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I have a French Bulldog he has had a couple of episodes of

yelping and shivering. I...
I have a French Bulldog he has had a couple of episodes of yelping and shivering. I have taken him to the vet each time and nothing can be found. Tonight it happened again but his time he seemed more comfortable walking. It took us about 20 minutes to get him into the house. I can’t find an area that seems sensitive. Could he maybe have a stomach issue that is causing the issues?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: I checked his paws and they seem to be ok.
JA: What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Chewbaccca he will be 3 on the 10th of December
JA: How old is Chewbaccca?
Customer: 3
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Chewbaccca?
Customer: No that is all the information i have
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
11/27/2017
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,289
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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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.

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I'm sorry to hear about your fellow Chewbacca's seemingly random episodes of yelps, and shivering. He sounds uncomfortable.

I understand that this is frustrating because your veterinarian has been unable to duplicate the event during an exam.

That is not uncommon. Dogs in the clinic will have an adrenaline rush that seems to over-ride their pain response.

These sorts of episodes often point to musculoskeletal pain. Dogs that are suddenly painful will cry out and hesitate to move for fear of making things worse. They display the sort of behavior he is, either because it hurts to do the activity or because they feel weaker than usual.

It is possible that he is having abdominal pain, but then I would expect other symptoms too, like a loss of appetite, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Unfortunately French Bulldogs 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, and in severe cases paralysis. Disc pain can be intermittent, and if they move just the wrong way nerves get pinched and the pain can be excruciating and sudden.

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 if this happens again he would see his veterinarian again and if possible take a video of his pain episode so they can see it. 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.

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.

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

Ideally he would wait to see his veterinarian to take any medication because the prescription medication your veterinarian has for pain will be much safer and work better than any over the counter medications that we take. In fact acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) aren't used in dogs because their effective doses are very close to a toxic dose in dogs.

If you cannot have him examined right away and he is still eating and drinking ok, but is really miserable today the only over the counter anti-inflammatory that can be used in dogs is buffered, enteric coated aspirin (like ascriptin). Aspirin does cause stomach and intestinal irritation and ulceration as well as clotting problems so should not be given for more than 2 to 3 days consecutively and should always be given with a meal. If you choose to use it watch for lack of appetite, vomiting, blood in the stools or dark tarry stools and stop immediately if you see those. Do not use aspirin if your dog has liver or kidney disease or a history of a sensitive stomach or clotting problems, or is not eating.

The dose for aspirin is 5mg to 10mg per pound of body weight orally every 12 hours (about one half of a 325mg aspirin for an 18-35 pound dog every 12 hours). Always give with a meal. Do not use for more than 2 or 3 days.

Be aware if you choose to use aspirin and it doesn't help your veterinarian will be limited on what they can give as there must be a 5 to 7 day washout period between different nonsteroidals or nonsteroidals and steroids.

You can try alternating warm and cold packs on his lower back and neck areas for 10 minutes at a time several times a day.

There are other less common causes of back/neck 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.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,289
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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