. We often use Thermacare back wraps on his neck and some pain reliever, and it always goes away on its own. But recently (about a week and a half ago) he woke up hurt again, and it didn't go away.

 

Our vet started him on a muscle relaxer. That didn't help. So he referred me to a neurologist. We went to the appointment on Friday morning. He examined Max and felt he had a degenerative disc problem and was in a great deal of pain. He thought Max would do best with confirming with a CT scan, then going immediately to surgery if confirmed. I raised some concern with his age and also with the fact that he, separate from this, has been flagged for possible kidney problems with UPC and urine tests that have raised some reason for concern. Since I wasn't sure if he would be healthy enough, I was worried. And not to sound horrible, but it was also hard to think about paying $8,000 for surgery when there was a possibility that Max may not do well or may have another underlying issue that would have his life shortened sooner than later anyway. But the doctor sounded like the surgery should be successful and that recovery time was minimal (next day with most single disc surgeries with soft material that hadn't calcified). That made my husband confident enough to say "ok- proceed." And I went along since the doctor was definitely convincing and confident. He acknowledged my concern and said they would be reviewing his records and doing their own bloodwork, and that they wouldn't proceed if there was concern he wouldn't be healthy enough for it. That made me even more confident. Now I realize that was basically more just to see if he'd survive the surgery, but probably not so much about the next many months and the other potential health problems. :(

 

Well, the surgery went well enough on Friday night. The CT confirmed the problem and that there were actually two disc ruptures- one was in the neck and was calcified/older and was the cause of his old chronic on and off pain. The other was lower (closer to the shoulder area) and was really causing pain currently. So he did a more extensive surgery but said he felt he got everything out and that he'd be okay in 1-2 weeks ("a normal dog again"). He did note that Max had blood pressure issues while he was under, but that they were able to stabalize him with meds.

 

So sounds okay in the end, right? We thought so. It was an "ouch" bill (4 times higher than any we've ever had), but if he'd be pain free and never in danger of having neck pain again, we thought we could sacrifice the money and figure out how to afford it (CareCredit helped- spreading it out over 12 months w/ no interest will be less painful). But Max didn't eat at all while he was in the hospital. And I brought him home last night, and he still wouldn't eat. The Prednisone he's on also had him peeing whenever he felt like it. :(

 

This morning I was desperate to get him to start eating. I added every exciting thing I could to his food, but he'd sniff it and walk away. He's super skinny and a bit wobbly, but otherwise he seemed like he was doing okay. Now for the important events of the rest of today:

 

I made chicken and rice, and gave Max a bit. He actually ate it from my hand, so I put some more into his bowl, and got him to get up and eat most of it. I'd say it was about a cup of food total. Not much, but something.

 

While I was wrapping his meds (cephalexin, prednisone, and pepcid ac) in pill pockets, he vommitted up his food. Bile and chicken and rice. :(

 

I gave him his meds anyway because I was told I needed to keep him on a good med schedule. I was hoping he had some food still somehow in his belly to work with the meds. He threw up again after that.

 

Then he slept for a long time, but he got up, drank lots of water, went outside with me for a quick pee, and then came in and after about a minute or so, he vommitted up tons of water- probably everything he drank. This time, bile, chicken and rice, and some brown matter (pill pocket remnants?), along with more liquid- it looked like a mini flood. He laid back down and I cleaned everything up again. And after sleeping for another while, he stood up, drank again, and then panted heavily and did a strange bow that lasted 30 seconds or so- butt in air, with neck and chin on ground. I have no idea what that was, but he held it for too long to be a stretch. I've seen that twice today.

That water he held for a bit longer but kept making heaving sounds and seemed really agitated. He did eventually throw that water up, too.

 

We are now giving him small drinks from a bowl (my husband's suggestion) and monitoring him to see if he keeps it down. We are assuming the gulping of water the two previous times was part of the problem. But there is clearly something wrong, and I can't imagine it's just prednisone upseting his stomach...right? I'm not familiar with prednisone, but this is wretched. Why would anyone ever use it if this is a possible reaction? :(

 

I don't want to run him back to the emergency room if I can help it. After the second vomit (pre-water vomit), the neurologist spoke to me on the phone and said to stop the pred (meaning don't give the second dose tonight or from now on) and continue the pepcid, and try feeding him again around dinnertime. He needs to eat and keep it down. He clearly is hoping that the vomit and lack of appetite are due to the pred. I'm just not so sure.

 

One other issue that is undiagnosed- I noticed after the surgery that Max has a very dark purple patch all around his penis. He also seemed to have some bruising around his thighs and one back foot. All of these areas are far from the point of surgery. It looked a little similar to what my Reiger had just before we put him to sleep because of suspected hemangiosarcoma. It's like there is a layer of skin and blood floating just under it. It was much worse on Reiger, so I don't know that it is even related to what is happening with Max. But it is scary looking. They (a couple vet techs, a doctor they asked, and then the neurologist himself) were speculating it might be from the way he was lying on the floor or from urine build up (??) or something. They all said they'd seen it with greyhounds before and that it should go away on its own. They said his bloodwork didn't show anything that would cause something like that (clotting issues??). But today when I mentioned that it still looked the same, the neurologist sounded somewhat concerned and basically wanted me to bring him in again if he didn't start eating by tomorrow morning, or if he continued vomiting or if the purple bruising stayed the same.

 

Okay, I've written so much. If you are still reading, I'm seeking support and advice from anyone who's gone through any of this or seen any of this. My own vet has been very nice and supportive, and the hospital staff seemed very knowledgable and competent (and expensive, did I mention?!), but I am just so worried about him. They said I could bring him in before tomorrow if I am really worried, but there is part of me hoping he will improve before tomorrow because, frankly, I don't know how much more money I can spend. It was already really hard to agree to pay $8,000. :( We will be hurting for awhile from that. So I am praying we don't have to rush him back to the hospital, as an "emergency" patient, and do a bunch of other tests and God knows what else. I really don't know how we are going to afford it, but I can't ignore any problems Max continues to display. What do I do? :(

 

Help! :*(

-Kat

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I have had some serious non eaters, especially after surgery.

 

You will get a lot of suggestions. this is what worked for us.

 

Tripe - THE REAL Stuff. You do need to order that online.

 

Something for now- buy some unstuffed cow hooves. The bigger the better. Stuff high calorie canned food in the hooves. (you can usually get 1 can per 4 hooves) and freeze. It works.

 

High calorie wet food- the EVOs ( I think a can has 501 calories) or BLUE wildnerness (that has 476 calories a can)

 

He may not be able to tolerate kibble yet. When he does, try putting the kibble in a kong.

 

Keeping you both in my prayers.

 

 

ROBIN ~ Mom to: Beau Think It Aint, Chloe JC Allthewayhome, Teddy ICU Drunk Sailor, Elsie N Fracine , Ollie RG's Travertine, Ponch A's Jupiter~ Yoshi, Zoobie & Belle, the kitties.

Waiting at the bridge Angel Polli Bohemian Ocean , Rocky, Blue,Sasha & Zoobie & Bobbi

Greyhound Angels Adoption (GAA) The Lexus Project

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Guest grey_dreams

I don't have any clever suggestions. Just want to say how sorry I am for what you and your boy are going through. I hope his stomach acid is off from not eating and that's what's making him vomit. One of my cats once went through something similar after a dental, it took about 3-4 days before he was finally eating something again. Hopefully your boy will settle down and start to eat. Offer the best you possibly can - maybe try tuna (rinse it at least 4 times to dilute the salt water it's packed in), or sardines, or boiled eggs, or tripe like Robin suggested. If he is still refusing to eat, I think you will have to take him back to the clinic so he can get an IV. You are both in my prayers.

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Guest dobiegrey

I am certainly no expert BUT the bow sounds like what Betty does when her reflux is really giving her fits!!! Pepcid or Zantac might help settle his tummy and stop the burning if that is what it is, but she throws up too! The two times she has done it, I have taken her to the e-vet because I was so worried, they gave her a shot of something for her tummy (I think a antiemetic (throw up)) and Sucralfate (Sp?) and Zantac and only yogart to eat (if wanted)that night trying bland mild foods the next day is very small amounts at a time. Not eating could really add to the heart burn of reflux. Good luck, I know it is sooooooo very scary!

 

Lou

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Guest dobiegrey

Oh yeah, all of the bruising could be from instruments sitting on him during surgery or how they had him for lack of a better word, "tied" to the OR table, sometimes these things can leave bruising and I would think that they would not be comfortable telling you that they had him "tied" in a surgical position, but of course he was sound asleep and was totally unaware anything going on. I have the training as a human Surg tech and in my training saw some strange bruising due to restaints and instruments these are of course totally inadvertant and heal on their own.

 

Lou

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Change the antibiotic ASAP.

 

Not necessarily your problem, but worth a shot. There are some dogs who react to cephalexin that way.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I would ask your vet to call in a script for carafate. It's a wonderful tummy protector. My girl has been on pred since August and w/o carafate she never would have been able to handle the pred. If I even miss one dose of the carafate she goes off her food. Usually a greyhound would take 1 gram every 6 hours given one hour prior to meals/meds. ;)

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Guest greykat

Thanks, everyone! I knew this would be more helpful than any other resource! You are all the best. I really appreciate your support and advice. I will ask my own vet and the neurologist (in order to get 2 medical opinions instead of just the neurologist) about a change in antibiotics and the carafate. That is so helpful!

And thanks for the bruising explanation. I sure hope that's it! The worst is his penis- dark purple. Any chance it's from a catheter? That was my best guess- otherwise, what the heck were they doing to him??

 

I will definitely keep you posted as I try to get him to eat. Tonight, per my husband's suggestion, I made rice meatballs. Max did not eat one. :( I think he's really messed up from the vommiting. Poor guy. I want to try those script changes and additions right away and other food suggestions to see if they help. He is definitely getting water now- my husband is a genius! Small sips allowed, given by hand. So far, so good. Lots of sips over the hours and no more vomit. Fingers crossed we're onto something! :)

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Guest Energy11

Yep, little sips of water, and/or ice chips will help.

 

You might want to try adding some Gatorade to the water, to help keep his strength up. Gatorade 50%/water 50%.

 

If liquids stay down, you can also try Ensure vanilla, and lo sodium chicken broth. Good Luck! Sending lots of prayers and good thoughts! Dee and The Five

 

 

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Guest dobiegrey

Thanks, everyone! I knew this would be more helpful than any other resource! You are all the best. I really appreciate your support and advice. I will ask my own vet and the neurologist (in order to get 2 medical opinions instead of just the neurologist) about a change in antibiotics and the carafate. That is so helpful!

And thanks for the bruising explanation. I sure hope that's it! The worst is his penis- dark purple. Any chance it's from a catheter? That was my best guess- otherwise, what the heck were they doing to him??

 

I will definitely keep you posted as I try to get him to eat. Tonight, per my husband's suggestion, I made rice meatballs. Max did not eat one. :( I think he's really messed up from the vommiting. Poor guy. I want to try those script changes and additions right away and other food suggestions to see if they help. He is definitely getting water now- my husband is a genius! Small sips allowed, given by hand. So far, so good. Lots of sips over the hours and no more vomit. Fingers crossed we're onto something! :)

 

If he were a human boy I would definitely say that he was cathed, but I am not sure if they generally cath boy dogs for surgery, they may have cathed him to get a urine sample, was the surgical site through the front of the neck or over the back area? It is so hard to say about the positioning of surgery and how that would effect his nether regions! :blink:

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Guest greykat

Surgery was through the neck, which is apparently why his recovery time was supposed to be so quick/good. The neurologist said that is the best way to go if it's possible, and it was for Max. I guess when they go through the back, the recovery is like 6-8 weeks or something of no exercise and all. That would be awful- I'm hoping Max turns around tomorrow and heals in 2 weeks. FIngers and toes are crossed for this! :)

 

Since they went through the front of the neck, I could see him positioned on his back, legs spread like when they roach. So maybe they rested instruments on him there or something, and he was sensitive enough to bruise? No idea. I will just pray it goes away soon.

 

FYI: I emailed the two vets (mine and the neurologist) and gave all of your awesome suggestions to ask what we could plan to do. I will keep you posted! Hopefully they can do the antiemetic and carafate, and maybe even change the antibiotic. And I hope they agree with the food, as I could see Max possibly liking Ensure. He is my milk boy- LOVES milk added to his food. He's like a cat. :) Of course, it isn't working right now, but maybe he would be okay with straight Ensure. Right now I really wish I weren't a vegetarian! I have vegetable broth on hand, but not chicken broth. :P My husband bought the chicken and beef for me to cook up today, but normally none of that is in the house.; I should have asked him to buy broth, too. :P

 

Thanks again, everyone!

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I skimmed- sorry if this was mentioned- but what are the pain meds? They may be giving problems.

 

Minerva went through the same thing; she wasn't given any oral antibiotics, but there was prednisone, Valium (to slow her down a bit), and tramadol. Maybe something else in there. Anyway- if it's not the antibiotics, the pain meds or sedatives given might be causing some of the problems you're seeing.

 

A little note: even 3-4 weeks after surgery, we'd get a little "yipe" out of her when getting up. Although she was considered an excellent candidate for surgery, it took a little longer for all the symptoms to subside. She's now 100%, no yiping for months.

Coco (Maze Cocodrillo)

Minerva (Kid's Snipper)

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Guest greykat

I skimmed- sorry if this was mentioned- but what are the pain meds? They may be giving problems.

 

Minerva went through the same thing; she wasn't given any oral antibiotics, but there was prednisone, Valium (to slow her down a bit), and tramadol. Maybe something else in there. Anyway- if it's not the antibiotics, the pain meds or sedatives given might be causing some of the problems you're seeing.

 

A little note: even 3-4 weeks after surgery, we'd get a little "yipe" out of her when getting up. Although she was considered an excellent candidate for surgery, it took a little longer for all the symptoms to subside. She's now 100%, no yiping for months.

Thank you! So Minerva had that type of surgery? At what age? Did she not eat for a long time after? Were they worried?

 

Max had heavy narcotics while in the hospital, but they released him with just the cephalexin (antibiotic) and prednisone (anti-inflamatory steroid?), and then the instruction to also give Pepcid. So I don't think he has any specific pain meds.

 

Update this morning for all: My husband wanted to stay with him through the night. He continued to give him water and tried giving pills at one point. He is getting him to drink more (now he can drink out of the pet fountain again), and he has yet to vomit. But the food is still a huge concern. He won't eat a piece of meatball or a shred of chicken (both warmed up), and he won't even eat the pill pockets, so we need to force the pills. I need to hear back from the doctors and try to buy tripe and Ensure or Gatorade and see what we can do. I'm assuming they will tell us to bring him back to the hospital this morning. We were so hoping to avoid that- he is so restful here, and he will be such a panting, nervous mess there. Always is. :(

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Guest trevdog

Sounds like his tummy is upset or he is still in pain from the surgery. I'd agree about switching his meds and also make sure he has some kind of antacid. If Carfate isn't working try something else. Keeping him hydrated is the most important thing. You can also try meat baby food warmed up. It's stinky but might entice him to eat.

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I defer to others with more expertise, but isn't Pepcid supposed to be given before eating? Though I guess you are trying to get him to eat pretty much anytime he's willing, which would decouple the med-food schedule somewhat. Agree with others, seems surprising he wouldn't have any pain meds for the first while post-op.

 

FWIW, many years ago we had back surgery done on a lab cross about the same age as your grey. It's too long ago to remember what meds he was on afterwards, but he recovered just fine, lived for another few years without back problems, and was eventually lost to completely unrelated issues.

 

We pray after these initial bumps in the road, that your boy will have a smooth recovery.

 

 

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Thank you! So Minerva had that type of surgery? At what age? Did she not eat for a long time after? Were they worried?

 

From the sounds of it, the same surgery- they went in and removed the material from two ruptured disks. She was held 48 hours (it's usually 24 or 48 hours for release), and she never stopped eating. She's fed raw food, so I brought them several cans of grain-free, meaty stuff- and a can of "pull pin and throw" tripe just in case- but she's always been a glutton. One time she ate a 3-pound box of treats that had just been opened that day.

 

She was just shy of 7 years old when she was operated on. The scar isn't even visible today- you'd never know she'd been under. I checked with The Lisa last night, and her meds consisted of prednisone, Valium, and tramadol- no antibiotics, which made me wonder at the time. She tolerated the tramadol very well, and the Valium kept her sedated and calm. She's not a whiner or a nervous dog- we just didn't want her seeing a cat and trying to chase it down while on lead after the surgery.

Coco (Maze Cocodrillo)

Minerva (Kid's Snipper)

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Guest greykat

Update on Max!

 

So, he hasn't eaten yet, and he rejected everything I tried: chicken, meatballs, various baby foods, various wet canned foods, peanut butter, raw food... just rejected everything with the exception of a few beef liver treats. But he continued drinking well.

 

Our vet made a house call last night (have I mentioned how WONDERFUL our family vet is?!?), and since Max wasn't eating pill pockets and therefore was struggling to get the 9 daily pills for cephalixin and the two pepcids, he gave him an injection of Convenia (antibiotic that will last two weeks) and one of famotidine (pepcid). He gave me two other syringes with the famotidine so I can do two more injections. I did one this morning (so proud of myself- first time, very nervous, but I did it!).

 

Sadly, it still didn't seem to help him want to eat. BUT...about 30 minutes ago or so, I tried the vanilla Ensure, and IT WORKED!! I poured a small amount in a saucer and offered it, almost expecting he'd reject it like everything else I offer. But he sniffed, licked, and lapped it up- even cleaned the bowl! I'm SO excited about that! It has so many calories and nutrients!! He's been hydrated, but now he can get REAL calories, too!! :)

 

I am cautiously optimistic that it will stay down and that I can continue to offer it in small amounts throughout the day. But if I get through the whole bottle, that will mean he has 230 calories, 12g of protein, and so much more!!! I couldn't be happier.

 

THANK YOU for the recommendation of Vanilla Ensure!! Seriously- I have gotten a million tips from co-workers, vets, online, but this is the one that worked for Max!!!

 

I will keep you informed! If we need to do blood work to make sure everything else is still functioning properly, my vet said he could come back to our house to collect Max's blood. Is he a saint or what?? :)

 

Thanks to all you wonderful people for your support, advice, and shared experiences! You are all amazing people, and I'm so glad to have you as a resource!

 

Kat

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Sending prayers.

 

We use Ensure too.

 

My post-surgery go to food is scrambled eggs. For whatever reason, our crew loves it.

Jennifer and Beamish (an unnamed Irish-born Racer) DOB: October 30, 2011

 

Forever and always missing my "Vowels", Icarus, Atlas, Orion, Uber, and Miss Echo, and Mojito.

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So glad to hear that Max is drinking the ensure, praying he continues to do well and starts eating solids soon. I give meds in cheese to my boy Max and it is the only way he eats them. I give 2 seperate pieces 1st w/out meds and then the 3rd w/the meds. When Sara was on prednisone and antibiotics and chemo, she was on carafate and pepcid and I would make meat balls out of canned food rolled in lunch meats, roast beef or ham and stick her pills in those, she did not like the pill pockets.

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Roberta & Michael with Furkids- Flower (Shasta Flowers 6/7/06) & Rascal the kitty - Missing our sweet angels - Max(M's Mad Max) 10/12/02 - 12/3/15, Sara (Sara Raves 6/30/01 - 4/13/12) Queenie & Pandora the kitties - gone but never forgotten

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Oh, my! Just catching up with poor Max! Eat, sweetheart! I know your tummy is probably very upset right at the moment, but please eat! Hope the Ensure leads to bigger and better meals! Sending prayers of healing for Max and hugs of comfort for you.

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Guest greykat

I just gave him his third drink, and that polished off the bottle of Ensure. So he's at 230 calories now! Hooray!!

BTW- anyone know how many calories they normally get in their food for a day? I have no idea.

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