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     Pain control

Brief summary of what happened

The swollen, herniated disc puts pressure on the spinal cord and other nerve fibers in the area. This is painful and the pressure on the spinal cord prevents nerve impulses from passing between the brain and the rear part of the body. The animal may be unable to walk or control its colon or bladder. Severe damage to the spinal cord can lead to total paralysis. Quoted from Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Education

What to expect during pain healing

1. PAIN control happens in approximately an hour when a prescription is customized to your dog for the dose, the frequency and combination of pain meds.  There is no one-size-fits-all pain relief.

Make sure the medications are fully controlling pain from dose to dose with no break-through in pain. Continued feedback to your vet is vitally important until the pain medications have been properly adjusted for your dog.

Signs of pain are:
◻︎ shivering-trembling                    ◻︎ yelping when picked up or moved
◻︎ slow to move                             ◻︎ tight tense tummy    
◻︎ arched back, ears pinned back    ◻︎ head held high or nose to the ground. ◻︎ looks up with just eyes and does not move head and neck easily
◻︎ restless, can't find a comfortable position
◻︎ reluctant to move much in crate such as shift positions
◻︎ holds front or back leg flamingo style not wanting to bear weight
◻︎ not their normal perky selves  
Signs of nerve damage and pain

A 2-3 combo of pain meds is often necessary to address each source of pain during a disc episode:

  • Tramadol as the general pain reliever. It has a short half life of 1.7 hours and may need 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.

Prescription of an anti-inflammatory such as a steroid (Prednisone, Dexamethasone, etc.) or a NSAID (Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx, etc.)  should be accompanied by a stomach protector such as Pepcid AC (Famotidine) to avoid serious gastrointestinal damage. For some dogs Pepcid AC needs to be accompanied with yet another protector, Sucralfate, when there are signs of GI problems of diarrhea, vomit, bloody stools.

D/l and print the handy reference card for vet visits to keep all the various meds straight and which are dangerous to use together.

An anti-inflammatory (NSAID or steroid) can take 7-30 day to resolve all pain. When a vet guesses all painful inflammation is gone, a test stop of the pain masking pain meds and the NSAID is called for.  
       Steroids can't be stopped, they are tapered. During the test-for-pain taper and stopping of pain meds is the time to watch for any signs that pain is returning, an indication that more time on the steroid is needed. After repeated attempts to go off any anti-inflammatory, if pain cannot be totally resolved, surgery is a consideration.

NOTE: $4 for 30 tabs Generic Rx Programs at Walmart, Target, Kroger's and other stores.  Offerings can change, call to verify
  • Prednisone* 2.5 mg, 5 mg (steroid anti-inflammatory)
  • Famotidine 20 mg (stomach protector)
  • Tramadol 50 mg (pain reliever)
  • Meloxicam* 7.5mg (Non-steroid anti-inflammatory -NSAID)
* Steroid and NSAID classes of anti-inflammatories should not be used together. They require a 4-7 day washout from the body before switching between these two classes of anti-inflammatories.

NSAIDs do not mix with steroids

Acupuncture/laser light therapy can be started right away to help reduce pain and stimulate the nerves to repair. Studies show pain actually slows the healing process not to mention enduring the pain from a disc episode is torturous.

This information is presented for educational purposes and as a resource for the Dachshund community. The coordinators are not veterinarians or health care professionals. Nothing herein should be interpreted as medical advice and all should contact their pet care professionals for advice. The coordinators are not responsible for the substance and content contained herein and do not advocate any particular product, item or position contained herein.

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