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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16920
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Lack of interest of activities Kinda hard to get up and down

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Lack of interest of activities
Kinda hard to get up and down off the couch or stairs
Not a lot of interest in playing

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.

I am sorry to hear that your pup seems to not be his usual energetic, perky self today, difficulty getting on and off the couch and up and down the stairs.

Is he eating and drinking ok?

Is he limping, or does he seem to be walking/moving more gingerly than usual?

If he is eating ok then it sounds like he has some musculoskeletal pain that is making him feel lethargic and reluctant to do the things he usually easily does.

There are several reasons for lameness/musculoskeletal pain

Dogs that are painful will hesitate jumping or climbing stairs and display the sort of behavior he is, either because it hurts to do the activity or because they feel weaker than usual. They tend to sleep more because they are painful when they are up and moving around, and it can be exhausting guarding themselves, tensing their muscles, and having to work harder to do what used to be so much easier.

This is most commonly associated with 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, 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 weakness or paralysis then surgery by a board certified veterinary neurologist, as soon as possible, is indicated.

Ideally he would see his veterinarian. 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.

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 his leash is better. You will need to confine him for several weeks, even as he starts to feel better or he may reinjure himself.

You can alternate warm and cold compresses on his back and neck for 10 minutes at a time several times a day. Cold reduces inflammation, and heat helps soothe painful muscle spasms.

Keeping her on the thin side is recommended to decrease stress on her 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.

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 in dogs.

If he doesn't seem especially painful it may be that he has some sort of internal organ or endocrine disease that is making him feel very sluggish. Ideally he would have some screening bloodwork done, a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and thyroid profile if he seems more weak/tired then painful.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He broke his leg when he was a puppy and he's favoring that side. Capone is going to be 10 in May he's very fit and active normally but lately he seems to have no interest in anything Sunday it was 82 (were in michigan) I filled up his pool we were inside and outside all day upstairs and down in and out of the air conditioning. I know he's getting older do u think be could just be tired and the playfulness cought up to him?

It's possible that he is very sore and stiff from overdoing things this weekend. But his sudden change in behavior is concerning.

If he isn't eating well, or he doesn't come out of this after a few day's rest then it is time for an exam. This may be arthritis catching up to him, but being an older guy we need to worry about internal organ disease or even cancer unfortunately.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
My plan was to wait till Friday and see if he comes out of it if now make an apt w our regular get I'm still sore from working over the weekend is this a good plan or can I do something to help.him now

If he is eating and drinking fine that should be ok, but if he's also not eating and drinking normally I would have him seen sooner.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He is eating treats like nothing is wrong and drinking water all day

But is he willing to eat his normal dog food? If not then that is reason for concern in an older fellow after 24-48 hours.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I haven't noticed I guess I will.keep.a close eye but drinking water like normal

I am glad to hear he is drinking fine. Pay attention to his food intake and if that is off have him seen sooner.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok thank you

You are very welcome.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Can I give him anything for pain now

I would hold off for now given his age and that we are unsure about organ function.

You can use hot and cold compresses on his back and neck, or any joint that you feel may be uncomfortable, for 10 minutes at a time. Cold reduces inflammation and heat helps with painful muscle spasms.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
to make sure he's eating I have broken up a few treats and hid them in his food he seems to be eating and holding it down

Very good. Sometimes by adding something we can get them to eat short term, but if they aren't feeling well then their appetite falls off again.

Try the hot and cold compresses and see if he will eat his food without treats over the next 24-48 hours.

If he is improving and keeps eating even without additions to his food then this is likely musculoskeletal pain.

Long term for joint pain and to keep arthritis formation as little as possible I do recommend using a combination of a glucosamine/chondroitin product (examples are Dasuquin or Cosequin) and an omega 3 fatty acid (like 3V Caps or Derm Caps). These work synergistically and improve cartilage health and joint fluid quality and quantity as well as reducing inflammation. They can take several weeks to see full improvement but some dogs do very well with them alone to control pain and inflammation. They are available over the counter.

Another option is a product called Duralactin. This is an anti-inflammatory product derived from milk proteins and it also has omega 3 fatty acids incorporated into it which can be very helpful. See this link for further information: http://www.duralactin.com/products_canine.htm

If that's not enough his veterinarian can prescribe drugs that are more potent for longer use. Veterinary drugs we can add include a nonsteroidal like Metacam, (as he is already on), Deramaxx, Previcox or Rimadyl. If those aren't enough we can add another drug in the opiod family called Tramadol and/or another drug called Gabapentin.

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