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NancyH
NancyH, Pet Health Care, Rescue,Train,Breed
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience:  30+yrs pet vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior & training, responsible breeding, small animal care
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Schnauzer: old female..laying down..comfortable..is walking,running

Customer Question

My 6 yr. old female Schnauzer has been having back spasms that are visible and she is having trouble laying down, and getting comfortable. But is walking,running,going up steps normally. She keeps jerking her head back when the spasm occurs and starts panting. The vet is perplexed and cannot figure out the problem. What could it be? and how can I help her?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
Has the vet done any x-rays? if not I would be tempted to suggest that you have them done to see if there are any compressions in the spine area including along the neck.
She may be getting an occassional 'pinch' in the nerves that causes her pain. Panting as you describe can be a pain response.
If it is a neck issue using a harness instead of a collar for leash walking might work better.
If she was ever trained using sharp leash jerks even when she was younger or if she normally pulls hard on the leash during walks she might have hurt her neck at some point and now that she is aging its bothering her.
You might try a glucosamine supplement as if its an arthritic type condition that can help over time to reduce the pain.
Hope this helps her out!
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Thank you for your response.I have had x-rays done and the vet said a disc looked "suspicious" I do use a harness not a collar and I have never had to jerk her, she walks very well. She is still active and has not hesitated to do her normal routine. She only has trouble trying to lay down and constantly gets up and lays down again,jerking her head back? If it is a pinched nerve or spine compression wouldn't she be hesitant to jump,run,walk? Do you think I should get a second opinion? How long will the spasms last?
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.
 Did your vet give you any medication? Did he perform a neuro exam? Did he see the spasms?

Dr.V

Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
I've had several little dogs over the years with neck issues and its often just one thing that causes the problem for them while they do others fine. Thats why I asked about the neck or spine as an issue. I think what goes on is the spine is fine as long as it is 'suspended' in the framework of the dog but when the dog tries to relax the muscles around the area it twinges.
You might try one of the foam beds that have a firmer support than the polyfill beds or if you are using foam now try one of the polyfill ones.
She may be able to get more comfortable in one of the beds that provides a backrest too. I know my small dogs love the circular beds that look rather like a tire with a rolled thick edge they can rest their chins on and curl their back against.
Talk to your vet about glucosamine pill dosage - or even Adequan shots to see if that helps (thats an injectible glucosamine). I feel that comes under a can't hurt might help heading.
From what I've seen sometimes discs resolve over time and sometimes arthritis freezes them to make them more comfortable and sometimes more vertebrae develop problems. Sometimes a course of steroids resolves the problem and you never are quite sure what the original cause was.
If it gets worse there are meds your vet can prescribe that can help with the pain.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vamvakias's Post: Yes the Vet gave her Rimadyl 2x daily and Robaxin 2x daily. He did see the spasms and also gave her an exam, I'm not sure what all is included in a neuro exam but he test her flexibility and range of motion in her back and neck. He said her X-rays looked "suspicous" and advised low activity. But she runs,jumps,and walks normal. It is hard to keep her at a low activity level even on the muscle relaxer. She seems to be in discomfort only when she tries to lay down? Would this type of injury only hurt when she lays down?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX take glucosamine daily and has a donut bed. Trying to keep her low activity seems to be the problem. I'm afraid her back won't heal if she doesn't slow down! I am perplexed that she wants to run, jump, and play if she has a disc injury?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thank you so much for your help and concern.
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
You are welcome - sorry I couldn't think of something you hadn't already tried!
Thing is with pain meds like Rimadyl - if the animal cannot feel the injury we can't tell them they need to be quiet.
If the round bed seems to be bothering her you might try a rectangular bed instead. I hope she heals up well for you!
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.
 Did he push on her abdomen and get a response? Did he take an xray of the abdomen as well??

Dr.V

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vamvakias's Post: He did push on her abdomen, and said everything seemed normal. He did not take an x-ray of her abdomen.
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.
 What was the xray of?

Dr.V

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
The x-ray was of her spine and neck.
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.

 I know your focus is on the back...but my concern, like yours is the failure to lay down. Back pain, whether neck or lower back, causes a dog to be reluctant to jump up or down...but not usually lay down.


Maybe you should call your vet in the morning and ask if the xray of the spine allows him to see the abdomen...and if not, go in for an xray of the abdomen.  Why? I don't want to upset the vet...but to see if there is evidence of a tumor that this vet can't feel...like on the spleen or liver, something that would cause this dog to not lay down...the spasm may be a reaction to the pain.


Please keep me posted...


Dr.V

 
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thank You for your concern, help, amd quick responses. I will call the Vet in the morning and ask about the x-ray's, and keep you posted on her progress.
Thanks again , Rochelle
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
Had a thought you might also want to consider - your dog is a schnauzer so do you have her professionally groomed? Did the problem show up first following a grooming session?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
No she has not been groomed in 4 weeks, but Thank You for your concern

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