painful inflammation resolves via anti-inflammatory


Swelling Inflammation

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Painful inflammation around the spinal cord

Disc episode inflammation can take 7-30 days to resolve.
In the meantime pain medications are a must while the anti-inflammatory is at work.

Signs of pain

Holding the head in an unusual position: head held high or nose to the ground • shivering/trembling • panting • not wanting to move much or moving gingerly • yelping • tight/tense stomach muscles • holding leg up flamingo style…not wanting to bear weight on the leg • just not their usual interested-in-life self.

Pain medications

Pain meds must be on board to provide comfort from pain while the anti-inflammatory drug works on inflammation in 7-30 days .  A 2-3 way combination of pain meds is often necessary to address each source of pain during a disc episode .

These meds loose effectiveness at about 8 hrs. Most often it will require the Rx  or pain medication to be dosed every 8 hours (3x/day).  

Expect if the correct Rx for your dog is given, then pain would be in control within an hour or less and stay that way round the clock, right up to the next dosing time.
  • Tramadol as the 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.
  • Methocarbamol treats muscle spasms stemming from aggravated muscles due to nerve trauma related to the spinal cord inflammation.
  • Gabapentin may be added to the mix for hard to control pain. Veterinarians are finding this medication works very well in combination with Tramadol.
  • Amantadine for severe pain. Neuros are finding this drug adds an extra dimension of pain control.

Anti-flammatory drugs

The two classes (non-steroids/NSAID and steroids) should not be mixed or used close in time. A 4-7 day washout is prudent to protect from severe GI tract damage should there be an emergency to switch from NSAID to NSAID or NSAID to a steroid. .

A vet must guess how long of anti-inflammatory course to prescribe. Many vets will try a 7-day or a 14-day course. .
The end of the course is actually an opportunity see if the anti-inflammatory rid the body of all painful swelling.

Along with stopping the anti-inflammatory, all of the pain meds that mask pain are also stopped. The test stop is the time the owner will be monitoring for any hint of pain resurfacing.

Pain indicates more days of anti-inflammatory are needed. Also all pain meds and Pepcid AC need to be back on board. Your vet will again take a guess on how long the course should be.

After multiple attempts to go off any anti-inflammatory, if pain cannot be totally resolved, surgery would be a consideration.

Acid suppression

Pepcid AC (Famotidine) Is used proactively with ALL anti-inflammatories to avoid serious gastrointestinal damage. For some dogs Pepcid AC needs to be accompanied with yet another protector, Sucralfate, if  any hint of signs GI sign appear:  not eating, diarrhea, vomit, bloody stools.

Drug Directory

There are no safe meds. Just meds which are used in a safe manner by the vet. And coupled with owners who are knowledgable about each med their dog takes. The Mar Vista Veterinary web page has an excellent drug look up directory.

Med Chart

Don’t miss a dose especially if more than one person cares for your dog. Document things to see patterns. Handy info, when you discuss things with your vet. Download the PDF today. It includes a sample and a blank chart to personalize for your dog's meds.

Roadmap for Conservative treatment

Avoid dangerous detours during a disc episode. Tape the roadmap on the fridge for handy reference during his weeks of treatment. VIEW, DOWNLOAD and print a copy today for dog's file just in case.

Med Card

Handy to keep a reference card in your wallet. Useful for keeping all meds straight as you discuss things with your vet.
Cris Lewis' Olivia

Acupuncture • Laser Light Therapy

These two therapies can help stimulate nerves to self repair.

CAUTION: During conservative treatment, anytime out of the recovery suite is a dangerous time for the early healing disc. Movement of the back/neck can increase a disc tear. Escape of disc material into the spinal cord canal would cause pain again and the need to start from square one. For an animal with very mild neuro deficits, the risk of transporting to therapy has to be carefully weighed against what benefit would  be gained. Seek a mobile vet for home treatment.
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