Gabapentin?

mechi2

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Jun 22, 2013
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Canada
Original Poster
After viewing the video the vet says she has a spinal cord issue around the base of the neck (IVDD) in addition to the ataxia and wants to put her on pain meds (gabapentin) along with trying Metacam or a corticosteroid for a few days because it's not the best thing in the presence of kidney disease, but says it would be worth it if it dramatically helps her. I don't know what to do.
 

TTouch

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Apr 20, 2021
Metacam AND Gabapentin?
Metacam is for inflammation and pain in both acute and chronic musculo-skeletal disorders and Corticosteroids are mainly used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system and is a steroid.

I bet you don't know what to do ....."but says it would be worth it if it dramatically helps her " What 'help' is the vet trying to achieve?
 

mechi2

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Jun 22, 2013
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Canada
Original Poster
I guess what the vet means is quality over quantity, if the meds make my dog more comfortable, it is better than living longer and in pain. Thing is i don't know that she is in pain
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
I guess what the vet means is quality over quantity, If the meds make my dog more comfortable, it is better than living longer and in pain. Thing is i don't know that she is in pain.
I would avoid drugs if their only purpose is pain relief that can be treated naturally. If other symptoms can be treated with the same drug the vet is right to recommend it. However, anything with the word "steroid" eventually causes organ failure, so while Shannon may have pain relief from this neurological issue, her kidney disease progression could speed up. So you do need to know if she is in pain before agreeing to give her Metacam.

Gabapentin OTOH is not a steroid. I just don't see the benefit of prescribing an epilepsy drug for neuropathic pain unless studies on dogs prove it works for that purpose.

The question you have to ask yourself is, "Will medication drastically improve her quality of life or just cause more suffering?" You are the only one who can decide when the time is right to end her suffering, whether it is because of her neurological issues, kidney disease, or both.
 

TTouch

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Apr 20, 2021
No they can't tell us can they? ...........and you certainly don't want her in pain and it depends on how you wish to deal with that.

I work with many Vets and two of my closest personal friends are Vets.... they know I question them and their motives in over medicating and not explaining to clients the side affects, problem is clients seem to think ( and are told) Vets are the 'be all and end all' for everything pet related and they are not. A large part of the Vets job is to make clients feel better and covering up affects of what their pet has makes clients 'feel' better

If the Vet thinks it is spinal cord ataxia and is thinking 'quality of life' then why sedate and why give pain meds both of which cause organ failure , same with steroids when she already has kidney issues and none of that medication is not going to treat neurological issues.
 

TTouch

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Apr 20, 2021
Oh yes many many times....... Vets are trained in medication/operations they are not trained on anything else, their professional conduct is strict and doesn't allow them outside of that remit...which is why they employ the services of consultant practitioners... like physios, TTouch practitioners, Accupressurists, Animal nutritionists etc etc etc

My first vet took further qualifying training after SEEING the results of my own 2yr old dog...a dog he gave 6 months before she would completely go off her legs as she injured herself working and I couldn't get her fit, so xrayed to see what the issue was she had been born with no hip sockets so HD and told me I would have to PTS, a dog he prescribed Metacam for and he said would require major surgery and even then had little hope for and told me she would NEVER work again...a dog who lived to work she loved it... she was on Metacam for only a few days to stablise her and while I cried and did the research.... non medicating pain relief and non medicating anti inflammatory, swimming, animal chiro...8 weeks later she won a top national championship... yes I did have to PTS however she worked and completed until she was 8 yrs old, she was my daily assistant trainer teaching other dogs, she was a TTouch dog and knew exactly what she wanted when training many new practitioners and she was 3 week from being 21 yrs old when she eventually went off her legs...

My present Vet doesn't use drugs on his own dogs, no flea, tick, wormers he uses neem, he now feeds raw/bone, I ttouch and use accupressure on his old dog ( who has two bionic legs) and he has purchase Bioflow collars for all his dogs ( and cat) as pain meds cause organ failure...not that he tells his clients

Many of the vets I work for ask for me to train their vet staff and them the basics in Ttouch/Accupressure so they can handle/manage/calm and naturally deliver pain relief.... I will go in pre operations to ttouch dogs/cats so premeds are not needed and bring pets around from operations quickly rather than give them more drugs to wake them up...especially old/young where over medicating is an issue.
One of those vets also runs a rescue for bully breeds and I visit weekly seeing about 30-40 dogs, she is now training as an animal accupressurist, so she can treat pets in the practice as well as at her rescue.

Vets are hard nuts to crack, they are highly educated individuals, but not trained outside their remit, so need to see results to be convinced, where as pet owners just want the best option for their pet and often come to 'alternatives' as a last result then wonder why they wasted so much time before they did.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
Vets are hard nuts to crack. They are highly educated individuals, but not trained outside their remit, so they need to see results to be convinced, whereas pet owners just want the best option for their pet and often come to 'alternatives' as a last result then wonder why they wasted so much time before they did.
Vets are highly educated all right . . . about traditional surgery and drugs. Not so much about treating physical disorders without those methods. It is also true with food - very few vets support feeding a raw meat diet because their education goes against that.

People like you need to raise awareness about the benefits of drug-free methods. Part of the problem is people think if there are no drugs, it can't be very effective. I understand where mechi is coming from.
 

mechi2

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Jun 22, 2013
Location
Canada
Original Poster
vet thinks she has a cervical spinal cord issue in the neck area that's making her walk funny and gave this link for more info https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&catId=102899&id=4953012 but the head tilt and falling is caused by the ataxia is a separate issue which she says could be from the inner ear or brain lesion. So basically what's she's saying is she thinks my chi has a herniated disk (from seeing the video) AND ataxia (from seeing my chi at clinic). The vet made it clear that only tests can say for sure.

Vet also said the spinal issue doesn't look super severe because she still moves around well but is contributing to her weird walk. Can I show you guys the video I sent the vet and you tell me if she looks like a dog in pain? I know you guys aren't vets but maybe I'm so used to seeing my dog I can't clearly see.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
Thanks for the update mechi. Of course you can show it to us, but the vet should be better than untrained cat lovers at determining whether she's in pain or not.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
From the link:
If the dog can walk, medical (non-surgical) treatment is a reasonable choice but this also depends on how much pain the patient is in, how long the patient has had signs, and what sort of treatments have been unsuccessful in the past.

The longer the neurologic deficits have been going on, the poorer the results of treatment.
So the most important question now is how long Shannon has been struggling to walk normally and tilting her head.
 

TTouch

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Apr 20, 2021
I understand where mechi is coming from.
Too right, it is an impossible possible situation to be in and Mechi wants to do the very best for the dog she loves

The vet made it clear that only tests can say for sure.
That is true however I can understand your reluctance to risk that with an elderly dog when whatever the outcome ( as 'something ' is not right) she would require more invasive surgery and if your little fighter survived it all how affective would it be for her.
Cervical Spinal cord issues are normally managed in the first instance by dr/vets with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication , it is akin to a trapped/damaged disc in people and yes I can assure you from personal experience that is painful and it was that experience which started my alternative journey when told that I would require major surgury to 'hopefully' fix it after laying in hospital unable to walk for 4 weeks being sedated, pain/inflammation meds, put in traction which is like medieval torture being daily cranked and stretched and to get off torsion when they failed to listen to my begging I ended up threatening to sue as it didn't matter what pain relief they gave me it was painful I was on Morphine and that was another issue not only 'away with the fairies' sedated as you get addicted and that is no fun at all and all this before the surgery... it was only after I was taken home in an ambulance and unceremonally dumped on the lounge floor ( as they didn't want to be sued) where I spent 8 weeks unable to walk and 18 months in a wheelchair after that, determined that there must be another way( all pre internet so information was hard to research) a visiting neighbour told me she did reiki if I wanted to try it I didn't 'beleive' in that but she was kind, taking me kids to school daily and preparing meals and so I would try anything so I said yes wow I was wrong, she also told me about Bioflow I didn't 'beleive' in that either, how could it 'do' anything but being desparate she got me one, again I was wrong it enabled me safe unmedicated pain relief so no longer sedated on pain meds so once my brain clicked back into gear I start to research what was out there in our wonderful world that didn't mask issues, didn't sedate you so you were unable to think or complain and didn't risk life with no promise of benefit, surgery.... and there are lots of things...Bioflow do dog/cat collars it delivers pain relief and stop inflammation, my BC has a dog collar and my 14yr old mini has a cat one ( as she is tiny) and me I wear mine and boy do I know if I have taken it off and forgot to put it back on ...and no I am not reiki trained and have no professional connection to the company who sells Bioflow products
 

mechi2

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Jun 22, 2013
Location
Canada
Original Poster
From the link:
So the most important question now is how long Shannon has been struggling to walk normally and tilting her head.
Yeah that paragraph jumped out at me right away when I visited the site, funny the vet didn't ask me how long it was going on. I think it was for quite a while, maybe even before her kidney troubles, but I just didn't take notice of it, thinking maybe it's just old age. It didn't really become apparent to me that there's a real problem until she started falling more and it dawned on me that whenever I look at her, her head is tilted. Here's the link to the video: https://streamable.com/s2w2lr
 

TTouch

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Apr 20, 2021
..........and you tell me if she looks like a dog in pain? I know you guys aren't vets but maybe I'm so used to seeing my dog I can't clearly see.
Here's the link to the video: https://streamable.com/s2w2lr
Her movement is fluid and she lifts her head when she want/needs to ..........
'Dogs 'do things that work for them' so she is walking like that as it is more comfortable for her to do, which suggests it is painful for her to walk 'normally'
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
Yeah that paragraph jumped out at me right away when I visited the site. Funny the vet didn't ask me how long it was going on. I think it was for quite a while, maybe even before her kidney troubles, but I just didn't take notice of it, thinking maybe it's just old age. It didn't really become apparent to me that there's a real problem until she started falling more and it dawned on me that whenever I look at her, her head is tilted.
When was she diagnosed with kidney failure?

I get it. People love their pets so much they do not want to think anything is wrong until it is too late. Then they wonder why they ignored red flags after their pets are euthanized.
 

mechi2

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Jun 22, 2013
Location
Canada
Original Poster
Nov. will be 2 years since her kidney diagnosis, the head tilt I noticed after that, but I think she was getting clumsy before that but it wasn't as bad as now. Once I was fixing her blanket while she was sitting on it and I nudged her to move and she just fell over. Maybe I'll give the gabapentin a try and see how it goes, I don't know, waiting for a reply from the vet, it's the long weekend here so I probably won't hear from her till Tues. Meanwhile I'll comb the internet if there's any natural stuff I can give her that might help. Don't like the idea of pain killers
 

CatMom1994

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Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Pain killers are good if they have no side effects and do not affect renal function. Of course you will not find a perfect oral medication, which is the reason TT recommended her method of pain relief. Because gabapentin is for epilepsy, I would trust a neurologist if you can get to one.
 

Aimitertyso

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Sep 4, 2017
I agree with CatMom, a doctor would be really great in this situation. Personally, I would find a second opinion if ever.
 

Clares Dad

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Jun 10, 2021
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and analgesic drug that is commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat seizures it is also an analgesic, so pain relief for chronic and /or neuropathis pain . Since it is a short-acting drug, the effects will be gone in 24 hours; however, the medication may last longer in dogs with renal or liver impairment, reality is all it does is sedate them. Ataxia means incoordination within the nervous system.
Treatment of ataxia will be influenced by the root cause there are 3 to my knowledge, (spinal cord, brainstem or inner ear). Without being able to investigate further treatment will be pain management, supportive care, and making the environment safe (e.g., preventing access to stairs) for ataxia treatment, then regular reassessments to monitor the progress of recovery. Some causes of ataxia cannot be cured, and these dogs typically experience clinical signs that progress and may eventually result in the need for euthanasia.
My dog has been taking Gabapentin, and has definitely helped her with pain, i take Gabapentin also for neuropathic pain, however be careful not to give them "human" Gabapentin as it contains an artificial sweetener that is not good for pets
 

mechi2

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Jun 22, 2013
Location
Canada
Original Poster
What sort of pain does your dog have? Does the Gabapentin make your dog drowsy? I have opted in giving my dog cbd oil. So far haven't noticed any difference and honestly, I don't really know what difference I'm suppose to expect.
 


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