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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5222
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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I have a 14.5 yr old German Shepherd Dog who is not doing

Customer Question

I have a 14.5 yr old German Shepherd Dog who is not doing well. She has a mass on her abdomen, she is losing the fur on the end of her tail, she drags her back paws and now she is in significant pain in her left front area. She yelps when you touch her head the wrong way, or when she steps wrong (she is limping most of the time) or when she shakes her head. Our vet gave us tramadol and gabapentin. They definitely help, but not completely. The bloodwork showed some issues with her kidneys. The vet wants a urine sample and then to start her on steroids. Molly gets VERY stressed at the vet. Do I pursue steroids? or keep up the pain meds until it's time to let her go.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is***** and I am a licensed veterinarian with over 9 years of experience. I am hoping to help you with your pet Molly today. Since I can’t physically exam your pet, I may need to respond with several follow up questions so I can best help you. Remember there is no limit on how many questions you can ask to in order to clarify any information I have provided regarding your pet. I just have a few initial questions to ask to gather some more information if you don’t mind? How is her appetite? How long has her symptoms been going on for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Her appetite has increased quite a bit. She always seems hungry and thirsty. She seems to have some difficulty eating when her pain is bad. Again, the pain is in her head, neck, or front leg...probably nerve pain that radiates.
Symptoms: back paws dragging -> 6 months ago, increased hunger and thirst-> 3 months ago, fur off tail -> 1 month ago, pain in front left area -> 1 week ago. I noticed the mass on her abdomen (about the size of a half grapefruit) about 2 months ago.
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 1 year ago.

Okay thanks for the additional information. Based on the symptoms you are describing it sounds like Molly may be having problems with her spine that could be causing the pain. It be a bulging disc in her back and neck that is causing the back paws to drag, pain in the neck and pain in the front leg. Therefore the spinal cord could be severely inflamed. If that is the case, then steroids may help relieve some of the pain in addition to the gabapentin and Tramadol. But you may see that her thirst and urination may be get worse as a side effect of the drug. But if the pain improves significantly, it may be worth trying her on the steroids.