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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24441
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My 8 year old pomerainian has a similar problem regarding

Customer Question

My 8 year old pomerainian has a similar problem regarding jumping on the bed. It just started a few days a go as the temps dropped to much cooler weather. No limping, seemingly no pain when feeling around on all 4 legs, very active, does cough occasionally (probably from long hair). Could it be arthritis or maybe because of the drop in temp?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Always consider back pain as well as osteoarthritis in an 8 year old miniature dog such as Koda. Difficulty jumping up or down or navigating steps is pathognomonic (particularly indicative) of the pain associated with degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk) in dogs such as he. Supportive evidence of a disk includes vocalizing when approached or lifted, a change in posture - holding the neck stiffly and head lower to the ground - shaking/trembling (pain responses), and behavior changes such as a normally social dog becoming aloof or, conversely, a normally aloof dog becoming "clingy". The colder weather could certainly accentuate the discomfort associated with spinal pain or osteoarthritic changes anywhere in Koda's skeletal system. His vet can prescribe a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug such as meloxicam or carprofen just as you might take such a drug in the form of aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Aspirin is OK in a pinch at a dose of 10 mg/lb twice daily with food. Both ibuprofen and naproxen are toxic to dogs, however.

Coughing in a Pom often indicates tracheal collapse ("collapsing windpipe")but both upper and lower airway disorders can result in coughing. If Koda's coughing is exacerbating, it would be prudent to have his vet auscultate Koda's chest at the same time his vet palpates (feels) his spine for areas of hyperpathia (increased sensitivity) suggestive of a disk.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is any of this urgent if he does not seem to show discomfort? Or are these a few things to point out to his Vet on his next visit?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

It needs "watchful waiting" at this time...particularly if you don't see a positive response to aspirin. Paresis (weakness) or paralysis in any limb(s) arising, however, should prompt immediate attention from Koda's vet. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will exercise (walks) help him or hurt him? He has zero problem running up and down stairs.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Keep him moving, please, but don't enourage jumping on the bed. That's likely to hurt either his hips or spine if he's resistant to doing so at this time. His running up and down the stairs well is a positive prognostic sign!