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Ls, Biting And Flinching


Guest bernadette
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Guest bernadette

Hi all! It has been awhile since I have posted. My Vinnie (who just turned 11 last month!) was diagnosed with LS some time ago. We have been keeping him comfortable with Tramadol and Gabapentin and he has been doing just fine, you would ALMOST not even know that there is any issue.

 

We recently upped his Gabapentin to three times a day as he was showing mild signs that maybe he was more uncomfortable. It was normal to see one or two wet spots on his side where he had been biting towards his rear end. Every once in awhile his back leg may give out a little outside (he has never completely fallen) or he will trip up on his own foot. We have learned to accept this, he has too, and he is a very happy boy.

 

After we increased the Gabapentin (to be fair, we do this on the days that our schedules allow, we are not consistently home everyday, midday) I feel like Vinnie might be becoming even more uncomfortable (I can't say 'pain', I don't want to think that he is in actual pain). He does eat and drink, however I am now seeing an increase in the wet spots (three on one side and maybe even another on the other side of his body as well now). He has also developed a sensitivity on his sides. When sliding his harness on or off, he flinches when I go over the area towards the front/sides. He doesn't cry, doesn't make a sound- but he flinches every time. I have seen try to scratch this area one time with a hind leg while standing- but just once.

 

As LS progresses, are these normal signs? He was just in to see the vet recently, who I adore, and she felt he appeared to be in great shape. I know my boy won't be around forever but I want to be able to make him as comfortable as possible. Are there beds that would suit him? Are these therapeutic beds worth it?

 

 

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it's difficult watching a dog age. has your vet examined him recently? if not, it's a good idea, manipulation of legs, checking spine and neck your vet should be able to really access his deterioration and help w/ the meds. bed wise? something elevated and - a Kundra type bed that's around 6" from the floor and a good thick bed of any kind. some dogs love the orthopedic foam(cheap at target or online- twin size will do) but you can add some to an existing bed rather than spending the money and throw in a waterproof crib pad as well- scratches to your old boy. my welsh terrier had LS, his gait changed, but he was a smaller dog and we managed to keep the comfort level up w/ old fashioned aspirins and his crazy jumping style changed along w/ his gait. you can't hold those terriers back.

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I haven't heard of this kind of sensitivity as a gabapentin side effect, and a quick internet search doesn't find it listed as one, but you never know. :dunno

 

It seems like something else might be going on, though. I'd vote for another vet visit.

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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I don't think the OP is suggesting the flank biting is a side effect of the drug, but a symptom of the LS. And yes, nerve pain, which I suffer with, is like shooting hot lightening bolts. And since what LS is is compression of the spinal column squishing the nerves within, I imagine it very well could be a sort of pain. Or tingling. Or numbness. Or, seriously, he could just have a flea having a party on his hind end!

 

George was on an NSAID (Deramaxx) as well as Gabapentin. If he got grumpy, I would give him a Tramadol at night because I figured the grumpiness was likely from discomfort (although who knows?).

 

Make sure you keep exercising Vinnie. Walks on a leash a couple times a day will be super beneficial!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest bernadette

Hi everyone, thank you for your replies. GeorgeofNE, you are correct, I don't believe that the change in his behavior is due to the Gabapentin. I think if anything, the increase in biting would indicate an increase in pain or discomfort, but the skin sensitivity, I don't know. I definitely do not think it's a flea party :)

 

Vinnie was at the vet very recently, maybe a couple of months ago or not even. I mentioned that she felt he is in great shape. One side is a little worse than the other upon examination in the way of pain (at least, thats how it was then), but he still flips his feet back over just fine.

 

Vinnie does get walked three times a day, in the morning it's shorter, for the last few months he has been turning around himself to go home earlier than we used to.. :( It's just sad and maybe I have to just get used to seeing changes in symptoms as the LS progresses.

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Just to share our story -- with the idea of supporting another vet visit for Vinnie -- we have gone through something similar with our LS dog Shane, almost 12 now. Shane has had slowly elevating creatinine for several years, but now his BUN went above range. An ultrasound shows one kidney much smaller than the other, which is also a new development. He had that tenderness on the small-kidney side, which I'm reminded of by your post. The leakage can be coming from reluctance to get up, and/or inability to sense bladder fullness, and/or a UTI or kidney infection. Amount of peeing and water drinking can be a clue, but not as big a clue if you're not there all day to witness it as we are. A urine culture was negative; however, the specialists thought it might be a kidney infection and began treatment with Baytril. It is apparently not entirely rare to have UTI's or kidney infections despite negative urine cultures! Shane improved greatly in every way with the Baytril, including reduced rear-end weakness and pain! (He's in his 6th and final week of treatment.)

 

So I do think LS predisposes to UTI's and kidney infections due to reduced sensations, and I do think such infections contribute to pain and disability. So given our experience, I'd naturally encourage you to get a urine culture, specific gravity, and perhaps an ultrasound, and perhaps even an empirical trial of a well-chosen antibiotic. (It's usually E. coli, and Baytril is very expensive, but I'm glad we're using that and not a cheaper med that isn't working! The results have been entirely worth it.)

 

Oh, and as another poster said, incontinence pads between the bed cover and the stuffing are a great idea. They also allow you to detect leakage vs. accidents, judging by the size of the circles, when you might otherwise miss it. And yes also to the continued exercise to the extent he can tolerate it, as keeping the muscles up is very important in LS. But if the dog is sick, you don't want to make him sicker by over-taxing his resources, so that's another reason for a vet visit, to rule that in or out.

Edited by greyhead
Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest bernadette

I have a feeling that as Vinnie continues to age, vet visits are going to become more and more frequent (or at least phone calls). Thank you for all of that information. I did go and get the egg crate foam and he does like it, although when he is lying down on his bed, it is significantly more elevated so his head is further from the ground (as so many greys seem to like to position themselves, head on the floor and body on the bed).

 

Vinnie has now started to balk at climbing the stairs. We live in a two level townhome and stairs are not necessary, but he so does love to go up and sleep in the loft area, right outside of our bedroom door. Now, more than a few times, he will go to the stairs, put a paw up, look up, but then remove his paw and cry. Sometimes he won't even try to go up, he will just cry. :(

 

No limping, normal eating and drinking.

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