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Thread: Now Murphy not right

  1. #31
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    No idea at all, he's done it for a couple of years now. His foods the same now as it was since he was young, and I never change washing powder or conditioner. The hole in the allergy theory is while he chews his rear feet, and licks the joint on his front legs he hasn't irritated the skin underneath. The fur has changed colour from white to a pink/brown. But there is no skin irritation at all. He normally only does it after waking up too.


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    Last edited by murphy's mum; 5th March 2012 at 03:47 PM.
    Paula - mum to Murphy(6) & Misty(7), and Jerry our cat.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by murphy's mum View Post
    She did say that there could still be a disc problem a X-ray doesn't pick up the discs.
    This is correct - you can't rule disc disease in or out just with xrays alone, although x-rays can give some clues. An MRI, CT scan or myelogram is needed for definitive diagnosis. You can google "degenerative disc disease in dogs" and find a lot of info. You can treat with pain meds and strict rest based on a presumptive diagnosis of IVDD, esp. if you aren't considering surgery for IVDD (as most people do not in milder cases). I've cut and pasted some things below:

    "The results of spinal radiographs can sometimes be misleading. The normal disc, and most degenerating discs, are invisible (as are the spinal cord and nerve roots) on plain x-rays. Only if the disc has calcified will it be evident on plain x-rays. Thus it is common for a disc to displace and produce no radiographic clue as to its precise location. Moreover, remember that disc calcification is common, even in degenerating discs that have not displaced (i.e. are asymptomatic). This combination can lead to an incorrect identification of the disc causing problems. It takes a practiced eye to read through the subtleties and artifacts on a spinal x-ray, and even then the exact diagnosis may be in doubt. Furthermore, obtaining good quality spinal x-rays requires the patient to be completely immobilized, and this usually means employing a general anesthetic."

    "How is a slipped disc diagnosed?

    A presumptive diagnosis of disc disease is made based on the dog's history of neck or back pain, uncoordinated walking, or paralysis when there is no history of trauma. The physical examination will indicate that the problem originates from the spinal cord, giving further evidence to disc disease. Another important factor is the breed. If the dog is one of the high incidence breeds, the diagnosis is even more likely.

    In some cases, plain radiographs (x-rays) may assist the diagnosis, but they may also be normal since neither the disc nor the spinal cord is visible on an x-ray. If the diagnosis is in doubt or if surgery is to be performed, a myelogram may be done. This procedure involves injecting a special dye around the spinal cord while the dog is anesthetized. When radiographs are taken, the dye will be seen outlining the spinal cord. A break in the dye column means that there is pressure on the spinal cord at that point.

    Most disc ruptures occur in the middle to lower part of the back. However, they may also occur in the neck. Back injuries often cause paralysis without severe pain while neck injuries usually cause severe pain without paralysis. If paralysis affects all four legs, the disc rupture must be in the neck. Due to the way nerve tracts are arranged in the spinal cord, disc ruptures in the neck may affect the rear legs first and may not involve the front limbs.

    How fast do discs degenerate and rupture?

    Disc degeneration usually occurs relatively slowly, usually over several days or weeks. The dog often experiences pain and becomes reluctant to move. It may lie around for a few days allowing the body to try to heal the injury, often without the owner being aware that a problem existed. However, discs may also rupture very acutely. Some dogs will go from normal walking to total paralysis in less than one hour."

    http://animalhealthcare.com/handouts/dogs/disc.htm

    My experience has been that a physical exam by a neurologist or an orthopedic specialist can be especially helpful - much more so than an exam by a GP vet. I have had several geriatric dogs that had degenerative IVDD but none of them required surgery.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  3. #33
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    To add to my post above - one of the problems having Cavaliers is that symptoms for SM and symptoms for IVDD can be very similar, and both problems are not uncommon in the breed. If you had, for instance, a dachshund with symptoms of pain/limping/ataxia, you could be pretty sure you were dealing with IVDD, but with a Cavalier, it's a guessing game unless you have an MRI done. A specialist is likely able to make a more educated guess based on physical exam alone. My drugs of choice for IVDD pain are Robaxin and Tramadol - different from what I would use for pain for CM/SM (gabapentin or Lyrica and Tramadol added if needed). I personally won't use NSAIDS as I'm not willing to risk the side effects; and I strongly disagree (and can back up my experience with the literature) with much of what's been posted in this forum about Tramadol, FWIW. I will use steroids if absolutely necessary, but I like to try other drugs first and, if steroids are needed, then try to quickly move to every other day dosage of steroids with a goal to the shortest possible length of treatment.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by murphy's mum View Post
    The hole in the allergy theory is while he chews his rear feet, and licks the joint on his front legs he hasn't irritated the skin underneath. The fur has changed colour from white to a pink/brown. But there is no skin irritation at all. He normally only does it after waking up too.
    But that's really not a "hole in the allergy theory." Paw and leg licking is a classic sign of allergies - and the dog doesn't have to mutilate the skin for this to be allergies. My Tucker has seasonal allergies (spring and fall pollens), and he does a lot of paw licking and he'll do some chewing on his body too when pollen is high - but he never leaves a mark or damages his skin. I use hydroxyzine (prescription drug) for his seasonal allergies, and it does a very good job at stopping the symptoms. My shih tzu also has allergies and the fur on her feet and legs is also pink from saliva, and she doesn't irritate her skin either.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  5. #35
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    Thanks for your posts Pat, some very helpful information there. I know deep down I'd be happier with an MRI, but I think I need a good long chat with the vet tomorrow.
    Paula - mum to Murphy(6) & Misty(7), and Jerry our cat.

  6. #36
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    I agree with Pat's statement regarding paw and leg licking as the classic sign of allergies, and that you don't have to have a lot of skin damage. I have attached a picture of one of Molson, the golden retriever's, hot spot (sorry to post a non-cavalier picture on here). It is on the back leg, and all of his hot spots looked like this prior to being diagnosed with the chicken allergy.


    Molson by LSidari, on Flickr

    As the hot spot would develop, we could see the hair in the area become thinner and the skin underneath darker. The hair would eventually fall out from his licking and biting, but he never really got open, bloody skin like other dogs classically present with. These occurred primarily on his back legs. Missy, their brittany spaniel, also developed the allergy symptoms (6 months after Molson). Her hot spots actually appeared directly on the joints of her front and back feet, similar to Murphy's description. Her hot spots were worse, though, with sometimes getting bloody and open. Molson and Missy ate the same food everyday before developing the allergies (Cooked chicken and Iam's dry food). For this reason, and the fact that they developed the same allergies so close together, my parents did not think the food was the cause and it took a year of expensive testing and headaches to figure it out. They had to take them to a major U.S. veterinary hospital (Cornell University) to be diagnosed. The poultry certainly was the cause, because a year after being poultry and symptom free, those two mischief makers got into chicken trimmings in the trash and the itching started right up again! I am not saying it is necessarily the cause of Murphy's itching, but definitely worth ruling out as it is a very simple problem to treat!
    Last edited by cavalover; 5th March 2012 at 10:30 PM.

  7. #37
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    My vet who is an orthopaedic surgeon believed that most of the pain with Ebony came from her 3 degenerated discs. When Clare Rusbridge looked at her scan she said that the pain Ebony has is mainly from her CM.

    Before medication Ebony used to roll around and scratch in the morning and in the evening. Nothing during the day.
    Sabby
    Rosie-06/06 - Ebony-01/07 Harley-08/08
    " My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dogs eyes "

  8. #38
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    Just back from the vets, and I'm bloody raging! I saw the head vet tonight, he is the same guy that referred Misty after we moved from our old vets. I explained Murphy's sudden onset of symptoms, and my worry over his intense scooting and paw licking over the weekend, coupled with the fact he'd started rolling on his back. I told him that by Saturday Murphy wasn't showing any back discomfort, and has been full of beans since, but the other symptom still had me confirmed.

    The first thing he did was check his skin, especially around the points he licks. He said he believes Murphy is licking due to a develpoed habit, rather than allergies, especially as he has done it for so many years. There is no hair loss or irritation, and Murphy only does if after waking up in the morning or after sleeping for a while.

    Now to why I'm mad. He said he'd just double check his glands, and low and behold, they were fit to burst!

    I said they had been checked last Tuesday by his colleague, as this was my first concern because of his symptoms, and I was told then they were fine. I know my old vet always said Murphy's glads were difficult to empty, but still how could he have missed them being so full. I got an apology for it being missed, but no offer of the 99 for his spinal x-rays being refunded of course

    From now on I think I'll be asking for Richard, unless of course it's an emergency.
    Paula - mum to Murphy(6) & Misty(7), and Jerry our cat.

  9. #39
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    This is so annoying, they should have offered you some small refund or not charged you today. There are four vets in the practice I use. There was only one years back when we first went I am with them years, even before I had cavaliers.

    I always ask for either the head vet or another girl, that we seen today as the head man is on holiday. Of course in an emergency we can't always choose but then I never feel happy....

    Bet Murphy feels better now with those glands empty.

    How is his back?
    Gus(blenhiem) Pippin(tri) DJ(ruby)

  10. #40
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    His backs fine, Richard had him by the back legs pulling them straight out at the same time, Murphy looked like a wheelbarrow, and he was manipulating his head in a full range of movement too. Murphy never even twitched.

    He has seemed much better since Saturday though, I've been trying to rest him and keep him quiet and all he's done is bark at me wanting to play He's been bursting at the seams, he's normally really active, and loves his long walks. I've to start returning him to normal exercise see how he responds. Richard wants to see him again next week to see how things are.
    Paula - mum to Murphy(6) & Misty(7), and Jerry our cat.

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