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Sudden pain in dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: Black Lab
Age: 8-11 years
I have a nine year old female black lab mix, Polly. When I adopted her, I was told the mix was husky, but I've never been totally sure that was the case. She was one of two puppies in the litter that were born with an unformed or ruptured phthisical globe. The eye was cleaned out and the socket sewn shut. In addition to the missing eye, she does have a mass on her chest that's been there for a few years. The vet agrees that it's likely a lipoma, and it has never seemed to irritate her.
One morning about three weeks ago, Polly yelped as though she had been stepped on. She had been lying at the foot of the bed, then jumped up and looked at me as if to ask what had happened. She paced the room a bit, then circled and laid down. I went about my business, then it happened again, and then again once more. After the yelp, she would wag her tail and seemed to be in no pain. I took her on her regular walk, and while she was less energetic than usual, she was not lethargic or limping. Over the next few days, she was less energetic than usual, but not lethargic. She ate and used the bathroom as usual. I did notice a yeast buildup in her ear, which I cleaned and treated with drops. I also scheduled a vet appointment. She returned to normal levels of activity over the following week and a half or so, and showed no irritation around the ear. The vet did a regular check-up, did blood work for parasites, and she got a clean bill of health.
About four days ago, I returned home late it the evening. She jumped up with her typical energy, but yelped as she did so. Her tail was tucked but wagging, and she was shaking. I felt her over, but no specific spot seemed to giver her any pain. She repeated the yelp and tail-tucking twice more that night. She usually sleeps at the foot of the bed or on the couch, then wakes me in the morning. That night she slept on top of me, and was trembling almost constantly. In the morning and over the next day and a half, she continued to shake intermittently and displayed subdued behavior, but no yelps. Last night, she paced the bedroom, shaking her head. This morning, as we walked into the house after our walk, she yelped again. She continues to eat and go to the bathroom regularly. She does seem slightly dazed, and will sit and stare at me in a way that seems odd. She continues to have bouts of trembling, as if she's afraid. Do you have any idea what is going on? What could I ask a vet to look for? I'm very concerned, of course, and want her to be comfortable. Thanks for any insight.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is not feeling well. There are a few things that can cause pain in dogs.

My first concern would be that this could be a back problem. They can often be hard to diagnose but can cause sudden sharp pains or spasms. If this were my case, I'd likely be doing a trial course of some anti-inflammatory medication to see if that helps. Many back problems can be minor and temporary, but sometimes they can lead to much more serious back issues. If this *is* a back problem then if your vet is able to examine your dog while she is having the issue they probably will be able to determine where the source of pain is.

Another thing to have your vet check is her anal glands. I have seen some dogs that will have periodic sudden pain because there is an abscess brewing in the anal glands. If this is the case you would probably see a red, sore area under the anus, to one side.

Some type of stomach cramping could do this as well, but I'm guessing that's not it.

I would also have the vet recheck her ears as ear pain could cause these symptoms as well. But, it seems a little odd for the pain to come and go.

My best guess is that this is related to her back. I do feel like it would be a good idea to have her examined again.

Hope things are ok!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your quick reply! I've looked around her anus, but I'm not seeingany irritation. Polly is very nervous at the vet - she shakes from beginning to end. We've really only been to the vet to update shots, so they're not overly familiar with her. Will they be able to tell the difference between her shaking from fear and shaking from pain? If there is back pain, will it likely be something she'll have from now on?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

If there is back pain there, then the vet really should be able to pick this up, even if she is shaking.

Back pain can be a tricky thing. I would say that most of my patients with back pain have periodic issues that recur perhaps a couple of times in their life. Many just have a single episode and that's it. I do have some patients that have ongoing problems, but I wouldn't say that that's the norm.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.