DodgersList.com - Support & Education: Intervertebral Disc Disease.
Feel free to send in your back injury survivor stories.
Please Note: Some stories listed below are very sad. Please read at your own risk.
2-3 years ago I noticed one afternoon that Jack was sort of quiet, walking around with his tail between his legs, but I had lots of visitors over so I didn't think much of it - he often gets a bit timid if there's too much going on. Anyway by about 6pm that night he couldn't use one of his rear legs, it was totally paralyzed. I raced him to the after-hours vet, who was pretty worried and faxed a referral off immediately to a vet surgeon in Melbourne and told me to ring them first thing in the morning to organize to get Jack down there. When I rang the surgery about 7am the next day they told me to bring him straight in, and I had him there by about 10am. By this time both his back legs were totally paralyzed and I had to hold him up for him to wee. The surgeon assessed him and gave him around a 70% chance of walking again if he did surgery ASAP - at a cost of around $4,000 Australian. I agreed and Jack was operated on by mid-afternoon. When I picked him up a few days later he still couldn't walk properly but within about a week he was walking but very wobbly, and the end result is that he can walk and run and do everything he wants to do - he's just a little bit wobbly in the back legs. The surgeon told me that the only reason he recovered so well was because I got him there so quickly - apparently the first 24 hours are vital in terms of treatment. :)
Tyrone was a standard smooth red. About When he was about 6, he went down. We took him for surgery. In those days, they removed all the dics they could reach and they did it in two surgeries. First they took care of the back which was the major source of his paralysis. He also had problems with the front discs and could not raise his head very far to look up. About 6 months later, they went in from under the throat and removed the ones in the upper neck. Between the two surgeries, there were 2 discs over the front shoulders that could not be reached and were left in. Tyrone recovered well and led a good and active life until he developed arthritis around 13 which lead to a curved, hump back spine. Finally, at 16 we had to send him to the bridge. He really did well after the surgery and I would encourage it if it is a financial option for you.
Tammy, a red smooth mini is now 16. She had her first back episode about 4 years ago and we addressed it with surgery. She did fine. About a year ago, she started having difficulties again. At 15, I wasn't going to put her through another major surgery. I found a local vet that does animal acupuncture. After about 2-3 weekly visits we had a noticeable improvement. I took her once a week for treatment for about 2 months. She would always be better after the treatments, but initially the improvements would last less than the week between treatments. She's now improved enough that we go a month between visits. I totally restrict her jumping up and down on things and won't let her climb the stairs any more. She still is a bit wobbly in the back end and suffers some periods of less than perfect bowel control, but it just means you have to be sensitive to her timing and I'm always rolling to get her out first thing in the morning. On the other hand, she's started jumping around does the "rabbit jump and run (with both hind legs at the same time) and does well with that. I would certainly recommend acupuncture as a potential course of treatment.
Last note, a good friend of mine had her tweenie female long-hair go down. Surgery wasn't successful for her and she was left with kind of a scissor-kick with her back legs when she walked. My friend got her a cart and she loved it. She got her mobility back and she would just rip around when ever in the cart.
None of these dogs were in constant pain after their intial treatments so we didn't feel we were subjecting them to "cruel and unusual punishment" just to keep them alive. They each did well for extended periods of time and we certainly enjoyed having them for that extra time.
My advice would be to do what ever you can to help them - they seem to do better than you expect they will and can live happy lives, even partially paralyzed.
A.L. Robertson ~ Bamberg Germany (via the US Military!)
THE END OF THE STORY: There are not Disabled Dogs -- there are AbleDogs!! Tas is in a cart ("chariot" according to my nephews)... not one dadgum thing wrong with him, except he needs some help going down stairs and bathroom sometimes... he is the hard-headed-est, troublemaker, cat chaser, attitudinal, argumentative TOOT he was when he wasn't in a cart.
The LONG story: My only children are FurKids -- I have two smooth red tweenies. Tasselhof Burrfoot & Radar O'Reilly were born in the former Panama Canal Zone in 1995. They have been the joy of my life... Radar is a Golden Child, always wanting to please with the hardheadeness of a dachshund. Tas... Tas is just hard-headed. Although both have taught me so much... Tas, in particular, is the one with the story. Neither one ever fat, not much jumping (well, more than much but less than all the time), ... on 21 May 2004 Tas went down. DOWN as in backend-didn't-work-paralyzed. Vet suggested euthanasia, operation or dealing a long time with a Disabled Dog. At 8 years old I wasn't going to go for a 50/50% operation, he still had his bright eyes and attitude (just annoyed he couldn't get to the front door as fast as he wanted...but on two legs still beat his brother on four). Tas doesn't care he's in a cart. Tas is not in pain, LOVES LIFE, is a jewel. People feel sorry for him... I have to say... "no no.. he's not in pain, he's a pain in my neck! and it's NOT because he's in a cart!" If your dach goes down, just like we don't put a person down, you don't have to put a dach down. Quality of Life is your consideration... here's a good place to start if you have this bump in the Dachshund Ownership Road... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AbleDogs/ Just over a year and one country later... we get to explain in German what is NOT wrong with Tas and everyone admire my Matched Set.
K. Gordon ~ Newark, DE
Our little Miss Lily injured her back several years ago. She got even worst when they did X-rays. It was definitely a disc problem and it affected her back legs. She had a wobbly walk and when she stopped, her hind legs would not support her. I went to the Vet (who wasn't there when she had her X-rays) and she gave me muscle relaxation, cortisone, and pain medications.
About a week later, my husband in the morning before work, with her laying on her back, would exercise her hind legs in a bicycle motion for about fifteen minutes. Also, again, in the evening. A friend told me about what an "old" vet told him to do. When the doxies starts walking away, just hold the end of her tail (do not yank the tail) and this would help to put some tension on the spine. When my vet saw her the following year, she could not believe it. Lily was walking perfectly and her muscle tone in her hind legs returned. I never encouraged her to sit up and beg and she never did.
Now, if you don't respond immediately to her bark to go out, she sits up. She also house trained our long haired Frankie by grappling his ear and pulling on him. Now the problem with him, he either waits for her to decide to go out or sits at the door silently. Lily is the alpha dog before her problem and today she is still the alpha dog. Lily is the "boss" over Frankie and her people pack.
C. Davis ~ Chesapeake, Virginia
"I have the sweetest little girl named Cody. Her back legs went out and she was operated on with high hopes that she would be walking soon. That was 2 weeks ago and she still isn't showing any signs of improvement. It breaks my heart to see her so helpless and confined to a small kennel. She's always been my little shadow and would follow me everywhere (especially the kitchen when she heard a wrapper being opened). Her brother doesn't know what to think I'm sure. They have always been extremely close, coming from the same litter. He keeps his distance from her now as though he knows that she's not well and doesn't know how to deal with it. She looks so sad and abandoned at times, I'll be taking her to the vet again in a few days but I'm sure there's nothing that can be done. Now my husband and I are going to have to deal with her paralysis. It truly breaks my heart to see her this way. We were planning on going to Ohio for my husband's yearly family reunion but I'm scared to leave her. I don't know of anyone who would know how to care for her since we have to take her outside 4-5 times a day to express her bladder. She also leaks pretty bad and I'm constantly cleaning her and her cage. Putting her down would be out of the question. She's our baby. This is the second Dachshund that I've owned. The first lived to be 18. She also had the same problem but her operation was a success. As much as I love Dachshunds, I don't think I would ever be able to go through this again. It's just too painful to watch and it tears your heart out."
Charlie & Mary
"In Jan,04 our 5 yr old Chloe became paralazed in her back rear legs. She had no deep pain in her feet and we were no given much chance of her recovering. We took a chance and had the disc surgery performed at Auburn Vet. School Clinic. Today she walks, runs and plays like nothing ever happen. We are so glad we gave her the chance and it worked."
I too, own a Dachshund that is paralyzed in the back legs. This is due to a disk problem. The Vet we have always used said we must put him down but I refused to co-operate with him and my husband, so I took Oscar out to another vet. Dr. Clime agree with me that Oscar's time was not up yet. He said if I worked with Oscar faithfully I would see him make progress. I have been working with him and he does seem to be trying. One of my friends told me how her daughter worked with her Bassett Hound and she is walking today due to massages, love and caring shown to her dog. With this one on your site gives me more faith that yes it can happen. I have to be patience and wait. I love this site since finding it and thank each one of you for giving me encouragement and faith that Oscar and I together can make his story a dream come true. God bless all of our "babies" and caring people that show us they do have another chance at life. One day Oscar's triumph will be in here as well.
Leonard Clough - Indianapolis IN
My Misty Mystique was playing in the snow and ruptured two of her disc in her back. The vet said she needed an operation or she would not get better. We went on line and bought her a doggie wheel chair from Eddies wheels. She was completely paralyzed from her front back at the time. We carried her around with her rear in a sheet cut out to fit so we could take her outside to do her duties. She loved the wheelchair when it arrived. She can run and play and do both of her duties in it. After several months she is using her back legs some now so that she can get around without her wheel chair. she is unstable but can at least move about the house on her own.I think she will fully recover now thanks to the wheelchair.
My Dixie developed a disc problem in her back very suddenly one evening 3 years ago. The emergency clinic gave her steroids and told us to take her to the regular vet the next morning. Well, by the time we got her to the vet, she could not move anything from the waist down! Our vet cried right along with me. She said we could put Dixie to sleep (NOT AN OPTION), or have surgery done in hopes that her movement would return. WE were given an estimate from the University of PA Vet Hospital which was enough to buy a new car! Fortunately, a vet tech was listening and told us of a vet surgeon that had left the above mentioned institution because of professional differences. It just so happened this vet had just opened her own practice. Needless to say, our Dixie was taken immediately to this vet surgeon. When she saw the x-rays from the emergency clinic, she told us that the dog needed surgery the previous night! She explained all of the options, saying that Dixie may not get any movement back in her hind quarters. We explained that we would get our Dixie a wheel chair cart if need be. All we wanted was for her to fix our baby. After three hours of surgery, the vet called to say that her spinal cord was bruised, and that intensive physical therapy would be required. We told her we were up for anything to help this little member of our family. In only two weeks, Dixie was again feeling pain in her hind legs, and when she returned to the surgeon for her checkup she was walking but still a little unsteady. But there is also room for more joy. On the x-rays, the surgeon identified more discs in our Dixie's neck that could rupture at any time. So needless to say, when she recovered from the back surgery, we had the neck surgery done. This vet surgeon was an angel that had been sent to our little Dixie! The surgeon was honest and sincere about what was wrong, and she gave our precious Dixie the best medical care possible. I know, because I am now a science teacher with 14 years of nursing experience. Personally, I think our Dixie received the best care possible for a significant difference in price, and that all that happened only made us humans appreciate what animals and truly caring vets can do for us!
Our first doxie, Senna, went down with his back about five years ago. He was prescribed human muscle relaxers (the wrong thing to do, according to another doctor) and another medication. He had surgery and six months later, it let go and we had to put him down. We never wanted to go through that pain again, but a few months later we got two doxies, one red and one wild boar from the same litter. Henry was the runt. He was about four years old when he went down in his back also. He couldn't eat, sleep, pee or poop, or do anything but cry. We carried him outside, slept beside him on the floor (lots of pillows and blankets), gave him enemas, put liver sausage on our fingers for him to lick off, and forced water down his throat with a medicine dropper. Also we gave him Silicea 6X and Bioplasma (homeopathics from the health food store). This information is in Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Today he is in perfect health and even seems to move a little better than he did before this all happened. Hope this information can help someone else.
Our little Amos had symptoms of a back problem at age two. We had him on anti-inflammatory meds temporarily, then everything was fine. When he was four he came down with symptoms much worse; he had wobbly hind legs, then paralysis. Our vet administered eight shots of cortisone over 48 hours. It didn't look promising because he didn't respond right away....we didn't give up and we told him that he couldn't give up, either. We took Amos home, hoping that he would regain the use of his hind legs...but fearing the worst. We had to squeeze his bladder so he could 'pee' and give him enemas for a few days; I honestly think the key to getting him to 'pee' on his own was our technique: We wrapped a towel around his midsection and let him 'pee' in it while we held the towel at the other end...so he didn't feel pressured and also so he had some support for his back. We pinched his hind paws regularly, and the innervation came back--he didn't like being pinched, and his reflexes responded. Now if Amos shows signs of wobbly legs or the nervousness exhibited when he gets the wobbly legs, we administer the prednisone tablet (steroidal anti-inflammatory) immediately and it nips it. We have also not let him play with other dogs, as this is most likely how the problem worsened in the past. And, we give him lots of love!
My dog Lilly was the best dog ever and until 2 weeks ago she was fine. Lilly hurt her self jumping off couches. In the end, the vet said she needed surgery which she might not live through or we had to put her down. My dad started to cry and said we have to put her down. On June 14, 2004 we did, and I still haven't stopped crying. I'm glad she's in a better place and has no more pain. I'm just really upset we had to let her go. At least she left this world in peace because she wasn't in pain. I talk to her everynight and tell her that I wont forget her and hope she wont forget me because we will be together again some day.