If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
Hello! My dog recently had a hemilaminectomy surgery done for IVDD. It at all started with him being in severe pain...we knew he had a disc issue in his neck, but were doing conservative therapy with him. We were doing laser therapy which REALLY seemed to help him. We actually thought he was completely better. He was back to his old self. We were VERY strict with him, not allowing him to jump up on anything or go up or down stairs. Then a few weeks after his laser treatements were done, he started having SEVERE pain again. I rushed him to the ER and they said that he was losing some feeling in his front paws and he had 2 bulging discs in his neck. We agreed that surgery was the best route for us. So they kept him overnight and did surgery on him that next morning. He pulled through great and they even said he got to go home early he was doing so well. This was an answer to my prayers! So, he had surgery on Tuesday, and they sent him home on Thursday evening. I got home around 8 pm and we let him eat a little and drink then put him in his crate for the night, right beside our bed. He did wonderful! I noticed the next day that he seemed in pain... the panting and breathing as well as shaking. I thought... well he just had MAJOR surgery on his neck, he is probably just sore. They sent him home with the instructions to give him 1/2 of a tramadol every 8 hours which is 25 mg. He also had a fentenyl patch on his back. By that evening he still looked very uncomfortable and began whining. I thought he had to pee so I picked him up very carefully and he screamed so loud. I totally freaked out and began crying. I sat him down and he continued this terrible sound for about 10 seconds. I rushed him back to the ER because I was so upset and couldnt get any rest because I was so worried about him. They kept him overnight and gave him IV meds. They called me the next morning and said he was doing wonderful, I could come get him. This time he had about 8 diff meds though. He has an antibiotic, 3 meds to prevent stomache ulcers, tramadol, methacarbamol, and prednisone. I have had him home since Thursday morning. Today is Sunday. He had been doing so well, totally pain free and I thought things were starting to look up.
I am still VERY strict with his cage rest as well as potty time he only gets to walk a few steps. I am also strict with his meds and give them to him right when they are due.. I even get up during the night at intervals to give him meds. This morning around 4:30 he had his pain medication due, it was right at 8 hours so it was probably worn off. I gave him his meds and he drank a bit of water in his cage and then I tried to get him to get out of his cage to potty. I took him outside and when I went to set him down to pee he let out that horrible scream again. I just brought him back inside and took him back to his cage, and when I went to set him down in his cage, he did it again... so loud it even woke my husband up. I held him for about ten minutes while he shook and panted and finally I was able to work him into his cage to lay down. He slept through the morning and when I took him out to pee around 9:30, he let out a small whimper, but walked a few steps and did his business. Then he just stretched out in the grass, I had a hard time getting him to get up but he finally did. No whimpering getting back in his cage this time, but I could tell he was uncomfortable.
The vet told me the possibilities of him having another disc that has slipped or having material that migrated and is hurting him. They did a myelogram before and after surgery, and he had no other problematic places other than the 2 discs that were bulging. I just cant wrap my mind around the fact that I could have possibly just spent 4500 bucks and he already slipped another, or something has went wrong. I don't see how he could have, I have been SO incredibly strict with him. I also know that they have to tell me the worst possible scenario too. I don't feel that he has slipped another disc.. its just my gut instinct. I am wanting to talk to someone or hear from someone about the recovery process of this surgery. I know he did fenestration on the other discs in his neck surrounding the 2 that were removed. So that really makes me believe it is not another slipped disc. Is it normal for a dog to still have pain 5 days after this surgery? The vet told me that it can be, and I do need to realize that he just had major surgery on his spinal cord... I know it has to be painful especially at the neck. Do you think he is just really sore from the surgery and that it will fade with time? He is walking just fine, a little wobbly when on the muscle relaxer... just so painful. I am losing sleep over this as well as my sanity. Please someone give me some advice!!!!!!! I don't know what to do if he still has a disc issue in his neck... I simply cannot afford another 4500 bucks I really couldnt afford it the first time, and I can't lose my best friend.
Bless your heart and that of your sweet dog. Hang in there, others will be here shortly to share experiences and advice. It sounds as if you are doing everything correctly, but someone is missing something. Glad you found us.
Christine... and Bailey, playing at the Bridge
?/1999 - 10/25/08
I'm not sure if this is normal crying or not. Yes, he should still be in pain after having surgery so recently. When my dog had her spinal surgery, they started her out on a morphine derivative. It was a controlled narcotic called buprenex gel and I had to put on blue nitrile gloves and rub it on her ear and it was absorbed through the skin. After that ran out, they put her on another super strong pain medication, torbugesic. She spent most of the first month after she had surgery pretty looped out, she would sit in her crate with her head slightly tipped back and her eyes half closed. The last 45 min before it was time to give her next dose, I could tell she was getting uncomfortable. But again, she was pretty loopy for about the first month after surgery, and I'm grateful for it.
One thing about the fentanyl patch is, if it isn't smoothed down and adhering to the skin really well, it won't transmit the medication, so you might want to be sure it's smoothed down. Also check the date, they should have noted a date and time when it was applied and when it will run out, it may be running out.
If your dog is still having pain, I would tell the vet clearly that your dog is still having "breakthrough pain" in spite of all the meds, and he needs something stronger. Use that term, they will understand it, they are depending on you to report how he is doing, and you have to be able to work with him. Then you can put the current pain meds in the medicine cabinet and use them later when he doesn't need something quite so strong.
I have no doubt he is really hurting, and if he moves wrong it hurts so he cries out. At the same time, there are dogs that are sort of drama queens and when the pain is "medium" they vocalize out of proportion to the actual amount of pain. I believe part of the reason is, it hurts and they think it's going to hurt way more any second, so they're just so scared it might. It's understandable. If he is a small high-strung dog, maybe it would help to add something to just calm him, in addition to the pain meds. He's scared, he's trying to protect himself from being moved, and it's hard on both of you. I am in no way minimizing how he feels, just trying to explain what might be going on. Some dogs will bite or snap in the same situation.
That is just my best guess. Myelograms can cause seizures, I assume they could cause a massive headache, but it sounds more like he's reacting to being moved. I remember a dog who had cervical problems and they found it was easier to move her by carrying her in a pet taxi rather than carrying her in their arms. They felt it was less stress on her neck that way.
http://web.archive.org/web/200910220614 ... sease.html
I would also suggest staggering meds, if you aren't, so they don't all wear off at once, and scheduling potty trips when the meds are at their peak, not when they are due again.
It may also help to raise his water bowl. I noticed you said the crying episode started after drinking water, it may be a coincidence or it may be a strain on his neck right now to lean down. Also, I don't know what kind of a crate you have, but with a neck injury I think it would be especially important that the dog could sit up without having to duck his head, and could lie down in whatever position he wants without having his head touch the sides. If he is a burrower and likes to sleep under a blanket, I think you would want a blanket that is not heavy, because my dogs lift the edge of the blanket with their nose to go under and that is a strain on the neck. How is he doing today?
You guys are so amazing. Thank you for replying. Today Mack has been doing a lot better, he is still in pain, but has been able to walk a few steps to potty without yelping in pain when he moves a certain way. I spent my weekend by his side, even sleeping on the couch next to his cage. I love him so very much. As for the meds, I have been staggering them for sure. I actually set my alarm and get up through out the night to give him his meds... I am SO sleepy. Giving him meds has become a hassle because he is refusing to eat anything once he founds out I am sneaking a pill in it. I have tried cheese, chicken, bacon, treats... sometimes nothing works and it takes FOREVER to get him to take them. I have been using a pill popper but he jerked his head back once and yelped, so I am sure that it was making him hurt. And that is a GREAT idea about taking him to potty at the peak of his meds. I think I will def do that, how long do you that might be? Like, if I gave him a Tramadol at 8:00 when would be the peak? Like 11? Thanks for the encouragement... I really do have a feeling in my gut that he is gonna be okay! He had really great chances for the surgery... he had just moved into stage 3 ivdd when he had the surgery... Still walking fine just a little wobbly and in extreme pain. If anyone here prays, please stop and say a quick prayer for my baby! He is only 6 and deserves a happy, pain free life! If anyone else has any input feel free to post... I love reading your answers.
oh and CarolC... my dog is definitely a bit of a drama king haha. He is very high maintenance and spoiled absolutely rotten. My sister is a vet tech and she seems to think that has a lot to do with it. He is on 7 meds right now... Tramadol for pain, Methacarbamol muscle relaxer, Prednisone steroid, Cephalexin antibiotic and then 3 pills to protect his tummy. We also have some acepromazine ( I think thats how its spelled) to give him if he won't rest. I feel like I am so terrible for keeping him drugged up, and my mom keeps telling me I am giving him too much meds.... his little body can't handle it. It is REALLY stressing me out. She is no doctor, so there is no way I am changing or not giving him any medicine this soon after surgery. I just want to make sure I am taking the best care of him possible.
Oh and first thing I bought was a raiser water bowl.... And his cage is high enough for him to sit, stand, turn around... not too roomy to where he can just play... but enough room for him to stretch out any way he wants! He went to work with my sister today (she is a vet tech) and she put him in a kennel where she could moniter him all day. They also gave him fluids via IV because He wasn't drinking. He would try and I guess turning his neck down like that hurt and he would just stop and lay down. I also knew they could get his meds in him better than I could, he knows me and he knows I have a soft spot when it comes to him. Last night he was laying on his side and he let me use a syringe type thing to squirt water in his mouth like behind his teeth while i scratched his tummy.
How is your dog doing? I just wanted to add that I found switching the diet to a mostly raw diet postsurgery--no grains helps with inflammation. I spent many months with a very sick pup getting up int he middle of the night when she whined-several times a night. I feel for you. Mixes of high quality meats and bone broth is great. Giving meds can really be a pain, you are right. I am a practicing herbalist and have used skullcap. Did you learn about towel walking? Sometimes picking the dog up can be too much when they are healing from a major surgery. Solomons Seal Root, Freshly ground Turmeric Root, with some Skullcap and Wood Betony herb infused into the bone broth will help the healing process, inflammation, and soothe the pain. These are gentle and may help to bring up the level of effectiveness of the meds.
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