A few days ago I took Amber for a walk. Really it was more like a pull. I thought she was walking behind me because she was sniffing things, not uncommon. Then it occured to me that she couldn't walk any faster. We got inside, and she had a lot of trouble walking up the stairs, it seemed painful to her. Fast forward to last night- I noticed the same sort of thing- it seemed very painful and difficult for her to walk across the living room. She kind of fell sideways into the computer desk. I picked her up to hold her on my lap and comfort her, we sat like that for a while. Then when I needed to get up, I slid her gently to the side so she could lay on the couch, and she yelped and howled loudly in what I can only imagine was terrible pain. A beagle yelping in pain cuts through you like someone's ripping out your soul- it's so traumatic.
Matt and I rallied around her wondering what it was, trying to undo what I had just done. After about 30 seconds of screaming, she stopped. We got out a little heating pad, stuck it under her favorite blue blanket, and tried to pamper and comfort her into sleep and that worked for a few hours.
When it was bed time she needed to go out. I picked her up from the couch to more yelping and carried her outside where Matt took her to pee. I came back inside and heard more, louder if that's possible, howling and yelping resonating through the neighborhood. This lasted so long I couldn't believe it.
We put her on the bed with us, called the emergency vet, and tried to make her comfortable for the night. She was whining in pain and twitching or having seizures. The vet said that was probably just a reaction to the pain, and prescribed some aspirin.
So we're off now to go take her in to see what's going on. I'm so worried about my little dog. All night in her pain she struggled to stay close to me- it seemed she was only marginally less tortured if my face was close to hers and I was petting her ears.
Wish us luck.
UPDATE: Took Amber to Suffern Animal Hospital today to see Dr. French. On the way over there I discovered a newly implanted tick. Joy. Dr. French just reached in and grabbed that disgusting little thing and got on with his exam. I liked the way he took her off the slippery, uncomfortable, awkward table and examined her on the floor. It was really cool to see his experienced hands feeling her shoulders, arms, tendons, neck to see if he could feel what was wrong. Long story short, she had three very loud sessions of the horrific yelping seemingly independent from his actions. We left her there for him to do xrays.
It seems Amber's got some sort of nerve damage, maybe a pinched nerve and inflammation. He said the xray showed two "suspicious vertebrae" but a very expensive MRI would be needed to exactly diagnose that and he wasn't in favor of it. He gave her a cortisone shot and prescribed prednisone and said she could feel better in 2 days, or 2 weeks or 2 months, it really depends. He also said that if this doesn't help then we'd be "on a bad road." Whoa. I did not like hearing that.
The patient is resting more comfortably on the counch, though she's still not really walking.