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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30288
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My dog is acting disoriented, stomach has ccup like spasms

Customer Question

My dog is acting disoriented, stomach has hiccup like spasms and she is having difficulty walking. She whimpers in pain when you pick her up and touch her right side of body near her right front leg. Concerned it is more than back pain. Any thoughts?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Can you clarify what you're seeing which you're describing as disorientation, please? Disorientation implies a change in mentation (mental status) which can arise from primary brain disorders or secondary to metabolic disorders that can affect the brain. "Difficulty walking" also needs to be clarified. Is she paretic (weak), paralyzed, lame, or perhaps ataxic ("drunken sailor")?

I share your concern that she presents as a patient with more than back pain. For example, a meningitis or meningoencephalitis can mimic the signs of degenerative disk disease and will cause a change in mentation unlike a disk. Her symptoms should prompt being attended to by an on-call vet if possible.

Please respond with additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Erin,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Rosie. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your response. Rosie seems to hold her head and neck down frequently, when she does get up to walk her back is hunched up, she seems very anxious and nervous and gets overly jumpy when I come near her. she is sleeping quite a bit and eating and drinking minimally.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. Her posture is pathognomonic (particularly indicative) of cervical myelopathy (neck spinal cord disorder) or encephalopathy (brain disorder). It can be a challenge differentiating one from the other often requiring advanced imaging in the form of MRI. Her history of back pain would place cervical myelopathy on the top of my differential diagnosis list. Tramadol is valuable in these cases and conservative care should also include a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam and a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. This information is very helpful!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.