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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My 13 year old collie cross has got Spondylosis and

Customer Question

My 13 year old collie cross has got Spondylosis and beginnings of hip dysplasia. He's been walking fine but this morning he didn't really want to go for a walk, then he decided he did but he started dragging his back left leg, didnt seem to know how to walk, then couldn't walk. I rang my vets, they told me to get him home to rest but I had to leave him with some men whilst I ran back for my car. (I couldn't lift him as I have severe back problems!) The man got him in the car, I took him straight to the vets who were going to X-ray his complete back end and spine but he started to walk ok, albeit stiff and wobbly, so told me to take him home and just see how he does. He's struggling to stand up, his legs are wobbly and weak and he's acting very strange, staring at me, looks as if he's going to be sick. I was told he has congestive heart failure and fluid on his lungs (when I lived in Glos for 20 months) but I've returned to Yorkshire and seeing old vet who after an ultrasound of his heart and lungs have told me he doesn't have those conditions and is taking him off all his medication. I just don't know what to do. The vet refused to even check him over but he's not right.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm so sorry that Sunny is having these issues; this must be quite distressing for you both:( I do have a few additional questions to ask about him first if you don't mind:

1. Is he currently taking any medication? Is so, can you provide the name and dosage amount?

2. Is he taking any supplements?

3. Can you take his temperature?

4. Will he eat if you offer him food?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sunny has Hypothyroidism, is taking Thyforon 800mg twice daily, am & pm. Sulphazalazine 500mg twice daily for very sensitive tummy and colitis am & pm. Prilactone 80mg 1 daily am (now stopping). Fortekor 20mg 1 daily pm. Nutriquin x 60 2 capsules on food once daily pm. Was on Furosemide 20mg 1 daily am (not stopped). Renal tinned food (told he had kidney failure but vet also now taking him off that!) He feels warm to the touch, warm, dry nose and warm in groin. He has just had small amount of poached chicken which he has every day. 1 Rodeo and 1 markie biscuit. He's laying on his bed moaning slightly, looks weak, rapid but steady breathing but not panting. (always suffered with panting and over breathing!)
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Thanks for the answers to my questions. My fingers are typing a little slow today so please be patient while I type back a response to you.

Thanks, Deb

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

I can understand your confusion about whether or not he actually has congestive heart failure with secondary pulmonary edema but even if he does have these problems, they shouldn't cause issues with his back legs. Weakness, perhaps, but I wouldn't expect him to be dragging a back leg or have difficulty walking. Nor would I expect these conditions to be painful.

Based on your description of his behavior, it sounds as if he may have issues with his spine (compression of the cord by a disc or mass) or possibly he's exacerbated a previous arthritic condition since I'm fairly certain he has arthritis somewhere in his body. There are other conditions which might also explain his behavior such as:

tick diseases or

leptospirosis or

Discospondylitis (infection along the vertebrae) or

Fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy (or FCE which is a condition involving necrosis or cell death of a region of the spinal cord secondary to infarction (obstruction) of the blood supply.

But I'd want to rule out spinal issues and/or arthritis first. This isn't always the easiest thing to do, even with diagnostic imaging. -X-rays may be suggestive of the first but not diagnostic....although they're usually pretty accurate at detecting arthritis. Often an MRI or CAT scan are required to definitively determine if there's a spinal cord problem.

Spondylosis might cause some issues but not to the extent that you're seeing, at least not in my experience.

I must confess to being somewhat disappointed with your vet that they didn't examine him thoroughly or take xrays since he was there. Even though he may have shown improvement at the time, I would have wanted to know what was going on. But, be that as it may now, I do have a few suggestions if you can't get him back to the vet's office and since he seems to be so uncomfortable.

1. Since I don't see where he's taking any steroids or nsaid medication and he's not vomiting (I assume), then otc Aspirin can be given which may be of help for it's anti-inflammatory and anti-pain properties. The dose would be 10 mgs per pound of body weight twice a day with food to avoid stomach upset.

I honestly don't know if it will be strong enough to provide relief for him but it may help to a certain degree. One hesitation I have about it's use would be if you manage to get him back to the vet's office and they want to prescribe something different for him; Aspirin may interfere with this medication but several doses should be fine.

I don't like to use nsaid medication long term for my cardiac patients if can avoid it but sometimes we have to balance the pros and cons of doing so when there's a patient with multiple issues...such as in this case.

2. If you have access to specific pain medication such as Tramadol or Gabapentin, I can provide the dosage amount of I know his weight. It would be illegal for me to advise the use of a drug which had been prescribed for another patient (human or otherwise) but I can provide the current dosage for a canine patient.

3. I wouldn't necessarily discontinue any of the drugs you mentioned since they aren't likely to be causing his current back end issues. I'd worry if you discontinued them abruptly without discussing this with your vet first.

4. It might be helpful to take his temperature since I wouldn't expect it to be elevated with a spinal or arthritis issue. Normal is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

I do have a long list of supplements that I typically recommend for my patients (in addition to the joint supplement he's taking) which I'll be happy to provide; however, they aren't going to help him now since they take weeks to build up in the system (which you probably already know).

It certainly sounds as if he's in a bad way, unfortunately, and I'm not certain if what I've suggested above will be enough to improve his situation but if you can't get him back in the car for a recheck vet visit, then hopefully the Aspirin alone (if that's all you have) will help him.

Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
He cannot take steroids or painkillers (was on Carprieve) as they cause colitis. He is panting now (it is very warm) I can run my fingers down his spine, he does not seem to wince or cry in pain. Ive just got him up, albeit with a struggle, to get him outside for some air, he does have arthritis in his joints and spondylosis (also quite a few years ago, someone hit him on his back cos he chased their cat - and cracked a vertebrae) he was totally lame and it took a year to get him back to health again so has suffered since then with his back and having alsation cross in him, is beginning with hip dysplasia, going down slightly on back end and front legs also getting weak, easily trips on moors or uneven ground, so keep him to flat walking when possible. He has been doing fine and going on ½ walks but this has never happened before. I was furious that the vet didn't check him over just because he seemed to improve and walk ok but he is struggling, although not, at the moment, as bad as he was this morning. It got worse after he had opened his bowels then couldn't move or walk properly
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

It certainly sounds as if he's had more than his fair share of issues, doesn't it???

That's a real shame that he can't handle any nsaid medication although I don't typically prescribe steroids for my patients with either arthritis or mildly problematic spinal issues.

However, it definitely sounds as if he'd benefit from specific pain medication such as Tramadol and/or Gabapentin. I have had a few patients for whom nsaids caused issues but they've been able to handle these drugs....although they would have to be prescribed by your vet.

I'm glad that he seems a little better. I'm assuming that you're using a towel (or something similar) as a sling to help him stand and to support his weight once he gets up? Most dogs appear to tolerate this sort of assistance fairly well and it doesn't appear to cause more harm or pain.

I'd be pretty upset with the vet as well if I were you. I really don't like to second guess fellow professionals but since he's had so many issues, I just really don't understand why more wasn't done!!!

Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I too am very upset that my vet did not bother to check him but i am going to ring them now to try to get an appointment for this evening before \Sunny gets any worse. I did try (as vet said) to carry his weight with my jacket this morning and when the chap picked him up to carry him, Sunny snarled (not like him at all,he's so gentle) but he was obviously in pain. I do not like the look of him and must ring the vet and demand an appointment. Please can you confirm that I have NOT signed up for a monthly plan (i cannot afford that with all the costs of vets bills) I just clicked "Try 7 day free trial", I did not expect to have to be signed up for a regular monthly payment of £30, I did not ask for that! Ive had 2 emails, one saying thanks for trying 7 day free trial, another saying about the £30 per month plan, which I did not want. I was just trying to get a second opinion as my vet didn't check sunny at the time of the incident. I am now in a bad way myself with worry and must get him to the vets
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

I wholeheartedly agree that he should be rechecked so I'm glad that you're planning on doing so.

Unfortunately, my role is to only answer questions, not deal with the financial end of things. But, I can absolutely assure you that you shouldn't be charged for anything which you didn't agree to spend or sign up for. If there's any question about this, then customer service can be contacted and things can be straightened out.

I know you've got enough on your mind without worrying about being overcharged by this site and my sincere apologies that this burden has been added to what you're already carrying:( But, this site is very, very responsive to correcting mistakes if any were made in the emotional moment of worrying about your pet.

Please continue to keep me posted about him if you have a chance. I'd very much like to know the outcome of your vet's visit. There's no additional charge for repeated questions; in fact even after you've rated (if you do, of course), we can continue to communicate about this issue at no additional charge to you.

Good luck with him. Kindest regards, Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I have got an emergency appointment with the vets at 5.10pm today! I will check with customer services that I have not been signed up for a monthly plan, it was my sister that gave me this site to check for a second opinion as PDSA or other vets are too far away and obviously I am very worried and stressed at Sunnys sudden decline. I will keep you posted if possible and thanks for your help
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

You're more than welcome.

I feel quite certain that things will be worked out satisfactorily about the monthly plan if you did, indeed, unintentionally sign up for it.

I'll look forward to an update after the visit, then. I tend to be on my computer multiple times during the day so if I'm not logged on when you respond back, I'll get back to you soon.

I'll be sending many positive thoughts your way across the pond:) Kindest regards, Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you and if you can, on my behalf, have a word with customer services i would appreciate it, I must dash now to vets, sunny not doing very well and I'm very upset but thanks for trying to help. Regards ***** ***** Sunny
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

I will contact customer service on your behalf.

Again, best of luck with Sunny. Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Deb. Thank you, ***** ***** that. Sunny had to be given a very strong pain killing injection, he has definitely injured his back and back legs and gone lame! The vet that was on duty this morning should have checked and treated Sunny, instead he was sent home to suffer all day! I have to take him back in the morning. If he has improved, they will prescribe pain relief, if not, he will have to have x rays to find out what has happened. This should never have happened, my poor boy is now knocked out, won't eat anything and seems afraid to go to sleep. I am so distraught and extremely upset with my vets attitude this morning, (I saw a different vet this evening). I don't know how they can refuse to treat a very sick, injured animal and send them home in such pain and difficulties. They know of Sunnys history, how much he has suffered, for 13 years and still she did nothing! Sunny is a rescue dog from Dogs Trust (NCDL) that I got when he was just 6 months old and he's not been blessed with good health all his life, but he's my best friend, seen me through the loss of my partner and is the most loyal friend anyone could wish for. It was no wonder, for the first time, I tried a different approach as advised by my sister, an online vet, to get a second opinion, some help, because I was so distraught, I didn't know what else to do. Thats why I tried your site but didn't even realise I had to pay the £21 before I got advice, of which I did pay for my boy, but to find out I had been signed up for a £30 per month plan was not my intention, I only clicked 7 day free trial. The site is very confusing, it tells you to "Click to start 7 day free trial" but once clicked, it automatically seemed to sign me up for that plan of which I did not want. That was not made very clear or I just did not see it amidst my angst and upsets. One does not think straight when in such a distressed state. However, I thank you for all your help Deb and trust this matter can and will be resolved. I will, if you wish, let you know how Sunny gets on.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
By the way, I forgot to tell you, the vet has told me its perfectly fine to just stop the Furosemide and Prilactone immediately. I weaned him off the Furosemide, but they are saying I do not have to do the same with prilactone and also they want to take him off the Fortekor the same way, saying he does not need them! I am totally perplexed that whilst in Gloucestershire, the vet (who was very good) told me he had congestive heart failure, fluid on his lungs, Kidney problems and thus the reason for all the medication - 19 tablets a day. I returned to Yorkshire to my old vets only to be told by the cardiologist/sonographer, he does not have these conditions, his heart is fine apart from slight mid mitral regurgitation which is insignificant. He says everything else is normal, so you can understand my distress at how long sunny has been on this medication, for no apparent reason, when, according to cardiologist, he doesn't need them. Vet in Glos did try Carprieve but it gave Sunny bad colitis, his tummy is extremely sensitive, always has been since I've had him, yet no pain relief for hip dysplasia been given from vets in Yorkshire knowing how much he is suffering then when he went lame, just left to suffer like he has done today. So I hope all this can be resolved as I am sure you can understand my desperation, anger and upsets to see my poor boy suffering so badly and needlessly knowing I am probably losing him. all they ever say is "well, he's an old boy, what do you expect"! He is still my beloved pet, friend and companion and a living creature, not just a £ sign in their accounts! I thank you again for trying so hard to help. I pray he will be ok.
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

Thank goodness you saw a different vet this afternoon!!!

I've been heard to say more than once that age is not a disease and it troubles me greatly when I find out that our beloved canine (or feline) senior citizens are viewed this way.

It sounds as if you both were extremely fortunate to have found each other and the bond that you've created is a special one.

I can't know for sure, of course, if this is why medication was prescribed but some vets will automatically dispense heart medication and associated diuretics when they detect a heart murmur without running additional diagnostics such an x-ray or ultrasound. This is not something that I ever do nor advise.

I would trust the cardiologist when they say that he doesn't suffer from cardiac disease. It is distressing when you think how long he's been taking unnecessary drugs but at least no apparent long-term harm has been done from him doing so.

I do know that this site can be confusing from what other owners have told me but I can't see what you do on your end of things. And, since I don't handle anything to do with the financial end of things, it is a little frustrating that I can't help out when issues arise. But, again, I emphasize that you won't be expected to pay for anything that you haven't authorized. And, I did contact customer service on your behalf and asked that they also contact you; however, it would be best if also directly contact them to confirm....which I know you'll do.

At least Sunny received the care he needed at this last appointment. If you have a minute, I'd be curious to know what injection they gave him...if you know, of course. And, I would appreciate continued updates about him if/when you have the time.

Deb

Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience: I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
Dr. Deb and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you Deb for contacting customer services. I will contact them when my heads straight. Poor Sunny now got terrible colitis, is in and out constantly, passing runny watery mucous, and he can't squat and ends up practically sitting on the ground in the mucous! I don't know what injection he had, I will ask if I remember and let you know, but surely that wouldn't have caused colitis? He's not eaten a thing, not slept a wink all evening (vet said it was strong painkiller and would knock him out for the night!) but it hasn't, he can't settle, keeps asking to go out, got constant feeling he needs to go to loo but does nothing, then can't stand back up, moves around with his back legs practically on the floor, bent inwards at funny angle. Im using towel to support his back end but unlike Sunny, he's getting a bit angry, he's obviously still in pain. I'm very worried it is spinal problems and he should have been treated immediately this morning, instead, i fear its made it worse because nothing was done,. Im so afraid I'm losing him. My bassett hounds legs used to go but he was still walking, happy and eating, Sunny is not! Ill try to remember to contact customer services but i may be in same stressed state as i have been all day so it may take few days before I can contact them unless they can contact me. Thanks again Deb.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry I meant to say, Sunny can't stop drinking either! He's got terrible thirst. Surely this can't be right? Everything seems to be getting worse instead of better!
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

First, let me thank you for the rating; it's greatly appreciated. And, no worries about a few days delay in contacting customer service; they'll still handle the situation regardless of how much time has passed.

Second, let me say how incredibly sorry I am that he doesn't seem to be responding as expected. I wouldn't necessarily expect any injection he received to trigger increased thirst but I suppose it depends on what he was given.

I certainly hope that he wasn't given a steroid injection since I'm quite certain that you told the vet how sensitive he is to these drugs!

I'm fairly certain that you have dealt with his colitis issues enough in the past that whatever suggestions I have you've already done or considered...bland diet, probiotics, etc.

If he does have a spinal issue (which is likely) and he can only be treated with pain killers and not nsaids or steroids (because of his colitis), then we are definitely between a rock and a hard place, as they say. Pain killer drugs alone aren't likely to help with inflammation and thus won't specifically address the problem, unfortunately.

I would love to know what they gave him if you can perhaps find it listed on your receipt??? Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I will let you know Deb after tomorrow what Sunny was given. I just hope tomorrow goes better than Im fearing at the moment and Sunny improves after a sleep and rest, but looking at his legs, I'm not so sure thats going to be the case. He's worn out going in and out to pass mucous, I'm trying to keep him in for as long as possible to stop him overstraining otherwise he will start to pass blood, trying to let it settle and hopefully, Sunny will eventually then realise he has nothing to pass and the sensation will ease. Its straining his legs too much also so I want him to rest if possible. Yes I have tried all the usual things for colitis but Sunny not at all interested in eating anything yet he's had such a tremendous appetite so this too is not normal for him. Even when he's had upset tummy, he's still eaten, but he's not touched anything this evening since having the injection. He had a small amount of chicken and a couple of biscuits this morning but since the jab, nothing! only lots of water.
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

I'm also having a bad feeling about him but I desperately hope I'm wrong:(

I'm hoping that whatever he was given is causing his loss of appetite and increased thirst....and possibly a flare up of his colitis although stress might also be responsible.

I'll definitely be keeping both of you in my thoughts. Deb

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

I just wanted to follow up on Sunny and see how he was doing today.

I also wanted to let you know that I received the following message from Customer Service so all should be good as far as this aspect of things is concerned:

We had processed the request of the customer. We cancelled the free trial for the membership program. We also send her an email about the cancellation of the program.

Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Deb. Having been up all night with Sunny with terrible colitis, and no sleep, the vets said couldn't do X-rays due to his poor, weakened condition. Wouldn't risk anaesthetic. Vet I saw yesterday gave him a Morphine based injection yesterday (no name given) and was surprised it didn't knock him out. Saw another different vet this morning, she gave him an antibiotic injection and a Corticosteroid injection. I said he couldn't have steroids but she said its not on his notes that he can't have steroids and reckons he's had them before and must weigh up the pros and cons of his condition. His legs are still very weak and stiff but bit better than yesterday with bit more mobility. Vet I saw this morning now blames colitis and overstraining as cause of recent decline in his back and legs, too much squatting! She has now given me Gabapentin for pain relief and Yudigest to help settle his tummy. He still had awful colitis this morning so can only hope this other approach will help to settle things down and give him some relief and improvement. His legs are definitely much weaker, he tends to practically sit on the ground, unable to support himself and thus keeps getting covered in his own faeces, needing so many washes (having long fur). However, he does manage to raise himself, albeit stiffly. He has eaten a very small portion of some plain white fish and seems more rested but still getting urges to go to the toilet but if I don't let him out, it seems to pass and he settles down again. My Sister has just text me saying I did the wrong thing giving him fish as it acts as a laxative (I hope not!!) but the vet told me to give him fish or chicken or both, in small portions throughout the day. He has poached chicken every day for his dinner anyway so will try the Yudigest this evening. He was so hungry, first he's eaten in 2 days! I have to take him back Friday for a check up or tomorrow if there is no improvement. Im a bit perplexed at the differing attitudes and treatment but can only go by what they advise in the hopes of improving Sunnys weakened state of health. Yet another load of medication for his system to take! She said his legs are definitely a lot weaker, vet yesterday also said it was his back but vet this morning did not check his back, only his tummy, legs and temperature (normal) and he is very stiff, a lot of resistance upon movement. Vet still says taking him off Furosemide and Prilactone will not have caused this nor will it make him worse!? Im relieved he's eaten and "seems" to have improved, albeit slightly to yesterday but I know his legs are bad. can only hope he sleeps better tonight and the fish does not make the colitis/Diarhea worse. I have received email regarding cancellation of plan thank you but have been told I will now have to "pay per question" so hope I do not have to pay every time we have contact? He is sleeping and resting now, no long walks, only short walks to do his business and wee's then home. We are both worn out but as long as he improves then thats all that matters. Thank you for your help and in resolving the "Plan" that has now been cancelled. Regards, Carole
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

Thanks for the update which is something of a mixed bag in terms of good news/bad news, isn't it??

1. It's not been my experience that fish worsens diarrhea unless you're allergic to it or it's terribly fatty (we want to avoid fat in diarrhea canine patients) . I typically suggest and recommend boiled, skinless, boneless chicken breast and 20-minute boiled white rice for my patients with diarrhea issues, just so you know.

2. I rarely, if ever, sedate or tranquilize my patients when I'm taking x-rays although I do understand that every vet practices differently.

I don't know that it would have been absolutely necessary to take one but it might have been helpful.

3. So glad that he's on Gabapentin which, hopefully, will help control any pain he has.

4. I agree that discontinuing his cardiac medications would in no way cause these current issues or make them worse.

5. No, you don't have to pay every time we have contact. What they meant is that if you post or start an entirely new question, then you'll have to pay.

I, too, am glad to hear that he appears to be responding and will hope that he continues to do so. I know how desperately concerned and worried you are about him but you're doing all you can for him and that's all anyone can do.

Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you Deb. I think I will pass that information onto my Sister who scared me into thinking I'd done wrong in giving him plain white fish (he doesn't like rice unfortunately, spits the bits out!) I was told initially that they would not sedate Sunny for the X-rays then they decided they will but he wasn't sedated for the Ultrasound of his heart! Too many cooks and all that?! I am glad we can continue to correspond (without charge) unless its a new symptom, I have and do appreciate your help and advice, which I think my Sister could do with!! Just because it affects her dog doesn't mean it affects all dogs, and Sunny has had plain white fish before and been ok. (its done in the microwave from frozen for 2 ½ minutes, comes out very moist and he loved it!) They are such tiny portions. As for the Yudigest, again, my sister told me I have to crush them and mix them with his food and she said he will definitely need them now that I've given his fish. The vet told me to give him plain white fish, chicken and leave out the Renal food (for the time being) Told me to sprinkle the Yudigest onto his food but they are hard capsules so do I crush them, capsule and all, or open them and mix to paste (as says on lable) then mix with food? Im losing sight of what I am supposed to be doing or not doing, especially as my old (original) vet refused to talk to me, totally ignores me, I see so many different vets now. I don't know why she is treating me with such contempt. I know she tried to make a new claim for hip dysplasia which PetPlan wrote to them to ask if it was a new condition or continuation of Spondylosis, they said they had not received the letter so I took mine down for them to copy and confirm it is a continuation. I think the old vet has taken umbrage at my complaints and questioning, especially as they never give me the full amount of medications, they only give partial, taking out quite a lot of tablets from their original cartons and boxes! Getting paid twice for one product? Thus I am constantly running out and having to reorder more medication for Sunny. I am still desperately worried, concerned and very upset that my poor boy is suffering so much and being jabbed left right and centre with medications and expecting his weakened system to cope with it all. I am so glad he's a fighter but alas, he is still so unwell, weak, lethargic and very stiff. Its so sad and disheartening that I am doing the best I can (based upon their differing opinions) and although their is some small slight improvement, of which I am pleased to see, he is not out of the woods yet. Carole
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I forgot to add. The vet said that if there is no improvement by Friday, they still intend doing the X-rays (under sedation, which worries me in his condition and age) as she now seems to think there may be something else going on with his tummy and bowels!! Its changing all the time, first it was his back and legs now she's saying it could be something else, his stomach, bowels etc and will want to find out. Its obvious his legs have weakened quite dramatically since yesterday and very suddenly but now he is being treated for a totally different condition because he has developed colitis, but is being given pain relief for his joints. Theres so much happening with my poor lad its difficult to know whats going on and at this rate, I'm afraid his system is going to shut down if given much more medication and injections, adding to his stressful state.
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

1. There are many probiotic products available these days so I'm not familiar with Yudigest. I don't think it matters too much how you get it into him but if you're concerned, you might call the vet's office and ask them.

2. It's very difficult for me to second guess the vets who have been caring for him since I'm not on site. I personally think his colitis is incidental and not the primary problem....which to me, is the issue with his legs. Stress can exacerbate or trigger colitis in canines (as well as human) patients and he's been under a lot of stress lately.

Could something else be going on with his abdomen? I suppose but I'd want to focus on his back legs and possibly spinal issue first if he were my patient and this is being done with the steroids and Gabapentin he's taking.

3. If they absolutely require sedation for an x-ray, I'd refuse if he were my dog. The potential risks involved would not outweigh the benefits...not for me, anyway.

4. Was blood work done on him? Have other conditions such as a tick disease or Leptospirosis been considered although I don't know if you have these diseases in the UK????

From the initial description of his behavior, a spinal issue sounds more likely but I wouldn't completely rule out other possibilities either.

Deb

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I am tired! Ive just realised, the Yudigest is powder to be sprinkled on his food. Its the Gabapentin thats in the capsules which I was wondering about and will have to ring vets to find out how to administer. I too questioned about his back and legs and was just told if he had spinal problems, compression or slipped disc he wouldn't be walking, yet its obvious he has definitely got spinal problems if he can't stand or support himself when going doing his business. Yes, he is under a great deal of stress which could have triggered the colitis, he's becoming very anxious and aggitated but then one does when one is in pain, but I too am under a great deal of stress personally and this too could be affecting him, I understand that. I agree that I am not happy that if they decide he needs to be xrayed that they have to do it under sedation, not at his age, and the vet did agree with that this morning but is still insistent that if his back and legs do not improve, they will sedate to take X-rays! I, like yourself, am worried at the risks involved but the vet said I just have to accept the risks to find out whats happened to his back and legs, but its obvious, somethings not right with his spine (esp having spondylosis) if he can't support himself and his legs are so very weak. I am being put in an very stressful situation of making that decision but she said "its up to me"!? I just don't know what to do for the best for Sunny.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry, am struggling to concentrate, I didn't answer your questions. We do have an infestation of fleas and ticks around here at the moment (living near the moors) so for the first time in 13 years, Sunny was recently treated for flea and ticks and NO, No bloodwork has been carried out, nor checked for Leptospirosis or other conditions. Since returning to Yorkshire, he has suffered so many bites and I don't know if its from this house (black mould, damp, plaster dust etc) or from the moors, but we lived here for 10 years before and not once did he ever suffer with bites. The vet says they are like little growths, lypomas (he has a few fatty lumps) but these are definitely like bites and keep seeping and he has also developed some kind of allergy, constantly rubbing his nose and making it sore. They say its the moors, but with such hard rubbing of his nose and mouth on the ground, furniture or whatever, he is twisting and turning himself like mad like a contortionist and trying to scratch with weakened legs and cannot do so, so he uses the floor, furniture, boxes, to rub his face, nose and mouth and this too could have affected his back but this is not something that the vet has even considered. They even told me he had a growth on the outside of his back right foot which needed removing, again, anaesthetic, but to me it looked like a bite or a sting. I refused the removal, was thing it with salt water and bandaging it every day for couple of months because he kept catching it and making it bleed badly, but it has now healed, does not need bandaging and just looks like another pad, black and soft. So I am so glad I refused removal and anaesthetic, thats another reason, I question sedation for X-rays esp as the ultrasound was done without sedation, why can't his back be done without sedation. They say because its too difficult to keep him still! Carole
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.

Carole,

1. Gabapentin doesn't have to be given with food although it can be. The capsules can be pulled apart and the granules sprinkled on the food or it can be given in a small piece of cheese (or whatever) or it can be mixed with a small amount of water and syringed into the mouth.

It doesn't really matter.

2. I may be at risk for repeating myself but there's no guarantee that an x-ray will definitively diagnose any spinal issues. It may be suggestive but not 100% reliable.

3. I'm becoming more and more unhappy with your vet based on your recounting of what's being told to you!! Obviously, you can't insist that x-rays be done without anesthesia but as I said before, I rarely (if ever) sedate a dog who will lie quietly on his side or back to take them.

And, my x-ray quality is just as good as for those dogs who are sedated.

4. I don't typically run bloodwork if I suspect a spinal issue either but it may be helpful to rule out certain things such as Leptospirosis...which can mimic a lot of other diseases.

Tick diseases are sometimes more of a challenge although if Ehrlichia or Anaplasmosis are present, then the cbc may reflect changes.

We do have tests for many of these diseases, but we are testing for antibodies, not the organism itself, in most cases. If antibodies are not being produced (for whatever reason) then the tests could be negative and yet this is still the underlying problem.
I've also come to believe that there are tick diseases that we haven't even been able to identify yet and thus would not have tests for all of them. Doxycycline is the drug used to treat most tick diseases and I'll often start this drug in the absence of proof that this is what I'm dealing with. If my patient improves within 3 days, then this is the diagnosis as far as I'm concerned until proven otherwise.

I know you're in a really tough situation here and sleep deprivation isn't helping you process all of the information with any clarity.

But, at the end of the day, I know you'll do what's best for Sunny. Deb

You're clearly being put in a very difficult position but I might

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