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Does his agression mean he is in pain?

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Does his agression mean he is in pain?

Postby Kerry Lynch on Tue 07 Jan, 2014 9:13 am

Hi all, im back here after 18 months off the forum since I lost my beloved Sam to epilepsy. You were all so great I thought id ask for advice on my third dog who is having problems.

Timmy is a 20 month old border collie. I got him at 8 weeks from a rescue and obviously with the hope of doing agility with him as Moss (elbow dysplacia) and Sam (epilepsy) couldn't do it and my lab Teyha was getting old. Timmy was born in rescue in a foster home so had no bad vet or other experiences. When he was 7 months he slipped on the flooring and didn't come right so he had an MRI and disc degeneration disease was found. Very very rare in a 7 month old collie and usually doesn't cause a problem until the dog is 5-6 years old im told. Obviously at that point it was clear he would never do agility. He had restricted exercise for a while but became very destructive so we took the decision to walk him as a normal dog and we have done that ever since. In May last year he was lame in front and elbow arthritis was found in both elbows and its quite advanced. Even on the painkillers he has remained lame in his front legs.

Timmy has had all the treatment the vet can offer and he has had physio and he has had green lit mussel and magnets. Nothing helped so he went on painkillers. He managed on them for a while then reacted to them so now he cant have any painkillers.

Sorry this is long winded but trying to set the scene.

I took him off all painkillers a couple of months ago. I thought he would have a few days before he was crippled and had to be PTS but he has been doing well. He is a very friendly dog with all other dogs including my other 2. He is also one of the most active collies ive ever had. He had slowed down a bit when not on the painkillers but was basically as active as a normal collie now. He was still charging round the woods on his walks.

A week ago he started being quite needy and wanting fuss which is unusual for him. Then he started to growl and lunge at my other dogs when he is on the sofa. A few months ago my husband was stroking him and Timmy growled at him and then did the same to me. I saw a side effect of the drugs was aggression and that stopped when he came off them. But last night he was laid on the sofa next to me and I fussed him and he growled at me. I made sure there were no other dogs around and fussed him gently and he growled again. I also have an 8 month old daughter so obviously the growling is really concerning me.
My husband and parents are now very cautious handling him as they don't trust him and even I am now concerned.
Timmy wont let a vet near him after all the procedures he has been through so a vet review isn't an option although I have spoken to my vet and he said there isn't anything vet wise to try and was not much help really.

When Timmy is on a walk he behaves as a normal dog although I can see he is lame. He charges about and people love him as he is so cute and he is adorable with other dogs we meet - very submissive and playful.
I had expected him to get gradually lamer without the painkillers and eventually he wouldn't be able to go for a walk then I would know he's had enough. But that isn't happening. He cut his pad badly the other week and still carried on charging round the woods with the blood oozing out. So not a lot slows him down. My husband thinks he is in a lot of pain and that's why he was needy a few days ago and is now getting aggressive. I have always found Timmy so hard to read. Ive had many collies but he has always been fairly unique.

So I suppose my question is do you think his recent aggression could be as a result of being in pain? I was thinking I might give him one painkiller later then fuss him and see if he is grumpy. If he is then its not pain and if he isn't then maybe he is in pain. He shouldn't react to just one dose of painkiller.

I don't really have anyone I can ask who knows Timmy which is unfortunate. I have to put my daughter first but at the moment she isn't crawling and I just don't leave her near Timmy at all. The other 2 dogs are excellent with her. I suppose im more concerned im being cruel keeping Timmy going if he is in pain but he just doesn't really show pain in the way I was expecting. Maybe I was unrealistic to expect him to eventually not want to go for a walk as he would probably still want a walk if I chopped his legs off.

So sorry for the waffle. Still got baby brain and waffleitus :)
Kerry Lynch
 
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Re: Does his agression mean he is in pain?

Postby Val Clark on Tue 07 Jan, 2014 5:28 pm

Kerry, I'm no expert but can tell you that when my border collie had a badly broken tooth at the back of her mouth she would lunge at dogs she met in the street. This stopped when the tooth was removed. I have to say that in that time she was never aggressive towards me or any other human, and never even so much as curled her lip. If you type the sentence 'aggression and dogs in pain' into a browser search engine you will find lots of articles which may help with your problem. Some in particular mention how you should handle your dog if you suspect pain.
Sorry I can't be of more help but hope this helps a little.
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Re: Does his agression mean he is in pain?

Postby Fiona Hulse on Tue 07 Jan, 2014 6:14 pm

I agree with Val, and I suggest you take your lad back to the vet for a checkover to see if the vet can figure out what is going on.
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Re: Does his agression mean he is in pain?

Postby Kerry Lynch on Thu 09 Jan, 2014 7:34 am

Thanks Val. Very useful and ill have a look at Google. Timmy has never actually gone for a person he has just grumbled and then moved away. He still has his cut pad but it looked good enough to walk him again yesterday for the first time in a week. He was active but quieter on the walk than normal and his back left leg looked bad. Im not sure if that was because he couldn't put weight on the front foot with the cut pad or if his back is deteriorating. Ill have to wait until the cut pad is fully healed to know.

Going to the vet again really isn't an option. I find vets to be pretty useless so my only option is to go back to Fitzpatricks consultants and have another MRI to see the level of deterioration. Timmy has used up his £7k insurance money and I cant afford the £800 for another MRI, especially where they will just tell me the back has deteriorated and there's no treatment option. If you saw how distressed Timmy gets when he gets near to the vets I think you would understand why I have decided not to put him through that anymore. He has been at the vets so much in his short life - back, elbows (3 GA's for those), UTI, eye wound, several leg cuts that needed AB's, a lump on his neck that was biopsied, lymph node biopsy when they thought he might have lymphoma as lymph glands were swollen but it turned out to be nothing - etc etc. The boy has had enough of being poked and prodded.

Makes me very sad as it seems we are nearing the end with Timmy. I cant believe ill need to PTS a second dog under 2 years old within 18 months of each other. Poor Timmy. Hopefully though its the cut pad and when that's fully settled he will be fine for a while longer.
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Re: Does his agression mean he is in pain?

Postby Fiona Hulse on Thu 09 Jan, 2014 10:54 am

Poor lad to have gone through so much. He is lucky to be owned by someone who loves him as much as you clearly do. :hugs:
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