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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15941
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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10 yr old ***** ***** has swelling at neck and abdomin. Cries

Customer Question

10 yr old ***** ***** has swelling at neck and abdomin. Cries and snapped when tried to put on collar to walk. Cried when tried to pick up. At normal dinner. Bowels moved
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'm sorry to hear about Courtland. He sounds very uncomfortable. Dogs that are painful will snap and cry when any sort of pressure is put on a sore area. Certainly any sort of swelling could be related to an insect bite or sting, but then I would expect him to be itchy, not painful.Unfortunately ***** *****s as a breed are prone to a problem with their intervertebral discs, which are the spongy cushions between the individual vertebrae in their back and neck. These spongy discs can move or rupture and place pressure upon the spinal cord which can lead to pain, and in severe cases paralysis. This can affect the neck and back and lead to muscle spasms, thus the swollen neck and back.Radiographs can sometimes be diagnostic but often early on in the disease process, because the discs are soft tissue not bone, everything will look normal. An MRI is the best way of diagnosing disc disease. If the dog is painful but has no evidence of paralysis we can try strict rest, anti-inflammatories and pain medications for several weeks to allow healing. I am glad to hear that you have given Rimadyl (carprofen) as I hope that can make him more comfortable tonight.If there is evidence or weakness or paralysis then surgery by a board certified veterinary neurologist, as soon as possible, is indicated. Ideally he needs an appointment with his veterinarian. If this is indeed a disc problem your veterinarian can prescribe something more to go along with Rimadyl which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that can relieve pressure on his spinal cord and nerve roots. He needs something for pain too, such as Tramadol. And since he is likely having painful muscle spasms then a muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol as well. He should be closely confined starting now. No stairs, running or jumping. If you have a crate for him I highly recommend using it. The less he moves around the more comfortable he will be and the faster he will heal.He should go out on a leash to relieve himself, but do not use a collar for him. A harness which more evenly distributes forces if he pulls on his leash is better.You will need to confine him for several weeks, even as he starts to feel better or he may reinjure himself.Keeping him on the thin side is recommended to decrease stress on his back, but is no guarantee that he won't have another episode. Once a dog has one bad disc the likelihood of another is very high. If you are interested in reading more here is a link to an excellent article about intervertebral disc disease, its causes and therapy: http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Dog-Health-Center/Bone-Joint-Muscle-Disorders/Intervertebral-Disk-Disease/Symptoms.aspxThere are other less common causes of back pain such as infections, tumors of the vertebrae or the spinal cord itself or fibrocartilagenous emboli but far and away disc disease is the most common cause of back pain in dogs.Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hi Melinda,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Melinda S Courtland. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara