GSD attacking his own elbow - Page 1

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by pauly58 on 01 March 2020 - 08:03

I have a male, Czech bred, who is six, since last September he has been biting at the inside of his elbow joint. There in no lameness or limping in anyway. He has been on a load of different tablets & drugs, such as Prednisolone, Metacam, Steroid injections into the joint, Phenobarbitol, Chlorhydryl, Panadol & currently Neurontin & Selgian. Nothing has helped, in addition, the joint has been x rayed & looks fine.
He is fine at night, he sleeps at the bottom of our bed, I turn out the light & he goes to sleep & doesn't touch it through the night.
When he does go at it, he is yelping & crying, on his side biting & licking the elbow, this can happen at any time. He has an inflatable collar we put on when he has a bad spell. He has made the whole leg swell up once. It seems to me now, it's a seizure, brain storm type thing, but it certainly looks like he's in pain.
We've had shepherds for thirty five years now & have never seen anything like it, & neither has our vet. Has anyone experienced something similar or has any ideas please ?


by GK1 on 01 March 2020 - 11:03

Sounds like you are already working closely with the veterinarian. All those chemicals can’t be helping beyond temporary relief and likely won’t treat the root cause whatever it may be. Have you considered the naturopathic route: no processed foods, fasting/detox, purified drinking water, daily exercise, herbal supps, acupuncture for example?

by GSCat on 01 March 2020 - 14:03

A cat that goes by and swats once a night or early in the morning (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)? I had a cat that used to walk by and swipe at the dog and she'd end up chewing at the spot for a few minutes. Nothing as drastic as you're describing, but the kind of behavior sounds similar.

Since the dog sleeps through without attcking his elbow, is it possible the sleep position contributes? Or that the joint gets cold during sleep (cold draft or that leg/elbow sticks out from the rest of the dog)? Maybe moving the sleeping spot over a little. Might an inflatable splint/support on the elbow during sleep help? Or a pillow under/around it?

If the dog sleeps in the exact same place all the time, is there something next to/under that joint that might be irritating? Maybe something as small as a nail in a hardwood floor sticking up a fraction of an inch or a lump in a linoleum/vinyl floor? A seam in the floor or a dog bed? Does that leg stick out onto a different kind of flooring where a different cleaner or finish is used and the elbow happens to be what is in contact? Does anther dog or cat sleep with the dog, maybe laying on/under/next to that elbow?

If the dog sleeps in your bed with you, is it possible your foot, toe, etc. ends up on/in/under the dog's elbow?

Maybe dog chiropractic and massage. Some insurance covers it.


by Koots on 01 March 2020 - 18:03

When he is exhibiting this behaviour, can he be distracted easily? Is there anything you are doing consistently when he starts to do this?

by astrovan2487 on 01 March 2020 - 19:03

Possibly a neck injury, a nerve in the cervical spine being pinched could cause problems down the front leg. My dog has lumbosacral spinal problems and before she had surgery to fix it she would just be laying around and start biting at her one rear leg. Almost like she got stung by a bee. But it wasn't anywhere near as bad as what you are describing with your dog.

I'd look into going to a neurologist just to rule out some kind of nerve pain.
Also have you only been to one vet for this problem or gotten second opinions from a specialist?


by bantam7 on 02 March 2020 - 01:03

Strongly seconding getting a second opinion from another vet if you haven't already. Request a referral to a boarded neurologist. If they come up blank I would contact your nearest veterinary university and describe the situation. Beware of "alternative" or "natural treatments", they generally have no backing (anecdotes aren't evidence and correlation =/= causation) and you will be wasting time and money at your dog's expense.


by Hundmutter on 02 March 2020 - 03:03

Astrovan has a good point - there is such a thing as 'referred pain', where a problem somewhere else in the body materialises as a pain in an apparently unrelated part. Might be neurological, or it might be some physical ailment in another joint, or one of the dog's organs. Extrapolating from human medicine; have not come across it in a dog, but that does not mean it doesn't happen, and it might just be it isn't usually looked for !


by GK1 on 02 March 2020 - 07:03

Beware of "alternative" or "natural treatments", they generally have no backing (anecdotes aren't evidence and correlation =/= causation) and you will be wasting time and money at your dog's expense.

Lol at the stupdity of the above statement.  How is time and money wasted on exploring natural alternatives for long term preventative and restorative health after a myriad of harsh chemicals have failed to alleviate symptoms of the op's dog even temporarily?

Of course synthetic medications DO have backing.. from the pharmaceutical companies, billions of dollars worth…and ZERO evidence these chemicals prevent or cure disease.

[Extrapolating human medicine..diabetes, cancer, heart disease, alzheimers, high blood pressure, obesity and many, many more - still no allopathic cure - nor will there be.]

by pauly58 on 02 March 2020 - 08:03

Many thanks for your answers folks, much appreciated.

by jillmissal on 02 March 2020 - 08:03

It does sound like a neurologic problem if everything else has been ruled out. Have you done additional imagery of the leg (MRI) and blood work?

Second to avoid silly things like diet changes and supplements and holistic/naturopathic nonsense. Keep working to find a veterinary diagnosis. One of the reasons veterinarians have a hard time diagnosing some of these things is the financial limitations of the dog owner (MRIs are not cheap, believe me I know).


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