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Dr. Barbara
Dr. Barbara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1614
Experience:  Over 30 years experience in veterinary medicine and surgery.
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My 2 year old terrier had an X-ray on his back and knee joints

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My 2 year old terrier had an X-ray on his back and knee joints on Monday. Vet said everything looked ok . So he is on cage rest and small lead walks in the garden. He seems to be alright most of the time but will suddenly sit down as though having a muscle spasm. Then he is miserable for awhile. Vet seemed to think it is soft tissue problem. Can you help?cannot tolerate anti inflammatory drugs as they make him sick. He is on tramadol which seem to make him even more miserable.
Helen. Sullivan
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Barbara :

Hi Helen, Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm a licensed veterinarian and I'll be happy to try to help you and Bertie. I do need to ask a few questions in order to better help you. . .hope you don't mind.

Dr. Barbara :

What prompted you and your vet to do xrays. . .was Bertie limping? Was he reluctant to get up or to go upstairs? What were his symptoms?

Customer: Sometimes he holds his back right leg up, but that doesn't seem to bother him, but lately his left hind leg seemed to be abit stiff on walking and it he has been abit tender and sore in his lower back region.
Dr. Barbara :

Thanks! Did you vet sedate Bertie to get the xrays and also to more thoroughly evaluate his joints?

Dr. Barbara :

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Dr. Barbara :

Sorry about that!!!! I set something on my computer so it typed the above but then also sent it!!!!

Customer: Yes, plus vets said his joints looked fine. He is a very nervous dog and lives with a older male terrier. Most of the time they are good friends, but he is the under dog in the house and all this seems to be making him worse. They do have small fights now and again. When he was 6 months old he right knee joint was moving abit too much but as I said it doesn't seem to bother him now.
Dr. Barbara :

Good, I'm glad that he was sedated because that lets us position our patients for the most accurate x rays, and also allows the vet to give the most thorough exam.

Dr. Barbara :

One other issue would be back xrays. Sometimes when there is disc inflammation there is nothing seen on xrays. Further diagnostics would be needed, but in my opinion if he doesn't get better with time and rest.

Dr. Barbara :

In what way is tramadol making Bertie miserable?

Customer: Well it is making him more grumpy than usual! Unless it's because he isn't having any walks and the other dogs are. Don't X-rays show disc problems up?
Dr. Barbara :

Not always! Sometimes a myelogram needs to be done. Sometimes an MRI needs to be done.

Customer: He isn't limping or anything like that. We live on a 14 acre farm and I find it very hard work to restrain him in his cage etc.
Dr. Barbara :

If Bertie does have disc disease, the initial treatment is long term rest as long as there is no paralysis or paresis of the rear, and it doesn't sound like there is.

Dr. Barbara :

It does take about 14 days for Tramadol to be effective as a pain reliever. Honestly most vets don't realize this but it is in our "Bible of drug books". . .Plumb's.

Customer: He also seems to get upset tummies because I put him in the cage he then thinks he's done something wrong.
Dr. Barbara :

What were Bertie's problems with NSAIDS, and did he try more than one.

Customer: He was very sick and took quite a few days to get over it. He had metacam
Dr. Barbara :

Cage rest could also be in a play pen sized area, or at the very least keeping him quiet indoors with leash walks as you are doing outdoors.

Customer: I think sometimes that he gets stiffer by staying in the cage.is that possible?
Dr. Barbara :

Do you know if Bertie had liver or kidney problems from the Metacam. . .did he have a blood test? Were you giving the liquid according to his weight or the generic meloxicam pill?

Dr. Barbara :

Getting stiffer with rest sounds most like arthritis. Sometimes joints can have arthritis, but there are no bony arthritic changes yet.

Customer: Yes he had a blood test , everything fine . Yes right amount for his weight 7 syringe drops on food.
Dr. Barbara :

If this is a possibility, I'd start him on Dasuquin and Omega 3 supplements. These are nutriceuticals aimed at decreasing the inflammation in the joints, and producing healthy joint cartilage and fluid.

Dr. Barbara :

Excellent. . .so the metacam was just upsetting to his tummy. Glad he wasn't sicker! We do have other NSAIDS to try and often dogs do better on one than the other. These are really good pain relievers. . .if a dog has no side effects!

Dr. Barbara :

Another pain reliever is gabapentin. This prevents transmission of the pain sensation to the brain. . .a totally different class than tramadol.

Customer: I have a friend who is a doggy osteopath , who has offered to have a look at him. Would that be a good idea or not?
Dr. Barbara :

One other question. . .is Bertie licking near his tail much? Did your vet check his anal glands? Sitting down like he is could indicate that this is where his pain is.

Customer: Yes he does have trouble with his anal glands, but they were cleared about 6 weeks ago.
Dr. Barbara :

Is your friend a veterinarian?

Dr. Barbara :

Hmmmmm. . .maybe this is really where his pain is. Did your vet check them recently?

Customer: No just an osteopath, but she helped my boxer who had spondiytis of the spine.
Dr. Barbara :

So does she do massage?

Customer: No he hasn't. My vet is a man of few words very clever surgeon but not good at explaining things. Yes she does do massage.
Dr. Barbara :

Regarding the massage. . .probably fine, but if Bertie actually has a disc herniation then this would be contraindicated. . .we don't want any movement of the area so that it can fibrose in and heal. . .this takes about 6 weeks. However, Bertie doesn't necessarily have disc disease. I think this would be something to ask your vet there who has done a hands on, sedated exam. If Bertie was my patient and he exhibited signs of pain when I put pressure on his lower spine, then I'd recommend no massage now. However, if Bertie didn't seem painful in his back when I sedated him and he had a normal back xray, then I'd see no problem with massage.

Dr. Barbara :

So, do you think that Bertie is licking excessively under his tail. . .or trying to get to that area?

Customer: No he's not licking. I don't think I will take him yet for a massage, wait awhile, but it's hard on a young dog to restrain him, gets us all down. Anyway thank you Dr. Barbara for your advise.
Customer: By the way my vet did say Bertie's back was sore when he had him in for the X-ray.
Customer: He also still has abit of a cough from the tube on Monday so I expect his throat is sore.
Dr. Barbara :

You're welcome. I think your plan is good, and I do know it is very hard for you and Bertie to keep him quiet. I'd look into other pain relief with your vet, especially since Tramadol takes up to 14 days to be effective. Also, muscle relaxants may be of value here. especially for back pain. A sedative might also help. An OTC product that we often use is Benadryl. 1mg/pound of body weight is a dog's dose. This can be given every 8 hours and could help Bertie with his confinement. Best of luck to you two!

Dr. Barbara :

You are also exactly right. . .those trachea tubes can be quite irritating. Tramadol is also a cough suppressant.

Customer: Thank you. Kind regards.
Dr. Barbara :

If you have any further concerns or questions that come up, you can ask on this thread even after you rate. We have 7 days at no more charge to you!

Dr. Barbara :

Oh, also wanted to address the occasional fighting between your dogs. Usually, these arguments are over food and treats, toys, and our attention. The first thing to do is to not feed them together and not leave food out all of the time. The same would be true for toys. . .OK when given by you and you stay present, but otherwise picked up. You'll just have to be surreptitious about your affection. You might also start noticing any other "trigger points".

Customer: I never leave food down. I think Bertie is jealous of my attention on the other dogs. Thanks again.
Dr. Barbara :

Definitely his trigger then. You are welcome. I'd like to check back in with you in a week just to see how things are going. This too does not cause an extra charge for you :)

Dr. Barbara :

Also, if more questions come up now, I'll be online for the balance of the afternoon.

Customer: Thanks
Dr. Barbara :

Helen, Just checking in to see Bertie (and you!) are doing today. . .

Customer: Hi Barbara,
Customer: He seems ok at the moment today. I think it will be me that needs cage rest soon! I didn't put him in the cage last night. He slept on the settee by the log fire and was fine . Let's hope I am starting to win the long battle. You are very kind to enquire.
Dr. Barbara :

Good to hear. . .understand your angst over his treatment. I'll wish for "your cage" to be on some tropical beach somewhere!

Dr. Barbara :

The rules for Bertie anywhere right now are to keep him quiet, don't allow him to jump onto anything and don't allow him to use stairs. Fortunately he is a smaller dog, so you can lift him up and carry him when necessary. His back should remain in a horizontal position at all times. So when you carry him make sure he doesn't have his feet on your shoulder with you supporting his bottom. Also, some dogs like to "sit up and beg". This puts the back in a vertical and possibly harmful position.

Customer: Thanks for your help. Just wondered if I can give him omega 3 without my vets permission. Had started Glyco Flex 1 but he doesn't like it too much.
Dr. Barbara :

You can. Omega 3 is sold over the counter generally in veterinary offices and comes in appropriate sizes for small, medium and large dogs. I want to go check on the ingredients in glyco-flex 1. . .be right back.

Dr. Barbara :

Omega 3's would be a good addition to Glyco-Flex which doesn't include this.

Dr. Barbara :

Helen,

Dr. Barbara :

I was just thinking about Bertie not liking his pills much. My own dog Scout is the same, and I have to hide her pills in a small amount of canned food with her breakfast each AM.

Dr. Barbara :

Are you familiar with Pill Pockets? These are tasty treats with a pocket to put a pill. This works for many dogs. Another trick is to hide the pill in a treat of a little peanut butter.

Dr. Barbara :

Hope Bertie is continuing to improve!

Customer: Yes, I think he is slightly better. Very miserable because he can't run free. I will try what you suggest re pills. He has been abit sick last night , but did worm my dogs yesterday so hope it's that. Kind regards.
Customer: Helen.
Dr. Barbara :

Hope he is doing better this AM. Benadryl would provide some sedation and make his confinement easier. . .perhaps!

Customer: Perhaps we could both have some! But on a more serious note I really think he does need some sort of anti inflammatory drug. But the vet did say that any of them will make him sick. Have they all the same ingredients? I thought Benadryl was an anti histamine?
Dr. Barbara :

Benadryl is an antihistamine, but this is not the same as an anti inflammatory. Other drugs in the anti inflammatory class are Rimadyl (carprofen), Peroxicam, Etogesic, Deramaxx, ibuprofen (not recommended for dogs) and aspirin. Often when a dog is reacting to one they do fine (after a 5-7 day "washout period") with another anti inflammatory).

Dr. Barbara :

Benadryl is a histamine blocker and can actually be used to calm an upset stomach.

Customer: Thanks again for your patience and time.
Dr. Barbara :

You are so welcome. I'm enjoying working with you especially since Bertie is starting to feel better!

Customer:

Bertie seemed alot better today, but tonight after his supper he suddenly ran over to me and sat down and started to shake. I think he had a muscle spasm or perhaps his anal glands are blocked because when i go near his rear end he goes to bite me.My husband did let him free for awhile today when i was out. I will kill him later on! have ordered omega 3 for him and will take him to vets this week again. So it goes on! He is now sulking in his basket!

Dr. Barbara :

:D

Dr. Barbara :

I think to have your vet check his anal glands again is a great idea. Also, perhaps Bertie has re-inflamed his back with his romp today! That is a definite possibility! What do you think about trying a little aspirin or bufferin?

Dr. Barbara :

You might also ask your vet for a muscle relaxer and to try a different NSAID. . .but of course monitor Bertie closely.

Customer: Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX you were my vet.
Dr. Barbara and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 3 years ago.
Hi Helen,
Just checking in on you and Bertie. . .how is everything going?
I hope to hear from you soon. . .
Dr. Barbara