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Old 02-12-2013, 07:53 PM
 
Location: NJ/SC
4,286 posts, read 13,408,446 times
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My mini doxie/mini pincher mix has 5 collapsed disks that have gotten worse over the last two yrs and this wk starting acting up. This is the third time it's happened and the vet said we should be prepared that if she becomes paralyzed we only have a small window of time to get her to the surgeon. He said we should plan ahead so our decision on whether to have the surgery is not made when/if it happens and we are too emotional. The surgeon is two hours from us. The surgery costs between $3000 and $5000, no guarantee and she could end up in pain or happen again. I can't imagine, and don't want to doing the alternative. She is currently being crated for a month as she did twice before and after the month we can't let her basically do anything. She is my love and both my dogs have saved my life by being by my side the last few yrs while I've been suffering with health issues. I don't want to be selfish and do the surgery to keep her for myself when she may not get better or suffer. I also don't want to take her life. It's a terrible decision and I don't want to think about it but like the vet said we need to plan ahead and not wait until it happens. My question is for other pet parents of dogs that have had this type of issue; how do you decide when you don't know the outcome? Do you just say, I'll do whatever it takes? Thats what I want to say but again, I don't want her to suffer. Is this type of surgery usually successful? Do dogs usually recover quickly? Any help is appreciated.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:42 PM
 
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How old is the dog?

Here is some interesting info for you: http://users.cyberport.net/~milnerwm/fastfacts.html

We are lucky, we have never yet had to deal with any back problems with ours. We do not have any stairs in our house.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:49 PM
ZSP
 
Location: El Paso TX
1,568 posts, read 4,184,694 times
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Dodgerslist is the absolute best place for the info you're looking for. I daresay you will be amazed with the info there...and even if surgery doesn't help your dog or you decide to not have it done, being paralyzed isn't always a bad thing either. Pain if often able to be managed too.

I'm sorry you're dealing with such hard decisions and the heart and head often wage a mighty battle. I hope you'll spend some time reading on Dodgerslist...the website was started by a Doxie owner. I'll keep your pup in my prayers.

I don't have a Doxie myself but French Bulldogs often suffer from the same troubles and my Wolfgang is no exception.

Dodgerslist: canine back problems home page
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:05 PM
 
Location: A little corner of paradise
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I'm sorry you're having to face this. My daughter's doxie suffered sudden paralysis several (about 3) years ago. I don't know the successs rates of surgery, but hers made it through just fine. He is able to walk, run, and even jump on the furniture(even though he knows he's not allowed). For maybe a year following his surgery he would leave pee trails around, and we figured he just couldn't feel that he had to go. He also left poops around. He seems to have that pretty much under control now. Every now and then there will be a random poop, and we know it's him. He also isn't able to wag his tail, but he wiggles his whole back end when he's happy.

He was about 5 at the time, and had never had back issues prior to this. Nobody saw him do anything that would have caused and injury, he was just unable to use his hind legs one day.

I know it will be a hard decision for you to make. Good luck! I hope everything turns out well for you.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Manhattan, Ks
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I've been working in the ICU of a veterinary teaching hospital for about a year, so I'm not really an expert on back surgery but we do have them come through here from time to time. I can tell you that getting them into surgery quickly is critical to how successful the surgery is likely to be. Another factor is how compromised they are when the disk goes out, some dogs can still move their back legs, some can't move well but can feel pain and for some it's just all gone. Usually the milder the symptoms the better the outcome of surgery.

At our hospital post-surgical IVDD patients usually spend about 24 hours in ICU where we keep them on IV pain meds and monitor their bladders. Then they go into the wards where the students care for them until they can walk again. I'm not sure how long that usually takes. I'd guess a few days to about a week? But I'd definitely ask the surgeon. Actually, if you wanted to make a list of questions maybe the surgeon you're planning to go to or their tech could help you. If I were them I'd be thrilled to see an owner thinking ahead. Major kudos to your vet for trying to spare you some very difficult decision making during a stressful time.

Unfortunately Doxies are very prone to intravetebral disc disease. If you have one you pretty much have to assume their back will go out some day.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:26 AM
 
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I had a doxie that developed a lot of problems with her back. At one point she was in pain and I really thought the vet would recommend putting her to sleep, but he didn't. He sent her home and told me to really limit her physical activity. Soon after she lost the ability to use her back legs at all. Weird part was when this happened she was no longer in pain. The vet said one thing "good", if you will, is that the spine gets fused and they no longer have pain in that section. I never thought she would walk again and we were trying to figure out a better way for her to get around as she was still wanting to be active. She very slowly began using her legs and after a couple of months she could walk again just like before. She lived a number of years after that episode and I wouldn't have had those years with her had I put her to sleep. Now, of course, if she had continued to be in pain I would have made a different decision and not let her suffer.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:09 AM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,861,226 times
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There are several sites supported by the Dachshund club about back problems and they have a wealth of info.

I have a friend who breeds longhaired standards and her's have never had problems but she's very very strick breeder. Often times this is a result of poor breeding practices sad to say.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:08 PM
 
Location: NJ/SC
4,286 posts, read 13,408,446 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gardener34 View Post
How old is the dog?

Here is some interesting info for you: IVDD Disc Disease Fast Facts

We are lucky, we have never yet had to deal with any back problems with ours. We do not have any stairs in our house.

She was adopted from a rescue so not sure about age, maybe 4? Thx for the link, looks good...I'll read on there tonight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZSP View Post
Dodgerslist is the absolute best place for the info you're looking for. I daresay you will be amazed with the info there...and even if surgery doesn't help your dog or you decide to not have it done, being paralyzed isn't always a bad thing either. Pain if often able to be managed too.

I'm sorry you're dealing with such hard decisions and the heart and head often wage a mighty battle. I hope you'll spend some time reading on Dodgerslist...the website was started by a Doxie owner. I'll keep your pup in my prayers.

I don't have a Doxie myself but French Bulldogs often suffer from the same troubles and my Wolfgang is no exception.

Dodgerslist: canine back problems home page
Thank you for the link, I read a lot on the site and it was helpful.


I've been in a panic over this, mainly because I have other issues going on and it's a case of too many things at once. After reading more about it, I thought maybe I should be pro-active and she should get the surgery before waiting for her to be paralyzed. Called the vet, he said she should go to the specialist and get an mri ($1300) and he can give a better idea of what to do. So we drove the 2 hours today and the surgeon was excellent. He gave her two other meds to take, explained everything and said in his opinion we should wait. So she is just laying in the crate and will remain there at least 4 wks. He said there are a lot of risks with surgery and went over all of them but the risk number is low. At this point we have decided to go ahead and get surgery if needed ($4000). She is a sweet angel and I love her so much. Its expensive but oh well, thats what credit cards are for I guess. It just makes me sad to see her this way and she is such a playful/active pup but from now on we will have to change her lifestyle. We do have a lot of steps around the house, there are steps to outside with her doggie door and she jumps on the couch and (low) bed all the time. That all has to change, just not sure how yet.


Thanks to everyone for the info. and well wishes.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:15 PM
 
5,642 posts, read 17,329,994 times
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Yes, if the dog is young you have to do it. If it was over 10-11 I would think about it not coming through surgery very well.
I am personally observing that many of the dogs with the backs are smoothies. which tends to make me think there is a genetic component. We have longhairs with lines through one of the best dachshund breeders around right now.
We bought our last little doggies their own little doggie couch. One loved it, the other had her own blankie on the floor. Maybe he would use a little floor/bed?
Glad you have come to a decision... I do know people that have had success with aquatherapy. before and after surgeries.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:44 AM
ZSP
 
Location: El Paso TX
1,568 posts, read 4,184,694 times
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I'm glad you had a good visit with the surgeon and trust his/her advice at this time. As you said in your original post and Kansas Sky repeated, often times, early surgical intervention is the standard protocol but each case is different. I hope and pray your girl recovers with rest and lots of TLC.

Yes, you're right...her habits will have to change as far as jumping on/off furniture goes. And, it's doable. It's just a matter of re-training...both you and the dog. lol There are also ramps she can be trained to use. Sometimes even doggie steps aren't recommended.

Let us know how things progress...and do continue reading all the valuable material out there. Knowledge is power.
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