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Sore Back/hips


Guest AimeeBee
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Guest AimeeBee

George has been touchy the last month-ish about his back and hips being petted, usually doing some variant of "the butt dance" that some dogs do when their backs are scratched. I brought it up at his annual vet visit and after flexing his back and legs all over she thought he was a little sore but didn't think it was skeletal and we chalked it up to his daily runs.

 

Not so much tonight. I was petting his side and noticed his right hip was soaked from being licked and the muscles were visibly shaking when I flexed the right hind. Later on this evening he actually showed his teeth and air snapped (the first time this dog has so much as made a face in a human's direction) when I touched above his tail. He was panting more than I'd expect for a freezing cold evening. I don't think there's any limping, lumps, or heat -- though my brain is convinced there's a tiny hitch there now and again. Otherwise he was alternating between leaping, barking, and zooming around like wild and clinging to my legs, which is not like him at all. Usually he's velcro-y but pretty relaxed.

 

I called the vet and left a message that I'd like x-rays done asap (we had discussed doing them at the visit last month).

Now my anxiety-prone self has jumped to the worst possible outcomes and I'm worrying myself sick.

 

Anyone have experience with hounds showing soreness above the tail and over the hips?

How did you end up treating it?

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How old is George? Bear in mind that this area of the spine works like a big hinge, opening and shutting as the dog gallops, so is always likely to be the first to experience wear and tear. Possibilities going through my mind would include a pinched nerve, a pulled muscle or compressed vertebrae.

 

Anyway, yes, a couple of years ago Doc was evidently in severe pain in his lumbar/hip area. X-rays revealed a couple of compressed vertebral disc spaces there, and some associated symptoms of arthritis (bone spurs). His right hip was especially painful and the vet thought something was probably pinching a nerve there, though that obviously wouldn't show up on the x-rays. He was so miserable that I remember saying to her as we stood in the surgery 'if we can't sort this out PDQ we must put him to sleep'. But happily he responded very well to rest, painkillers (tramadol) and anti-inflammatories (metacam).

 

He was ten or eleven then, and is thirteen and a half now. The problem hasn't gone away, and indeed a second x-ray a year or so later revealed some calcification of the vertebrae in his shoulder area, now that he was taking more weight on his front end as he moved. He is now on gabapentin as well as tramadol, and the metacam has been swopped for a small daily dose of PLT, which worried me initially (it is a steroid) but he seems to tolerate it well. He remains a very happy old chap, eating well, romping with his teddy bear and enjoying short walks.

 

He also takes various supplements and enjoys a home visit from a veterinary physiotherapist every couple of weeks - she massages and manipulates him and gives him some cold laser therapy too. In between we do various daily exercises to keep everything moving. After he was first diagnosed he also did a course of hydrotherapy, on a water treadmill at the vet's - good for rebuilding muscle though he didn't enjoy it much!

 

That is a formidably long list I realise, but depending on your dog's diagnosis some or all of it may be helpful for giving you ideas. If it is a muscle/ nerve issue I would certainly recommend finding someone like our veterinary physio, who knows her way round a greyhound's body (she helps out at our greyhound adoption kennels, which is how I found her). There are also chiropractors but in the UK at least I am wary of those - their qualifications are less well recognised and their treatments more drastic.

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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If possible can you get a referral to a Mctimoney chiropracter? I don't think a regular vet can do much about bad backs except prescribe painkillers.

 

I took both my old dogs to a mctimoney chiro just the once, as she wasn't local to me. My boy dog had arthritis and a painful racing injury to his shoulder, like yours he was touchy about it. i think i would have needed a lot of regular sessions to help him. But my girl had a sore back, not very painful but she wouldn't jump in the car. The chiro detected a misalignment in her spine and 1 session sorted her out, she jumped in the car straight afterwards! eta the chiro was very gentle and didn't hurt my dogs at all, she barely touched them. Don't know how it works, but it seemed to.

 

Your boy sounds very sore so pain relief and limited exercise would be first, then hopefully mctimoney chiro or another specialist to treat.

 

When i was looking for ideas to help my old dog's arthritis, someone warned me off physiotherapy, saying that had not been effective and hurt their dog. But many people had recommended Mctimoney chiro. So i guess it's just what individual people have had good experience with.

 

Hope he gets better soon.

Edited by Amber
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Guest AimeeBee

I can't quote from my phone, but he just turned 6 in January, he was at nearly 5 when he retired. I spoke with the vet's office and they agreed to see him tomorrow afternoon.

 

He seemed his usual perky self this morning, so I'm praying the scans show nothing and are an expensive peace of mind.

Edited by AimeeBee
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Guest AimeeBee

X-rays of spine, hips, and stifles showed nothing but normal. Vet is thinking a pinched nerve or muscle spasms? He's still pretty ouchy :(

 

Massage, pain meds as needed, and back to light exercise once it stops being so miserable cold and icy out.

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Yes. My Greyhound, and Greyhound/Borzoi/Wolfhound mix both have back and neck issues. My mix girl is mostly neck and middle back, and my Grey has sciatica in her left hip, and a compressed disk in the upper part of her back.. Both are regularly managed with chiropractic adjustments which have worked wonders for them. I try to get them in every 2-3 months, but if either exhibit any signs of discomfort, they get in sooner. I had x-rays done on my grey before starting chiro treatments, and was armed with films at their appt. I was totally amazed when the chiro felt exactly where the problem was before I even told him what the xrays had shown. I am very fortunate to have a great chiro relatively nearby.

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