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My older gsp/hound is hurting


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Saturday afternoon, Seven (who is 10) came in from outside and she was trembling. My first thought was, oh no--snake bite (she was bitten 4 years ago and nearly died). I had her lay on her bed and watched her closely for awhile. No swelling showing, no obvious injuries, no temperature, eyes were bright but worried. She did quit shaking after a few minutes. It's been a long weekend, and, in short, Rimadyl seems to help some (at least she'll get up to go out when absolutely necessary). She has a good appetite as long as I bring the bowl to her. Basically, very reluctant to get up most of the time and trembles when she does. Today, the vet looked at her and had no easy answer. Her vitals are good. On exam it's clear that she's sore all the way around (like hips and shoulders). He mentioned Lyme and something else, but her test last year was negative and it's been ages since we've pulled a tick off of her. Possible that the snake bite is slowly taking a toll in the way of arthritis or an autoimmune response. This is not the first time she's acted like something hurts, but it's never been this bad. I'm taking her back in in the morning for a round of xrays. Any suggestions on things to consider? I think my vet is quite good--I am just worried right now and feel at a loss....

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The disease-bearing ticks are so small that they could easily be missed. Just because she tested negative last year doesn't mean she hasn't had a tick or doesn't have tick disease. False negatives are fairly common. Doxycycline is the treatment of choice for most TBDs, and it's cheap, so I would ask my vet to put her on a round of doxy. If she shows dramatic improvement, then you can assume a TBD regardless of test results. And if she shows improvement on the doxy, then make sure to continue with an aggressive treatment protocol (8 weeks of treatment at a dose of 5 mg/lb every 12 hours). I would try that before spending money on X-rays or other diagnostics--it's all a fishing expedition, but the doxy can tell you pretty quickly if some form of tick disease is involved and *could* solve her painfulness problem.

 

J.

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The disease-bearing ticks are so small that they could easily be missed. Just because she tested negative last year doesn't mean she hasn't had a tick or doesn't have tick disease. False negatives are fairly common. Doxycycline is the treatment of choice for most TBDs, and it's cheap, so I would ask my vet to put her on a round of doxy. If she shows dramatic improvement, then you can assume a TBD regardless of test results. And if she shows improvement on the doxy, then make sure to continue with an aggressive treatment protocol (8 weeks of treatment at a dose of 5 mg/lb every 12 hours). I would try that before spending money on X-rays or other diagnostics--it's all a fishing expedition, but the doxy can tell you pretty quickly if some form of tick disease is involved and *could* solve her painfulness problem.

 

J.

 

'Thanks for the input. I did discuss this with my vet. He said it's possible TBD is the cause however he wasn't leaning that way for reasons previously posted and as he hasn't seen much of that in our area in the past year. Did a full set of xrays and we did not find anything unusual. In fact, all better than usual for her age. We are giving her rimadyl and a muscle relaxant for the next week, and will start on glucosamine. She does seem more comfortable this evening. He ran another Lyme blood test rather than just put her on the doxy since we are giving the rimadyl and muscle relaxant--improvement with all of the drugs wouldn't tell us much about what was wrong. Test again was negative. He said if this comes up again, then we'll try the doxy first, but at this point she's been hurting for a few days and it's really past due time to get her some relief.

 

Well, we did find one unusual thing--she had an old bb embedded in her inner thigh! He said it had likely been there a long time. I recall many years ago that the neighbors commented that someone had shot their dog. Seems some redneck yahoo was out target practicing at some point in the past. Some people are so ugly.

 

So, hopefully we're on our way to recovery....

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