Sounds like you'll get along fine with him. :)
Tramadol is prescription only over here -- probably the same in Belgium but different countries have different regimes. How is she doing today?
Just got the call, Thistle's MRI is on Tuesday the 15th. We need to be at the Dr.'s office no later than 6:45 am. I'm definitely renting a car, forget walking.
I ended up giving her an extra 3 mg of prednisone last night (2mg at 1 am, and 1 mg at 5 am). At 1 am she was barking, and panting. At 5 am she was scratching so much it was difficult for her to potty (Guinness woke me up with the request). The prednisone is given in the morning, and it's obviously not carrying her 24 hours. I'm thinking I may move her normal dose back to later in the day, but I will have to wait till the weekend when I can keep an eye on her pain levels.
At least the MRI is soon.
Glad to hear that you have the date for the MRI which is not too long for you to have to wait, although long enough when a dog is suffering like this.
I only have experience of the symptoms of SM with the one dog, but this limited experience does tell me that you are learning the important lesson that I had to try to get right, which is of course to tailor the treatment to the symptoms the dog is having, because what works for one may not work for another, or may vary without any apparent reason. Well done you for staying with it and for doing what was needed to get Thistle comfortable again.
Thistle is a very lucky dog to have you. Remember we are all here for you as and when you need us.
Argh! This is so frustrating. I just gave her another 1 mg, but now I think she didn't need it.
She was scratching, on both sides, obviously in discomfort but it just wasn't the same- both sides, strong contact, but not that super distressed scratching. I haven't been petting her much I'm so afraid of hurting her. Now I notice her abdomen is hard. I think she has gas pain.
I'm not saying she doesn't have something major going on, just that maybe these 5 am ones are from other pain. A tummy massage seems to have put her at ease for now
Is this from the steroid? Or something in her diet? Can I add a probiotic or something to help keep gas from being a secondary issue?
Personally I would 'phone the vet before adding anything to Thistle's medications for possible problems with stomach gas. Colic can be such a difficult and dangerous thing to deal with I would never try to deal with it on my own. It may of course be a reaction to the medicines she is already receiving, a food issue or something completely independent; only a vet can be sure.
Try a bit of yoghurt with the steroid perhaps. A lot of us humans who take preds will either take with a stomach protector like cimetidine, omeprazole etc abpout 30 min before taking it -- or take some yoghurt. I use those probiotic drinks. Preds can upset the stomach. But night scratching is very common with SM.
Also VERY important to discuss splitting preds and giving at later times -- it isn't like a pain medication; it is replacing her cortisol which naturally is released by the body in the morning and hence is usually given in the morning. You cannot 'top it up' and giving at other hours can cause her to remain awake all night and cause sleeps disruptions. It also isn;t something where you should ever raise or lower the dose arbitrarily. It needs to be managed carefully. For some people and probably dogs, preds do not last the full 24 hours but it does build up and generally improve the situation. For some, it may be better to split the dose but never to give in the middle of the night etc and splitting needs to be discussed with a vet. I would really be pushing to get her on gabapentin asap if there's a good chance this is SM as that is better at relieving the scratching. You could likely get cimetidine or omeprazole over the counter and follow Clare's algorithm for giving that -- which also might make a big difference (or may not). Ideally I'd confirm doing that with the neuro's office or with your vet. Clare's algorithm is very well established as a treatment procedure.
Rereading your posts I think her night wakefulness and barking is probably DUE to the prednisone as her body adjusts to it -- night wakefulness (feeling wired and hyper) is a very common human side effect at first and/or at higher doses. Adding more preds in the middle of the night will just spike this higher. The earlier in the am you can give her preds tends to be better -- eg at 6-9 am and not 10-12 am. And as far as possible always around the same time. You want it to mirror as much as possible her natural cycle. It sounds like she is restless more than in pain in the middle of the night?
I think it's pain. Her behaviour will usually start with changing positions, she'll move from one area of the bed to another, with lots of sighing. Then she'll go on the floor and lay down in various places, with more sighing. Then she'll maybe start growling as she's laying somewhere. Then growling and barking. But she's not really "wired".
If she was wired I'd expect her to do something like try to wrestle with Guinness. But she just seems more like she can't find anyway to get away from discomfort.
I'll phone the vet about possibly adding a CSF reducer.