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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16714
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Since last night my 6 yr shorty who is always happy, started

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since last night my 6 yr shorty ***** ***** who is always happy, started shaking last night around midnight. He yelped when I lightly petted his hind quarters, and today has continued to hide and shake. WHen cleaning the dog yard I noticed he was not "depositing" as much as my other Jack, and when examining him a bit closer- he seems to be full in his abdomen ( I am a human doctor), and was defensive about me palpating. He pooped a bit and seemed to feel better for about 2-3 minutes, played a little- and then back to hiding and shaking. What is a safe treatment for him if he is constipated. It has only been about 12 hours- but it seems to be constipation. I would think if he was partially obstructed, he would be more bloated, and wouldn't really improve if he moved his bowels. Any ideas for trying to gently help him clear whats in the region? He has nothing matted around his anus, and he does not usually eat anything he is not supposed to. ( the other jack is another story- ), and he doesn't have access to anything like garbage cans because he is a shorty and his little legs don't allow him to get into the cans. help????
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: I did, He doesn't have any limp or trouble walking or running for the minute or two after he passed some stool. Last night before we went to bed he was running around like a typical crazy manic jack russel. I actually thought might be some hip soreness or something from that tyrade- but he hasn't had that before. And usually NOTHING will keep him from chasing his ball obsession.
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Henry
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Henry?
Customer: He has no health issues, and has not had this problem before

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
ok, no problem

I am sorry to hear that your fellow Henry doesn't seem himself, shaking, hiding, and yelping when his hindquarters were touched last night. Shaking and hiding are both signs of pain.

I understand that his abdomen seems "fuller than usual" and he's not passing as much stool as usual.

  1. Is he eating normally?
  2. Any trouble (straining) when he passed the stool?
  3. Any trouble getting into position to pass stool?
  4. Was the stool very hard or dry?
  5. Is he hesitating jumping or going up or down stairs?
  6. Any change in treats or food?

Being a ***** ***** if his stool was relatively normal I would be more concerned about intervertebral disc disease or a pulled back muscle.

With back pain they often hold their stools because it hurts to get into and maintain a crouch position.

Stools will be relatively normal and appetite should be ok, but they will usually be quieter than usual, and stairs/jumping are often an issue.

Does this sound like your guy?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
His stools were normal, he seems normal in terms of position, but it was only the one time i saw him. I'll watch him and hid pisition of comfort. No change in good or treats, and i haven't seen him eat or drink today.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Can i assess him for pulled muscle, or back pain. He was a classic jack maniac last night running around like a speeding bullet. It was a few hours later when he was in pain.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Are there positions, he will avoid? Should see if he is, willing to try to go up a stair?

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, sometimes weakness, and in severe cases paralysis.

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.

If there is evidence or severe weakness or paralysis then surgery by a board certified veterinary neurologist, as soon as possible, is indicated.

Ideally he would be examined by his veterinarian as soon as possible. If this is indeed a disc problem your veterinarian can prescribe a steroid or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory to relieve pressure on his spinal cord and nerve roots, as well as something for pain too, such as Tramadol. And if he is having painful muscle spasms then a muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol as well. I understand that may be difficult given the weekend is coming.

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. Do not use a collar for him, a harness which more evenly distributes forces if he pulls on the 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.

He might have discomfort bending over to eat and drink, so elevating his food and water may help too.

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.aspx

There 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 and weakness in dogs.

At home tonight you can also alternate between hot and cold packs for 10 minutes at a time. Warmth relieves muscle spasms and cold decreases inflammation.

Primary constipation is extremely rare in young, otherwise healthy dogs.

If you aren't sure that part of his discomfort isn't related to constipation (his stools seem especially dry or hard, and difficult to pass) you can add 1-2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin (not pie filling, just pumpkin) or Metamucil to his meals to increase fiber. Make sure to get him outdoors frequently to pass stools. Slow, short walks to keep the gut moving may help too.

If he is really having trouble 1/4 cup of milk can soften stools, as most dogs are lactose intolerant.

You can try placing pressure on his back muscles on either side of his spine with your flat finger tips, working from mid chest down to his tail base area. It can hard to get them to show pain because the pain may be deep and he may guard it by tightening his back muscles.

Most dogs will avoid stairs, or may position themselves oddly to do so with back pain.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Dr. Kara and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok thank you. He is eating, and he tried to go uo stairs and stopped. So I'm sure you are right its his back. I couldn't get any appiintment south his vet, I'll try another.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you very much!

You are very welcome, my best to your poor guy.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you, i appreciate your help, i was not thinking it was his back, so I'm very grateful for your help!

You are very welcome. It's hard to be clinical and detached enough to think clearly when the patient is someone we really care about, so completely understandable that you didn't think of back pain.