My poor dog, what do we do next?

(34 Posts)
Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 15:06:55

I have a 4 1/2 year old male neutered border collie, who has mobility issues. The exact cause is still unknown but one vet thinks it is likely to be caused by an old injury of some sort near his left hip. Due to compensating for his weak/painful back left leg he has damaged his spine causing occasional urinary incontinence (last time was an hour ago) and has put extra pressure on his other joints, he randomly limps on any or all of his legs.

He has daily physiotherapy which has meant he can now sit and up until last month stopped most of the limping and the incontinence. Now his limping is getting worse and he is showing signs of been in pain though this is hard to tell.

Every vet we have spoken to has no clue, his x-rays are fine and all his joints move normally and fully without him reacting in pain.

We are going to take him to the vets again but I don't know what to do next. My dog is allergic to NSAIDs so the only painkiller we know he can take is tramadol but the vet wont prescribe it long term and offers no other solution. My dog will not allow the vet to touch him because the vet hurt him badly once.

So what would you do? My poor dog has no life, is in pain and wets himself which he hates. What can I do to make it better?

MedicalWriter Thu 27-Jun-13 15:14:36

Must be awful for you and poor doggie. If you have run out of options, then I'm afraid there is only one course of action for the sake of your dog. PTS sad

catsdogsandbabies Thu 27-Jun-13 15:17:05

Referral to an orthopedic specialist is what you do next. Just like a gp is not an expert in everything, neither is your vet so a specialist will help you. Pts a young dog is the last resort. There are multiple potentially treatable causes of lameness.
Call vet, explain issue, request referral.

idirdog Thu 27-Jun-13 15:23:22

Where abouts are you? Fitzpatrick referrals in Surrey would be excellent specialists to see.

They would be able to discuss all the options with you.

miggy Thu 27-Jun-13 15:25:53

Second idirdog, if you have insurance they would be my first choice too.
MRI scan would probably be the way forward but a good orthopedic vet might also spot something your vet hasn't experience of, some kind of rheumatoid arthritis say.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 15:40:15

We are in Lancashire.

I will get a referral to an orthopedic vets. We do have insurance, which is good as we have seen maybe 8 different vets including a vet who specialises in physio. We have also seen a chiropractor who wouldn't even touch the dog as she said he was too bad for her to treat sad

I agree that PTS is a last resort. I'm still hoping he will die one night in bed of old age.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Booboostoo Thu 27-Jun-13 16:38:17

I am surprised none of the 8 vets already hasn't mentioned an MRI. You can't really tell what is going on without one.

If you need immediate help have you tried a hind leg sling to give him more support? If he is in a lot of pain though be very careful in case he reacts negatively to it.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 17:13:32

Boo, the vet we normally use has trouble even seeing that the dog walks badly! He is the kind of vet that will do whatever I want him to do but will never suggest anything. The other vet at the surgery is slightly better, but seems to be scared of dogs so I refuse to see him. I think an MRI was mentioned very briefly once but never again, I believe the vet said we would have to go to Liverpool.

My dog has no problem running about, he ignores all pain and he hops on his back legs. He does not ever stop though! He would run around until he dropped if I let him. He doesn't show pain ever so I guess his pain level by how bad he is moving and how long it takes him to get comfortable. At the moment I would say the pain is worse than normal and has been for about a month but is not as bad as it was a year ago.

Booboostoo Thu 27-Jun-13 17:16:15

I've been to Liverpool before with three different dogs and they are great. They have all the facilities and all the knowledge to give you a proper diagnosis and explore all the options for you. If I were you I would go straight to Liverpool.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 27-Jun-13 17:22:20

Also agreeing with other vets orthopod and MRI. I have a lovely shepherd patient who had nothing on x-rays MRI showed disc compression he had surgery and is doing really well.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 17:23:20

Thanks Boo, I'll ring the vets tomorrow to get a referral and an appointment for some pain relief. The poor dog has had no pain killers for nearly a year now and the joint supplement is no longer having the pain killing affect we want.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 17:29:09

Lonecat, I really hope it's something that can be fixed but sadly my dog is a medical disaster and has been since he was a puppy! Still a dog has to be lucky at least once in his life right?

Bumbez Thu 27-Jun-13 17:38:10

Another thought would be a chiropractor specialising in animals, don't laugh they do exist.

My mctiminy chiropractor was actually more interested in animals and often succeeded where many vets had failed.

Poor dog I hope he gets sorted sad


Bumbez Thu 27-Jun-13 17:39:24

Oh sorry I just saw you'd tried a chiropractor blush

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 17:51:15

Bumbez the McTimoney Chiropractor was actually very helpful even if she wouldn't do anything my dog. She was the first professional person who could see that there is something very wrong with my dog and didn't dismiss our concerns.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 17:51:50

*anything with my dog

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1MitchellMum Thu 27-Jun-13 18:01:35

Sorry to hear about your poor dog. Agree about orthopaedic vets etc. However I'd like to add that my dog has been on Tramadol for three years now (along with other painkillers). Yes, I know they can have side effects, but I'd rather my boy lived a shorter life with less pain. I'm lucky that he's now 11, but if I had a youngster now and that was the only option then I'd happily take it. I wish you both well.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 18:03:51

Thank Beer, I am glad the vets are good at liverpool. I hope your dog is doing ok now.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 18:08:06

1mitchellmum, I am quite happy for my dog to take tramadol for ever more if needed but the vet wouldn't prescribe any more. I will argue with the vet when I next see him to try and get it. I just wish my dog wasn't allergic to everything, it would be easier if he could take NSAIDs.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pokeroot Thu 27-Jun-13 18:15:04

I'm glad your dog is fine Beer. I really hope someone can tell us what is wrong with my dog and how to fix it. He really deserves a chance at a long and happy life.

newfavouritething Fri 28-Jun-13 05:41:59

Oh dear, I think that I'd have him pts. Probably not what you want to hear, but he's in pain.

Another one here who would endorse a specialist visit first before considering any more drastic steps. Hoping all goes well if you go to Liverpool.

MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 14:20:13

I think it's difficult to balance the needs of the owner (not wanting to lose a beloved dog) and the needs of the dog. All the dog knows is that it is in pain.

By all means try a specialist, but I would not let the situation drag on, I believe earlier you said the dog had been in pain for a year. That is too long surely?

Pokeroot Fri 28-Jun-13 14:46:08

MedicalWriter I don't think he has been in pain for a year, I meant that it has been a year since the vet stopped giving him tramadol. The physio and joint supplements have made a dramatic improvement in his quality of life. I had hoped that he would continue to get better but in the last month he has very slowly gotten worse.

Although it will break my heart the moment my dog stops enjoying life he will be pts, until then I will do everything I possibly can to keep him happy and pain free.

Booboostoo Fri 28-Jun-13 16:51:40

Remain hopeful Poketroot, there are so many things a specialist can do for you. At the very least I would expect them to manage the dog's pain, but it may be that they even have a complete solution for you, e.g. if the cause of the problem is a slipped disc an operation has a good outcome.

Local vets are usually committed, caring professionals but with all the good will in the world they cannot know all the details of specialist problems in all the animals they see. To give you one small example, our local vet diagnosed my bitch with an inoperable lung tumour and recommended PTS there and then. Luckily we asked for a second opinion because Liverpool found the bitch had an enlarged heart not a tumour and while she did have heart problems and was on medication she lived another 6.5 years from that diagnosis - a full, pain free life. So there is hope!

Let us know how you get on!

Pokeroot Fri 28-Jun-13 17:17:56

Thanks Boo. I kind of wish I hadn't started this thread as it's made me so sad.

I'll see the vet next week to argue about pain relief and a referral to liverpool. I miss the days when I could take my dog to the park everyday and I hope I can get them back. I really really hope his allergies don't effect treatment options too much.

Booboostoo Fri 28-Jun-13 17:28:59

Good luck!

If your local vet is still being odd, why not call Liverpool directly and see if they won't see you anyway? Or try another local vet, most of them are much more accommodating about referring.

Pokeroot Fri 28-Jun-13 17:45:42


My local vet will refer us. He mostly does whatever I say as long as I appear to know what I am talking about.

bellasuewow Sat 29-Jun-13 13:59:49

Sure am MRI will show the problem and could well be a disc would explain the pain and incontinence as well. Vets will try to get you to have as much treatment as possible they are not the NHS so please make the decision for your dog and press for pts if you feel he will always be in pain.

Pokeroot Thu 11-Jul-13 09:05:47

An Update. We have an appointment with an orthopaedic vet in just over a week and some painkillers that my dog thinks are wonderful. He is playing again, ragging his blanket whenever we eat to ensure maximum dog hair consumption, and stealing shoes hmm grin

The vet thinks my dog has signs of polyarthritis as he has some swollen joints but doesn't know if that's a result of walking badly for years or the cause. After some prompting the vet also said that an autoimmune disease could be the cause of all my dogs many problems. I'll try to remember to give an update when we know more.
Thank you for all your help.

Booboostoo Thu 11-Jul-13 15:41:20

I am so glad that you are getting some answers and more importantly that your dog is getting appropriate pain relief! I hope there is a lot the specialist vet can do for him and he can have a long and happy life.

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