Shih Tzu In Pain

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Shih Tzu In Pain

This is a discussion on Shih Tzu In Pain within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hey guys, been a few months since I've posted here but I need some advice. I've been noticing over the past couple weeks how my ...

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Old 01-20-2017, 06:30 PM
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Shih Tzu In Pain

Hey guys, been a few months since I've posted here but I need some advice. I've been noticing over the past couple weeks how my Shih Tzu Mitzi's been acting a lot more lethargic. She doesn't jump up on the couch anymore, and she lags behind me when we go for walks. I didn't think much of it, but things suddenly got worse last night. When I picked her up to put her in my bed, she yelped like I had hurt her. Later that same night I woke up and found her pressed uncomfortably against me, so I pushed her away like I always do. She yelped again. This morning I took her for a walk and she yelped again when I pulled the leash a little too roughly. Then, when I get home from work this evening, she yelped when I tried scratching her on the neck the way she likes. Later I nudged her with my foot to get her to move, and she yelped yet again. Now she runs from the room whenever I come in, like she's scared of me.

I'm worried about her. The pain apparently didn't start until today, but I can't help but think her sluggishness is connected. The only thing I can think that happened was that she must have hurt herself jumping off the couch or my bed, and it's been steadily getting worse. What do you guys think? What should I do to help her? I don't have an overabundance of money so I'd prefer to not take her to the vet if at all possible, but I'll still do it if I have to. Will this possibly pass on its own? Are there any kind of pain killers for dogs I can try to give her?

Also, I don't know if it matters, but she's still eating, peeing, and pooping just fine. If I get a treat out she'll come to get it like always, but I've noticed that if I tell her to roll over for it, she does it a lot more sluggishly than she used to. So I don't think she's sick, just in pain.
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Old 01-20-2017, 06:56 PM
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You really need to get her to the vet to try and determine exactly what is hurt. To me, since she's not noticeably favoring a limb it sounds like she hurt her back or neck, but please understand my veterinarian license came from a Cracker Jack box, so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. I base my assumption on how my own dog acted when he had a pinched nerve. It was much like your girl, he acted like he did not want to walk, didn't want to play, spent a lot of time hiding, would run into a room only to whip around and stare at his butt like something stung him. Finally after more then one trip to the vet, he started randomly yelping, we switched vets and finally got a correct diagnosis.

My best advice, if it's her back or neck, is you are going to need to give her at least a couple weeks crate rest. You can either use a crate or set up an exercise pen so that it's no more then 1 foot wide and 2 foot long. I used an exercise pen for my boy because he is not a jumper, if your girl is then use a crate. Take her out to potty, but that's about it. No long walks, no playing, no running, and definitely no jumping. Once she's better I would try and limit her jumping off the furniture, on isn't as bad but off is hard on their spine.

What do you use to walk her? Back when Zody had all his problems I had been using what is known as a shoulder collar, and it turns out is was the culprit of all his problems, when he pulled it pressed into his spine and caused a pinched nerve. Getting him a different style harness, and putting him on crate rest a couple weeks fixed the problem, and he's been pain free since around June of last year.

With pain meds your best bet is going to be the vet, he'll probably prescribe an anti inflammatory, and a pain killer, that's what my vet did.
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:14 PM
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I just use a leash that clips to her collar. She's never had a problem with it till now.
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:55 PM
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Hi ThisAdamGuy,

So sorry to hear that Mitzi is not feeling well. I know that vet bills can be costly, but I think you should take her to the vet. You won't want to regret not getting her vet care later.

Once she's up to taking walks again, I'd strongly advise getting her a harness vest.

Keep us posted.
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Old 01-21-2017, 03:17 PM
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From my armchair, my very unprofessional diagnoses is she probably hurt her neck. You need to get her to your Vet for a real diagnoses and a treatment plan. Samantha hurt her back some years ago, and her neck last year, fortunately both responded to medication and rest. We never connect her leash to her collar, only to a harness, and our Vet was very specific about which harness. We also are very careful to control her weight, which is not easy since she would prefer to eat probably 4 times as much food as we offer her. Excess weight is really hard on all their joints, certainly including there spinal column.
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Old 01-21-2017, 05:46 PM
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A commonly seen thing in Shih Tzus is IVDD.....she may be in bad pain and if the symptoms came on gradually you may have not noticed them ........Google it!
Intervertebral Disc Disease ..................Vet visit! Good Luck
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Old 01-21-2017, 09:07 PM
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Reluctance to jump up and pain when picked up are common signs of a disk (back or neck) problem, and being a dwarf (short legged) breed, they are prone to disk disease.

That said, there are literally hundreds of reasons that she could be sluggish and painful, and the cost of an exam at the vet could save you increased costs and heartache if she doesn't improve or gets worse. If it IS back pain, there are medications which will help make her more comfortable and make a recovery to "normal" more likely, and if it's not, there is likely something else which needs addressed (this hits close to home for me because a family member's fairly young dog just died on thanksgiving with the only symptom being yelping when picked up that day ). I would restrict her activity as much as possible in the meantime, carrying her outside just to "go", then back in, and confining her in a small space where she can't move around a whole lot or try to jump. You can read more about symptoms of/expectations with disk problems here: Dodgerslist: canine back problems, all things IVDD , but really need to get her to the vet for a hands on evaluation by a professional to determine if it's that or something else and figure out a treatment plan.

Hope she's feeling better soon!
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Old 01-22-2017, 01:51 PM
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I second (or, technically, sixth,) what everyoneís saying here: it sounds like Mitzi needs a vet visit.

If monetary funds present an issue, see if thereís a Banfield near you (many Petsmartís now have a Banfield located in them), as they offer a coupon for a free exam if sheís never before been seen at a Banfield location. If you go this route, just call them up in advance to ensure that the appointment is actually free. The way I understand it, though, the visit will be free, assuming you donít have any tests or treatments done, or any medications provided. At the very least, you can get an idea of whatís going on, and if you let the vet know about your financial issues, they may be able to offer some suggestions for less expensive treatment plans or over-the-counter products that could help.

Another thing you might want to consider is looking into Care Credit. Itís essentially a credit card that can be used solely for medical-related charges, and many vets accept it. When using it, the vet will charge the bill directly to the card so that you donít need to pay for anything up-front. Then, you just make monthly payments until itís paid off. If I remember correctly, depending on the amount charged, you pay no interest if the bill is paid off in full within six months. The best thing about Care Credit is that you can apply online, and, if approved, start using it immediatelyóno need to wait for the card to come in the mail.

Wishing you and Mitzi all the best, and hope she feels better soon!
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Old 01-25-2017, 07:36 PM
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Here's an update, everybody. Brought Mitzi to the vet today. They took some x-rays and said there might be some problems with her neck and her back legs, but nothing serious. They're keeping her there overnight to see if the pain killer they gave her works for her, and when I come get her tomorrow they're giving me some more pain killers and some steroids to help her heal. They're also going to give me a harness made just for her. I'm supposed to keep her in a safe place when I leave, where she won't have anything to jump on. I plan on shutting her in the computer room with her bowls, kennel, and bed. Also, I'm putting her on a diet because she was already overweight when I got her, and she's already put on two pounds since her visit in October, lol. Since the steroids are going to make her even hungrier, they want me to use green beans as her treats for a while. No idea how well THAT'S going to go over, but we'll see. Anyway, shouldn't be too hard to get her feeling good again.
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Old 01-25-2017, 08:28 PM
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Glad she has a good prognoses. Having been through similar problems with Samantha, the steroids work wonders with that inflammation. When she hurt her back, she was on steroids,& pain killers, she really didn't know which way was up for the better part of a week. Was so grateful she responded so well to all the meds, as when I took her in, she couldn't even walk. This was about six years ago, and I'm pretty sure the Vet did steroid injections into her spine. What ever he did, by the end of that day, she was walking a little, and in about 10 days, she was ready to do a lot more than I was willing to let her do. It was pretty scary when she was in so much pain, but fortunately except for a couple of very minor occurrences, she has not had any major problems for a very long time. Watching her bounce around the house and running up and down the steps, you would never know there was ever a problem.
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