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DogAndCatVet
DogAndCatVet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7
Experience:  Compassionate vet with 11 years relevant experience.
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My dog has Nerve damage and loss of use of front leg-ideas

Resolved Question:

My dog has Nerve damage and loss of use of front leg-ideas what the issue could be?

he is in severe pain after visits to vets, emerg clinic. xrays are normal, blood work only shows he is under stress. He has brusing in his arm pit of the effected leg. After 5 days of rest, anti-inflammatories, steroids (then switched to non-steroid), pain meds, icing the area. Shouldn't we see some improvement and less pain daily? He is unable to put any pressure on the paw now, where two days ago he was hobbling on it. Radial Nerve Damage states he would have pain in the leg below the elbow, his pain is in the shoulder and chest. He is an outside dog, he has 5 acres of gated property to run on, no large animals, we can only guess his leg was injured when he was chasing a small animal, and his leg fell into a hole and he ripped the nerves getting out.
He is now on tramadol 50mg-3, every 8 hrs, gabapentin 100 mg-2, every 12 hrs.
Any ideas as to what is going on? How could he have nerve damage adn bruising with no swelling and nothing showing up on the x-ray.
Also, what to do to help him get around? with the pain in the chest and shoulder all the harnesses and carts would put pressure on the painful area...
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  DogAndCatVet replied 2 years ago.

DogAndCatVet :

Hello and welcome! I look forward to helping you with your question about your dog friend.

DogAndCatVet :

I'm hoping to get a bit more information regarding Mocha. You noted that he has nerve damage in one of his front legs and that same leg has bruising in the axillary region (armpit). I'm hoping to chat with you about brachial plexus damage rather than radial nerve damage when you are next back online. You had asked about how he could have nerve damage and bruising with no swelling and no abnormalities on radiographs (x-rays).

DogAndCatVet :

Remember that radiographs are helpful in ruling out skeletal abnormalities such as fractures or dislocations. The brachial nerve plexus is a large bundler of nerves that lives in what would be in Mocha's armpit area. Brachial plexus injuries can happen if a foreleg is hyperextended away from the body, so it's possible he has brachial plexus damage from his front leg being traumatized as it was stretched away from his body and then released back into normal position. The bruising can be from the same trauma and swelling may not be significant.

DogAndCatVet :

Was the diagnosis of nerve damage made by the veterinarians you've visited? It sounds as if his pain is being addressed as best as it can be with oral medication. Is there a veterinary neurologist in your area? I'm happy to continue trying to help once I have a bit more information. I'll check back intermittantly to continue to try and help.

Customer:

Thank you so much for your response. The vet at the emergency clinic did mention possible Brachial plexus nerve damage. The emergency clinic/hospital had specialists there. The suggestion was if he didn't show improvement in a month that he should have a full nerological tests with MRI/catscan. So it is possible he will have this pain for the rest of his life? Or will the pain reduce and he possibly will have nerve improvement or not? He she arthritisis in his hips so it isn't easy for him to get around and not being able to use the limb or walking on the top of his foot and hobbling makes it so difficult to get around. Because of the pain and the area where it is, using a sheet or a towel under him to help him makes him yelp, so the straps or handles to help won't work either. It is all just so puzzling!

Customer:

I will check for a veterinary neurologist, is there a window of time to have therapy or something done by the neurologist to help?

DogAndCatVet :

Hi again. Thank you for your new information.

Customer:

hello

Customer:

no problem, just trying to figure out what the future holds

DogAndCatVet :

What is so difficult about brachial nerve damage is that it's difficult to predict who will get better and who will not. My thought is that with all of the pain medication Mocha is taking, he should be feeling comfortable. If he is not, then it make sense to see the neurologist to confirm what is happening.

DogAndCatVet :

Dogs carry the majority of their weight in the front legs. It's about a 60%/40% distribution from front legs to back legs regarding their weight.

DogAndCatVet :

The pain medication should be helping his back end as well.

DogAndCatVet :

With one of his front legs injured, the other front leg is really being asked to work hard.

Customer:

he is mostly comfortable now when laying down, when he moves he is in pain.

DogAndCatVet :

That make sense, especially given his weight distribution.

Customer:

wow, I wasn't ware of those numbers for weight distribution

DogAndCatVet :

Being a 12 year old lab...he may have osteoarthritis in his good leg....and that leg is going to start hurting, too.

Customer:

any suggestions on how to help him get outside to go to the bathroom?

DogAndCatVet :

However, you already have him on good pain medication, so feel good about that.

Customer:

do you think he might have to be on those pain meds for the rest of his life?

DogAndCatVet :

If someone in the house is big enough to comfortably scoop him up with one human arm around the front of his chest and one human arm around his hind quarters, that person could pick him up without putting pressure on Mocha's sternum or armpit area.

Customer:

ok, I will try that next time

DogAndCatVet :

The brachial plexus is a large bundle of nerves. If Mocha's pain isn't controlled in the near future, the pain may not be controllable and then, unfortunately, we look at quality of life issues.

Customer:

how do you feel about dog carts and wheelchairs? I saw them online

DogAndCatVet :

However, before we have that discussion, it's likely best for both of you to see the neurologist and see what specialty assessment reveals.

Customer:

ok

DogAndCatVet :

I have seen very happy dogs in carts and wheel chairs.

DogAndCatVet :

I think the front leg kids have a harder time...but it's possible.

DogAndCatVet :

What's tough is Mocha's size.

Customer:

just worried it would be too painful

DogAndCatVet :

It's a valid concern, absolutely.

DogAndCatVet :

I hope I've helped.

DogAndCatVet :

Do you have more questions regarding Mocha?

Customer:

yes, thank you so much.. I know the vet said worse case senario would be to remove the leg...worried about his hind legs

DogAndCatVet :

If you feel my answer was helpful, please click the green "accept" button so that I receive a small compensation for my time and can continue helping other worried dog families.

Customer:

thank you so very much!

DogAndCatVet :

I'd be worried about removing a front leg in a senior large breed dog before knowing what the remaining leg can do.

DogAndCatVet :

You are so welcome.

DogAndCatVet :

Good luck with Mocha.

DogAndCatVet :

He's lucky to have you!

DogAndCatVet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7
Experience: Compassionate vet with 11 years relevant experience.
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DogAndCatVet
DogAndCatVet
Dog Veterinarian
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Compassionate vet with 11 years relevant experience.