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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24467
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Our 7.5 yo, 45 lb male mix breed (our guess: most likely

Customer Question

Our 7.5 yo, 45 lb male mix breed (our guess: most likely beagle and shepherd mix) suddenly developed pain and weakness in his hind quarters about 2 weeks ago. We visited a local vet who took x-rays and determined that the dog developed some kind of sensitivity in his spine (pinched nerve?) that cause the pain and weakness in his hind quarters.
Vet prescribed prednisone 20mg for 5 days, then tapering down. Also added a muscle relaxer and a stomach lining protectant. Dog has shown several of the side effects, such as reduced bladder control, depression, trembling, more drinking.
We are now in phase 3 of prednisone and tapering down to 5 mg per day. However the dog is losing interest in drinking and eating, panting constantly (prednisone?) and at times, trembling significantly (prednisone?). Also , the pain is not gone and the weakness in the hind quarters seems to continue to increase.
This dog was healthy until about 4 weeks ago, when he first developed a sneezing cough, maybe kennel cough, passed on to him by a friendly dog we know.
We are looking for a prognosis and suggestions for what else could be happening that we may try to have treated.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Toni. In general, if my patient is suspected of suffering from a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder - usually degenerative disk disease/ a "slipped disk") in a Beagle or Beagle mix) doesn't respond to an antiinflammatory drug or, indeed, worsens, he becomes a candidate for surgical decompression of his spine. This is not to be thought of lightly as it requires MRI in order to clarify which segment of the spinal cord is involved and then advanced surgery performed by a specialist.

Prednisone is no longer the antiinflammatory of choice for these dogs if for the only reason that such adverse effects as you mentioned arise far too often. Panting and urinary incontinence as well as secondary infections are seen with prednisone but I believe Toni's pain is causing his inappetence, panting, and trembling. Prednisone should increase appetite and water intake. Toni needs to be prescribed a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol, a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam (already prescribed), and a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam substituted for the prednisone. His vet needs to know what you're seeing and surgical intervention needs to be discussed with his vet.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.