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How to ice an iliopsoas strain?

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Our 8-year-old was diagnosed with an iliopsoas strain in April. He's very sensitive to meds, so we've had a tough time finding anything to give him any relief and his x-rays haven't shown anything abnormal - even though he "screamed bloody murder" during his last exam when the vet checked his right-side groin, he couldn't recreate the response - so I'm not 100% convinced it's an iliopsoas strain. I'm sure I'm overly sensitive since we lost our last greyhound to osteo and she also started limping, then not using her leg at all - much like what Finn is doing. 

Anywho, the vet suggested we "ice" the strain, but I'm a) not sure exactly where to ice and b) how we could possibly do this given he doesn't tolerate us much when he's not feeling well. I have loads of gel ice packs (and even a cold therapy machine, but we won't use that for him!) since I've had so many knee surgeries - but he gave us no instructions on where/how to do it. I assume it needs to be on the inside part of his upper thigh/groin area - but doing this while he's lying down is going to be impossible once he realizes what we are trying to do and I assume since he can't stand comfortably it would be silly to try and stand there and do it. 

I have some nice towels I use on my knee so he won't feel extreme cold at all, but if he allows us to even put an ice pack up there, how long should we try and do this? Any creative ideas on how to keep it in place since I'm sure he'll move? Perhaps wrap it up with an Ace bandage while he's standing and see if we can then get him to lie down? For what, maybe 15 minutes?

His initial diagnosis was a month & a half ago and he's only getting worse. I'm doubling down on keeping him in solitary confinement and also wanted to try the icing.  

He hasn't tolerated any meds very well yet, so I contacted the vet again today to see if we had other options. 

Any other suggestions - I'll try anything, I just don't want him in pain anymore. :(

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Just curious whether you have seen a specialist... like maybe a neurologist. The neuro did some tests the regular vet didn’t do which helped diagnose my girls limp/not using her R rear leg. It was her back, which we suspected, but a thrust test decided it and helped distinguish between a neurological problem or an orthopedic problem. Well, actually it’s a neurological problem caused by an orthopedic problem. 🙄 But that meant gabapentin was the drug of choice. Not a NSAID. My neuro was great and didn’t even have to do any imaging, just hands on tests. It just seems odd that it’s getting worse but can’t be replicated. I’d think about getting another opinion if you haven’t already. I was concerned about osteo also, as I lost my first hound to it. But it wasn’t. Yay! Unfortunately, now 2 years later, it looks like she does have it in
her L rear leg 😢, but that wasn’t the initial cause of lameness in her R rear leg. Hope you get it figured out. Good luck. 

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Posted (edited)

To the best of my knowledge you can’t ice that type of strain.  Have you tried gabapentin?  If so what dose?  I good way to diagnose I.S.is to palpate through the rectum and lift the tail vertically.  Did your vet perform any radiographs?

Edited by tbhounds

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Hi both - thanks for the replies!

We haven't seen a specialist yet because Finn is SO scared of vets that we're trying to treat this to see if it gets better before moving to a more drastic setting. To my knowledge, the only tests performed were the physical exams (poking, pulling, etc.) and an x-ray (upon my insistence to check for cancer and breaks). 

The girl we lost to osteo 4 years ago went lame like this also and after numerous vet visits, x-rays, exams, medications, etc. - we were told she had a stroke and we should get her into rehab and a specialist immediately. We took her in, put her under for a full MRI and neuro consult, more drugs, more rehab, etc. - when she was still getting worse after all the torture we put her through, we had another x-ray done and they found the osteo. By then it was too late for amputation or any other options (we paid for a consult with Dr Cuoto at that point, as well) and we went into palliative care and lost her less than a month later.

Honestly, I'm not as concerned about the money - I'm not Oprah or anything, but if we have to spend the money to get a diagnosis, treatment, etc., we'll do it. I'm more concerned with Finn about the exams, clinical settings, putting him under for an MRI, etc. When he reaches his breaking point, he lashes out and shuts down and every trip to the vet pushes him a little closer to the edge. On top of that, my husband tried to lift him yesterday to take him down the stairs because he was struggling to walk and he screamed and lashed out. Of course, my husband was intent on doing it so he tried again (even though I asked him not to) and Finn screamed again, growled and ran off to hide in the corner. It took 10 minutes of coaxing to just get him off the bed - so I can't imagine how we'd get him in and out of the truck (SUV) to go to/from the vet. We'd definitely muzzle him - but if he's in that much pain and this is a groin strain, the in & out + the car rides to and from + the exam and standing around at the vet would likely make it worse. 

I just don't want to put him through a lot of stuff he doesn't need. 

 

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I remember being in a very similar position with my grey.  Jack was diagnosed with a groin strain, he was in a lot of pain for a long time, seemed like forever. I was concerned it was osteo and did a consult with Dr. Cuoto.  We were able to get the pain under control with the right medication but it took several trials. I did x rays which were clear, diagnosis was based on physical exam, we did not do an MRI as he slowly got better but I was ready to pursue orthopedic specialist if needed.  It was a long very slow healing time, he is back to normal now.  Every once in awhile it flares up but I know the signs and immediately take action to reduce any further damage.  I wish you the best of luck with Finn.  I know how difficult it can be as Jack is not the most confident dog and also gets overwhelmed easily.

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Before your next vet visit medicate him...ask your vet about giving trazadone prior to your visit.  No vet visit should be allowed to be that traumatic to your dog.  
Please consider a second option...sounds like he’s not improving and you may have been given a misdiagnosis.  If your vet actually cares as they should they would welcome you with a referral.

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