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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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Can I give my dog Naproxen, Aleve or Tylenol for a pulled muscle?

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Can I give my dog Naproxen, Aleve or Tylenol for a pulled muscle? He is a 4 year old German Wire Haired Pointer in excellent health.

Dr. John :

Thank you for your question concerning Ollie. What exactly is going on that you think he has a pulled muscle?

Dr. John :

Are you there?

Dr. John :

Let me know if he is partially or mostly weight bearing lame on that right hind leg when you get a chance!

Customer:

He is favoring his right hind leg. I have inspected his foot, pads, legs, etc thoroughly for burrs, cuts or swelling and found none. He doesn't yelp or whine when touching any part of his foot or leg. I tried massage and heating pad and that seems to make it better, but I'm back to work this week and can't be using those methods during the day.

Customer:

He ran out onto a snowy deck yesterday and his back leg slid out behind him, so I believe that is what caused the injury.

Dr. John :

Okay thanks for all of the additional information - how much weight is he willing to put on the leg would you say - from 0%-100%?

Customer:

25%. And he is reluctant to climb the stairs.

Dr. John :

Okay thank you. I will help you with the pain medication part but just wanted to figure out how serious the injury may be.

Dr. John :

25% weight bearing is a little bit concerning

Dr. John :

So regardless of what you give him, he is likely going to need a full evaluation of that back leg if there isn't significant improvement over the next couple of days

Dr. John :

The two most common more serious injuries we have involving the back leg include hip injury (partial or full hip dislocation) and knee ligament tear (the common injury we see in football players, etc)

Dr. John :

Both of these injuries require more than just rest (surgical procedures, etc)

Dr. John :

The most common of these two would be a knee injury and even flexing and extending the knee is unlikely to elicit any pain

Dr. John :

However there is a specific test we do on the knee, called a drawer test, which shows laxity in the knee and typically pain during the test, when that ligament is torn (CCL ligament)

Dr. John :

For the hip - significant pain would be appreciated on manipulation of the hip joint (extension and flexion)

Dr. John :

So, just letting you know what worst case scenario would be if this doesn't start dramatically improving

Dr. John :

Aleve and naproxen are essentially the same drug. Both are VERY unsafe for dogs

Dr. John :

Tylenol hasn't been used much in dogs and can have negative effects on the liver and kidneys (although less so than naproxen)

Dr. John :

We mostly just deal with tylenol in accidental overdose situations

Dr. John :

The best drugs we can use in this type of situation (meaning the safest) are dog specific NSAID drugs. Rimadyl and metacam are two examples. These are the best tolerated and most effective. Sometimes I will add tramadol (synthetic pain drug used in people) to the NSAID drug if the NSAID drug doesn't have quite enough pain control

Dr. John :

As far as over the counter, none are completely safe, but probably the safest of those choices would be plain aspirin

Dr. John :

I have used plain aspirin at 10mg per pound bodyweight every 8-12 hours, as needed in the past but still try to use the dog specific NSAIDs as my first choice for any orthopedic related pain

Dr. John :

Do you have any questions about what I have discussed?

Customer:

Okay, that's good to know. Since he isn't yelping or whining and still wants to play ball, I will just keep him inside and keep using the heating pad/massage for a couple of days. Our regular Vet is out of the office for the next couple of days, but can usually get him in within a day of calling, so if I don't see marked improvement, or if he seems to get worse I will take him in. But now that Ollie is getting extra attention, how to I get my chijuahua to quit pretending to limp? She's not very convincing, but she tries. Thank you for all of your information. I feel much better about the situation now.

Dr. John :

Not sure about the chihuahua as I have never seen a dog fake a limp! Let me provide you with a link on the CCL ligament tear of the knee, just so you know what you are up against if this is worst case scenario (but hopefully we are just dealing with a soft tissue injury!)

Dr. John :

Please let me know if you have any further questions, good luck with Ollie!

Dr. John :

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Customer:

Thanks again. Have a great day.

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