Meeker's Back Pain Diary

22 Aug 2010Steve Schwarz

I’m writing this to create a time line of the events and treatments surrounding Meeker’s back injury. With luck this will help his physicians and specialists come to a better understanding of the cause. I’ll update it as things change.

Long term supplements/medications

  • cg-hydrocortisone (natural hydrocotisone) 20mg 1x per day
  • GlycoFlex-III - glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM
  • Interceptor yellow heartworm monthly
  • Prozyme
  • Super Oxy-Green
  • Adequan monthly subQ injection

Symptom/Treatment History/Diary

  • 22/23-May-2010 USDAA indoor agility trial (ticks reported outside trial site)
  • 28-May-2010 Dr. Young Rabies 3yr vaccination. parvo/distemper titers (ok)
  • 29/30-May-2010 AKC indoor agility trial (ticks reported outside trial site)
  • 1-Jun-2010 AM Meeker runs in yard, squeaks and runs back with left rear leg held up. Remains limping.
  • 1-Jun-2010 PM TOPS appt. pain at L6-L7 Appts repeat 2x per week through 20-Aug-2010 acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and laser therapy as appropriate.
  • 05-Jun-2010 Dr. Young appt. Start doxycycline and wait for tick panel:
  • 09-Jun-2010 Protatek Lab Report
    • Ehrlichia canis - negative - < 1:10
    • Rickettsia ricketsii - negative - < 1:40
    • Borelia burgdorferi Lyme IFA - negative - < 1:640
    • Babesia canis - negative < 1:40
  • 12(?)-Jun-2010 stop doxycycline
  • Sometime around here rear leg limp is gone and all(?) back pain gone.
  • 20-Jun-2010 Antech Blood Test Report. All results normal except:
    • Cholesterol (high) 325 mg/dl
    • CPK (low) 55 iu/l
  • 9(?)-Jul-2010 OK for increased activity
  • 24-Jul-2010 Swimming therapy (1st or 3rd/last?). Prior to injury Meeker would swim vigorously 30 min per week with "forced" rest breaks. During these 5-10 min swims he looked great but in the 2nd and 3rd swim he would swim for a while and then seek out the underwater platform. I think the increased rotation around his spine allowed by swimming was causing him discomfort. Stopped swimming.
  • Around this time on walks Meeker would turn sharply to his left side as though he was being annoyed by a bug. Once or twice a day during walks he would bend at the waist and walk with his rear legs at a 45 degree angle to his body as though he had a "stitch" in his side for two or three strides and then he'd walk normally. At TOPS mid back spasming at T11-T13. Heat along his back at his neck, mid back and pelvis. Sometimes coming and going. This continues until at least 20-Aug-2010. Stop all activity return to leash walks only.
  • 31-Jul-2010 Dr. Young back x-ray
  • 17-Aug-2010 AM Dr. Podell MRI of entire spine/spinal fluid sample. Disks, spinal column, and spinal cord "beautiful".
  • 17-Aug-2010 PM started doxycycline 100mg 2x per day
  • 19-Aug-2010 Dr. Podell - phone - spinal fluid test result - negative
  • 20-Aug-2010 AM Started Deramaxx 25mg 1x per day
  • 20-Aug-2010 AM TOPS visit - chiro only - neck out of line(anesthesia related) - some T10 soreness

22-Aug-2010 The working theory is a sub clinical tick borne disease. The doxycycline is prescribed for 3 weeks and the deramaxx for 7 days to see if the anti inflammatory reduces his symptoms.

Dr. Jurek at TOPS has OK’d him for increasing activity as long as he doesn’t show signs of pain, since there does not seem to be any physical problem that could be aggravated. Dr. Jurek also mentioned the possibility of a very early stage of polyarthritis. She speculates that it might be in his spine, most cases aren’t diagnosed until larger joints are impacted, at which time a sample of joint fluid can be taken. The facets of the spine are so tiny it would be difficult to take a sample. The article I’ve linked describes symptoms that fit Meeker’s as much as any of the tick borne diseases do. The article also pointed out that polyarthritis can be seen in dogs after rabies shots (although it usually goes away on its own shortly afterwards); I’m interested since Meeker’s symptoms started three days after his rabies booster. I’ll discuss this possibility with Dr’s Podell and Young as well.

23-Aug-2010 Based on suggestions on the tick-l email list I’ve contacted Dr. Young about having the A. ph test run using serum that may be frozen at Protatek and performing another blood draw to perform an IDEXX C6 Quantitative Assay test for Lyme. Dr. Young will be speaking with Dr. Holland at Protatek and with the IDEXX internal medicine specialist tomorrow. It appeared Meeker had a twitch in his back while walking tonight, this time he turned to his right and was quite intent looking at his side. There may actually have been a bug that landed on him tonight though…

24-Aug-2010 Morning walk - Meeker took one left side “bent” step and turned to his left side once. Took Meeker to Dana’s agility class. She checked his back for heat and didn’t feel any. Warmed him up and ran with no jump bars, A Frame or weaves. He took off course A Frame twice but didn’t 2o2o. Was really excited, and running very fast. Wondering if he has been hurting for a long time…

25-Aug-2010 Morning walk - don’t think Meeker took any weird steps. Took Meeker to Dr. Young for his blood draw. Took 6 attempts, 3 legs to get 6 CCs of blood Meeker’s veins always move around and close down. Test results expected in 3 days. So we might get some results before the weekend, but probably on Monday. Dr. Young’s exam got Meeker’s back to twitch a little. At agility class, had him take a tunnel and a jump at 12in 2x; practiced stays during course discussion.

26-Aug-2010 Morning walk - don’t think Meeker took any weird steps. Now that I saw Dr. Young’s technique (Meeker sitting facing me, starting at the top of his spine and pressing lightly on each side and moving down toward his tail, slowly) I saw a small twitch on his left side when I got to his mid back. Last day of deramaxx. Night walk - no weird steps.

27-Aug-2010 Dr. Young got the results from IDEXX C6 test for lyme, A. ph, erlichia canis, RMSF all negative. So that is good news but still leaves us wondering. After discussions with IDEXX they are recommending we continue with doxy for a further 14 days as long as Meeker is showing improvement (which he is). Tomorrow AM go in again to Dr. Young for blood draw and urine test. He’ll retest his thyroid levels, they were a little low for his breed/age and that could cause muscle pain symptoms. He also got me a copy of Dr. Podell’s report. The report varied slightly, but importantly, from what I heard from him over the phone. While Meeker’s disks and spinal cord are fine, Dr. Podell recommended an orthopedic workup if there is no improvement from the doxycycline/deramaxx.

Long walk this AM and Meeker didn’t show limping. Was able to get a slight twitch on his back by pressing lightly. Played with his brothers and did his first set of weaves and some 12 in jumps and tunnels. Let’s hope I didn’t over do it.

28-Aug-2010 Dr. Young took blood for Meeker’s thyroid test and checked his urine for infection, blood. No back twitching or twisting in the AM. Dr. Young spent some time palpating his lower back and found he was sore left lower back where his spine joins his pelvis. Later when he was playing with Milo his gait looked wrong… looked like he was trying not to fully load his left rear leg. So I put him inside. Don’t know if that was due to his playing yesterday or that he is off his deramaxx (or a little of each).

30-Aug-2010 No twitching in his back upon pressing. He took one sideways twisted step on his morning walk. After our evening walk jogged him around a big circle in the backyard over 4 12in jumps at each corner about 5 times. He was moving fast and looked good.

31-Aug-2010 On our morning walk Meeker twisted to his left side again for a couple steps… and turned to his left side as though pinched. Is he sore from his weekend exertions or the deramaxx wearing off? No twitching in his back upon pressing.

Dr. Young called with the thyroid and blood test results. Again his thyroid is low normal. His other tests showed his liver and kidneys are functioning fine after 2 weeks on doxycycline. He is proposing: continue on doxycycline for two more weeks, laser therapy at his lower back and leash walks only. Then if he isn’t better try a deramaxx or tramadol regimen to control his inflammation and/or pain. We can also consider thyroid medication at that time.

I mentioned I’d really like to know the cause of his pain as opposed to just finding a way to make him feel better. So the new plan is to get an appt with an orthopedic specialist immediately, continue on doxycycline, start laser therapy. I called Dr. Aaron Jackson, a colleague of Dr. Podell’s (so they can easily discuss the case and share the MRI results), and got an appt for this coming Thursday.

2-Sep-2010 No funny steps for four walks. Did turn to his side 2x this AM. Going to Dr. Jackson at 11:00. Dr. Jackson did a physical exam, he had spoken with Dr. Podell and didn’t expect MRI to show anything orthopedic going on. He thought it definitely wasn’t polyarthritis since there was no swelling of the joints. He didn’t buy the argument that it might be a very, very early stage starting in the back. He thought this might be an overuse injury. Meeker might have had a number of minor injuries that have just caught up with him. His recommendation was to leave Meeker alone for at least two weeks and see if he improves. So only short walks, no running, jumping, massage, chiro, swimming. Then contact him in a week.

10-Sep-2010 Since seeing Dr. Jackson Meeker might have only turned to his side two or three times, and then only in the early part of the week. He hasn’t done the crab walk. I’m dog sitting Milo and Petey so that is making it harder to police Meeker’s activities. I’ll see how he is after they are back at Nancy’s. Had Denise (Chicago Canine Massage) feel his back and he was warm and only a little sore at that one spot in his lower back. She was thinking it might be a slight soft tissue swelling. Dog walker now walking him only 1/4 mi (around the block).

13-Sep-2010 Meeker still no “crab walking” or turning to his side on our short walk. And after a busy weekend with some running around with Milo and Petey I think that is a good sign.

18-Sep-2010 Early in the week Meeker turned to his side once on a short walk. Completed 28 days of doxycycline last night. Saw Dr. Young today and he gave Meeker’s lower back a thorough evaluation. He is tender in the area where the illium and sacrum come together on the left side and possibly the sacro-illiac ligament. He is agreeing with resting Meeker but also recommends deep heat treatments every other day. I recently purchased a narrow band near IR LED “laser” that I can use to heat the area. Last night I put Milo’s magneto coat on Meeker for an hour or so.

Begins 0.3mg levothyroxine 2x day for borderline low thyroid.

19-Sep-2010 This morning after pooing and coming up the (two) stairs on the deck Meeker turned to his right twice as though he was in pain. Could be sore after Dr. Young’s exam?

20-Sep-2010 Turned to his right once during 1/2 mi morning walk. Evening 1/2 mi walk. Did 2 4 min sessions with laser at night.

21-Sep-2010 In his magneto coat all evening while I taught classes.

22-Sep-2010 AM looked like he might have been chewing on his right hip - fur was damp. Dr. Jackson called. He thinks it is unlikely there is sublimation at sacrum/illium; would require significant trauma. The exact cause of his pain still isn’t clear. So he is recommending we continue slowly increasing his activity. Incorporate stretching and warm ups before any activity. Try to moderate his activity as we get closer to working at agility. Video tape his motion (circles, to/from camera) - send to him. I think I’ll post it online weekly for comparison. Time frame to full agility at least 8 weeks. Contact him if any negative change in his condition.

23-Sep-2010 He slept in his magneto coat. This morning he turned quickly once to each side at about 1/4 mi of our 1/2 mi walk. Stretched him afterward.

25-Sep-2010 Sat little playing with his brothers, no running

26-Sep-2010 Sun morning walk - 1/2 mi walk 1/8 mi jog. little playing with his brothers, no running

27-Sep-2010 Mon morning walk - 1/2 mi walk 1/8 mi jog. lunch 1/8 mi walk. evening walk - 1/2 mi walk 1/8 mi jog.

28-Sep-2010 Tue morning walk 1/8 mi in he took 4 steps with partial weight on his left rear. After another 1/2 mi we jogged for a block (1/8 mi).

29-Sep-2010 Wed morning walk 1/8 mi in he turned to his left rear once. 1/2 mi walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk. Back stretches. Lunch 1/8 mi walk. Night: 1/2 mi walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Back stretches

30-Sep-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk. Back stretches. Lunch 1/8 mi walk. Night: 1/2 mi walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Back stretches. At night he was freaked out by moths flying around him - turned once sharply to his right after wards. I’ve noticed occasional had shaking - now that I think of it, it happens on walks (only) about 2x a week… might be nothing.

01-Oct-2010 Fri morning walk 1/2 mi walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Back stretches. Started sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Some playing with his brothers (mostly practicing staying)

02-Oct-2010 Sat morning walk 1/2 mi walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Back stretches. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Some playing with his brothers (mostly practicing staying)

03-Oct-2010 Sun morning walk 1/2 mi walk, 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Some playing with his brothers (mostly practicing staying). Back stretches.

04-Oct-2010 Mon morning walk 1/2 mi walk, turned to his right once. Looking at his fur he had been chewing on his right side forward of his hip. 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Back stretches. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Lunch 1/8 mi walk. Evening walk 1/2 mi walk 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches.

05-Oct-2010 Tue morning walk 1/2 mi walk. Sit-recall-sit 10 times 20-30 ft. Lunch 1/8 mi walk. Evening no walk. Did five 16” table downs at class.

06-Oct-2010 Wed morning walk 1/2 mi walk 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Back stretches. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Lunch 1/8 mi walk. Evening no walk. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft.

07-Oct-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi walk 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches. Lunch 1/8 mi walk. Evening walk 3/4 mi near the end he looked to his left side twice and then took 3 steps with his rear end twisted to the left. Back stretches.

08-Oct-2010 Fri morning walk 3/4 mi walk. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches. Played a little with his brothers.

09-Oct-2010 Sat morning walk 3/4 mi walk. At 1/8 mile one “bent” step to left. At 1/2 mi three bent steps to left. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches. Played a little with his brothers.

10-Oct-2010 Sun morning walk 3/4 mi walk. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches. Played a little with his brothers.

11-Oct-2010 Mon morning walk 1/2 mi walk 1/8 mi jog, 1/16 walk, 1/8 mi jog. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches. Lunch 1/2 mi walk. Evening walk 3/4 mi. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft.

12-Oct-2010 Tue morning walk 1/2 mi walk 1/4 mi jog. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches. Lunch 1/2 mi walk. Evening walk 3/4 mi. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft.

13-Oct-2010 Wed morning walk 1/2 mi walk 1/4 mi jog. Sit-recall-sit 8-12 times 20-30 ft. Back stretches. Lunch 1/2 mi walk. Evening walk 1/2 mi. Looked at by Ann at Chicago Canine Massage and no twitching or other pain. Reluctant to stretch left rear back (but he has been since his gluteous injury.

14-Oct-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi. Played with his brothers - no running.

15-18 Oct-2010 Playing inside with his brothers, short walk. Saw some mid back twitching when running hands down spine on Mon 18 Oct.

19-Oct-2010 Tue morning walk 3/4 mi. 1/2 mi walk lunch.

20-Oct-2010 Wed morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog - 10 40 ft sit-recall-sit. 1/2 mi walk lunch. 1/2 mi walk evening.

21-Oct-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog - 10 50-60 ft sit-recall-sit. Cookie stretches. 1/2 mi walk lunch. 1/2 mi walk evening. 1 min laying on ball.

22-Oct-2010 Fri morning walk 1/2 mi. Played with brothers

23-Oct-2010 Played with brothers.

24-Oct-2010 Sun morning walk 1/2 mi. Played with brothers

25-Oct-2010 Mon morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog - 10 50-60 ft sit-recall-sit. 1/2 mi walk lunch. 1/2 mi walk evening. 2 min laying on ball.

26-Oct-2010 Tue morning walk 1/4 mi - 1/2 mi lunch walk.

27-Oct-2010 Wed morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog - 10 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. 1/2 mi walk lunch.

28-Oct-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog - 10 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. 1/2 mi walk lunch. Evening walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog - 10 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit.

30-Oct-2010 Sat morning walk 1/2 mi 10 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. Increased play with his brothers.

31-Oct-2010 Sun morning walk 1/2 mi 10 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. Increased play with his brothers.

01-Nov-2010 Mon morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog 6 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. 10 16” jumps. 1/2 mi lunch walk.

02-Nov-2010 Tues morning walk 1/2 mi 10 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. 1/2 mi lunch walk. 15 min massage by Denise Chicago Canine Massage. No back heat anywhere but tight muscles and many trigger points.

03-Nov-2010 Wed morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog 6 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. 10 16” jumps. 1/2 mi walk lunch.

04-Nov-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi - 1/4 mi jog. 1/2 mi walk lunch. Evening walk 3/4 mi walk. 2 min on ball. 2 min front legs on rolling ball fwd/bwd.

06-Nov-2010 Sat morning walk 1/2 mi. Increased play with his brothers.

07-Nov-2010 Sun morning walk 1/2 mi. 6 60-90 ft sit-recall-sit. 10 16” jumps (sit-jump-sit). Increased play with his brothers.

08-Nov-2010 Mon morning walk 1/2 mi jog 1/2 mi. 6 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 10 16” jumps (sit-jump-sit). 3/4 mi walk lunch. 1/2 mi dinner walk. 8 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 3 min laying on ball.

09-Nov-2010 Tue morning walk 1/2 mi walk. 6 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 24 16” jumps. 3/4 mi walk lunch. 1/4 mi dinner walk. 20 min massage.

10-Nov-2010 Wed morning walk 1/2 mi jog 1/2 mi. 6 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 3/4 mi walk lunch. 1/2 mi evening walk. 6 90ft sit-recall-site 16 16” jumps.

11-Nov-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi. 6 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 8 low dog walk runs. 3/4 mi walk lunch. 3/4 mi evening walk. 3 minutes laying on ball.

12-Nov-2010 Fri morning walk 1/2 mi 1/4 mi jog. 6 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 8 low dog walk runs. Some 16” jumps and 4-6 20” jumps. Playing with brothers inside.

Weekend Morning walk 1/2 mi. Playing with brothers.

15-Nov-2010 Mon morning walk 1/4 mi 1/4 mi jog. 6 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 8 low dog walk runs. 3/4 mi walk lunch. 3/4 mi evening walk. 6 90 ft sit-recall-sit. 8 low dog walk runs. 16 16” jumps 4 20” jumps.

16-Nov-2010 Tue morning walk 1/2 mi 1/2 mi jog. 12 60-90 ft sit-recall-jump-sit. 4 low dog walk runs. 3/4 mi walk lunch. Did ~20 16 in jumps at class and a couple tunnels. Massage - was tight left adductor and right front had a knot. Some soreness in left sacro-illium area.

17-Nov-2010 Wed morning walk 1 mi. 3/4 mi walk lunch.

18-Nov-2010 Thu morning walk 1 mi. 4 low dog walks, 8 90 ft sit-recall-sit over 1-2 16 in jumps. 3/4 mi walk lunch. Evening walk 1 mi. 4 min laying on ball. Meeker had some mid back twitching later that night. Fine the next day.

21-Nov-2010 Sun morning walk 1 mi. Playing with brothers in yard.

22-Nov-2010 Mon morning walk 1 mi. 16-20 20” jumps, 6 full height dog walks, 4 5’ A Frames. 3/4 mi walk lunch. Evening 3/4 mi walk. 3 min laying on ball.

23-Nov-2010 Tues morning walk 3/4 mi. 3/4 mi walk lunch. ~20 16 in jumps at class (he was really amped up). 20 min massage. Tender mid back and sacro illium. Less tender adductor/gluteus compared to last week. Ball work the cause?

27-Nov-2010 Sat No walk… Played inside with his brothers.

28-Nov-2010 Sun 1/2 mi walk. Did about 18 20” jumps for my jump wrap video. Played outside with his brothers.

30-Nov-2010 Tues. Two agility runs at class. One set of 12 weave poles, 4 low A Frames. Some front end soreness noted in massage afterwards.

5-Dec-2010 Sun 3 run CPE trial - jumps, 24 weave poles, one A Frame. Looked good. He was very slow coming down the A Frame into 2o2o, but didn’t show any soreness.

6-Dec-2010 Mon morning walk 1/2 mi. 1/2 mi walk lunch.

7-Dec-2010 Tues morning walk 1/2 mi. 1/2 mi walk lunch. 2 full course runs, 2x 12 weave poles, 2x dog walk, 2x teeter, 20” jumps. During massage Meeker was not as sensitive in his back or above his hip. She was able to push a little more on trigger points that were causing him problems last week. He looked good in practice.

7-Dec-2010 Wed morning walk 1/2 mi. 1/2 mi walk lunch. A couple back yard recalls.

8-Dec-2010 Thu morning walk 1/2 mi. 1/2 mi walk lunch.

9-Dec-2010 Fri no walks… Played indoors with his brothers.

10-Dec-2010 Sat no walks… Played indoors with his brothers.

11-Dec-2010 Sun no walks… Played indoors.

12-Dec-2010 Mon no morning walk. Short lunch walk. No evening walk. 1 minute ball work.

13-Dec-2010 Tues 1/4 mi morning walk. Short lunch walk. No evening walk. 2 agility runs at 20” 2 A Frames - no massage.

14-Dec-2010 Wed 1/4 mi morning walk. Short lunch walk. No evening walk. Some goofing around agility runs at 20”.

15-Dec-2010 Thu 3/4 mi morning walk. Short lunch walk. 1/2 mi evening walk. Nosework for 10 minutes.

18-Dec-2010 Sat no walks… Played outdoors with his brothers.

19-Dec-2010 Sun no walks… Played outdoors with his brothers.

20-Dec-2010 Mon 1/2 mi morning walk. Short lunch walk. 1/2 mi evening walk. 3 minute ball work - walking on hind legs fwd/bwd. 10 minutes nose work.

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