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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16210
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My name is ***** *****. I'm just looking info about what

Customer Question

Hi, my name is ***** *****. I'm just looking for some info about what possibly may be wrong with my dog
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: male staffie, he was 7 last November. A little over a week ago he suddlenly started yelping & was in quite some pain in his back/hip area
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Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

Was there a trauma, slip, fall, or injury prior to the signs?

When does he react to this discomfort? At rest, when rising, or when handled in the area?

Does he drag his feet or ever try to walk on the top of his paws?

Has any treatment been tried?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm not sure what happened? Unsure if he slipped? Almost a fortnight ago we just found him in pain. Initially I thought it may have been a snake bite, as we're prone to snakes where we live. We tried to touch him to find the source of the pain, it appeared to be in his lower back/hip area. We monitored him for the rest of the day but he didn't exhibit any signs of a snake bite, just pain when walking. Over the last 18 months we have noticed that sometimes when he is changing direction when running or walking that his back legs seem to collapse, although he never appear to be in any pain.
The next day is was in more pain, we took him to the vets & they gave him pain killers & anti-inflammatory medication. They did a neurological test & said his responses were good. We took him home, but then 2 days later he went downhill so back to the vet for an overnight stay. They took a blood test to eliminate abnormal cells, blood test came back perfect. His next neurological test wasn’t so good, he didn’t respond to putting his back feet into normal position. He is back home with more pain killers & anti-inflammatories & caged so his movement is limited. The best way I can describe how he is walking is he looks drunk. He is wobbly, sometimes falling over, sometimes dragging his feet, but not always. I did youtube dogs with degenerative myelopathy, which I thought he may have the onset of, expect from what I have read there is no pain & he is in pain? Every time I take him to the vet it’s $500, which is adding up & the cost of a MRI scan here in Australia is $1800 (I cannot afford that) I’m just trying to find other possible causes. The pain is when rising, sitting or getting down & general walking. When the pain is really bad he is unable to get up & shakes :(
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you,

I am very sorry to hear about what you are facing here.

His progressive signs are suggestive of spinal based issues. Specifically, with the pain and deterioration of his hind limb function, we’d be concerned about a problem with one of his lower intervertebral discs. These are the shock absorbers between the vertebral bones. When they become diseased (ie inflamed, rupture, pushed out of the place and into the spinal canal), this can cause severe pain and the signs are reporting. Other potential issues that could appear this way, though are less common and less likely would be a spinal abscess, a spinal tumor, or possible fracture of the vertebrae putting pressure on the spine in its canal).

In this case, his prognosis is very guarded. It sounds like your vet already tried to treat for disc and spinal cord inflammation, but the deterioration and lack of response suggests one of these bigger issues. And the problem is that often if we don't get in there and remove the problem disc, they don't get better and can end up paralysed (its the same for people). So, its a less then ideal situation. Especially since while we can xray to check for vertebral bone fractures and may even be able to see disc changes (if they are calcified enough); we usually do have to use MRI to see through that bone and into the spinal canal. And that is quite important in cases like this since we need to know which disc or discs are in trouble so that the surgeon can remove them for him.

Overall, this is a terrbile situation for your lad. It sounds like we have one of these more serious issues lurking and really would need an MRI (we can try xray and hope we get lucky) to see where the disc is in trouble so it can be removed. Otherwise, all we can really do is speak to his vet about trying stronger pain relief, steroids, and muscle relaxants to at least keep the inflammation and pain under control for him.

Please take care,

Dr. B.