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7 yo unraced grey - neurological issues? Muscle issues?


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Hello, we are having a difficult time getting a diagnosis for my 7 year old dog, Lemming's,lemming.JPG.af69255a44d28d6474d23842ed33e04e.JPG issue. She started flapping and scratching at her ears a lot two months ago. Took her to the vet - they prescribed ear drops. They couldn't look in her ears as she wouldn't let them. 

Two weeks later, she's still doing it, so back in again. Diagnosed dental pain. She had 15 teeth out. Post surgery, she was still flapping her ears and now we noticed she was tilting her head a lot, and crying out in extreme pain. Assumed it was still dental pain as she recovered from the surgery, kept giving her painkillers, but then when it wasn't resolved after a week, we called the vets again. We got a more experienced vet who said it sounded like a neck issue. He was able to replicate the issue by pressing on her neck (I'm not sure where - we're not allowed into the surgeries here due to covid so everything is conveyed remotely). He gave us gabapentin as well as anti-inflammatories, and referred us for an urgent MRI (which we still haven't had, as it seems everyone in the UK has bought a pup and all the vets/hospitals are overwhelmed). She has a left ear that is continuously twitching. No other neurological signs that I can see. 

The gabapentin has knocked her out, but she still cries when she twists her head. She can walk normally except for the head lean. She is going up and down the stairs as nimbly as ever, was still up for walks (until we knocked her out with the gaba), her appetite is good, although she's more lethargic than usual due to the pain. No nystagmus or any sign of vertigo. When she had her teeth removed, they thoroughly checked her ears and couldn't see anything. She's not stumbling or having difficult coordinating movement. 

She ran into our glass back door 2-3 months ago. Perhaps she crushed a disc? Or could this be a tumour pressing on her spine? She is usually incredibly nimble for a greyhound. She is much more supple and coordinated than our other, 3 year old boy grey. 

It's looking like it will be at least until next week before we get an MRI. I'm worried sick about her. I've had her since she was 18 months old, she's a failed racer as she was too anxious. She is my sweet, little girl. 

Has anyone ever experienced similar issues? 

 

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Lemmin is really cute. I'm sorry she has so much pain. It does seem reasonable that her issue began with her running into the door, as you note this is when she began scratching her ears. Until an MRI can be scheduled, could some x-rays be done? They won't tell you everything but they might give some clues.  How much Gabapentin is she getting? Low dose is typically 100mg 1-3x/day, and it can go up from there quite dramatically (Aiden gets 600mg TID.)

Good luck, and please let us know you're all doing :bighug

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Thanks FiveRoooooers, good suggestion. However I just called our vet and even that will take over a week, as they are so busy. Covid has really screwed things up for us here. I have asked them to book us in for that anyway, and will keep trying for the MRI in the meantime. She's on 300mg three times a day of Gabapentin. She's quite small - only 26 kg. She seems a bit more alert on it today, and is doing a lot more scratching and rubbing of her left ear. 

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That's quite a high dose of gabapentin to begin with.  If she's *too* sedated, ask your vet to bump her back to 100mg.  Though if the 300s aren't making any difference, it's likely not an issue gabapentin will help with anyway.  I would also talk with them about an actual pain reliever such as codeine sulfate.  We usually say to steer clear of most opiate pain relievers as greyhounds don't react to them well, but codeine sulfate seems to be an exception.  Again, start with a smaller dose, and increase carefully if needed.

I second trying to get in for an xray.  It would have been nice if they'd done that when they had her in the clinic the first time.  As Jan said, it won't tell you everything, but will certainly tell you if she has a disc issue or broken vertebrae, or other fracture issues.  They may feel they need to sedate her beforehand, but they really don't if she's that lethargic on gabapentin.  She'll likely just lay however they put her for the five seconds it takes to snap an xray.

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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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Yes unfortunately when she was in with this the last time I wasn't there, as the only appointment we could get was when I was unavailable. My partner took her in (it's his dog too), but I'm the one who makes these kind of decisions for her so he was waiting for my input. She will definitely need sedating as even though she's zonked, she's flickering and panting and shifting around. The vet she's with now is very good, we have four pets and I've been with that surgery for over ten years, but yeah I will ask him about codeine sulfate as the gabapentin doesn't seem to be hitting the head pain. Thank you!

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Still waiting for an appointment with neurology. There is a big backlog in the UK especially for neurology, I've been told. We were bounced from a couple of hospitals straight away as the wait is too long. Hopefully she will get seen next week. Meanwhile, she has adjusted to the gabapentin and it seems to be helping. She is not crying out nearly as often. We haven't been told whether to restrict her movements or not. I'm not sure what to do. 

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It's awful that she can't be seen asap but great that she's responding to the Gaba. It wouldn't be wrong to try to limit her activity until you have more information. A quiet walk in the yard might be ok if you can use a harness on her which would not put any pressure on her neck.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Thanks, yeah, that's what we'll do I think. Poor mutt. She doesn't like being left behind when I walk our other grey. But he is a crazy one and will just be a pest if he doesn't get enough exercise. 

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Hi @okslater, we are in the same boat here in California. Appointment to see a neurologist is 6 weeks out and we likely need an MRI. Maybe you've done this but make sure you're on the waitlist for any cancellations. Perhaps your vet can call to express the urgency. In the meantime, have you considered acupuncture, laser therapy or PEMF therapy to give some relief? 

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Have you tried Trazodone to calm her down?

We used 100mg on my 58 lb Georgie. Do NOT start on that high a dose. Cut it down to 1/4 or 1/2 of that 100 mg pill. It takes the edge off and was the only way to get her nails trimmed at the vet since groomers (and me) couldn't handle her. It took 9 months and we can now take her in without dosing her.

Trazodone wears off after 4 hours +/-. It can be used for helping with thunderstorm issues too. Fireworks maybe.

 

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Not sure how it works in the UK, but here your vet can call for you to get you seen on an emergency basis. You might try asking your regular vet about that. 

It's good that the Gaba is helping in the meantime. I may have missed this, but is she also on muscle relaxers and/or an NSAID? They can all be used safely in combination so worth exploring if she's still having some issues. 

I agree with restricting her to shorter leash walks for now. No running, playing, on/off furniture for now. Limit stairs if you're able. Hopefully it's just something that needs some time to heal. Agree as well that there's no harm in trying pEMF or cold laser, and acupuncture or massage therapy could be helpful if you can find someone good and she will tolerate it. I would avoid chiropractic treatments. 

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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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