Role of pain medications
with a disc episode
The anti inflammatory drug (steroid or a non-steroid) rids the body of painful inflammation. Understand, this process may take in the range of 7 days to upwards of 30 days to resolve the painful swelling. While the anti inflammatory is at work, pain must be absent round the clock. Pain not only hinders healing but makes it impossible to properly care for a dog. Pain medications work to relieve pain in an hour when correctly prescribed for your dog’s needs.
You are the eyes and ears for your vet at home. You will want to understand how pain medications work and what to monitor for. Never have any patience with getting pain under full control.
Alert your vet immediately when seeing pain is not being managed so pain meds can be adjusted. The Mar Vista Veterinary Drug Directory is an excellent source of information about your dog’s meds. LINK: http://www.marvistavet.com/pharmacy-center.pml
There is no one-size-fits-all pain relief
Expect PAIN to be in control approximately within the hour, if a prescription is customized for your dog. The vet may need to tweak and adjust the dose, the frequency given and a 2-3 combination of different pain meds to get full pain control.
Make sure the medications are fully controlling pain from dose to dose with no break-through in pain nearing the next dose. It is vitally important to provide continued feedback to your vet until the pain medications have been properly adjusted for your dog.
Signs of pain
|❏ shivering-trembling❏ slow to move
❏ arched back, ears pinned back
❏ restless, can’t find a comfortable position
❏ looks up with just eyes and does not move head and neck easily
❏ holds front or back leg flamingo style not wanting to bear weight
|❏ yelps when picked up or moved
❏ tight tense tummy
❏ head held high or nose to the ground
❏ slow or reluctant to move much in crate such as shift positions
❏ not eating due to painful chewing or in too much overall pain
❏ not their normal perky interested in life selves
A medication chart is useful to see patterns, have dates and specific facts handy as you discuss things with the vet.
Download a sample (includes a blank form) to use with your dog’s meds.
The below list of drugs used to manage pain are the more commonly used. Your vet has many options with other pain meds in his effort to find the right combination to give full comfort from pain for your dog.
- ▼ NERVE PAIN
Veterinarians are finding this medication works very well in combination with the synthetic opiate tramadol. To maintain an effective level in the body, vets most often prescribe both gabapentin and tramadol for every 8 hours dosing.
- ▼ GENERAL ANALGESIC
Tramadol is a synthetic opiate which is used as a general pain reliever. It has a short half life of 1.7 hours and often needs to be prescribed at a minimum of every 8 hours.
- ▼ MUSCLE RELAXER
- ▼ PAIN MED ENHANCER FOR SEVERE PAIN
- ▼ PHANTOM NEUROPATHIC PAIN— paralyzed legs
Neuropathic pain is abnormal, phantom pain. This explains why a dog with paralyzed legs with no deep pain sensation (DPS) feels this type of pain.
Everyone has experienced numbness or pins and needles tingling in your legs when sitting in a bad position for too long a time. Your dog can be feeling abnormal nerve sensations that are mild pins and needles to quite painful burning, on-fire feeling that makes them bite to stop the pain.
Be watchful for attention of licking or biting of penis, paws, or legs by a paralyzed dog. Stay on top of signs moving to excessiveness licking, chewing on body parts as this can lead to death. Immediately put a e-collar on or a lengthwise folded towel and secured closed with duct tape. Get to a vet for an e-collar and a medication to help to control these very painful sensations.
Directions for an emergency folded towel secured closed with duct tape to prohibit a dog reaching legs + picture:
- ▼ GI TRACT DAMAGE- STOMACH PROTECTION
- Stomach protection during disc episode is important. There are multiple factors which often cause extra stomach acids to form during the disc episode. Using an acid suppresser such as Pepcid AC makes sense!
- Early signs of stomach damage start with lip licking due to nausea, not eating, and vomiting. As damage increases, diarrhea occurs leading to serious bleeding ulcers and red or black blood in the stool. Bleeding ulcers not attended to can be life threatening.
Pepcid AC (famotidine) blocks the production of acid. The usual dose of Pepcid AC (famotidine) with a disc episode is 0.44 mg per pound every 12 hours. Pepcid AC has a very limited potential for side effects. However, do make it a point to ask if your dog has any health issues that prevent the use of Pepcid AC (famotidine). A vet needs to be fully informed about everything your dog takes.
Stomach protectors https://dodgerslist.com/2020/05/06/stomach-protection/
6 things to know about anti-inflammatories: https://dodgerslist.com/2020/04/18/steroids-vs-nsaids/