Last April, my beagle Beatrix would yelp or cry out unexpectedly. Sometimes it was when she was getting out from under the covers, when she would run out the door, or even when she was out walking. When it would happen, I’d rub her from head to toe and watch her for a bit, but she seemed to go back to normal quickly, as if nothing was bothering her.
Until one day, she didn’t bounce back.
I also noticed that she couldn’t lift her head to look up at me, so she’d keep her head low and just watch me with her eyes. She’d cry out when she tried to take a treat from my hand. She had a hard time climbing stairs or jumping up on me in my chair or couch -- she loves to snuggle at night. She was eating, but not as enthusiastically as usual -- my beagles get The Honest Kitchen for dog food, so they are usually quite excited for nummies. I noticed that she had slowed down on our walks, acting like she didn’t want to go for that second mile, and she seemed to be panting more than normal. When I would pat her down to try to determine where the source of pain was, she’s stiffen up, making it nearly impossible to locate the source -- and sometimes, just cry out or yelp when I’d reach toward her to see if I could find the issue.
Many of these symptoms/signs Bea was displaying I knew were signs of pain. It was definitely time to go to vet.
My vet started her on a regimen of pain meds, and we were under strict orders not to be as active as usual, which is easier said than done for a beagle who loves her daily walks, chasing balls and scent work. After a few trips, and one emergency vet visit on a Sunday, we had an x-ray done that showed she had a herniated disc in her neck. This herniated disc was pressing on a nerve in her spine, and causing her to be in incredible pain. A couple of times, we thought the only option Bea would have was surgery to remove the herniated disc, so we started looking into other integrative approaches such as laser therapy and acupuncture.
Some 10 months later, Bea is leaps and bounds better -- literally. She’s bounding after balls, challenging Cooper and I to continue on to a third or fourth mile, and chasing squirrels and bunnies as if she were on a hunt. It’s great to see her this way, but I continue to do a lot to manage her condition. And, I’d like to share what I learned with you.
Often, it will take several different medications before your dog will begin to improve. Below is a list of the medications that you may encounter if you need to help manage pain in your dog.
Fortunately, I also learned about a few other treatments for pain that were a bit more natural to help Beatrix improve.
One of the best articles I read about pain management came from the December 2015 edition of The Whole Dog Journal titled Pain treatment for dogs now commonplace in veterinary medicine, by Denise Flaim. And here is another website that I referenced a couple of times, International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, https://ivapm.org.
It certainly helped me to research Bea's condition but the best partner for Bea and myself in all of this was our vet, Dr. Darren Lynde at Animal Medical Center. I kept him busy with questions, and many updates on how Bea was doing, and having his counsel certainly helped.
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