My 4yo Labrador Retriever Hank recently (two weeks prior) underwent a Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) to repair the torn cruciate ligament in his back left knee. He gradually increased activity in the affected leg, but now seems as if his progress has halted. He’s very hesitant to put anymore weight on that leg. He won’t walk up a small step to get into my bedroom (this was the case before the surgery too). He moves around somewhat freely in the yard, but reverts to standing on three legs or doing a three-legged hop to move around at times. He has taken a bad step two to three times that resulted in a loud cry out. He must be coaxed to move around at all and appears to have developed a plum-sized seroma at surgery site of the infected knee. Could this be leading to the halt in activity/progress? He allows me to massage the muscles above and below the affected knee. We have also been doing some range of motion exercises on both legs.
Seroma?: He allows me to touch it and it is soft to the touch. It feels like a water balloon filled with a slightly more viscous fluid. It is directly above the incision site and the fluid appears to rest directly on top of the knee joint. Per vet recommendation, I discontinued the use of Rimadyl to try to reduce the size of the seroma.
Other symptoms: Licking at the base of tail to the point of seeing some blood in his fur. Excessive licking of the blanket he sleeps on.
My 4 y old cat had pyometraand hystrectomy and ovarian removal done 40 days ago . After the surgery, I noticed that she became less active and cannot jump as she used to do before.
Before she was used to jump easily and directly to get on the bed but now she climbs onto an adjacent arm chair and then walks to the bed Also before she was able to scratch her ear by her leg , but now she is not able to do that.
She’s trying but can’t raise her leg to her ear.
Is it possible that her legs become weaker as a complication of the surgery?
Is it normal for a cat to be less active for this long time after a pyometra surgery ?
What should I do to help her regain her normal movement ?
I really appreciate what you are doing , many thanks.
I have a question about our 13 yo dog who likely has a bulging disc. He is a mutt (probably part Border Collie, part Shepherd). Soon after a small slip on our stairs, he had lameness in his one back leg; this went away after one day, he limped for a few days after, and he quickly recovered from those things. Though he was walking fine fairly quickly, he showed stiffness, showed hesitation going up stairs unless we gave him a treat (we have only stairs to the outside), and his tail was down and only wagged from the tip of it. We had him quickly on an anti-inflammatory (Novox) and a pain med (started on Gabapentin but had to discontinue). He was fine on a walk; we went on short walks and he always craved for much more than we allowed. We prevented jumping, aerobic exercise, stopped him from using stairs by having a ramp to the outside, etc. We continued the Novox. His symptoms continued, then got better, and then seemed to regress when he started showing signs of pain (panting even when lying down and even when it was cool outside and some anxiety); the pain thing was probably because of taking him off Gabapentin. We took him to the Neurology Dept at a local, large vet hospital and a physical exam indicated that he “likely” has a bulging disc. When they inspected his back, he showed signs of pain and anxiety and his back legs bent and his rear went down. We don’t think we want to do surgery due to his age. He has not had an MRI as the regular vet and my husband and I thought that the treatment would be the same if we did not do surgery — treatment being restricting movement, continuing anti-inflammatory and pain meds, and looking into possible physical rehab. A switch to the pain med Amantidine helps a lot and the panting and anxiety are gone. He now continues to crave longer walks and, at the rare times we forget to block off the couch, he will try to jump up on it. We have been continuing to restricting movement but we just don’t know what to do about activity restrictions and have not had a lot of advice from neurology. He has always craved movement and exercise and when we take him around the block his stiffness seems to go away a bit and he seems energized and maybe even more comfortable. He has always craved a lot of exercise and movement. His spirits are lowered a lot if we keep in him in a small space — it almost seems like he wants to move around. He is eating and drinking, can do #2 (though he struggles some if doing it a long time). If allowed to do some movement, he is mostly happy and getting around with walking. Questions are: Should we restrict his movement altogether despite all this? Should he we do no walks at all? Is it bad if he is free to walk around the first floor or should he stay only in a very small area? I feel we are so confused as to what to do and how to know how to prevent regression. We’d love the input of any veterinarians or other owners with the same experience!
Hi Dr. magnifico! Curious on your thoughts on gabapentin for pain? I’ve read mixed reviews. My pup has a painful back leg. Originally she saw a vet at our practice who thought is was due to Lyme because she had tested strong positive and did not feel a drawer sign when checked. We did antibiotic treatment and the lameness got better for the most part. She would have some days where you could see it was bothering her. Then a few months later she was back to not bearing weight on it. Saw a different vet this time at our practice and this vet said he felt the drawer sign and said he felt it was injured CCL and reccomened a surgeon. Surgeon said would need to have x-rays to confirm which I haven’t had the money for. So we did pain meds (gabapentin and tramodyl) and rest for about a month and lameness went away again. She’s been good for about a year up until the past month or two and the vet gave gaba again. When she’s on it, she looks sleepy and scared. I’ve never had an issue giving pills with her in cheese on lunch meat or something but now she tries to spit it out. It’s like she knows what it’s going to do to her. I’ve read mixed reviews. I’ve also read it’s more for nerve pain? So I’m not sure if it’s actually relieving her pain or not. I’ve also read the reciptors that tramodyl targets, dogs don’t have? Curious on your opinion on all of this. I would like to see if she’s still a candidate for surgery even though it’s been some time but I need to come up with the funds for that so I’m trying to help her in the mean time. I give her vitamin supplements for her joints. I don’t want her on pain meds all the time but want something that gives her some relief on those bad days without making her feel drugged up.
Hi- I just read your blog about Minnie. I am an American cat owner living in Thailand, so communicating with the vets is difficult. I’m on the verge on having my cat euthanized (tomorrow), and i just can’t make a decision. I hoping you will provide information to help me make a decision. Sammy is a ten year old male. Here is his history:
Dec 7-28- hiding under bed with dilated pupils but eating normally (history of spraying and hiding- not a happy cat so I wasn’t overly concerned, I palpated him and he didn’t seem to have any pain and I figured he got spooked)
Dec 29- I noticed he was a little lame so I brought him to local vet who couldn’t find anything wrong but spinal bone spurs and prescribed him Tramadol. It tasted bitter, he foamed at the mouth and started eating much less. I believe his feeding aversion started here.
Dec 31- I found a neurologist who gave him an MRI and he had surgery for a herniated disc Jan 2, 2019 and was diagnosed with a spinal infarction. He had a hard time clearing the anesthesia drugs bc of his kidney function but it is now normal.
Month of January- Slowly improving in ability to walk but losing interest in food more and more, (doctor says attributable to drowsiness caused by Pregabalin for neuropathic pain) losing weight. (Also, had ataxia from reaction to anti depressant used as appetite stimulant.) He had to be hand fed strips of ham, I believe he developed a further food aversion from me trying to syringe feed him pureed roasted chicken at around Jan 31.
Feb 1- I asked the vet to put an E tube in him because of his refusal to eat on his own. He was doing ok and walking better until his tube fell out and he had to have a new surgery mid-February to replace it. Surgery and clearing anesthesia drugs is really hard on him. Since then, his walking was getting better but then it suddenly got worse and the doctor found that his potassium was low – it got better once he changed to renal diet and Renavast. He has also been on Pregabalin for neuropathic pain, Apolet and Kasavan.
March- His walking got worse again, and I saw him endure one small stroke but the vet was not too concerned. Vet said he has reduced blood flow to his back left leg. He had replaced Kasavan with Apolet, but then added Kasavan back into his medication regimen. He is not improving in the last two weeks with the addition of the Kasavan, he drags himself to the litterbox to poop but pees in his bed. He still grooms himself and responds to me but he has a low growl when I touch him- probably bc he is so sick of all the poking and prodding. He has NO INTEREST in eating. I withheld food for 18 hours this week and withheld Pregabalin (bc the doctor said it makes him sleepy and not eat) and still NO INTEREST.
About 4 times along this journey I’ve decided it’s time to euthanize him but then he perks up and I decide not to. He is normal other than not eating, lying in bed all day (bc he can barely walk) and peeing on himself. He grooms himself and poops in litter box. I don’t think he is in acute pain but his pupils are often dilated, which just may be from stress of being incapacitated. I have varied amount of PG I give him to test his pain, and he doesn’t to be in pain but I’m not sure. I haven’t been able to get him to purr for a week or so, usually he will purr at night if I bring him into bed with me.
The vet says 90% of the time cats recover from spinal infarction. He told me start physical therapy with him but I tried and he hates it and it just upsets him more. I can’t figure out if there is any hope of him getting better. Like I said, he has always been a grumpy, hiding cat and often would growl if you approach him to pet him so that is not new. I was hoping to give him a few last years of his life. I think he is depressed and I don’t know of any way to get him out of his funk, and I still don’t know if he will ever recover use of his legs or will just get worse.
ANY INSIGHT??????????????? THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IVDD; my 7lbs 4 1/2 yr Maltese was recently diagnosed with IVDD. After 9days of conservative tx, we are already seeing improvement and she is able to stand and walk again. She had 3 lame legs-paresis/weakness and deep pain sensation but could not walk and was in excruciating pain-still in moderate pain. Just wondering how many acute episodes of disc ruptured has your dog had after the 1st episode after your dog was 1st diagnosed? I read a sad statistics in a vet medicine journal that even after 1st surgery and recovery; 50% of dogs diagnosed with IVDD are euthanized secondary to subsequent acute painful episodes and paralysis. That’s a high rate! Just trying to prepare ourselves as to what to expect in the future. Any studies done on IVDD and how many episodes they have in their average life span. They do have over 20+ vertebrae that could each degenerate and pinch the spinal cord again right?
Hi. My dog had surgery on his spine a week ago to remove a damaged disc. He hasn’t yet gone lame, just had a lot of pain. Cage rest was unsuccessful. Op was successful but now he has lingering pain back at my vet since Sunday. Can you please advise urgently as to what course of action you recommend as the vet seems unsure as to the next step without an expensive CT scan
I apologize in advance for the lengthy post.
I have a pitbull terrior mix (Juanita) who was diagnosed with IVDD approximately four weeks ago. Her problems started with limping on her front right leg in May of 2017, was sent home with gabapentin. The issues seemed to resolve, however she was reluctant to jump or go up stairs. She was born with luxating patellas which were both surgically fixed when she was 1 and 1 1/2 years of age. Because her hind legs have always been weaker, I didn’t give much thought to her not wanting to jump or take stairs (I attributed this to possible arthritis / aging process).
On December 29, 2017 she slipped going up the stairs to my house, and started distorting her right leg. We went to our regular vet that same day and were sent home with gabapentin again. Her issue did not resolve, so we went in for xrays on 01/09/2018. No broken bones showed on the xrays, but slight elbow arthritis. I scheduled an appointment with the surgeon who did her knees and was unable to get in until 01/23, at which point I thought we’d be able to get a MRI or other diagnostic imaging.
We went to see him, and although he noticed a narrowing of the spine at C6, he attributed her lameness to something with her right shoulder and suggested we go to Cornell to see an orthopedic vet. We couldn’t get into Cornell until March (now), and therefore made an appointment with a local specialist vet facility that has an MRI machine. We had to wait another two weeks, and saw someone on 02/08. I had been keeping Juanita fairly quiet (out back to do her business without leash, walks of one or two houses from ours), and despite the limping, her gait looked OK. The day before the appointment (02/07), however, I let her run and chase squirrels for about 15 minutes while I shoveled snow. She seemed fine, but was in rough shape that night and days following, including the next day at her specialist appt.
On 02/08, the specialist did a neurological exam, where she suspected a herniated disc. Up to this point, I assumed Juanita’s issues were orthopedic in nature. Unfortunately their MRI machine was down, so we could not confirm this suspicion. On 02/19 we ended up driving four hours to the closest facility with a neurologist on staff and a working MRI machine. We finally got the diagnosis of a herniated disc at C6N7. Ventral slot was discussed as well as medical management. We were instructed to take prednisone, gabapentin and amantadine with rest (bathroom breaks only and no jumping or runnin). We were also advised to keep our appt at Cornell before doing anything since Juanita’s issues were chronic and there was “no easy answer / fix”.
We just went to Cornell this week (while we were on our second week of prednisone taper). We again discussed surgical options. Ventral slot was mentioned as the least invasive, and risks were discussed. The vet suggested we try conservative management again with strict cage rest. She said we needed to keep Juanita in a crate (which she cannot tolerate) and to once again put her on large prednisone doses with a taper after two weeks. What I’m concerned with now is that the vet at Cornell said that any neurological deficits seen in Juanita now are most likely irreversible with surgery or with medical management for that matter, and that the longer you wait to do surgery, the more likely the deficits are permanent. Is that generally the case? I’m discouraged that we could not diagnose this earlier, and am at a loss as to what decision to make (surgery or continue to manage medically in the hopes that Juanita will be able to run and play again). I haven’t seen any improvement since that 15 minutes of fun in the snow I gave her on 02/07.
Thanks so much for your time and advice.
Hello there, one of my German Shorthair Pointers is experiencing some lameness and I am not sure why. My current vet is not giving me any answers so I am unsure at what to do. I just want him to feel better. It seems there is a trend of him limping after we are fairly active (but for a GSP it should be nothing. we truly are not overdoing it). It doesn’t have a correlation with the temperature outside and he limps WAY worse when walking on concrete. He seems pretty normal in the house and on grass. I’ve had him evaluated twice and both vets have said different things. They then recommend “resting.” (Yeah right, pointers don’t know how to do that) I really need some help and I am incredibly unsure of what to do. Any direction would be helpful. I have tried to attach a video of how he was walking this morning.
Hi we are looking to rehome a German Shepherd male who is 4 years old. He is not neutered. He weighs 40kg. He has only been walked 5 times in his life , the owners state he is lame after a walk but this is due to lack of muscle in hind , is this the case?