Monday, August 31, 2009

Bailey's Back Pain Diagnosis... Kind Of

We had high hopes that the prednisone and muscle relaxer meds would be all that Bailey needed to help her heal and recover. Thankfully, it appeared that was the case, because once they really kicked in, she was feeling good... walking with no problem, energetic, wanting to play. In other words, she was back to normal. Or so I thought.

We decided to start tapering her prednisone down, since she was doing so well. Unfortunately, within 8 hours, she regressed. Badly. When I saw her that day after work, she tried to walk to me and collapsed. I immediately grabbed the phone and called the vet and he decided we needed to bump her dose back up and schedule her for x-rays, so we could try to find out what we were dealing with.

I was devastated. I mean like crying-and-lying-on-the-floor-next-to-her devastated. To me, this meant it had to be serious. Cancer? Tumor? The thought of losing her was something I had not prepared myself for... it was always "sometime in the future".

I dropped her off at the vet office the next morning and was a nervous wreck all day, waiting for results. Finally, that evening I met with the vet. And his diagnosis? Well, we're still not sure. Here's what was found:

From her symptoms, it seemed the most likely possible cause for her pain was a slipped disk, as this was exactly what she was doing:
When a disc first ruptures, it causes intense pain. When this occurs in the middle of the back, the dog will arch his back up in pain. When the herniation takes place in the neck, the dog is unwilling to turn his head, and may not even want to lower it to eat and drink. Some dogs will shiver from the pain and walk very carefully and slowly.

Now what? Well, the vet had an idea for Bailey that I did not expect to hear at all: hyperbaric oxygen treatments. More on that in my next post...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crazy Cockatoo

We interrupt this program to bring you some humor (hey, I need it). Crazy bird.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dogs and Back Pain

Bailey, my 10-yr old Labrador Retriever, hit another roadblock about 10 days ago... major back pain.

I got home from work Friday night and walked in to find her almost unable to walk. I have no idea what happened that day while she was at home, but finding her like that scared the living daylights out of me. My gut feeling tells me she slipped and fell on the dreaded laminate flooring in the kitchen (I hate that floor and she does too), but I have no proof.

Being a Friday night, of course the vet clinic was closed. I put in an emergency call to the vet, carried Bailey to the car (all 65 lbs of her) and started heading to the clinic in a hurry, anticipating that I would meet the vet there.

My first fear after seeing her in so much pain was bloat (which is frequently life-threatening). Not that I had any idea what the symptoms were, but she was hunched up like it was abdomen pain and her whole body was trembling. When the vet examined her however, he immediately felt it was coming from her back. My relief that it wasn't bloat was temporary though, as it was obvious whatever was going on was serious.

He gave her a cortisone shot and sent us home with meds to control the inflammation and help her relax... prednisone and robaxin (muscle relaxant).

Needless to say, I was a basket case. Seeing animals in pain, especially my Bailey-girl, is heart-breaking for me. I don't handle it well. That night was a rough one for both of us.

I'll talk about this ordeal in the next few posts for some background and catch you up to where we are now (hopefully healing!). My fingers are crossed for my girl.