I really need help please - dog pacing...

(23 Posts)
Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 08:52:15

I posted a couple of weeks back, at the time we thought that our 11 year Labrador had a brain tumour. That seems to be ruled out by physical neurological tests. Then they thought she had a tumour in her abdomen. That was ruled out by various tests, xrays and ultrasounds.

So, then the vets (including at the Bristol Veterinary School) think that with a process of elimination she has some herniated disc in her spine. This conclusion was made after emptying her anal glands seemed to make an improvement, as well as her seeming worse when she needed a poo.

So, fast forward about 2 weeks and she has been on Metacam, Gabapentin and paracetamol every day. No walks, just a 5 min stroll 3 times a day to do what she needs to do.

The reason why we were concerned a few weeks back was because she was pacing the rooms constantly and didn't seem herself. Was dis obedient which was very out of character for her to not listen to commands.

This improved a little over the past few weeks, but has now got worse.

She is pacing all day long. She has a Adaptil collar which is supposed to calm her.

We have spoken to the vets and they are stumped and not really sure where to go next.

We bought her a crate in an attempt to stop her pacing, all she did was turn circles and become distressed.

I'm going to phone the vets again very shortly. I'm beginning to think that the pacing is anxiety instead of pain. I'm really confused.

All the tests etc came back saying that she was a very healthy dog and that there was something going on at the back end that was causing her distress.

Any ideas please?

OP’s posts: |
BillyDaveysDaughter Sat 18-Mar-17 08:57:49

That sounds like pain to me...my dog has a spinal condition and she paces sometimes, what you're describing is similar.

They could try switching up the pain medication - metacam can cause a sore acid stomach, my dog takes tramadol with gabapentin to account for nerve pain. But we have recently added steroids as she is deteriorating.

Contact the vet and explain what has been happening...they may try different medication, as your dog sounds a bit fretful as well as in pain.

I'm sorry, it's shit isn't it. flowers

Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 09:05:26

Yes, its really shit.

We tried Tramadol and it made her worse, she paced all night and pooed on the floor a night, then she walked it around the house.

I'm so torn, I'm so worried that we will look back in years to come and regret leaving her in pain for months at the age of 11. But at the same time she is otherwise healthy so it would be a massive shame to put he down without giving her a fighting chance. I just cant see it getting better.

How old is your dog and what kind of spinal condition, how long has it been going on?

Thank you for your reply

OP’s posts: |
Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 09:12:33

Also, how big is your dog and how many gabapentin do you give.

We have been giving her 1 gabapentin 3 times a day, metacam and half a paracetamol. I can give her 2 gabapentin 3 times a day, which I think I might try.

OP’s posts: |
BillyDaveysDaughter Sat 18-Mar-17 09:36:17

My dog is 9 - she's a terrier, only about 6 kg! She first herniated a disc at age 2, which fully ruptured when she was 4 and she had spinal surgery (by Noel Fitzpatrick).

She was absolutely fine for about 3 years, not pain at all, but Noel warned us that her discs were all dehydrated and she was at risk of a further rupture or at least degenerative disc disease, which is kind of where we are now. She has episodes of severe pain - they think material is breaking off the discs and bruising the spinal cord - when she's had morphine and stays on steroids for 3 weeks. Right now she is destroying her back feet which they think think is caused by nerve damage - she has tremors and likely pain or pins and needles in her feet. She's back on steroids at the moment.

When she first ruptured that disc, it was 10 weeks the poor dog was in agony before we worked out what was going on. Dogs are very very stoic and great at disguising pain, we only see their outward anxiety. My dog was still racing around the garden with 50% compression of her spinal cord, she's excellent at hiding pain...she even fooled an orthopaedic surgeon who couldn't find anything physically wrong! It took an MRI scan to finally diagnose. Do you have that option? The MRI is a lot of money (£2k ish), followed by the surgery if they find something...

She has 200mg gabapentin a day, 100mg am and pm. It seems to work best in conjunction with another painkiller, which it sounds like your vet has prescribed, so she is on a pretty good cocktail.

If it's not helping and she's anxious and pacing, she could have a significant disc problem (or maybe another joint somewhere else - when Noel first watched my dog tottering around he thought it looked like a sacroiliac joint injury).

It's hard to see them in pain.

Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 09:40:37

Thank you.

I'm starting to think that there is never going to be a good outcome and it may be best to cut out losses and stop her pain.

I can't bear to keep putting her through this. If it was something like a broken leg we would wait for it to fix.

OP’s posts: |
BillyDaveysDaughter Sat 18-Mar-17 09:52:40

Your final option is a full MRI scan which would reveal any spinal issues I suppose, but there's no guarantee that they'll find anything at all. And that's a lot of money - I had to get a loan to pay for a scan and surgery, but I wouldn't do it a second time. Not because of the money, but because it's so traumatic for the dog - she looked half dead when she came out of the hospital, it was awful.

It's a very hard decision to face, and as my dogs aggression has escalated in the last few months - in conjunction with her tearing off her paw pads - I'm not so far from where you are either. I think we are coming to the end of the road.

Ultimately, you have to decide whether there is anything else you can try before you let her go.

I'm so sorry.


Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 10:47:42

Thank you for your message. Your poor little dog, it's heartbreaking.

OP’s posts: |
Floralnomad Sat 18-Mar-17 10:58:47

I had a horse that started doing this , paced up and down the gateway if outside and either circled or stood looking petrified in her stable , it was extremely distressing for both her and us . We had everything checked with no result , tried all different types of pain killers and sedatives just to see if they would help but eventually had to have her PTS purely because I couldn't see where she had any quality of life left . Our vet said it was just advanced dementia . Have you tried diazepam to see if that chills her out a bit .

tabulahrasa Sat 18-Mar-17 15:01:32

What dosage is the gabapentin? If it's 100s you've got quite a lot you can still up it by before you're at maximum dosage...mines been on 300mg 3 times a day before and that still wasn't the full dose (he's 38kg, so about lab sized)

Has she had an MRI?

Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 16:11:27

She has been having 300 (1tab) gabapentin 3 times a day. The box says she can have 1-2. We are trailing 2 tabs twice a day and 1 in the evening.

No MRI, we could afford it if we really needed to but we don't think we could put her through surgery so think there's little point at present.

We are being referred to the veterinary college again.

Having a very lively 5 year old doesn't help either, it makes everyone fraught.

OP’s posts: |
Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 16:11:45

She's 28kg

OP’s posts: |
tabulahrasa Sat 18-Mar-17 16:36:48

I didn't go for the MRI either, he's insured...but it just didn't seem worth it as we wouldn't operate and there wasn't much left to check for that wouldn't either just carry on with painkillers or surgery.

I'm sure his full dosage was something really high like 800 a time, we took him back off it before we ever got that high though.

Mine has spinal pain at L3 and L4...but that's literally as much as we know as like I said, no point doing further investigation if there's no treatment option we'd be happy to do that's different from what he's on.

SlB09 Sat 18-Mar-17 16:39:14

Exactly the same as friends dog, turned out to be an abcess deep in the anal glad (which is why expressing provided temporary relief)- but obviously im no vet!!!!!

Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 16:53:30

SIB09 yes, having her anal glands emptied caused a lot of pain but she seemed better after.

Would an abscess be sorted with Anti Biotics. I do wonder whether a course of AB should be tried to rule something like that out.

OP’s posts: |
SlB09 Sat 18-Mar-17 17:03:22

Yes, he had a two week course of antibiotics and after a few days when they had had time to kick in he stopped pacing and was much more himself, had no problems since but the vet did say it can reoccur but now they know the symptoms. They thought they might have to put him down as he was that bad but such a young dog, luckily all sorted x

Partyfops Sat 18-Mar-17 17:24:14

Thanks, I might suggest we try ABs. Her temp has always been fine though so they had ruled out an infection.

I think we may as well try it.

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LaGattaNera Sat 18-Mar-17 19:34:29

So sorry to hear this - re the tramadol my late greyhound had a benign but sizeable tumour removed from her rib and was prescribed tramadol which made her pace it was terrible to see and it turned out that she and some dogs eract very badly indeed to tramadol and they cannot cope with it - almost like a drugs overdose. I know the tramadol has been stopped but some dogs do have bad reactions to drugs, even ones that 99% of other dogs tolerate. Obviously this doesn't treat the cause and it does sound like pain. Hope the ABs help - such a worry for you x

Frouby Sat 18-Mar-17 19:41:11

I would always try abs in a situation like this. They aren't going to hurt and it could be something simple that is cured by abs.

Have they ruled out anything dental or in her ears? Have they done a water sample etc? I would rather spend money on stuff that is non invasive at her age than start looking for major issues like spinal issues.

Vegansnake Tue 21-Mar-17 12:57:55

My dog was pacing with kidney disease,I hope things are getting sorted for yr dog

Partyfops Tue 21-Mar-17 18:14:19

Her kidneys have been checked. We have upped her pain relief again to add in some tramadol. We need to wait to see if she improves. She is getting more used to her crate.

Still no further forward though sad

OP’s posts: |
MaryPearl Fri 17-Aug-18 11:43:12

You should consider the possibility that your dog has canine dementia rather than - or in addition to - pain. The type of nighttime behaviour you describe is a very common symptom of canine dementia. There is a great deal of information about it online. I am surprised your vets have not considered the possibility given that all the other tests have come back normal. If your dog does or might have dementia, a pain regime as you describe, plus Selgian (for the dementia) plus Melatonin (for the sleep disruption) may well help.

Fluffypie1 Fri 17-Aug-18 20:56:45

I was going to suggest dementia also especially with the pacing at night, maybe the vet could give her something to relax at night.?

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