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Shadow is almost 9. While that is older for a GSD it is hardly ancient. But she is my baby, my heart and soul, my best friend, and the one constant in my life over the past nine years. Yesterday seemed just like any other day....everything was normal. All of a sudden, seriously in like 10 minutes, Shad's back legs did not want to move. She laid there whinning and struggling. I panic, of course....and I call the vet. He was leaving for the day, but said he would meet me at the clinic. Off we went. Bloodwork checked out fine, he said considering her age, she is is in excellent health...liver, lungs kidneys, and heart all going suprisingly strong. Her white count was elevated, so she is on antibiotics. Shadow has had pretty mild arthritis in the past, and by the time we got there, she was walking....all be it a little weak and uncoordinated (at least thats how it looked to me). She is acting ashamed of herself, like she is in trouble. I reassure her she is not, but I don't think it is helping. Vet suggested putting her on Gluco-Flex III or a human grade Glucossamine, which we have started, and putting her on daily NSAID. Metacam or ?? (I can't remember), I had some metacam that we had at home that we used for her flare ups (her bad days when she was a little stiff), so we went with that. We also discussed Adequin injections. She walked out of the vet's office. This morning, it happening again, she can't get up and when she struggles up to a sit, she whines and can't get up any further. My baby is in pain and I do not know how to help her. I am just in tears. For those of you with arthritic dogs, does this sound normal....do you think it will get better? What can I do to help her? I am not even wanting to consider the alternative, although I do not want her sufferring to last forever. I am really beside myself. My family and my baby need a miracle and we need prayers and happy helaing vibes. I am turning to you guys for advice, reassurance, and someone to talk to about all of this. I am sorry this post is so very long and I thank those of you who have made it this far. PLEASE respond with anything...suggestions, experiences, well wishes, etc.
 

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Awwww...Shadow.

I hope the antibiotics help. What is she on?

To me that doesn't sound normal, but I tend to be more nervous.

There is a thread in the general health section about Adequan.

Some other things to check out:

FCE http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_fibrocartilaginous
Other unknown spinal/disc issue
Tick diseases
Vestibular syndrome (not sure-but thought I'd list it) http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_vestibular_disease
DM

Sometimes though they can go from looking bad and having a scary day and then get so much better very quickly. I hope that happens with Shadow.

Is she kind of doing crate rest?

http://www.handicappedpets.com is a good website to check out too.

I also hope some other senior pet owners show up because I am very unsure on these issues.
 

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With the sudden onset you are describing I would be concerned that Shadow has something else going on than just a progression of her arthritis e.g. a problem with a disk in her lower back. I would call and talk to your vet again, making certain that you describe exactly what is happening and how she seems acutely painful. If Shadow doesn't improve I may also ask about a referral to a specialist.

My angel Bonnie was a GSD/Lab mix who had severe hip dysplasia and disk disease. Once we figured out exactly what was going on we very successfully managed her pain (with medications and rehabilitation) and disease for 7 years, until she passed away this past September 9th aged 19 years.

Hang in there. keeping you in my thoughts

Joanne and Spirit
 

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I'm sorry you are going through this with your dog. I know it's hard to see them suffer.

Sounds like could be a disc/spinal cord compression. I think an MRI is the only way to diagnose. I had a dog with sudden onset and it ended up being spinal cord compression. They put her on prednizone but it ended up not working. I'm sure there are many other things that it could be but just wanted to throw out my experience.

Since this is so sudden I tend to think it is not arthritis. I would make an appointment with an ortho vet asap. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well thank you so much for your replies, I will check waht is available to us, but since the holidays funds are going to be so so very short. She just got up slowly and hobbled her way outside to potty, she is eating and drinking fine. I called the vet and he wants me to wait out the weekend and give the meds a chance to kick in. She is not on crate rest so to speak although she is regulating herself fairly well....she sleeps on a big soft bed and that is where she is satying unless she needs to go out to potty. I am bringing her food and water to her so she doesn't have to make the journey down the hall. I will ask the vet though about the possiblity of the other conditions mentioned above. He saw her yesterday and I have his cell if something arises over the weekend. I am just at a loss. I think she acts a little embarrassed at herself, I just keep praising and telling her how wonderful she is with each step. She seems to whine worse if I try to help her with a towel sling, so we just take our time. Lots of love and praise. Please keep the messages coming, it really helps me to talk about it all with people who can understand my pain and love for the most cherished breed and dog of my heart and soul.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh antibiotics are 750 cephalexin 2 times a day.
Glyco-Flex III 4 chewies a day
Metacam once a day (double dose today)
 

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I am sorry to hear Shadow is not feeling well! This does not sound like normal arthritis but does sound like a disc problem.

She is probably acting funny because she doesn't feel well. I would just continue giving her extra attention and TLC. You might try gently massaging the area to relieve some of the stiffness.
 

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Now this is just me, but if it were my dog and the vet thought it *may* be a spinal cord compression/disk issue, I would ask for the prednisone which would hopefully be the best at getting rid of any inflamation in the area as well as ease her pain. Warning though, prednisone will make them drink a lot and go to the bathroom a lot too. Prednisone is not the best thing long term but for short, it is ok based on what my vet said at the time. That being said, I would follow up with a trip to an orthopedic vet asap.

Again, just saying what I would ask the vet if it were MY dog.
 

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Often you can see narrowing of disk spaces on normal radiographs, but sometimes you need to do a myelogram, CT or MRI to confirm the if the disk is just bulging or if there has been a rupture. With my old girl we did CT and saw a 25 - 50% protruding disk. It was sufficient to be painful, but not enough to warrant surgery.

One thing to be aware of - with disk disease vets will often use steroids (e.g. prednisone or dexamethasone). You shouldn't use these if your dog is on NSAIDS (Rimadyl, Metacam, Zubrin, Previcox etc) as you dramatically increase the risk of a gastrointestinal bleed.

Joanne and Spirit
 

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cant offer you any advice, but we're thinking of your family and shadow and wishing her well!!!!

Keep us posted!!
 

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Originally Posted By: JeanKBBMMMAANHow do you make a diagnosis of disc disease? Sorry-this is kind of for my own information. Thanks!
Ringer's was diagnosed with two MRI's - $$$ - he was diagnosed with disc disease in his neck and back.
 

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Originally Posted By: SpiritsmamOften you can see narrowing of disk spaces on normal radiographs, but sometimes you need to do a myelogram, CT or MRI to confirm the if the disk is just bulging or if there has been a rupture. With my old girl we did CT and saw a 25 - 50% protruding disk. It was sufficient to be painful, but not enough to warrant surgery.

One thing to be aware of - with disk disease vets will often use steroids (e.g. prednisone or dexamethasone). You shouldn't use these if your dog is on NSAIDS (Rimadyl, Metacam, Zubrin, Previcox etc) as you dramatically increase the risk of a gastrointestinal bleed.

Joanne and Spirit
That's good to know. Hopefully, your vet would give you good advice as far as meds go.


I know when my girl first started with her sudden symptoms, like the op's dog, my vet diagnosed DM which I didn't questioned/doubted since the symptome were so sudden. When they only got worse we rushed her to a specialist where she was diagnosed quickly. I often have wondered if we would have had a different outcome if she had been treated right away.
 

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If you are trying antibiotiics and there is no response, I might try doxycycline instead of Ceph, since the doxy will hit the tick diseases and many other things that the Ceph won't.

Before I decided anything, I would head straight for a chiropractor. This does sound like a disc problem.

http://www.avcadoctors.com/search_for_avca_certified_doctor.htm


If that is something that you can't do, I would go for acupuncture.
 

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i would do a tick borne disease test first. thats the most non evasive, then i would find an osteopathic or neuro vet. get their opinion, they are specialists and deal with spinal issues every day. then you will have an educated diagnosis, then you can seek other alternatives methods of helping once you know exactly what your dealing with!

i see Lisa recommended chiro for you, i am crushed, she didn't mention it in my post!
 

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Wow this sounds just like what I went through with my Mas 4 weeks ago. One minute he was walking, then next wobbling, then within 10 minutes no use of his back legs, and crying just like your Shadow.

Did you give Shadow anything before you went to the vet, that would have brought down any inflamation? I ask because, when Mas was wobbly I gave him an asa, things went down hill fast and we ended up at the vet's. Mas had to be carried in, but left walking (very unstable, but walking).

Vet did the blood work and a neuro exam on him. Both which turned out fine. Because Mas was starting to get mobile at the office, vet said that he was likely responding to the asa I had given him. Because the other tests showed there was nothing, vet figured he had injured himself internally. He sent us home with Metacam, which Mas got for 2 weeks, and zero activity (suprised we are both still sane)

Is it icy or snowy where you are? I think Mas slipped on some ice when this happened to him, we had just had our first snow fall of the year.

I do the gentle massaging with Mas and it seem to help him. I hope Shadow is doing better. Mas had a similar incident when he was 9 and I was just like you, not prepared to or for that matter, not going to let him go. Here he is a year and a half later!
 

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You need a new vet.
Honestly, you do. You don't need to wait out a dog in pain. You need xrays & some diagnostic help. From my experience over the last several years, you have a male vet. Sometimes they need a dope slap.

I'm with the ones betting on a back problem. Both mine have lumbar sacral disease (not a slipped disk) and some issues related to it. An xray will tell if this is what's going on.

I use chiropractic, accupuncture and a wee bit of derramax (1/2 tablet) before excersize or as needed.
 

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Originally Posted By: middleofnowhere You need a new vet.
Honestly, you do. You don't need to wait out a dog in pain. You need xrays & some diagnostic help. From my experience over the last several years, you have a male vet. Sometimes they need a dope slap.
We really need an emoticon of someone in the process of falling off their chair laughing and crying at the same time. It's so sad that this is so true. At least sometimes.
 
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