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depressed doggie

July 17th, 2007, 08:41 PM
My 10 year old lab/golden retriever mix dog had a small benign tumor removed from her front leg 10 days ago. She has been getting regular bandage changes and eating and drinking ok, a little less than normal, but still enough. She was getting pain relief for the first 3 days and antibiotics for the first week and is due to get her stitches (about 10-12) out tomorrow. She just seems really sad. She won't play with her toys and when we go on her walks to the park she just walks really quietly next to me, does her business and then wants to go home. She is not limping and doesn't have a fever. I really think she is just depressed. The stuff that I would do normally to cheer her up would be trips to the beach to go swimming, but she can't go until her leg is healed! Is she in pain? Should we have gotten more pain meds from her vet? Am I overlooking something that I should ask her vet tomorrow morning? She is a super smart dog and part of me wonders if she is just milking all the extra attention she has been getting but I feel really bad for her!

July 17th, 2007, 08:49 PM
I would ask your vet for sure! You never know how she could be feeling! If only they could talk! Good Luck and I hope she is feeling better...maybe she just needs more recouperation time?


July 17th, 2007, 09:15 PM
The amount of meds prescribed by the Vet is what is most appropriate for her situation. She is probably not feeling like herself because of the vet visit, surgery, recovery period & she also senses what you are feeling. It may also be a response to the antibiotics - they may just make her more sedate/calm by all means mention it to your Vet the more information they have the better to treat your dog with. Many times it takes animals a while to overcome stresses such as surgeries, even minor ones.

I am not a Vet but here are some signs your dog may be in pain or just uncomfortable if :

not weight bearing ie can not put any weight on the leg at all
the area is hot to the touch
she reacts to your touching the area
she whimpers/yelps when you touch the area
the area is swollen AND red
the area is itchy
she is licking it alot

because she will go for a walk I think she probably is just a little stressed at the whole situation

:goodvibes: for the Vet visit tommorrow, update us please
any pics???

July 18th, 2007, 11:45 AM
Thanks your your advice. She isn't doing any of the things that would indicate she is in pain. I will mention all of this to the vet today. I will post some pics later, I have to run to work right now. She is passed out in her bed :love:

July 18th, 2007, 01:57 PM
I agree with Growler - the meds, the upset with the vet visit, the pain and most of all - your concern - will all affect your dog's behaviour. It may take days for the residue from the meds to leave the system too.

I hope all goes well with your follow-up vet visit and that you are both "back to normal" soon!

July 18th, 2007, 02:17 PM
I wonder if it could also be a response to the anaesthetic.

July 22nd, 2007, 05:21 PM
Bad news... The vet visit went ok, she was really nervous, but the incision looked good and the stitches came out. He told me to wait a week and see if she got better once she got back to her normal routine. My instincts were right though and she has not been getting better. Last night she stopped being able to lift her tail (she had broken her back as a pup and had surgery with pins and wire, but has been 100% except for half of her tail not working) We thought it might be good to get her swimming today and took her out, but we are noticing a progressive weakening of her hind legs that appears to be neurological and quickly came home. I called her vet and am waiting to hear back.

I am really confused right now. I am not sure if all of this is related to the surgery since it was a tumor removal on her front paw, but she was running, jumping, swimming and playing the day before surgery and now can barely walk. I am not one to blame other people but I wonder if they positioned her funny during the surgery, or were a little rough with her and injured her back. Do you think they could have done something to my baby to cause this, or is it just a strange coincidence???? I really need some advice...

July 22nd, 2007, 09:30 PM
I think with anything progressive Shredy, it's best to be overly concerned and proactive. It's possible that it's coincidental but...

If they did shift her awkwardly it could have been a competely a completely innocent error rather than incompetence. She may have done it herself, coming out of the anaesthetic and sedation. It would be worthwhile asking the Vet an ambiguous question like "Did anything unusual happen while she was sedated or during recovery ?" If it was a self-injury or an awkward shift as you know the ins and outs of the surgery that was done ~ could this have resulted in a reinjury of the surgery site/ misalignment of surgical pins or a disc compression, pinched nerve? All things to think about when speaking with the Vet.

I hope this Vet is aware of the previous surgery, has historical xrays available and will be able to get xrays done asap to see if there is any disc compression or shifting of the pins etc. Let us know :fingerscr and :grouphug:

July 22nd, 2007, 09:44 PM
I don't have any advices other than what has been already posted. But just wanted to say I'm so sorry and I hope your vet can find what's the problem asap. :fingerscr :grouphug:

July 22nd, 2007, 10:45 PM
Shredy I'm sorry to hear your girl is not doing well. :grouphug:
I was hoping it was nothing more than a little post surgery/medication depression. My Cally had gone through a bit of depression after being attacked by another dog but was back to himself after a week. I was unaware of your dogs' back surgery.

When you talk to the Vet you could ask if there is an Animal Critical Care Clinic (different from ER clinics) in your area that they could recommend you to an animal neurologist. I'm not sure what kind of tests they do for this situtation but I wanted to give you the information I have.

Appts are by referral from your Vet only. The one in my area has Neurology, Radiology, ChemoTherapy & Physical Therapy departments.

Cally was at different times referred to the Radiology Dept for a cardiac ultrasound for a minor heart murmur & Physical Therapist for arthritis treatment in his hips & spine. Cally was later given a referral to the Neurologist for very sudden paralysis - not progressive at all.

Good luck with your girl :goodvibes: :grouphug: :fingerscr

July 23rd, 2007, 12:19 AM
There's nothing to add to the advice you've already been given but I just wanted to send lots of good wishes that you'll find an answer soon.
:fingerscr :fingerscr :goodvibes: :goodvibes:

July 23rd, 2007, 12:30 AM
mummummum, Thanks for your advice. I spoke with her vet and will be seeing him tomorrow morning. He wants to take a look at her before we see the neurologist. Unfortunately this is a new vet as we moved recently so he does not have x-rays of her spine. I did tell her vet about her back on her first visit though so he knew about it before the surgery. He told me to give her some prednisone tonight and I'm sure he will take x-rays tomorrow. I am hoping that he can give us some answers.

She is doing ok tonight. She is still weak and cannot lift her tail which makes it hard to go to the bathroom :frown: I have been massaging her legs, hips and shoulders and she doesn't seem to be painful anywhere. I have noticed some muscle twitching in her hind legs though. Thankfully she is still able to control her bladder and bowels. I'm sure most of the people here can relate, Shade is my baby and it is really hard for me to see her like this. I feel really helpless...I want her to have a good long life :pray:

July 25th, 2007, 11:49 AM
So now we play the waiting game... After seeing her vet and the neurologist on Monday we have two possibilities. The X-rays show something strange around the site of the fracture that could be the way the bones healed over time, but it could also be a tumor on her spine. The neurologist told me that tumors can show up at old fracture sites. The other possibility is that she has a buldging disk. She is taking predisolone (steroid) and robaxin (muscle relaxer) and if we see improvement or no change in the next two weeks it is more likely the buldging disk, but if she gets any worse we are probably looking at a tumor. He can't do an MRI because of the pins, although I am not sure I would put her through another spinal surgery at this age.

She can still walk (very slowly and carefully), still has control over her bladder and bowels and is still my sweet loving puppy. :love: :pawprint: She has overcome so much already (fractured spine, femur, skull, and punctured lung from the car accident at 8 months old and May, 2006 was diagnosed with an oral melanoma and given 1-2 months to live. She has had no signs of tumor re-growth or metastisis, until maybe now). She is my miracle dog and maybe she has one more left :pray: :pray: :pray:

July 25th, 2007, 12:14 PM
:grouphug: Shredy and :fingerscr that she heals with rest and the meds over the next two weeks. Your sweet baby has been through so much :grouphug:

July 25th, 2007, 01:10 PM
Here are some pics of my baby...

July 25th, 2007, 05:20 PM
What a sweet face, I hope she will be with you for a long time to come.

July 28th, 2007, 10:44 PM
This has been such an awful week for us. She has been really painful and the prednisone is making her pant like crazy. I talked to the neurologist and he put her on Neurontin which is helping SOOO MUCH. She isn't getting better though. I can see and feel a mass next to her spine now and she has lost more of her hind leg function although she is still able to walk. I have had her in my life since I moved out on my own and my life won't be the same without her, but I know I have to do what is right for her when the time comes. I don't know if I will be able to tell when that is though. She is an amazing soul and I just wanted to share some more pictures of her. She loved to run and swim and roll in the snow and we have backpacked throught the mountains together every summer. My heart is breaking.

July 28th, 2007, 10:48 PM
W. O. W. ~ what a simply gorgeous gal !

July 28th, 2007, 10:55 PM
Thanks, I tell her so every day :love:

July 28th, 2007, 11:21 PM
She is a beautiful girl :lovestruck: . So sorry to hear of your current situation and here are some good vibes for an improved prognosis and some hugs of support for you :goodvibes: :fingerscr :goodvibes: :fingerscr :goodvibes::grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

July 29th, 2007, 05:19 PM
How do I know when it is time?

She is falling more today and doesn't want to go outside at all. She is still eating and drinking and going to the bathroom ok. I think the neurontin and prednisone are controlling her pain. Her neurologist told me that a spinal tumor will take her very quickly and all of this has happened in about two weeks. I have never lost a furry child before and I am very torn. I know in my heart that there will be a point that I need to let go and end her suffering but how will I know? I'm afraid I won't be able to make an objective decision. I would really appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks for everyone's kind words and advice.

July 29th, 2007, 05:40 PM
:grouphug: shredy. I've been there and remember what it was like being at the crossroads.

Here are some questions I answered ....

Is she still happy to be on the planet? Does she take interest in me and the world around her ?

Can she still control the things that are important to her ? (continence, eating and drinking, getting my attention ...) Is there anything I can do to improve that or support her bodily functions and communication ?

Is she suffering ? If so, is there anything else I can do to provide relief from pain and discomfort? Can I get stronger pain killers ? Massage ? Cooling icepacks ? A more comfy spot for cuddling and sleeping ?

When it was time for my love Tai to go, I knew. But not everyone does and that has NOTHING to do with how much you love your dog. And, some people choose to make it happen before answering any of these questions becomes necessary if only so that they can remember their beloved free of anything questions like these imply.

There is nothing easy about this Shredy, we all just do our best to be as unselfish, loving and giving as we can be. :grouphug:

July 29th, 2007, 06:07 PM
Thank you so much. I have been spending all my time with her this weekend and my heart is breaking because I can see her getting worse by the hour. I plan on taking her to the vet tomorrow to see if there is anything we can do for her that we aren't already doing. I massage her legs shoulder and back and we installed an air conditioning unit in our bedroom today so she would be able to sleep more comfortably. She is still able to eat, drink and control her bladder and bowels but she is not happy. It is really hard for her to walk and yesterday she could go out to the lawn by the street but today it is too far. We are carrying her up the stairs at night to her bed so she can sleep with us. I know the time is coming soon but I was really hoping she would make it until after I get out of school this summer so I could take her back up to the mountains in Lake Tahoe (this is where we lived for 8 of her 10 years) to spend her last days in her favorite place. I knew when I got her that I would have to say goodbye someday but our home and our life will be so empty without her smile. :lovestruck:

July 29th, 2007, 06:17 PM
How do I know when it is time?

I'm afraid I won't be able to make an objective decision. I would really appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks for everyone's kind words and advice.

Along with mummummum's great advice, you should check out this website with some info that might help in evaluating quality of life:

I really feel for you. Coming to terms with a furry family member's mortality is one of the hardest things in life. Just love her with all your heart, as you obviously already do.

July 29th, 2007, 06:18 PM
Well, go and have a cuddle with her. Tell her what you want and why you want it. Describe the drive there, what you see, smell, taste. Talk about what it's like when you first see the cabin (?), what does the air smell and taste like, what colour is the bark on the trees, how does the earth "taste" in your nose... describe each and every inch of each and every sense you have in your experience of this most beloved of places.

If nothing else, you've given her something lovely to imagine as a sacred place.

July 29th, 2007, 06:29 PM
Thank you for the advice. I will do my best to be strong for her and to do everything I can to make her comfortable and happy. It feels good knowing that there are people who love their pets as much as I love Shade. She is my angel and has enriched my life in more ways than I can count.

She loves to make snow angels :angel: Here is a picture of her at Christmas this year.

July 29th, 2007, 06:42 PM
I would fall in love with her in a nanosecond but... she's yours. She has your heart and you have hers. Count yourself as blessed.

July 29th, 2007, 08:04 PM
Just wanted to add that your Shade is a beautiful girl!!!! Such expression in that face..... :lovestruck:

You will know when the time has come, when you look deep into your Shade's eyes, you will know if it the time or not.

Hopefully your Vet can do something to get your baby better for a while longer.

She is truly a sweetheart!!!! Give her lots of cuddles from all of us! :grouphug: