cervical problem-posted for Cheryl

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    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    I have never participated in or used a forum, so am not sure if I am doing this right or not. We have a sheltie who is 12 yrs. old, and injured herself while trying to jump onto our deck which is about 2 1/2 feet high. While jumping onto the deck she fell backwards. She appeard to have injured her front legs, but after our vet examined her, it appears to be a cervical injury and it is affecting her front legs and balance. I took her to our vet Tuesday (fall occurred Sunday evening) and he diagnosed a cervical injury, and gave her a cortisone injection. He said we should notice an improvement within a day or two. She still is not any better within almost 24 hours after the injection. The vet said to call him back on Thursday (cortisone injection given Tuesday) on her progress and she may need another injection or oral cortisone meds. I am concerned that she is not showing improvement, and wondered what your thoughts were on this condition and treatment.
    Thank you,

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=drjeff]I am concerned that she is not showing improvement, and wondered what your thoughts were on this condition and treatment.

    Hi Cheryl-

    When cortisone is used for injuries of this sort it does usually work pretty quickly (sometimes within hours). You may want to continue exercise restriction and observation for at least one more day before resorting to more drugs.

    Personally I don’t rely on cortisone for injuries (or virtually anything else for that matter). Usually one (sometimes a few) dose of homeopathic Arnica (dissolve 1 pellet which you get from your health food store in 1/2 cup of bottled/distilled/filtered water and give 1 teaspoon) will do the trick.

    I’m not your vet so you need to follow their recommendations, but you have nothing to lose by giving the homeopathic remedy. It’s not a drug so there are no side effects. After the first teaspoon if there is no improvement in 4 hours give the solution a vigorous stir and redose. Do it again before bed [b]if necessary[/b].

    See your vet tomorrow if problems persist. You may need to get some x-rays or to consult an orthopedic specialist.


    Thanks for your reply Dr. Jeff, and for the info about Arnica. I will definitely try it. Our Sheltie has shown minor improvement and when I called her Vet this morning to give a progress report, he wants to see her again and do some x-rays (which I am glad to hear). I know the x-rays are costly and that is probably why he tried the cortisone injection first.

    We have had Shelties for years, and I dearly love them…I think I feel about Shelties the way you feel about German Shepherds. 😀 Our Shelties have ALWAYS been members of our family….BTW I have a plaque that reads, “Dogs are just children in fur coats,” ours certainly are!!!


    Back from a trip to the Vet and x-rays have ruled out a cervical injury or any spinal injury!! Blood work and other tests done, and all blood work is good. The Vet believes that Blondie (our Sheltie) had a stroke either before or after she fell. He started her on Methylprednisolone 4 mg once daily for 5 days, then 1 tablet every other day for 5 days. He said to try to let her rest as much as possible(Blondie is a very active Sheltie,). Her Vet also said dogs tend to recover quicker than people from strokes. What do you think about this? And are there any herbal remedies to help now and to prevent another stroke.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=Cheryl] What do you think about this? And are there any herbal remedies to help now and to prevent another stroke.[/quote]

    Hi Cheryl-

    I hope by now that Blondie is doing much better (which she should be if it truly was a “stroke”).

    As far as prevention, I would just stick to using a great frresh meat-based diet, antioxidants (my mainstay is Nu-Pets and Antiox but there are many), omega-3 fatty acids and lecithin (1 tsp/meal).

    Let us know how she is doing.


    Hi Dr. Jeff,
    Blondie is doing much better, and our vet is leaning toward thinking she has something call Canine Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome. He told me about this the same time he mentioned a stroke, and said that this is an inner ear problem (I also looked it up online and got more info). Blondie’s vet said that with CPVS the dog also recovers in two to three weeks. Online the info said that this is often confused with a stroke, and otherwise healthy dogs are put down 🙁 . The info I read said that some degree of vertigo may always remain, but the dog usually learns to compensate for it. Blondie no longer has the head tilt, and day by day we can see that she is again hearing out of her right ear. She is no longer walking in circles, and seems much stronger and alert. She is not back to “our” Blondie who ran and chased anything that moved, but is much improved from 10 or so days ago.
    I just want to let any readers know that if they think their dog had a stroke or that it had been poisoned do the necessary blood work to rule our poisoning, and give it time before putting the dog down. The first 4 days or so, I was heartbroken and couldn’t stand to see our once vibrant girl stumbling, falling, walking in circles, and refusing food and water. Thanks Dr. Jeff for your concern and help. Cheryl

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Blondie is doing much better, [/quote]

    Great news Cheryl-

    From the info you posted geriatric vestibular disease (also known as old rolling dog syndrome) definitely sounded like a much more likely diagnosis (rather than a “stroke”).

    Thanks for posting your warning about euthanising these dogs too quickly. I hope others read it and take your advice.

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