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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19627
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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dog: last few days..yelp..he cannot get comfortable to lie down

Customer Question

The last few days when picking up the dog or playing he sometimes would yelp. I checked him all over and there appears to be no area that is hurt. Today he is not active, appears he is in pain because he cannot get comfortable to lie down. He will lie down on my lap only. He walks with a stance that appears he is stiff looking. He is slow in movement. Loss of appetite also the past couple days.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 8 years ago.
Couple questions:

1. what kind of dog is this? sex?
2. Any chance of trauma?
3. Does it hurt when you turn his head or stretch it up or down?
4. Does it hurt when you press down on the middle of his back just behind his ribs
5. Does he knuckle over his feet or cross over his legs when walking?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Male Rat Terrier about 10.5 lbs. He is 1 year 7 months old. He is a house dog and is only outside for a few minutes to go potty. No to questions 3-5. A couple days ago when picked up he yelped and also last night when playing tug a war with a toy he yelped. I have checked him out all over and put pressure on areas to try to find where the pain is coming from. No luck. I also checked his teeth out and they appear ok. It seems like it's in the neck area. Sometime throughout the day he is more energetic than other times. He just recently was walking in a cirlce trying to find a resting place and he kept laying down and then getting back up trying it all over. He was restless in the middle of the night last night. He is usually very hyper. He also is not fixed.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Male Rat Terrier about 10.5 lbs. He is 1 year 7 months old. He is a house dog and is only outside for a few minutes to go potty. No to questions 3-5. A couple days ago when picked up he yelped and also last night when playing tug a war with a toy he yelped. I have checked him out all over and put pressure on areas to try to find where the pain is coming from. No luck. I also checked his teeth out and they appear ok. It seems like it's in the neck area. Sometime throughout the day he is more energetic than other times. He just recently was walking in a cirlce trying to find a resting place and he kept laying down and then getting back up trying it all over. He was restless in the middle of the night last night. He is usually very hyper. He also is not fixed.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 8 years ago.
sorry about that wait,

Well it sounds like he's not giving you too much to work with here as is often the case. The pain I would assume is either coming from a herniated or bulging disc in the back/ neck or it may be abdominal pain. They are often very hard to separate as lumbar pain can look a lot like abdominal pain.

Some signs to help localize it:
> If he is carrying his head low, near the point of his shoulder, then it's likely neck pain. These guys will also flinch and guard the head when you go to pet them or pick them up- they basically will raise the shoulders and get down on their elbows almost. Without neurologic deficits, this will usually resolve with strict cage rest and anti-inflammatories +/- opiate pain meds. I like Rimadyl and Tramadol. Some prefer steroids.

> If he has an arched back appearance or prefers to be sitting upright against a wall then that is usually back pain or abdominal pain. These guys get painful when you pick them up under the abdomen. With abdominal pain they may also stretch out the front limbs and give the "preying mantis" position. Without vomiting, it's less likely abdominal pain. The one exception would be kidney failure, but these animals will be drinking excessively and urinating excessively or the other side of it very lethargic and unable to produce any urine. Back pain is more likely and will also resolve with the Rimadyl +/- Tramadol as well as strict cage rest.

If neurologic signs progress- knuckling over, inability to move rear or all 4 limbs- then surgery is the only option to decompress the spinal cord.

I would get him seen as soon as possible either tonight at an ER clinic or tomorrow morning with your regular vet. If vomiting occurs, get there tonight. If neurologic signs- get there tonight. If no progression of signs, they keep him in a small crate overnight and do not let him try to jump up or run around. Also keep neck leads off him until you know it's not neck pain as this will make it worse.

Hope that helps, let me know how things go and if you have any other questions.
Dr. Gary and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I took your professional advice and took my sweet Harley (1.7 year old rat terrier) into the emergency. Unfortunately, we found out that he has IVDD (Intravenos Disc Disease). I am so glad I found your site otherwise I woul dhave probably waited until the next business day to take him to the vet. After learning about this lifetime condition and the type of dog he is, it will be hard to maintain his activity to further future episodes. Thank you again for your advice. I have told many people about this site as I have found it extremely helpful.