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Sudden extreme pain in greyhound’s leg


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Hello! Our greyhound will be 10 this year, and this week she suddenly started having pain in her right hind leg. It started out with a Yelp when she got off the couch, but has progressed over the week to heartbreaking and drawn out screaming and shaking when she tries to stand, and now to being intermittently unable to walk once we do her her upright. 

We took her to the vet yesterday for X-rays and blood work. The vet said her X-rays don’t show signs of osteosarcoma or any breaks or tears, so she sent us home with Rimadyl and increasing her Gabapentin to 3 times a day.
 

They gave her a shot of hydro morphone in the office which made her a zombie but finally helped the pain. However, once it wore off the gabapentin and rimadyl are not touching the pain. I plan to call and request Tramadol. 

My question is.. does osteosarcoma always show up on X-rays? With her level of pain and screaming I can’t imagine it’s just arthritis, and I know she’s of the age for cancer to be common. We are waiting for radiographers to review the X-rays since the vet didn’t find anything, but my gut is telling me this is serious and not just a pulled muscle or soreness. I know greyhounds are dramatic (scream of death etc) but I have never ever seen her Iike this and it is heartbreaking. Thank you! 

 

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No. Not at first. I  remember crying tears of relief when xrays showed no osteo on the back end of my tripod. She left me 1 month later. It did finally show up. 

But that doesn't mean your girl has it. So keep up hope.

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3 hours ago, zimsmom said:

Did they provide the tramadol?  It appears my vet will not prescribe narcotics for these issues any longer. 

Yes, they did. She seems more relaxed now, though she hasn’t had to move around yet since we gave it to her so I haven’t been able to judge her pain when standing. I am hoping it helps! 

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4 hours ago, MP_the4pack said:

No. Not at first. I  remember crying tears of relief when xrays showed no osteo on the back end of my tripod. She left me 1 month later. It did finally show up. 

But that doesn't mean your girl has it. So keep up hope.

I’m sorry to hear that, I know it’s a difficult diagnosis all greyhound owners eventually come across. Not giving up hope— she will have a follow up X-ray in two weeks as our vet said issues can lag a couple weeks behind symptoms, as unfortunately seemed to happen in your girls’ case. I will hope with rest and medication she recovers, but thank you for letting me know that it doesn’t always show in X-rays right away! 

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Digital x-rays provide the best imagery but if too early even a digital might not reveal osteo. Sometimes a second read of the image give you an answer. Personally I would do the drugs, crate rest and if no improvement in 3 weeks more images. Sorry to hear this, been there twice.

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1 hour ago, cleptogrey said:

Digital x-rays provide the best imagery but if too early even a digital might not reveal osteo. Sometimes a second read of the image give you an answer. Personally I would do the drugs, crate rest and if no improvement in 3 weeks more images. Sorry to hear this, been there twice.

Thank you, this is what we are doing! The Tramadol is helping her pain now, so hoping she will be comfortable the next couple weeks.

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On 2/18/2021 at 12:19 PM, MaryJane said:

Get a consult with Dr Couto and send the x-rays to him.

Thank you! We have a second xray coming up as the vet said sometimes it takes a couple weeks after symptoms to see changes in the xray. I plan to send the second set to Dr Cuoto if the vet can’t make a definitive diagnosis with them. I didn’t know about Dr Cuoto so I just looked into him and appreciate the referral! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just an update: We took Petra in for her 2 week follow up X-rays today, and the vets still see no signs of anything wrong in the X-ray besides her old racing injury from before we got her. I’m so glad they don’t see any cancer signs, but also frustrated to not know what’s wrong with our poor girl. She has been lying on her bed all the time until we carry her outside, and only the pain meds are keeping her reasonably comfortable. (Rimadyl, Tramadol, gabapentin and amantadine) They are referring us to a neurologist in case it’s a spine issue, and I’m also going to get a consult from Dr Cuoto as recommended here. I can’t fathom what is wrong with her but seeing her stuck immobile for weeks now is heartbreaking :(

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9 hours ago, tbhounds said:

I would definitely follow up with a neurologist-sounds like she needs advanced imaging done at this time.

Dr Cuoto also said her next step is a neurologist. We are getting so frustrated.. both the hospitals with neurology departments/imaging equipment that our vet referred us to are booked until April, while our poor girl is still not standing up on her own. (She is however walking once we help her stand) our vet recommended we take her to the ER to be seen sooner, but the ER sent her home with a Fentanyl patch and said the neurologists are too busy. We are at our wits end. ER said we can try coming back extremely early next week and hope that maybe they’ll be available then. I hope the fentanyl keeps her comfortable the next few days, but it’s so disheartening to feel there are no options to get her help :( thanks for your reply!

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On 3/4/2021 at 10:21 PM, MissRutabaga said:

Dr Cuoto also said her next step is a neurologist. We are getting so frustrated.. both the hospitals with neurology departments/imaging equipment that our vet referred us to are booked until April, while our poor girl is still not standing up on her own. (She is however walking once we help her stand) our vet recommended we take her to the ER to be seen sooner, but the ER sent her home with a Fentanyl patch and said the neurologists are too busy. We are at our wits end. ER said we can try coming back extremely early next week and hope that maybe they’ll be available then. I hope the fentanyl keeps her comfortable the next few days, but it’s so disheartening to feel there are no options to get her help :( thanks for your reply!

Wow...absolutely unacceptable.  Where are you located?  Are you near a veterinary university?

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12 hours ago, tbhounds said:

Wow...absolutely unacceptable.  Where are you located?  Are you near a veterinary university?

We are in Atlanta— UGA veterinary teaching hospital is 2 hours away but we called them and they also don’t have openings until April.

We did end up finding another neurology specialist about an hour away with openings March 15, so for now we have an appointment there and are hoping for a cancellation to get her in sooner!

We can’t believe how hard it has been to get our girl seen. We were also told that an MRI will be $2500-3500 before we can even start treating her which was a pretty shocking wake up. But there’s no way we will leave her in pain so I really hope we can get some answers. Thanks for your concerns :)

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On 3/6/2021 at 7:55 PM, MissRutabaga said:

We are in Atlanta— UGA veterinary teaching hospital is 2 hours away but we called them and they also don’t have openings until April.

We did end up finding another neurology specialist about an hour away with openings March 15, so for now we have an appointment there and are hoping for a cancellation to get her in sooner!

We can’t believe how hard it has been to get our girl seen. We were also told that an MRI will be $2500-3500 before we can even start treating her which was a pretty shocking wake up. But there’s no way we will leave her in pain so I really hope we can get some answers. Thanks for your concerns :)

One other way to be seen sooner is to go “through the back door”....meaning you go to the emergency service (go at night) and have your girl admitted...she would be transferred to the neurologist the next morning.

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I was going to suggest amantadine (relatively unheard of drug for the most part, for pain anyway) -- it was a miracle drug for our Larry and his back end issues - gave us 5 more months with him -- but you are already using that.  Sending prayers you can find out what's going on.  Sounds like a disc issue to me but hard to say.

Edited by RaineysMom

Kim and Bruce - with Rick (Rick Roufus 6/30/16) and missing my sweet greyhound Angels Rainey (LG's Rainey 10/4/2000 - 3/8/2011), Anubis (RJ's Saint Nick 12/25/2001 - 9/12/12) and Zeke (Hey Who Whiz It 4/6/2009 - 7/20/2020) and Larry (PTL Laroach 2/24/2007 - 8/2/2020) -- and Chester (Lab) (8/31/1990 - 5/3/2005), Captain (Schipperke) (10/12/1992 - 6/13/2005) and Remy (GSP) (?/?/1998 - 1/6/2005) at the bridge
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -- Ernest Hemmingway

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23 hours ago, RaineysMom said:

I was going to suggest amantadine (relatively unheard of drug for the most part, for pain anyway) -- it was a miracle drug for our Larry and his back end issues - gave us 5 more months with him -- but you are already using that.  Sending prayers you can find out what's going on.  Sounds like a disc issue to me but hard to say.

Your guess was correct! We finally got the ER to take her in again (after a very poor experience last week where they rejected her) and she was able to get an MRI and she has a herniated disk. They said 75% chance recovery with surgery and 50% chance recovery with an epidural and switching her anti inflammatories to steroids/conservative treatment with PT/acupuncture.

We just had them give the epidural since she is already anesthetized, and we can see if she improves and discuss surgery if needed. We are so glad to have a diagnosis for her and glad it isn't cancer, even though disk disease is a very painful and not great diagnosis too!

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