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Can pain cause "nightmares"?


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Boy has never been the type to twitch or anything while sleeping but he's been moving all over the place while sleeping recently. All four legs jerk around and even his mouth muscles twitch. He's not having a seizure.

 

Can pain cause twitching and jerking while sleeping? If so, is it a common sign of pain? I'm trying to learn what his signs are so that I can help keep him comfortable.

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I've had several dogs who were obviously dreaming and all four legs would jerk around and mouth muscles twitch... I have always assumed they were running after something. Sometimes they make noise.

 

These were all very medically sound dogs.

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Is he on medications (like pain meds)? I would be more inclined to believe that if you are now *controlling* his pain, he's actually sleeping a deeper sleep that allows him to dream--something he couldn't do before because of general discomfort. Anyway, that seems a more plausible theory to me than pain-induced nightmares. JMO.

 

J.

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I'm with Julie on this one. ALL of mine move, twitch, moan, bark with their mouths closed, even wag their tales in their sleep. Some nights it's not very quiet in my bedroom.

 

With the deeper sleep, too, he might start to feel better during the day. Sleep deprivation is nasty stuff, (ask any new mother) and aches, pains, etc are worse when you don't get enough rest.

 

Ruth n the BC3

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Today is his fifth day taking Deramaxx. I read on a vet site that Deramaxx is the strongest NSAID. Anyone agree with that? That would make me feel better for his sake.

 

It would be nice if his movement means he's sleeping deeply. That would make me feel better too. He's always been a very light sleeper. He has been sleeping alot the last couple/few days.

 

Thanks!

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I think Julie is right. My vet says the painkillers allow them to sleep more deeply and achieve REM sleep. I told her that Rip was doing outruns in his sleep, and she said that meant he was getting REM sleep - a good thing.

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Boy seemed to be doing really well yesterday so I didn't give him any pain meds.

 

Last night he woke me up (no small feat!) due to pacing and loud breathing, so I gave him one of the strong pain pills.

 

Today he has the runs and hates me for hosing off his butt.

 

Just putting this here for future reference.

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Miz,

You're using Deramaxx, right? I've known a number of people whose dogs had diarrhea problems with that. If it continues, talk to your vet about alternatives. I had good luck with Metacam, and apparently there's a newer NSAID out there that is supposed to work great and doesn't have the side-effect issues of the more commonly used meds. Sorry I can't remember the name of the newer product.

 

J.

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I didn't give him the Deramaxx yesterday. I got some strong narcotics for him called Torbutrol last week, and that's what I gave him last night.

 

He's had the runs a few times in the last week or so. He hasn't had a Deramaxx since night before last, but since it works for 24 hours, maybe that *is* the culprit. He had the runs before the Torbutrol, so I know it's not that.

 

I will ask for a different NSAID for him.

 

Thankfully his diarrhea is not so bad that he can't hold it. Each time he's gone outside.

 

What do you think of the loud breathing? It was like loud panting. I know that panting can be a sign of pain, but is it usually loud? It wasn't clear breathing, but hoarse.

 

Know what confuses me Julie? He was in alot of pain when he had the injections for the hearworm treatment. My vet said it really hurts some dogs more than others, and it seemed to hurt him more than most. He showed typical and obvious signs of pain, like constantly changing position, refusing food, groaning, not at all playful or in the mood for anything, etc.

 

If he's got a bad back then I can understand why the shots caused him so much pain since they go in quite deep, but why would he show the usual signs of pain then, but not show signs of pain except having that "off" look and lashing out now, and in the fall? When his back end became weak he wanted to keep playing ball.

 

Could neck or back problems affect his brain? Is it possible that much of his behavior last fall and recently is scrambled signals in his brain somehow, not necessarily pain?

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Miz,

I don't have a real answer to your question, but if I were to guess, I'd guess that the difference is pain that he's used to vs. pain that he's not used to. You probably understand living with chronic pain--you just kind of live with it, and on really bad days you may be irritable or what have you, but in general the pain is a normal fact of life, so you just cope.

 

When he is in this "normal pain" state he's fairly normal (what you know as normal). That's presuming his back is a chronic condition that he's been dealing with for some time. If his condition is deteriorating, then he will have more and more bad days.

 

His pain reaction from the HW treatment was *new* pain, which may be why he reacted more "strongly" painwise to that than he has to his progressive back changes, for which a certain amount of pain is just "business as usual"--as in he knows no different.

 

Just my thoughts, and I have no idea if they have a basis in reality.

 

J.

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I know a dog that has cancer and after the treatments she started panting hard and hasn't stopped since - I have no idea if it is pian related or not for that girl, but I hope not for her sake!

 

Today I posted about a new product that was talked about in Whole Dog Journal this month that's having amazing results in dogs w/ skeletal issues - check out the 'joint pain' topic for the details - it sounds like it might be worth looking into for Boy.

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