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Old 04-28-2008, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Catonsville, MD
2,367 posts, read 3,826,254 times
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Default Disc problems in long-backed dogs

In addition to the Lyme disease my corgi was diagnosed with last week, it seems most of his pain is coming from disc problems in his neck and mid-back. It's not acute -- if it was, he'd be partially paralyzed and unable to feel pain. This little guy is really in pain unless I keep up religiously with his pain meds. I'm an optimist, but I'm so afraid that this is a permanent problem. I cannot bear to see my sweet boy in pain . He's only 6 years old and I also cannot bear to think of life without him. Our vet is talking about surgery and canine neurologists and myelograms and all kinds of things. We love our dog, but also cannot afford to spend thousands if the prognosis is unknown.

Has anybody been in my shoes? How do you decide what to do? This dog is like my first child and I cry just thinking of losing him.
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,315 posts, read 4,451,065 times
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I've had a mini poodle and a shih tzu with intevertebral disc disease, both of whom had a complete recovery without surgery. The poodle had only faint deep pain response and a complete loss of proprioception but no paralysis. The shih tzu had severe pain and mild loss of proprioception. Cage restriction, anti-inflammatory meds and water therapy helped both dogs tremendously, but I'm convinced that the poodle's recovery was made possible by Adequan. It was an expensive regimen, but not as expensive or traumatic as a laminectomy.

Once the dogs were on the mend, I continued the exercise, and focused on behavior and environmental modification to prevent reinjury. I installed a ramp wherever there was a step, such as from the garage to the house, and from the ground to the deck and the deck to the house. I blocked off access to all stairs. I monitored the dogs' activities to eliminate jumping on and off furniture and running full-tilt around the yard. I kept them slim and trim. They both lived relatively pain free lives with the occasional mild flare-up for another 5 or 6 years until dying of old age.

My understanding is that some dogs are genetically prone to IVDD, and show calcification as young as 2 or 3 years of age. I guess the best preventive is for the dog to keep all four feet on the ground, and to keep the ground flat. No stairs, no jumping, no twisting. Try restricted activity, Adequan, and perhaps acupuncture, before going the surgical route.

A myelogram is useful in determining the degree of injury, but does require general anesthesia.

There's good info about IVD and long-backed dogs on the web: Back Disorder Compilation.

I wish you all the best and hope your little one heals quickly and that you find a regimen that works to keep him happy and pain-free.
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:26 PM
Status: "Lady-Bug got Spayed today! Now she is a sh-it LOL" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: West Virginia
8,077 posts, read 16,235,750 times
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Chriopractor treatments!!! THE WELL ADJUSTED DOG by Dr Daniel Kamen $16.95 life saver for Katie...She threw her back out twice couple adjustments she was fine. Also check to see if a chriopractor near you will adjust him... Accupunchure would help too!
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Old 04-29-2008, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Twilight Zone
285 posts, read 726,146 times
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Corgis are susceptible to IVDD and degenerative myelopathy. He should be seen by an orthopedist and a neurologist to rule in/out those diseases. I wouldn't do any chiropractic unless I knew for sure there was no risk that chiropractic manipulation would damage his spinal cord.
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:04 PM
 
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cmacf1 - are you still out there? i tried to dm you, but the message didn't go through.

i have a shih tzu (long back, short legs) who's gone through something very similar with the disc issue. also, he contracted rocky mountain spotted fever (a tick-borne illness like lyme's disease) in november and was a very, very sick little boy (but is better now thanks to a great specialist and a cocktail of antibiotics)!

he's eleven, and i've had to put a whole host of elements in place to guard against the back problem. these things are what i wanted to talk to you about if you're still around...
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Catonsville, MD
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Hi Barndog --

I'm still here. My little guy is still having problems, but if we keep him on his expensive cocktail of narcotics, muscle relaxers and the most recent addition of Neurontin, he acts fine. If he is overly active, he hurts. It's hard because he loves to run and chase balls and be very active. This problem has made it so that he hurts if he does that. We need to take him to a neurologist and probably he needs surgery for a bulging disk. The problem is that it's no guarantee that surgery would alleviate the problem. So for now, he's on his drugs. He and I have become very close (even more than before) through this. Whenever he's in bad pain, he hobbles over to me for comfort and lays by my side. Even with his drugs, he doesn't act out of it. He pretty much acts like his former self, just a little subdued. Not that I want this, but he's actually sweeter now than before because he just wants to be near me.

I'd love to hear what you've done with your shih tzu to guard against the back problems. So sorry to hear about the rocky mountain spotted tick fever. Griffin has had Lyme disease twice in his little life, despite having the vaccines.

Thanks for contacting me :-). Looking forward to hearing back from you .
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:53 PM
 
746 posts, read 2,326,293 times
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yay, cmacf1! you are still around!

i am so sorry to hear he is still having the pain. i noticed it had been about three weeks since you posted and was hoping to hear maybe he had gotten a little better.

barnaby's experience with the disc problem has been ongoing for about three years now but has only happened intermittently. it started after i picked him up from a new groomer's one day, and i think they gave him a good wrenching by accident when they picked him up or else on the table.

since then it's probably happened four/five times, and i've never known what prompted it because i'm always careful when i pick him. also, he has arthritis in his hips, so already we have in place these things:

- a ramp for the bed
- my arms for picking up to get in the car or up/down stairs
- two light walks a day to keep him trim and in shape
- a stroller for when he tires out on long(ish) walks
- prednisone every other day for the arthritis
- an only-family rule in place so that strangers never pick him up

then, when he "throws out" his back, or when the disc becomes enflamed and painful, i use:

- a heating pad up and down his back
- both light and deep massage of his muscles from neck to hips
- predisone for a couple of days so that he sleeps through the worst of the pain
- restriction to one area of the house so that he is not aggravating the pain by movement
- a stretcher of pillows that i make to move him when he has to go out

do you do any of these things? what do you do that i haven't thought of?

let's see, i also wanted to ask you something else...thinking, thinking...oh! the surgery issue. a couple of years ago, my regular vet did x-rays and couldn't see any disc degeneration (although i probably should have that done again). but your vet...has he/she SEEN the disc degeneration in x-rays?

thanks so much for sharing your info with me!

Last edited by barndog; 05-19-2008 at 04:56 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Catonsville, MD
2,367 posts, read 3,826,254 times
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Thanks for all the info Barndog! Since we are just beginning to believe that Griffin's problems are chronic, we don't have much in place yet. We live in a one-story home, so steps aren'ta problem (though we do have one step here and there.) We haven't gone the route of prednisone yet (that's our next drug if these don't work out.) I think the rule where only family can pick him up is great. We dont' have that issue since Griffin's a little too big to be lifted, but I've had to stop visitors from rough-housing with him and enticing him to jump up on chairs, play too hard, run, etc. I've become more vocal with visitors now since his latest setback seems to have been related to playing too much with my brother when he visited last week. It's hard because, unless he's actively in a pain cycle, he looks fine and acts fine. But too much activity precipitates a pain cycle. I will be keeping your list of suggestions for the next time Griffin's in pain.

Griffin has had xrays that rule out lots of stuff, but his potential diagnosis of a bulging disk is based on symptoms. He needs to have a myelogram (or something like that) to diagnose a bulging disk. We haven't taken him to the neurologist yet. I'm still hoping that rest will fix it, but I think my hopes won't be fulfilled. I just feel SO awful when he's in pain. It just makes me cry to see him hurting so badly . He's my first baby and the first dog I ever got as an adult (had lots as a kid, but not as an adult.) So he's very very special to me, as I'm sure Barnaby is to you.

Thanks so much for all your suggestions! I'll keep you posted on his progress!
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:38 PM
Status: "Lady-Bug got Spayed today! Now she is a sh-it LOL" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: West Virginia
8,077 posts, read 16,235,750 times
Reputation: 4220
Wink Katie!!

Could not figure out how to send this to you so I posted in your thread.....
Attached Thumbnails
Disc problems in long-backed dogs-hpim0648.jpg  
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Catonsville, MD
2,367 posts, read 3,826,254 times
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Katie's got the same inquisitive eyes that Griffin's got. I love Katie's coloring. Is she considered a brindle? Or a tri-color? Thanks for the photo!!
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