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He is shaking, having trouble using his back legs, yelpinn…

He is shaking, having...

He is shaking, having trouble using his back legs, yelpinn when touched in the middle of his back and panting. I just gave him some low dose aspirin and put a heating pad on his back. This has seemed to calm him some.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the dog's name and age?

Scotty and he is almost 5 years old

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Scotty?

No I don’t think so.

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Answered in 7 minutes by:
4/28/2018
Vet_Dr.Drea
Vet_Dr.Drea, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 507
Experience: Boarded, licensed, and accredited veterinarian. Interests: general medicine, ophthalmology (eyes).
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Hello, as a licensed veterinarian I am happy to assist you. Please give me a few minutes to type and I will let you know my thoughts...

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you!

The signs you note are most consistent with a lesion that is putting pressure on the spinal cord in the region of the back between his front and back legs. This affects the brains ability to communicate to the legs, hence his difficulty using his legs.

Things that can cause such pressure on the spinal cord include a bulging disc (the cushions in between the vertebrae), a vascular event (such as a blood burst or clot or "fibrocartilagenous embolism"), a mass, or in some cases an infection/inflammatory process such as meningitis (less likely with these localized signs).

The official way to diagnose what the culprit is out of those issues is using an MRI to take detailed pictures of this area of the back. This has to be done at a specialty referral center and under general anesthesia. However, a good place to start is with your local vet who can do an examination and let you know what their top thoughts are.

The treatment and prognosis to walk normally again depends on the lesion and how long it has been there. Bulging discs can sometimes be managed medically (rest and anti-inflammatory medications), but often require surgery to reach full recovery. Masses also may require surgery. It is important to note that the chance to returning to function in the legs can change over time. For example, dogs that are able to move their muscles in the legs have a better prognosis than those who lose that ability. Those who lose pain sensation have the poorest prognosis. For this reason, I recommend Scotty see a vet as soon as possible, and definitely if his signs worsen, as there is risk he could lose more leg function and this may become irreversible.

Another good reason for him to see a vet sooner than later, is for more appropriate pain management. While aspirin can be used in short courses in dogs, it is not a very effective pain medication and it carries significant risk (such as GI bleeding) if used wrong or for longer than very short courses. Better pain management than this is therefore typically necessary. Additionally, aspirin is a blood thinner, which puts him at higher risk of bleeding if you decide to pursue surgery, and for this reason, I do not recommend is as a pain medication in cases that may be surgical.

In summary, I strongly recommend that Scotty see a vet for evaluation, a pain medication prescription, and so you can discuss imaging options (such as MRI) with them.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Thank you for your question. Once you are happy with my answer, please remember to rate my answer so I receive credit for my time. Thank you

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Are you able to tell me on average how much a vet visit for this problem might cost?

Sure, I can give you a rough idea. However, it is important to note that the cost will vary by region. I am located in the Midwest USA and costs for this would be about:

For the initial assessment: whatever the office fee is (usually $50-100). Plus x-rays (usually $100-200) if your vet thinks that would be worthwhile.

For an MRI: about $2,000-3,000. This includes the MRI, anesthesia, pre-anesthesia blood work, and at most places would also include the x-rays I listed above +/- an abdominal ultrasound if they think it's worthwhile.

For back surgery: about $3,000-4,000 for disc surgery or mass removal

Again, these prices will vary by region and by hospital. I would recommend calling the specialty clinic(s) near you and ask them how much an MRI and back surgery would cost.

Vet_Dr.Drea
Vet_Dr.Drea, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 507
Experience: Boarded, licensed, and accredited veterinarian. Interests: general medicine, ophthalmology (eyes).
Verified
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your time.

You are very welcome! I hope this is helpful, feel free to reach out if you have more questions. And I always love to hear how pets do, so feel free to reach out and let me know how Scotty does! I hope he does well!

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Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Customer
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I took him to an emergency vet Sunday...they suggested surgery which I can not afford. As of right now he is on a pain med, an anti inflammatory, a muscle relaxer and a med to keep his stomach calm. He still isn’t using his hind legs but he seems to want to try. He is on crate rest for 6 weeks. I’m just praying these meds work so he can resume a normal life.

I certainly can understand that. Some pets can do well with rest and medical management, so don't give up hope! If he continues to struggle to use his hind legs you could also look into wheelchair options, which many dogs do great with!

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