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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16690
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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hi my chinese crested 6 years old has been sick for over two

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hi my chinese crested 6 years old has been sick for over two months, he yelps in pain doesn't move much just wants to lie in his basket, has had lots of tests, but nothing found bloods, xrays, pain injections up to limit on insurance, next step would be MRI but they want £1700 ! mad cant afford it, just wondered if you had any advise on what could be wrong with him he does have periods 2-3 weeks where he is running around normally, but its like hes been too energetic and maybe overdone it and in pain again
thanx karen
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear about Dexter. He sounds very uncomfortable. Dogs that are painful will hesitate moving around, jumping or climbing stairs and randomly cry out, either because it hurts to do the activity or because they feel weaker than usual.
Unfortunately Chinese Cresteds as a breed are prone to a problem with their intervertebral discs, which are the spongy cushions between the individual vertebrae in their back and neck. These spongy discs can move or rupture and place pressure upon the spinal cord which can lead to pain, and in severe cases paralysis.
Radiographs can sometimes be diagnostic but often early on in the disease process, because the discs are soft tissue not bone, everything will look normal. I suspect that is why your veterinarian has been unable to find anything out of order with testing so far. An MRI is the best way of diagnosing disc disease, but I understand that it may not be affordable for everyone.
If the dog is painful but has no evidence of paralysis we can try strict rest, anti-inflammatories and pain medications for several weeks to allow healing.
If there is evidence or weakness or paralysis then surgery by a board certified veterinary neurologist, as soon as possible, is indicated.
Your veterinarian can prescribe a steroid or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory to relieve pressure on his spinal cord and nerve roots, as well as something for pain too, such as Tramadol. And if he is having painful muscle spasms then a muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol as well.
He should be closely confined starting now. No stairs, running or jumping. If you have a crate for him I highly recommend using it. The less he moves around the more comfortable he will be and the faster he will heal.
He should go out on a leash to relieve himself. Do not use a collar for him, a harness which more evenly distributes forces if he pulls on his leash is better.
You will need to confine him for several weeks, even as he starts to feel better or he may reinjure himself. Keeping him on the thin side is recommended to decrease stress on his back, but is no guarantee that he won't have another episode. Once a dog has one bad disc the likelihood of another is very high.
In his case I suspect that he is starting to heal, then is overactive and reinjures himself and needs to start over healing again.
Long term for joint pain I do recommend using a combination of a glucosamine/chondroitin product (examples are Dasuquin or Cosequin) and an omega 3 fatty acid (like 3V Caps or Derm Caps). I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 10mg to 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound dog could take 80mg to 160mg of EPA per day. Omega 3's and glucosamine/chondroitins work synergistically and improve cartilage health and joint fluid quality and quantity as well as reducing inflammation. They can take several weeks to see full improvement but some dogs do very well with them alone. They are available over the counter.
Another option is a product called Duralactin. This is an anti-inflammatory product derived from milk proteins and it also has omega 3 fatty acids incorporated into it which can be very helpful. See this link for further information: http://www.duralactin.com/products_canine.htm
Other alternative therapies such as cold laser, acupuncture or chiropractic may be of help as well.
If you are interested in reading more here is a link to an excellent article about intervertebral disc disease, its causes and therapy: http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Dog-Health-Center/Bone-Joint-Muscle-Disorders/Intervertebral-Disk-Disease/Symptoms.aspx
There are other less common causes of back pain such as infections, tumors of the vertebrae or the spinal cord itself or fibrocartilagenous emboli. But far and away disc disease is the most common cause of back pain in dogs, and I would not expect him to get better for a while and then have symptoms again with these other disease processes.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Dr Kara thanx 4 answering my q about Dexter, if it was soft tissue damage between the vertebrae would it not be painfull when the vet pressed along his spine? also if his neck had been pulled by a collar would this have damaged himin some way I had to pull him out of a river after he fell off a boat by his collar as this was the only way to get him out !

Karen.... *****@******.*** (could you reply to my email address as I had to give my sister in laws email add b4 as the website wouldnt accept mine)

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Dogs have very strong muscles along the vertebrae on their back and neck called epaxial muscles. When they tense these muscles it can be difficult to get them to show pain even with pressure, and when he is at the veterinary clinic he probably has a release of adrenaline which can mask pain very well.
My pup has neck problems, and sometimes screams out at home if he moves the wrong way, yet gets so excited at the clinic it is almost impossible to get him to show pain.
It is possible that his initial injury was from his fall in the river and being pulled out by his collar, that sort of incident would be a very likely cause. Of course you needed to do whatever was necessary then to save him, so do not fault yourself for that.
I cannot see your email, all contact information is XXXXX on my screen, and I am only allowed to speak to customers via the site, so hopefully your sister in law can pass this on to you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi many thanx for the information I shall definitely try what you have suggested and just play the waiting game and see if he improves

karen

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome, best of luck with your pup, Dr. Kara.
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