Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I know that many of you have been here..
I don't know exactly why I'm posting. just..

Since Aston was diagnosed with lumbosacral stenosis back in April, I've tried to research and talk to different vets in order to eliminate any possible pain resulting from the condition, now and going forward. Prednisone was off the table for months, since I was getting differing opinions on whether a) it would help, and/or b ) it would result in disastrous side-effects that would outweigh the good. After trying various NSAIDs with limited (but at least some apparent) positive effect, I took him to a third, greyhound-savvy vet to get another opinion on the situation. Thus far, I had one vet telling me that pred would not only NOT help, but would also destroy Aston's cartilage in addition to muscle wasting, and another vet telling me that pred was the next step, and we should just try it and see what side effects might come up, and deal with them (and/or stop the pred).

Over the past several months -- since April/May -- we've also had Aston on a few other meds: the Robaxin/methocarbamol (muscle relaxant) has had the most profound effect, helping to unclench the muscles immediately around his lumbosacral joint; we added gabapentin and tramadol for a shotgun effect, more or less, since it is hard to tell whether Aston even has a good, pain-free baseline due to the recurrent corn in a toe pad on his left-hind foot. The corn has been an issue as long as we've had him, and based on pre-adoption medical records from his last home, he's been limping since he got off the track at 2 years old. I've been hulling it and booting that foot (therapaw), with no evidence that it's helping his limp.

The new vet took one look at Aston and said that before addressing the stenosis, we would need to address his obviously very-painful corn, and proceeded to numb Aston's toe and dig the corn completely out. The corn left a gaping hole in his toepad wherein his flexor tendon was visible -- this was packed with antibiotic gel and his foot was bandaged. The vet and I then proceeded to discuss the use of oral prednisone or a local depo-medrol injection to treat Aston's LS symptoms. The vet decided to start Aston on pred with a loading dose, then tapering down to a lower, every-other-day dose to see how he dealt with steroids overall before committing to a ~6-week injection of depo.

The corn was hulled two weeks ago. Aston has been a full-on tripod for 95% of that time -- I thought that he had basically been used to three-legging it with the corn intact, but he is very worn out. We had to let Aston's Rimadyl wash out of his system before going to pred, so the first week of healing involved no anti-inflammatories as well.. it was noticeably hard on buddy, so I checked with the vet and increased his Tramadol for that week. I removed the original foot bandage after three days (smelled strongly corn-chippy, but not infected), and was relieved to see no swelling or suspicious ooze -- but clear ooze from the deepest part of the hole, nonetheless. I have been packing the hole with neosporin, padding the toe with gauze and re-wrapping the foot every other day since. Last night, I removed his bandage to find that the hole had filled in, no ooze (or tenderness) when I squeezed the toe pad, so I washed his foot and left it uncovered.

In the meantime, we started loading pred a week ago. Heavy panting, drinking, peeing, drinking, peeing. Aston appears to have lost weight, but I wonder how much of that was just inflammation, thus far (his muscles are much more visible, suddenly). He is looking to be on the lower side of his 'normal' weight, so we are feeding him extra grain-free cookies and an extra (small) meal before bedtime. He had an especially rough time the night before last, as we had strong wind gusts, which usually cause Aston to pace anyway. He spent most of the night pacing and panting, and it was hard to differentiate what was a need to pee and what was anxiety, so I was coaxing the poor guy in and out of the windy backyard all night (no dog door). Thankfully, yesterday was our first day of tapering the pred down, and he was much calmer last night / quicker to settle after pee breaks, except for the wee morning hours -- lots of panting, again, had a hard time settling.

He had finally settled at 5:30 this morning, and when he didn't bark at me for breakfast at 6am, I decided to let him sleep in a bit, since he'd had a rough night. At 7am, I called him off of his bed for breakfast to discover that his healed(?) foot was HUGE, and Aston couldn't bear weight on it at all. :cry1 He refused breakfast, which he has NEVER done. Off to the e-vet.

235a85d9-a092-4736-b21f-c573066930fe_zps

E-vet determined that we were in the very early stage of an abscess in the corn-pad. Lancing revealed blood only (and lots of it). X-ray clear, but it did reveal a bone spur and definite arthritis in the neighboring lateral, often-weight-bearing toes.
Aston was given an antibiotic injection with oral abx to start tonight, along with a soak solution for his leg (2x daily). Going back for a recheck on Tuesday. The vet ran a full blood panel, since Aston is due (he started the bulk of his meds a little under 6 months ago); his liver values are elevated, likely due to the pred. Denamarin 1x daily for 12 days, then re-checking his values at that time.

Aston is now panting occasionally, but has settled for a few dreamless naps since we got home. He has a bit of his appetite back for cookies and stinky things, so we got his morning meds into him little by little (making sure to get him to eat enough, with pepcid, to protect his stomach from the prednisone). A cookie lured him up to go pee outside a few minutes ago, so at least he's not panting because he has to go potty.

I am thankful that going to the vet's office doesn't provoke an inordinate amount of stress for Aston, since he's no stranger to vets at this point. However, I've spent a lot of time today fighting tears over the knowledge that Aston's Todays have been largely painful lately. :cry1 It's so hard to tell what the pred is doing, whether it's helping, whether his tummy hurts, whether his throat is dry from panting. His movement is much more fluid than it was prior to starting pred, I think, but I have to see around his painful limp to picture what's going on. I hope so hard that his corn toe will heal up and give him some pain-free time before the corn returns. I wish I had pursued getting the corn removed sooner; so many vets shrugged it off and told me to just keep hulling it, to no effect; or, perhaps I wish I had left it "well enough alone," whatever that means for a dog who's been unable to walk comfortably on that foot for at least 8 years. No pain-free baseline for comparison.

The ever-patient patient:
785364bf-636e-4a37-a1c2-f557ebc40f7d_zps

I wish that his foot and leg hadn't turned into a red, shiny, bloated, painful mess while he's already dealing with the pred in his system. I had forgotten that pred can also slow healing...

I have this picture in my head of Aston being in his best-case scenario, LS handled with nerve-pain, muscle-relaxant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs to cover all bases and wipe out his pain; and no pain from that awful back foot. However, Aston doesn't have that picture in his head.. just an ever-wiping tally of Today I'm in pain, Today I got a cookie, Today I'm going for a walk but it hurts and why is Dad turning us around early to go back home?

Better a day too soon; but what if it's months too soon? I know his infected foot will heal; that's short-term... I know his corn will likely come back, but hopefully not soon. His spine can't heal, so we're just trying to make Today the best we can. He did regain his pre-LS-diagnosis activity level prior to adding the pred (but a day on a double-dose of Metacam gave me a glimpse into what a stronger anti-inflammatory could do for Aston -- it was incredible -- so I am hoping...)...

I worry that I'm so far down the rabbit-hole that I can't see what this is like for Aston. But today, he's on antibiotics, so his foot should feel better soon, right? and that will be one less thing...

:crying

Edited by o_rooly
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MnMDogs

First, take a few deep breaths, your description of Aston, could have described Mork. He's had corns since the day I adopted him 9 years ago. I often say I don't think he's ever lived a day completely free of pain. But he is also one tough old dog (14 now). He's also got LS and some pretty significant arthritis.

 

You're going through a lot right now, and I know how overwhelming it is, and only you know what is best for your boy. I'd only suggest maybe supplementing his food with a puppy food (if he can tolerate) or something like wellness 95 canned food. It's a bit more appealing than a dry cookie and may entice him to eat a bit more.

 

Give your sweet boy a kiss for me.

 

I can't recall, are you currently using a therapaw for him?

Edited by MnMDogs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, take a few deep breaths, your description of Aston, could have described Mork. He's had corns since the day I adopted him 9 years ago. I often say I don't think he's ever lived a day completely free of pain. But he is also one tough old dog (14 now). He's also got LS and some pretty significant arthritis.

 

You're going through a lot right now, and I know how overwhelming it is, and only you know what is best for your boy. I'd only suggest maybe supplementing his food with a puppy food (if he can tolerate) or something like wellness 95 canned food. It's a bit more appealing than a dry cookie and may entice him to eat a bit more.

 

Give your sweet boy a kiss for me.

 

I can't recall, are you currently using a therapaw for him?

 

Thank you :) I am also trying to remember to breathe. I think I'll pick up some puppy food + canned green tripe to spoon over his meals.. why not increase the tasty-factor, either way?

Aston has had a therapaw for his foot for a few years now. The therapaw + walking on grass does increase his weight-bearing on his corn foot slightly, but we've always had a limp, especially when he speeds up -- he tends to bunny-hop, regardless of whether he's on grass, concrete, etc.

 

Hugs and scritches to Mork :heart:grouphug

Edited by o_rooly
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My heart hurts so much for you and Aston because I have been where you are at with Nadir and I know how unbelievably painful a corn can be for them. Several years ago Nadir suffered for over 2 years with what I didn't know at the time was a corn in his rear left foot. As a word of caution please make sure Aston's stomach is protected from the damage that Metacam can do to it. Nadir still suffers flare-ups today from the damage done by the Metacam prescribed for him early in our search for what turned out to be a corn. I don't want to discourage its use I just want to make sure Aston doesn't develop the same damage Nadir did. I also want to add that after unsuccessful attempts to have it hulled I had the corn surgically removed. I will admit that it was hard on him and took about 3 months before he could put his full weight on that foot, but I knew it was the best thing I could have had done when he not only started walking, but running pain-free on that foot on hard surfaces. To this day that foot has not suffered another corn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My heart hurts so much for you and Aston because I have been where you are at with Nadir and I know how unbelievably painful a corn can be for them. Several years ago Nadir suffered for over 2 years with what I didn't know at the time was a corn in his rear left foot. As a word of caution please make sure Aston's stomach is protected from the damage that Metacam can do to it. Nadir still suffers flare-ups today from the damage done by the Metacam prescribed for him early in our search for what turned out to be a corn. I don't want to discourage its use I just want to make sure Aston doesn't develop the same damage Nadir did. I also want to add that after unsuccessful attempts to have it hulled I had the corn surgically removed. I will admit that it was hard on him and took about 3 months before he could put his full weight on that foot, but I knew it was the best thing I could have had done when he not only started walking, but running pain-free on that foot on hard surfaces. To this day that foot has not suffered another corn.

 

Thank you for the reminder about Metacam. Aston has been on various NSAIDs twice -- we ran the gamut back when we (i.e., our vet) thought that his limp was due to an old injury, and again in trying to treat LS symptoms. Luckily, he has suffered no apparent adverse reaction to the meds either time, BUT we always make sure to give his doses with meals, and add pepcid to his food when he's on them. He's also getting full blood workups done every 6 months (more often now that he's on prednisone). In regard to the long recovery for his foot -- based on what I'd read here on GT, I expected that his foot recovery wouldn't be easy, but it's been rough (to watch, and I imagine to go through) nonetheless. Glad to hear that Nadir hasn't suffered a recurrence!! :) Keeping my fingers crossed for Aston's case.

 

No wisdom, just sending :grouphug

Thank you :heart :heart :heart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:grouphug for you and Aston.

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel so bad for you and Aston. I went through the same thing with my Henry who passed away last year at age 15. He suffered from corns on ALL of his toes for 12 years. My greyhound savvy vet said it was one of the worst cases he had seen in a long time. I tried every treatment under the sun, (surgery, duct tape, all kinds of creams, eventually hulling). They just kept coming back so we settled on hulling, Therapaws, and NSAID's. Plus nightly soaking in Absom salt & moisturizer. I can say that Henry has been limping on and off his entire life and it was very painful and frustrating. As he became older, his back end also became weaker, LS was the standard diagnosis. I have a very strong dislike for prednisone (unless it's only used short-term). The side effects I have seen it have on animals AND people was not worth it. To me it's a last resort drug not a management tool-but I not a veterinarian. Although none of my vets suggested I put Henry on it. I managed his discomfort to the best of my ability. He had good days and bad days. He was a sweet, tolerant soul who took everything in stride. I believe that between the corns, the LS and arthritis which Henry developed in some of his toes-he really needed pain management more then anything so that was my plan-to keep him as comfortable as possible without adding anything that had the potential to make him feel worse in the long run.

 

Have you considered possibly adding some alternative treatment such as acupuncture, cold laser for the arthritis and hydrotherapy, (expensive but I hear can be very helpful)?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:grouphug It helps me to just have some quiet time with them and try and listen to what they may have to say and also to tell them my feelings. Don't worry. You could never do any wrong thing with Aston because everything you do is motivated by LOVE. Ya'll are in my prayers. Hang in there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...