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Pain In Spine


Guest greygrl
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Guest greygrl

Sorry that I am having to write about this. My 11 yr old Reuben, has always had a wonky spot between his shoulder blades - seemed ticklish or uncomfortable. Gradually over the summer he started having problems lying down & getting up (shaking legs, occasional yelp). I had him examined by his vet & she wasn't able to pinpoint an issue and noted that he didn't have any back end weakness. She ran labs & all came back okay except his thyroid was a bit low, even for a greyhound.

In the past couple weeks things got dramatically worse whereas last week, he couldn't comfortable either standing or lying down & started to limp on his left front leg. He would sometimes just stand in the corner kind of hunched over & whine. He was seen by a different vet at the same clinic & she found the issue is definitely centered between his shoulder blades. She prescribed rimadyl (75mg 2x daily), gabapentin (300mg 3x daily) & codeine (initially 60mg 3x daily but now 4x daily). It's seems like it's working somewhat but it is still really painful getting up, lying down & finding a comfortable position lying down. Sometimes he sleeps but many times he just whines, pants & tries to adjust his position (what seems to be the most comfortable is lying on the left side of his haunches & having his upper body as far to lying on his right side as possible - so totally twisted).


Today he was sedated & full x-rays were taken. The vet just called & said nothing remarkable was found by a board certified radiologist in his legs, shoulders or spine. There was a very small bit of calcification between his T4 & T5 vertebrae.

When I picked him up, even the vet tech said "he's still really uncomfortable despite all the meds." In talking with the vet, she recommended he be referred to a ortho or neural specialist for an MRI. We aren't in a position to do that or surgery so she recommended upping the codeine to 4x daily, adding methocarbamal & stopping the rimadyl so prednisone could be started on Thursday with Pepsid to protect his stomach. She also wants him kept really quiet & using a harness to talk him outside to potty (he's never been a puller though so I don't think his collar caused this). The plan is to see if he can get better with meds. I asked about other things we could do - cold laser/acupuncture, etc & asked if they'd really help at all especially when pain meds don't seem to. She said they may help a bit. Here's the crazy thing: he has a really hard time jumping up into to my car but then jumps out without a hitch, no yelp or nothing (?!?)

Any thoughts, suggestions, etc?

 

I'm getting copies of his x-rays to hopefully send to Dr. Weir at Almost Home for Hounds in Colorado.

 

 

 

Edited by greygrl
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Don't be sorry for wanting to find answers. Unfortunately, you can't always find one. Yours is a common story for our seniors, and, while you may find a combo of meds that will keep him comfortable, you may not be able to "fix" him.

 

A disc issue should have been apparent on the xrays, so it's likely something like arthritis or lumbosacral stenosis. Something that may not be clear with just xrays.

 

I would definitely try acupuncture, if you have access to a good practitioner. Cold laser might also help. Adequan injections?

 

A consult with a good canine neurologist will probably be helpful. One may be willing to do a records review without seeing your dog to see if something jumps out.

 

Good luck!

Edited by greysmom

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Came here to suggest exactly what Greysmom suggested.

 

Rocket loved the cold laser treatment and I did his Adequan injections at home which seemed to offer some relief from similar symptoms although his weakness was in the back end, he did occasionally have a slight limp on the front legs too. X-Rays unremarkable, nothing evident even on a second review by Dr. Cuoto, so we just did as much therapy as he would tolerate.

 

Adequan is expensive, but works well until it sort of becomes ineffective over time. That, acupuncture and cold laser therapy are all worth a try to see if they offer some relief for your boy.

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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Jumping down is usually worse than jumping up for a dog with a neck disc issue. I would still recommend a harness anyway, you wouldnt want undue stress on the neck at this point either, just take the pressure points away. I wonder if it's a pinched nerve or muscle also. Metho might help if this is the case, and it wouldn't hurt to massage him. Pred sounds like a good idea too. It's too bad he's so uncomfortable and am MRI would be the only definitive way to see what is going on. I'm sure they did this, but you could try at home. Grab a treat, and put it in front of his nose. Now move it in a circle towards his right shoulder, see if he follows it to try to eat it. Do the same on the other side. Is he more reluctant to take the treat on any side? Does he carry his head high when he walks? Is he uncertain when he does walk?

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My Sam found methocarbamol really helpful in his later years. When something hurts, you tend to tense muscles, and just doing that can be painful. But methocarbamol is a muscle relaxer, and he was able to lie down and get back up without crying out.

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Guest greygrl

Thanks everyone for your support & suggestions.

 

I will see tomorrow if a neuro vet will do a consult with his records & check into options.

 

Metho is started but stopped rimady so we can start prednisone on Thursday. Unfortunately I was a bit late on his gabapentin this afternoon so he was super uncomfortable. This evening he was acting confused & started to wander around worriedly. Turns out he needed to pee but forgot about his dog door but then went willingly outside.

 

He's got great flexibility to the right (following cheese) and can turn to the left but it is much more difficult. He does hold his head a bit lower but I think he has always done that.

 

He's finally starting to rest peacefully. Hopefully he'll continue & have a good night.

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The Gabapentin might make him a little Spacey for a couple days. Just stick with it until his body adjusts. It will help him.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Massage by a physio could be helpful - it really helped my old boy who had a couple of compressed vertebrae in his lumbar region in his last years. You need to find someone who is properly qualified though - it is the kind of thing that can do more harm than good. Ours was a vet physio, who only got to work after seeing the xrays from the vet.

 

There are chiropractors too - here in the UK I wouldn't use one, because their qualifications are a bit dodgy, but I think that might be different in the US. Have a chat with your vet anyway. My physio was actually one recommended by the greyhound rescue, but my vet was happy to work with her.

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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Good advice already given, so I'll just send :hope that your Reuben feels better soon

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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Guest greygrl

Thanks everyone for your support.

 

We got some sleep but had a pretty rough night & very uncomfortable morning. He's finally sleeping now. After getting more input from trusted veterinarians, I'm not sure if we're going to continue treatment. That all the pain meds are not really working isn't a good sign & indicates a likely nerve issue, potentially a nerve sheath tumor or similar.

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How long has he been on the meds?

 

I don't agree that a disc issues would have definitely been apparent on an x-ray. You often need an MRI to properly diagnose disc issues. We suspect Violet has one and she had an acute incident that was pretty bad, but she's been well managed for the most part since (nearly 2 years ago). Acupuncture was a huge help, especially in that acute phase, and she also gets massage and cold laser, and meds.

 

My first thought was disc issue, but if the pain has continued for some time on those meds it does seem like it could be something more nefarious like cancer. That's a pretty hefty dose of Gabapentin for a disc issue to not respond. Having said that it took a week to really see Violet get back to something close to normal so it's very hard to guess not knowing when you started those meds. Also consider that any exams or x-rays are likely to aggravate the condition.

 

One other option would be to consult with Dr. Couto. You'd want to send the x-rays to him.

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Goose had a more likely than not nerve sheath tumor and we couldn't get his pain under control. It was horrible to lose him early and it not be cancer. Hopefully, it is something else and he is more comfortable. Hugs.

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Cindy with Miss Fancypants, Paris Bueller, Zeke, and Angus 
Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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You said money's an issue. Could you afford an MRI if you had time to pay it off? If so try Care Credit. Depending on a few things you can get anywhere from 6 months to 18 months interest free. But whatever time you get interest free make sure you pay it by then, even if you have to transfer the balance to another card.

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Guest greygrl

Hi all,

 

Thanks again for the support & ideas.

 

He had been on all the pain meds for over a week & they just weren't getting his pain under control.

 

Yesterday evening, he peacefully passed at home surrounded by those who loved him.

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I am so sorry. My outcome was the same. He knew he was loved. Wishing you peace.

gallery_16605_3214_8259.jpg

Cindy with Miss Fancypants, Paris Bueller, Zeke, and Angus 
Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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I'm so sorry. I hope it brings you some comfort knowing you released him from his pain.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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