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Ajax Has Some Kind Of Spine Problem, Not Looking At All Good


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Hi Everyone,

We're having an agonizing wait until tomorrow when we can get Ajax in for xrays and MRI. He's been seen by a vet and a neurologist last week, who put him on gabapentin, rymadil, and tramadol. At the time we saw them, his issue was pain that seemed to be in his neck, perhaps disk issues, but we weren't sure. We scheduled him for the diagnostics test tomorrow, the soonest I could get him in.

As it turns out, he has just gotten worse each day, and today is absolutely heart breaking. I'm just hoping he can hang on until tomorrow. He's in agony, slightly relieved by the meds. He's eating somewhat, and drinking, so that's good. He comes to us frequently for affection also, so he's not depressed. He's a fighter, I have to give him that. But he hurts to stand up and walk around, he hurts to lay down, it looks like everything hurts. He's having trouble laying down, standing up, stepping up or down one step because whatever it is hurts so much.

On Thursday night, after we'd seen both vets, I noticed a lump the size of a goose egg on his back, slightly to the side of his spine, just behind his shoulder blades. It feels hard, like it's a swollen part of his spine, not soft. It also doesn't move with his skin. Until we get the diagnostics, some guesses are cancer or a completely blown out thoracic disk. We've been putting cold packs on it and I've been gently massaging his neck and shoulders. Just any little thing we can think of to help him endure until tomorrow. But it's hurting my heart soooo much to see him in so much agony.

Do these symptoms sound familiar to anyone here? He's 10 years old. I am hoping beyond hope that it's not his time to leave us but I may have to accept that it is. We won't know until we get the MRI results.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

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We were going to take him to our regular vet for xrays this morning (they charge less than the neurology vet) but decided that the agony (to him) of getting him into and out of the car wasn't worth saving $47. He's spending most of his time sleeping, which is good. His pain meds are prescribed on an 8-hour schedule and last night we realized they're wearing off around 6 - 7 hours, so today we're giving them to him every 6 hours. If we can just keep him quiet, somewhat sedated until tomorrow morning, that will be good. But since he's not supposed to have his meds (no food or drink) after midnight tonight, when I take him in the morning, I'm going to insist that they give him intravenous pain relief.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Which neurologist are you seeing?

Deanna with galgo Willow, greyhound Finn, and DH Brian
Remembering Marcus (11/16/93 - 11/16/05), Tyler (2/3/01 - 11/6/06), Frazzle (7/2/94 - 7/23/07), Carrie (5/8/96 - 2/24/09), Blitz (3/28/97 - 6/10/11), Symbra (12/30/02 - 7/16/13), Scarlett (10/10/02 - 08/31/13), Wren (5/25/01 - 5/19/14),  Rooster (3/7/07 - 8/28/18), Q (2008 - 8/31/19), and Momma Mia (2002 - 12/9/19).

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I don't know the doctor's name but we're taking him to The Hope Center in Leesburg. Specifically the neurology practice is Bush Veterinary Neurology. They're pretty great, we've taken him there a few years ago for another spine issue.

 

He does have history of spine issues. The earlier one was a disk in his lumbar/sacral area that was bulging enough to put pressure on his spinal cord. We had that surgically corrected, and his recovery was terrific. So this could be the same thing in a different spot. But apparently much worse. It's also possible that it got worse and the goose egg developed because he jumped out of the car for those vet visits last week. The spot between his shoulders is exactly where things get compressed when he lands on his front feet. That's one reason why we don't want to take him for extraneous car trips. Dave tried picking him up to get him out of the car but Ajax freaked out and wouldn't let him. But he did yelp both times he jumped out.

Edited by jetcitywoman

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Just curious if you'd be at "my" location of Bush Neurology. The goose egg is quite frankly concerning - I've not seen or heard of one in relation to a blown disk, but then again, I've only been working at Bush since March, so there are many many things I don't know. In any case, I wish you the best, and you may even get to see Dr. Bush himself; I know he is working at that location on Mondays and Tuesdays in August, just not sure about July. If you are really worried, you can call Bush Neurology today - there is a neurologist on call from 8am-8pm.

Deanna with galgo Willow, greyhound Finn, and DH Brian
Remembering Marcus (11/16/93 - 11/16/05), Tyler (2/3/01 - 11/6/06), Frazzle (7/2/94 - 7/23/07), Carrie (5/8/96 - 2/24/09), Blitz (3/28/97 - 6/10/11), Symbra (12/30/02 - 7/16/13), Scarlett (10/10/02 - 08/31/13), Wren (5/25/01 - 5/19/14),  Rooster (3/7/07 - 8/28/18), Q (2008 - 8/31/19), and Momma Mia (2002 - 12/9/19).

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Just sending best thoughts to you and your pupper.

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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tbhounds: Great minds and all that...

 

JetCityWoman, ask for a prescription for methocarbamol (aka Robaxin). I'm pretty sure it's okay with the other meds he's on, it's available at people pharmacies, and the vet might okay it without you having to take Ajax in right away. (Look it up on GoodRx.com for best prices.)

 

It's a muscle relaxer. If Ajax is tensing up from the pain while trying to stand up or lie down, this should help.

 

I had an elderly dog on it for a couple of years (along with tramadol and gabapentin; we stopped the meloxicam when he started having stomach trouible); Sam was having the same problems with pain when he tried to lie down, and he spent almost an entire night standing up, leaning against me. Then he walked into the vet's office and lay down without a yelp, neatly demolishing my argument that the vet needed to see him right away because of the pain. But the vet could tell Sam really was in pain by the way he moved and the way he flinched when the vet touched his back. My vet prescribed a first-day dosage of double the regular dosage, just to get a good loading dosage in there.

Methocarbamol 500MG. "Take 2 tabs, three times a day for first doses. Then 1 tab three times a day as needed for spasms."

 

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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Yes, we're giving him his meds on a shorter schedule today and keeping him quiet. He's comfy right now, breathing normally and sleeping off and on, so I'm trying not to do anything that might make him want to get up, although I need to give him his next dose in a few minutes. What I noticed last night, on the prescribed schedule, was that the pain meds were wearing off and it takes about 30 minutes for the next dose to "kick in". So today I'm not going to let each dose wear off before giving him the next one. It's less than 24 hours until his appointment now, and I think the most critical thing right now is as you all said, keep his pain under control and keep him as still as possible.

 

Seeing a dog in so much pain (during the time his meds wore off) is really hard to see. He was panting quickly, drooling, slowly walking around or just standing with his head drooped, trying and failing to lay down again, coming to us for reassurance, and repeat. I don't know who is torturing my boy, but I hate their guts with a passion.

 

Re: the robaxin: Is that something they will likely prescribe just from my describing the issue over the phone? Because if they want us to bring him in that won't help. We're bringing him in first thing in the morning anyway.

Edited by jetcitywoman

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Many vets will authorize the robaxin over the phone, especially if they know the dog. It can't hurt to call and find out.

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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I'm glad you're taking Ajax in for an MRI. I wish I had done that in the very beginning when the vet Chase was seeing at the time suspected LS. The cancer and aortic thrombus might have been caught earlier and something could have been done. Hugs :grouphug and best wishes for you and Ajax.

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Oh dear ... gentle hugs for you (and soft scritches for Ajax when he feels up for them).

 

Usually dosages for both Gabapentin and Tramadol are started low and can be safely increased by your vet via phone if they aren't providing the intended pain relief. And the increase can be two-three times initial dose (which is what we had to do when dealing with osteo pain). I'm so glad you have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow, but you need relief for your pup now (and especially for the car ride tomorrow).

 

Best of luck.

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Agree re: gabapentin and tramadol's wide dosage range. Our hounds tend to handle gabapentin well (without any side effects of pacing and panting).

 

A few transport thoughts since I'm assuming you don't have a dog ramp for your car:

Can your car be backed up to a berm, hillside, high curb or any slight elevation of your driveway to reduce the entrance/exit height from your car?

If not, can you build up dog beds to reduce his jumping height? We use memory foam beds, foam exercise mats, etc. in tight spaces if the dog ramp can't fit.

 

I'm so sorry about Ajax's intense pain. :(

Edited by 3greytjoys
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Thanks everyone for the well wishes. When taking him to the vet tomorrow, I plan to let him climb in the side door because he seems able to go up a step easier than down. And when I get there, I'll call into the vet's office and ask them to send someone out to help me lift him out of the car. Whether Ajax likes it or not, I'm not letting him jump. And he's having trouble going down one step into the back yard to potty, so anything other than a ramp won't help much. And you're right, we don't have a ramp (yet, I ordered one which will be here on Tuesday).

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Additional thoughts:

Perhaps a local Greyhound family or adoption group could loan you a ramp for tomorrow.

 

If Ajax gets in the side door, perhaps a seat could be removed so he can stay on floor level. (We've done that for large Greyhound hauls.)

 

Ramp success tip: If Ajax is able to tolerate it next week, here's how we teach our hounds to use a ramp comfortably without fear:

Place ramp on floor level inside house or garage on hounds' most used, narrow traffic path to practice for a few days.

Then lift onto one step for a few days.

Then lift onto second step for a few days, etc. until height is transitioned to car height.

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Good thoughts for Ajax and you. I hope you are able to get him comfortable.

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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tbhounds: Great minds and all that...

 

JetCityWoman, ask for a prescription for methocarbamol (aka Robaxin). I'm pretty sure it's okay with the other meds he's on, it's available at people pharmacies, and the vet might okay it without you having to take Ajax in right away. (Look it up on GoodRx.com for best prices.)

 

It's a muscle relaxer. If Ajax is tensing up from the pain while trying to stand up or lie down, this should help.

 

I had an elderly dog on it for a couple of years (along with tramadol and gabapentin; we stopped the meloxicam when he started having stomach trouible); Sam was having the same problems with pain when he tried to lie down, and he spent almost an entire night standing up, leaning against me. Then he walked into the vet's office and lay down without a yelp, neatly demolishing my argument that the vet needed to see him right away because of the pain. But the vet could tell Sam really was in pain by the way he moved and the way he flinched when the vet touched his back. My vet prescribed a first-day dosage of double the regular dosage, just to get a good loading dosage in there.

 

 

While Robaxin is awesome and I have successfully used it on several hounds you do have to be careful as there is one issue with it.....if the dose is not exactly right than it can relax their muscles so much that it makes the problem worse because for example the discs that were being held in place by the tight- but sadly painful muscles- can and sometimes do then slip out of place which just makes a bad situation worse. Learned that form experience too :( when a substitute vet had me give my girl whole tabs. The primary vet explained the above to me and reduced her dosage down to 1/2 tab. 99% of the time I would only give 1/2 tab BID because of that and it relieved their pain but didn't get them too loose. Also usually used in conjunction with Tramadol. JMO.

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Here's an unhappy update. We had to deliver Ajax into the hands of God this morning. We ended up not needing to do an MRI because the xray showed us what we needed to see. He had osteosarcoma in his spine. The mass that I saw/felt was what used to be one of his spinal processes and the top of one thoracic vertebra, replaced and blown out into a swiss cheese mass.

 

That's the clinical summary. This morning was an experience from Dante's Inferno. His pain meds wore off around 6am because the last dose I could give him was 12am. When we walked him the short distance to the front lawn to pee, he started dragging his rear toes a bit. I got help getting him out of the car at the vet and into the exam room. The vet tech supported his back end in a sling and he walked on his front legs, but his back legs were even more draggy than before the car ride. The following then happened all within the next 5 minutes: He couldn't lay down, so stumbled around the room, dragging his back feet. He lost his bowels. After I cleaned that up, he tried to walk forward a couple steps and walked on the tops of his back paws (textbook neurology). His back end collapsed awkwardly and painfully for him, so I held him by the chest and wrangled a dog bed under him and laid him over on his side. When they came to take him back for xrays, they had to walk him out with two slings and his entire back end was then paralysed, dragging his back feet upside down on the floor (they were gentle with him).

 

It was such a rapid decline it was pretty shocking. The vet said that's common with spinal cord infringement: the cord continues to work as long as it can, then it gives out rather suddenly. Dave and I cried and said goodbye to him and comforted him as the vet gave him the shots. Now the pain is ours to bear (but we're strong). He blessed our lives so much. thank you all for your suggestions and words of comfort.

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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