pressure sores on an elderly dog
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  1. #1
    hmc
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    pressure sores on an elderly dog

    My dog is getting quite old, and for the past few months has had pressure sore on both sides of his hips. Intially they were not too bad, and we were able to help reduce them by putting down multiple layers of blankets in the areas he lies down and sleeps.

    However, due to his constant licking of these sores, they've gotten worse. They recently got so bad (small indents began to form in the center of each sore), that we resorted to using a certain type of bandage which is used for pressure sores on humans, it is basically a sheet of soft material with a sticky underside, which can be cut into different shapes to cover the wound.

    Using this worked well on the pressure sore on my dog's right side, however the left side one he keeps licking off, and the pressure sore is getting worse (the indent is becoming deeper and deeper). I don't believe either side is infected, we regularly use neosporin on each sore and for a while we were giving my dog anti-biotics. However, I think the sores may just continue to get worse and worse.

    When we initially mentioned them to our vet, he recommended one of those large collars which prevent dogs from licking themselves. We would consider this if it were not for the fact that our dog is an extremely anxious and nervous dog, to the point were he takes prozac daily to keep him calm. I feel that this collar might distress him extremely, I don't know if he'd be able to deal with having it on long enough for the sores to heal.

    So, I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with pressure sores on their dogs, and if so, how did you treat them? If you used the large collar, how effective was that, and did it seem to distress your dog at all? Also, any alternatives to a collar would be greatly appreciated, I don't know if there is some type of gause like bandage we could wrap around our dog, or somesuch.

    Anyway, thanks for the help.

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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    Your vet has the right idea of stopping the licking. There are some different types of collars out there that may be helpful. There is one that is like a neck brace that may work. There are also some softer collars that will prevent the licking but not be as cumbersome for your dog. If your vet has not seen the sores recently, take him in for a recheck exam and talk about the different options they have available for you.

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    hmc
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    unfortunately taking my dog to the vet is near impossible, he has extreme arthritis in all his legs so it becomes a joint effort to lift him into the car (he is a large collie who is 75 pounds). at which point he becomes so anxious and scared that he refuses to sit down.

    however thanks for the info on the collars, I'll ask the vet about the softer less cumbersome ones.

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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    Honestly, I would get someone to help you lift him into the car. I feel the vet really needs to re-examine those sores, and they may have a better idea to help you than what you'd find on an internet forum.

    Larger dogs are typically much more prone to pressure sores because of their large size. Left unchecked, those sores will become ulcers, and then you are going to have an extremely painful infection on your hands.

    I would not suggest the collar on an already anxious, elderly dog. That will only cause more stress on an already stressed out animal.

    However, again, I would suggest doing whatever needs to be done to have the dog seened by a veterinarian again, as they are the ones qualified and in the position to help you with this problem. Pressure sores on an older dog like that are nothing to fool around with. As mentioned, they'll quickly go from sores to severe ulcers.

    With that said, here is a website that may be of some help to you, and appears to contain a lot of helpful advice for owners of dogs like yours:

    http://dogswithdisabilities.com/pressure%20sores.htm

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    hmc
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    thanks for the link

    really though, going to the vet really is almost impossible, even with someone to help lift him into the car. once he is in, he refuses to lie down in the back, meaning we have to drive with one person in the back with him, holding him until he falls, and then trying to keep him lying down while he tries to get up the whole time. perhaps I'm not accurately descibing what a horrible ordeal it is, but regardless there's no way he will be going to the vet unless his health radically declines. I'm not to worried about infection creeping up on us unawares, as we treat his sores with neosporin daily, we have ready access to anti-biotics, and my mother is a nurse who is experienced with human pressure sores, and knows what to look for in terms of infection.

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    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    Call all of the vets in your area and ask if there are any vets that will do home visits/mobile vet services. Many towns have these/vets offer these, but are not well advertised.
    Spay or neuter your pet! Founding President Of Thread Killers Anonymous.

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    Senior Member Moonshadow's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    I agree....you really need to have a vet look at the sores, and check out the general condition of your boy. It might not be easy to get him to the vet but it can be done. Or, like someone else mentioned, have a vet come to your home to see him.

    Did your vet give you the antibiotics for him? Not all are good for skin so just because you have them unless they were perscribed for his sores they may not work.

    There are other collars out there that may help him. We have one that we had gotten for one of our girls who didn't do well with the regular e-collars. It's a big padded ring that goes around the neck. They can see fine, eat and drink with no problems but if they bend their head it folds up against their face so they can't lick.

    If his arthritis is that bad you might also have the vet put him on a NSAID. At this point it sounds like you are dealing with a quality of life issue and if that's the case I would most definately do whatever I needed to do to keep him comfortable.

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    hmc
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    the anti-biotics he was perscribed were perscribed specifically for the pressure sores, the vet has also said that continuing to use neosporin on the sores would be a good idea.

    and in terms of arthritis, he takes a hefty amount of tramadol a day for that.

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    Senior Member Moonshadow's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    Neosporin certainly won't hurt the sores....hopefully it will help. The only other thing I could suggest to you to keep him from laying there licking the sores is to put pants on him. Men's boxer shorts work well...put them on backwards and use the "hole" for his tail. At least that might deter him from licking so much and give them a chance to heal.

    Tramadol is a great pain medication. We use is often, especially after surgery. If a dog has really bad arthritis then most times the Tramadol is added to the NSAID treatment (they are very safe to use together).

    Just a thought....has he always been anxious? Collies react to certain drugs. If he's started acting differntly since you started the Tramadol that might not be the drug of choice for him. Unless you have done the MDR1 test on him and he's normal/normal

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    Senior Member Ginny01OT's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    Although I have not dealt with dog pressure sores, I deal with human pressure sores and the principles have to be similar--heck, they give dogs PT now. Anyway, the reason your dog has pressure sores is because they lay in the same position all the time--so increased blankets will not help, they are still laying the same way and the same body parts are in contact with the blanket.

    Although bandaging is good, sometimes the wound getting air is better, the problem you have is the licking---

    Although I cannot tell you how to stop your dog from licking (how about putting bitter apple AROUND the wound--I can tell you that to help facilitate healing you should try and reposition your dog while they are laying down as much as possible. With people it is laying on back, right side, left side and if pressure sores are on the heels you elevate the feet so they don't touch the sheets or mattress

    Another thing, people with Stage IV bedsores (they go from I to IV with IV the worst) we usually give them some sort of air mattress or air cushion which distributes the weight with even the slightest bit of movement--with this in mind, how about putting a sheet or blanket over a 3/4 to almost filled water float (like a raft, something they would entireley lay on, not a tube)that your dog can lay on to help distibute their weight--worth a try--can't hurt--might help--good luck

    PS: Antibiotics will not cure a pressure sore but will help prevent secondary infection (sepsis) which can be deadly

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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshadow View Post
    Men's boxer shorts work well...put them on backwards and use the "hole" for his tail. At least that might deter him from licking so much and give them a chance to heal.
    Yeah, we're looking into crafting some sort of wrap-around fabric for his hips with velcro to keep it closed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshadow View Post
    Tramadol is a great pain medication. We use is often, especially after surgery. If a dog has really bad arthritis then most times the Tramadol is added to the NSAID treatment (they are very safe to use together).
    While I'm not entirely sure what NSAID is, tramadol was finally perscibed by the vet to us after a multitude of other options failed, most medicines we tried gave him terrible diarrhea, tramadol has been the only one so far which has had no side-effects, and seems to work well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshadow View Post
    Just a thought....has he always been anxious? Collies react to certain drugs. If he's started acting differntly since you started the Tramadol that might not be the drug of choice for him. Unless you have done the MDR1 test on him and he's normal/normal
    Yes he has always been very anxious, though it has increased with old age, not from drugs but just from him becoming more unsteady on his legs due to arthritis pain and general muscle loss. The prozac helps keep this under control quite a bit, but his is still prone to freaking out if he slips.

    Anyway, thanks for the concern about his overrall health, but all of his health issues besides the pressure sores have been dealt with well by the vet, so I don't have any uncertainties concerning his arthritis or anxiousness.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny01OT View Post
    Although I have not dealt with dog pressure sores, I deal with human pressure sores and the principles have to be similar--heck, they give dogs PT now. Anyway, the reason your dog has pressure sores is because they lay in the same position all the time--so increased blankets will not help, they are still laying the same way and the same body parts are in contact with the blanket.
    Not to contradict your experience, but multiple vets at our clinic have said differently. The multiple blankets layers decrease the pressure compared to lying on hard unyielding surfaces, and their soft texture doesn't irrirate the wounds as much as carpet or linoleum (two main types of flooring in the areas he rests and sleeps) would. Also, as I mentioned before, as much as possible we try to keep the wound covered with an adhesive type of bandage which is used for human pressure sores, so most often his sores are not directly in contact with any surface.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny01OT View Post
    Although bandaging is good, sometimes the wound getting air is better, the problem you have is the licking---

    Although I cannot tell you how to stop your dog from licking (how about putting bitter apple AROUND the wound
    I asked the vet about any sort of bitter tasting salve that would make my dog less inclined to lick, but they said he would mostly lick away anything that was put on. Is bitter apple a common ointment I can buy in stores, or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny01OT View Post
    --I can tell you that to help facilitate healing you should try and reposition your dog while they are laying down as much as possible. With people it is laying on back, right side, left side and if pressure sores are on the heels you elevate the feet so they don't touch the sheets or mattress
    He changes position himself every few hours, though because the sores are on his hips no matter what side he sits on one sore will always be towards the ground. I think trying to make him change positions any more than he already does would just disturb his rest, something we try and let him get a lot of now that he's such an old man.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny01OT View Post
    Another thing, people with Stage IV bedsores (they go from I to IV with IV the worst) we usually give them some sort of air mattress or air cushion which distributes the weight with even the slightest bit of movement--with this in mind, how about putting a sheet or blanket over a 3/4 to almost filled water float (like a raft, something they would entireley lay on, not a tube)that your dog can lay on to help distibute their weight--worth a try--can't hurt--might help--good luck
    This would probably not work due to his outright refusal to step on any surface he deems to high off the ground or unstable (won't go on an old doggy bed even), so I can't imagine him being comfortable walking on something filled with water. However thanks for the idea, I'll keep it in mind. And thanks for the concern.

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    Senior Member Ginny01OT's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    based on your responses, sounds like you have a long road ahead of you, my best wishes

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    Senior Member Moonshadow's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    NSAID is a Non Steroidal Anti Inflamatory Drug......like Metacam, Previcox, Zubrin, etc...the drugs that are commonly used to treat elderly dogs that have arthritis.

    I do agree with Ginny...sometimes air is better for a wound. If it were my dog I'd be trying to dry up the wound rather than keeping it moist.

    I do wish you the best with him.....senior dogs deserve the best possible care we can give them.

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    Senior Member secondchance's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    You can probably get bitter apple spray from any vet clinic or pet store... and yes it is REALLY bitter, and although some dogs will just lick anyways it is really worth a shot, for a LOT of dogs it does the trick.
    I think you should also try the boxer trick as someone previously suggested... don't bother crafting some fancy velcro thing, start simple with the boxers and see if it even helps at all.
    Maybe try a cartrophen injection for the arthritis? I have seen some amazing results with this product, if you can find a mobile vet it would be worth a shot.

    From what you have said it sounds like you are not really willing or interested to try most of the suggestions that people have put forward in this thread. I totally understand how frustrating it can be trying to meet all the health needs of a senior dog (I have a 16 year old who is really starting to slow down and it breaks my heart).
    All this being said... sometimes when presented with a particularly challenging problem you need to think outside of the box and be willing to look at it a different way.
    We are making suggestions about all of your dogs health problems because wellness is encompasses everything to do with the dog and often things are related.
    Tramadol sounds like a very strange route for treating arthritis. If you were interested in looking at other arthritis treatment options maybe you could increase your dogs mobility (AND reduce the anxiety....) which would mean that the pressure sores would be less of a problem (your dog could spend less time laying down altogether, could comfortably lay sternally, or with a grippy mat maybe even sit upright).
    I urge you to try to find a mobile vet or get a team of family members to help you get your dog to the vet (maybe ask if you can increase the tramadol before the trip so make it easier for the dog..?) Even without it being infected it sounds like your current course of action needs to be modified. Don't let yourself feel defeated, where there is a will there is a way, and waiting until the dogs health declines more before going back to the vet is not a solution.

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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    Quote Originally Posted by secondchance View Post
    You can probably get bitter apple spray from any vet clinic or pet store... and yes it is REALLY bitter, and although some dogs will just lick anyways it is really worth a shot, for a LOT of dogs it does the trick.
    Thanks, I'll look into this.

    Quote Originally Posted by secondchance View Post
    I think you should also try the boxer trick as someone previously suggested... don't bother crafting some fancy velcro thing, start simple with the boxers and see if it even helps at all.
    We tried to put some shorts on him, but he wouldn't allow us to put his back legs through the holes, so if we do try some fabric covering again I think we're gonna go with a drawstring or velcro type thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by secondchance View Post
    Maybe try a cartrophen injection for the arthritis? I have seen some amazing results with this product, if you can find a mobile vet it would be worth a shot.
    If this is the same thing that is used for steroids in horses, we have tried this with no noticeable effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by secondchance View Post
    From what you have said it sounds like you are not really willing or interested to try most of the suggestions that people have put forward in this thread. I totally understand how frustrating it can be trying to meet all the health needs of a senior dog (I have a 16 year old who is really starting to slow down and it breaks my heart).
    All this being said... sometimes when presented with a particularly challenging problem you need to think outside of the box and be willing to look at it a different way.
    We are making suggestions about all of your dogs health problems because wellness is encompasses everything to do with the dog and often things are related.
    I understand and appreciate everyone looking at my dog's issues from all angles, however up until a few weeks ago he made regular vet trips, and we discussed a multitude of options there. We have tried many things for his arthritis and anxiousness, and through trial and error we have finally come up with a combination of medicine that works well. So while I appreciate the concern, trust me when I say that my family and our vet have these issues covered.

    Quote Originally Posted by secondchance View Post
    Tramadol sounds like a very strange route for treating arthritis. If you were interested in looking at other arthritis treatment options maybe you could increase your dogs mobility (AND reduce the anxiety....) which would mean that the pressure sores would be less of a problem (your dog could spend less time laying down altogether, could comfortably lay sternally, or with a grippy mat maybe even sit upright).
    I urge you to try to find a mobile vet or get a team of family members to help you get your dog to the vet (maybe ask if you can increase the tramadol before the trip so make it easier for the dog..?) Even without it being infected it sounds like your current course of action needs to be modified. Don't let yourself feel defeated, where there is a will there is a way, and waiting until the dogs health declines more before going back to the vet is not a solution.
    As I mentioned previously, my family and I have finally got his arthritis and anxiousness under control after trying many, many different kinds of treatment and medicine, and although what he takes may seem strange to you, it is what works for him, as evidenced to my family by months of trying other things.

    And hopefully our current course of action will not need to be modified anytime soon in terms of his sores, thankfully that bandage I spoke of has been sticking over the wound for the past couple of days. But please do not think that I or my family is completely unwilling to take my dog to the vet, we are very closely monitoring his health and at this point have reached a good plateau, after months of trying to find the right medication and treatment for him, we are finally satisfied (as much as we can be with his health).

    I am certainly not unwilling to look at his health from every angle, however I believe you and others have made the assumption that we have not already examined his health extensively with our vet. This is not the case. We have explored different routes to alleviate whatever has ailed him for years, ever since he started to really show his age. His medicine regimine now is effective, and he is very mobile despite his arthritis. We are quite sure of how to treat every one of his issues besides his pressure sores, which for now seem to be abating.

    So once again I thank everyone for all the information they have provided, and all the concern they have shown for the health of my dog. However, don't feel worried or deem it neccesary to come up with possible medicines or treatments for his issues besides his pressure sores, they are well taken care of by my family and our vet.

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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    I am using tender wrap guaze to wrap my cats pressures sores on his legs. It is the only thing that stays on. It is in the pharmacy section.

    Quote Originally Posted by hmc View Post
    My dog is getting quite old, and for the past few months has had pressure sore on both sides of his hips. Intially they were not too bad, and we were able to help reduce them by putting down multiple layers of blankets in the areas he lies down and sleeps.

    However, due to his constant licking of these sores, they've gotten worse. They recently got so bad (small indents began to form in the center of each sore), that we resorted to using a certain type of bandage which is used for pressure sores on humans, it is basically a sheet of soft material with a sticky underside, which can be cut into different shapes to cover the wound.

    Using this worked well on the pressure sore on my dog's right side, however the left side one he keeps licking off, and the pressure sore is getting worse (the indent is becoming deeper and deeper). I don't believe either side is infected, we regularly use neosporin on each sore and for a while we were giving my dog anti-biotics. However, I think the sores may just continue to get worse and worse.

    When we initially mentioned them to our vet, he recommended one of those large collars which prevent dogs from licking themselves. We would consider this if it were not for the fact that our dog is an extremely anxious and nervous dog, to the point were he takes prozac daily to keep him calm. I feel that this collar might distress him extremely, I don't know if he'd be able to deal with having it on long enough for the sores to heal.

    So, I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with pressure sores on their dogs, and if so, how did you treat them? If you used the large collar, how effective was that, and did it seem to distress your dog at all? Also, any alternatives to a collar would be greatly appreciated, I don't know if there is some type of gause like bandage we could wrap around our dog, or somesuch.

    Anyway, thanks for the help.

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    Senior Member Pawzk9's Avatar
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    Re: pressure sores on an elderly dog

    http://www.ryanspet.com/pet-healthca...-ci-50-16.html

    Scroll down to the soft-E collars. They also have the cervical bite-not collars on this page (which might be uncomfortable for an old-timer with arthritis) I know they also have the blow-up donut collars (not on this page) which is what I used when my dog had an external fixator on his front leg. These collars are not as difficult for the dogs to accept as the hard plastic elizabethan collars, and more comfortable. Have you looked into getting him a good orthopedic bed?

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