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« I Guess This Makes It Official | Main | The Plan »

July 15, 2010


Interesting post. I'm guessing the the Pred. finally kicked in. Pretty funny though. thanks for the post.

Acupuncture greatly helped pain in my dogs who've had severe arthritis in their lower spine. It did nothing for the dog with degenerative myelopathy--she benefited from Tramadol for almost a year before we had to move on to prednisone.

Rolling Dog Ranch post on Prednisone
I am a medical doctor. I am the first to admit that I do not know about dogs. However, in humans, that combination of medication would have a fair chance of causing severe psychiatric symptoms. Any of the 3 can cause depression, psychosis or mania in people. Actually, it is fairly frequent to get those problems with any one of those medications, especially in older people or people with any sort of brain damage. These medications can, fairly often, cause symptoms that mimic the symptoms we were trying to treat with the medications! I am not criticizing your veterinarian’s care in any way—I’m not a VMD, and I’m not there! But I have about 30 years of experience with the medications in both adult, geriatric and pediatric populations and many of my patients were nonverbal, either from youth, dementia, or a developmental disability and I felt compelled to write to you.

I've re-homed about 32 dogs over the last 20 years, sometimes having 8 dogs in the house at once. (With a few cats thrown in and a lot of rescued chickens) Many of the dogs I have been asked to shelter had significant medical problems. For many years, I was the only person in the rescue with any medical or veterinary training, so I would get the dogs who required nursing care. (That's no longer true--at my current veterinary clinic, Fair Isle, on Vashon Island, WA,it seems like every vet and all of the staff have several rescue animals apiece. They are an amazing bunch).

Most of the dogs were young with acute medical problems from which they were able to recover and go on to new homes. I’ve had about 7 live with me until the end of their days.

Anyway, I've had a couple of dogs get pretty depressed on Tramadol, just like people. I’ve only used Tramadol in 4 dogs, so two is a pretty high percentage. However, for a couple of other dogs, Tramadol was an incredible benefit for their pain issues.

As to prednisone, I have seen depression in one dog, but the others handled it psychiatrically very well. I've always given my dogs who take Prednisone a supplement to support their livers--S-adenosylmethionine (s-AME).

My Thelma had what Travis had--Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM). (your blog calls this Masticatory Myosits) which is the same thing. Thelma had her troubles about 15 years ago, so maybe someone realized that the word ‘muscle’ was redundant as Myositis means ‘inflammation of the muscle’.

Fortunately, I noticed that Thelma’s upper jaw muscle was atrophying when it was a very early stage. The first VMD we saw thought the problem would go away on its own. I looked up the symptoms and figured out that Thelma probably had MMM. We went to a different vet who did a biopsy and confirmed her diagnosis.

Thelma had to take high dose Prednisone for a year. Thelma weighed 50 lB and we gave her 400 mg per day. With 400 mg of s-AME daily, her liver values never rose above the normal range. She was only about 5 years old which is probably why we never saw any of the other side effects, except for increased appetite. My vet had just gone to a conference at UCSD with, I believe, Dr. Diane Shelton and he learned about s-AME from her lecture.

Looking at human research on s-AME, I found that it had a lot of evidence for being an excellent liver support. I saw one study done with alcoholics who already had cirrhosis of the liver and were still drinking alcohol. Use of s-AME significantly slowed the rate at which their cirrhosis progressed. s-AME actually takes over some of the detoxification that is normally performed by liver cells.

I have used s-AME with other dogs who required prednisone and with dogs with renal failure. All appeared to benefit. None had an elevation in liver enzyme levels I use milk thistle as well, but it does not seem to be as strong. I give milk thistle daily, but upgrade to s-AME if the dog or cat has liver or renal disease or needs to take a medication that can cause liver toxicity. s-AME costs quite a bit more than milk thistle.

The worst thing that has happened at our house with use of Prednisone in my old dogs was the veterinary doctor tapering it too quickly. That caused an adrenal crisis for one of my old dogs.

I also used s-AME with the two dogs that I had to put on one of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAID for short—Rimadyl is one, as is Deramaxx). Neither had any trouble with the NSAID despite pre-exisiting, mild to moderate, elevations of liver enzymes. Both were very old (15 years) and had a history of significant medical problems. It’s too small a number to draw a significant conclusion, but neither dog had any trouble with the NSAID. Here’s one study regarding use of s-AME to prevent toxicity from carprofen in cats and dogs.

Wow, this post was long. Just wanted to pass along some information that might be helpful. If you’ve heard it all before, thanks for reading this far! I am so impressed with what you guys are doing there.

I had a very similar situation with my dachshund. Showing some pain & would not raise head to look up at home, but same exam by vet as you described & she showed no pain. Also was started on anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant & pain med. Unfortunately later that night pain escalated & by the end of the week she was rushed to e-vet with extreme pain. Ultimately it was determined she had a disc rupture in her neck & needed surgery. She fully recovered & 4 yrs. later is still doing well.
Hopefully Bailey will recover with no need for surgery.

I think Bailey after all wanted to get to know the new vet. This is quite an interesting posting on magical healing powers.

I had a similar miraculous experience with my dog Foxi.

He started walking "funny" one day and the vet kept on charging me money for telling me that he could not figure out what the problem was.

A chiro buddy of mine was visiting me and told me that Foxi had a crooked back and that I should take him to a vet familiar with spinal manipulations.

Took a while to find the vet, but after 6 treatments Foxi was as good as new.

And for me, that was a miracle!

Maybe he was checking to see how important he was to you and Alayne have been a LITTLE busy with life changes.
But really...we're glad he's not yiking in pain anymore. It weakens the heart to imagine him looking at you in pain. He looks very comfortable in his pen. : )

We had the same thing happen with our elderly declining dog. He would miraculously recover as soon as we got to the vet's office, jumping out of the car when he couldn't even walk at home. Afterwards, we read that animals will often rally when taken to the vet. If their ancestors in the wild had shown weakness or signs of illness, they might have been attacked. It made as much sense as anything after several "I need an appointment as soon as possible" runs to the vet resulted in our dog rallying.

Yup, sounds like Bailey had an ulterior the new, pretty vet! It must be so much nicer...not to mention be able to get to the vet in a short time. Glad Bailey is on the mend!

We had a wonderful lab/golden/??? mix, Puppy by name, some years back. When he got to be around 9 or 10 years old, he suddenly started doing exactly the same thing, but when he lowered his head to eat from his dish on the floor. Pred' injections helped, briefly, and pills only a little, and then he was taken off of them. I brought in a low stool to set his dish on and held it in place, so he wouldn't push it off in his exuberant eating.

After a while, the stool was too low, so for the rest of his days, I sat on it and held the dish for him, where he could eat without pain.

How to accommodate your Bailey, when the problem manifests as she raises her head, I don't know!

Bailey must have overdid it, what with all the bed stealing antics. Or so says Helen! lol

Glad the doc added the other meds just in case.

Oh, and don't feel foolish Steve. Your dedication is admired by many, I'm sure.

Glad Bailey is doing fine! Also, how long did it take you to and from the vet office? I'm sure not 140 miles round trip! :) Little strange to see all the new vets taking care of the animals now!

Sounds to me like Bailey was just looking for a trip into town! Glad he's feeling better :)

Ha Ha! Bailey was wanting some quality time, and a "meet & greet"
So happy to hear sweet "ornery" Bailey is feeling better!

Ahhh, those little doxie's are good at getting attention. :)
But I can imagine your worry and so happy Bailey is doing okay. WHEW!

Barbara Techel

I too experienced this with my doxie-mix's back problems. The vet thought it was simply the raised adrenalin, due to the excitement of being at the vet's office, which damped the pain. It sure does make it hard for the vet to come to a diagnosis though! If it happens again I think I'll take video so we have something to show the vet.

Bailey's plan worked!!! A room/pen to himself, a ride in the car to meet all the new Vets & staff & a bunch of attention!!!

On a serious note, I'm very glad he is resting comfortably & the pain has subsided.

All's well that ends well? LOL
You guys are tops for taking such good care of these animals!

Hmmm, a little faker? Nothing like a little doctor sponsored high from pain meds and a freebie ride in the car and some extra attention from a few pitiful yikes.

I was wondering if any of these dogs with the spinal issues could be helped with chiropractic care or acupuncture?

I take our 10 year old schnauzer in for an adjustment about every 2 weeks and he's doing much better. I've been lucky enough to find a vet who does that and gives homeopathic remedies as well.

What a cutie!!!

I'm glad that the worst of Bailey's pain is over, even tho' he made you look foolish at the vet's. Guess he felt it was time to check out the new clinic & see if it was up to his standards. Reminds me of taking my auto into the mechanic when it makes a strange noise, but naturally the noise stops when I get to the shop.
Hugs all around,
ginger, Tobias & Tlingit

My little senior doxie,had a bit of a back issue, 2 xrays later,and 3 exams,when he was as spry for the vets with no limp, a wise vet said animals can be stoic and mask symptoms for strangers, as a defense mechanism. he was om tramadol,and rimadyl for a week or so. he limped when we got home After we saw the vet.

I agree with Sharon - Bailey knows how to work the system in both Montana and New Hampshire!

Glad the pain "magically disappeared"!

LOL! I've been old is Bailey now?

Human kids have been known to have similar symptoms. Aches and pains at home.......but when they reach the pediatricians office.....miraculously they are hail and healthy. Go figure.
I'm glad Baily is on the mend.

Good job Bailey! A ride in the car and a gentle "alignment" from a pretty lady. And probably a treat or two from the staff for good measure.

Not to mention making Steve feel foolish at the vet...

Work it, Buddy!

It just breaks your heart to see an animal in pain. I think you are right that the Prednisone had kicked in by the time you got to the vet. The poor little guy doesn't look like he wants to pose for this picture. XOXO and prayers for no more pain little Bailey.

I think Bailey was just looking for some quality time with his human. I just LOVE the way you write~it is just like you are talking, but I'm reading it instead of listening. I think you and Alayne should start writing your life story for publication!

So, Bailey wanted to get to know the new vet. Maybe he was missing the wonderful Dr. Jennifer Rockwell in Helena and wanted to see if the "new one" was as good. Sounds totally "human" (aka canine) to me.

Little sandbagger!

I'm glad Bailey found the "magic" cure and that he's feeling better. Plus, it must feel great for you to only have to drive 3 miles to the vets now, instead of 70!

Clearly he thought that the move was over and it was time for you to get back to the real work at hand, and why not him - ha ha. And how was the nice short ride to town and vet!

I have a weiner dog mix and almost this exact thing happened to her last weekend. I was wondering if Bailey was walking around kind of like he was drunk, stumbling and staggering, but never actually falling? Penny, our dog, never yelped but she couldn't keep her balance. We took her to the vet and they did they same exam as on Bailey but she reacted to head turning. She was prescriped tramadol and prednisone and now is completely recovered, but it was tramatic non the less!

Kind of like when your car is making a noise, but when you take it to the mechanic it stops.

Maybe he just wanted to check out his new vet? :-)

I think that little pipsqueak just wanted to meet the new pretty vet!

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