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No Answers for Back Pain

This is a discussion on No Answers for Back Pain within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by revolutionrocknroll Keeping her quiet is impossible. I've been carrying her up and down the stairs of our apartment and she hasn't been ...

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Old 05-06-2018, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by revolutionrocknroll View Post
Keeping her quiet is impossible. I've been carrying her up and down the stairs of our apartment and she hasn't been on any walks for a week. But in the apartment she doesn't walk. She runs and jumps and prances and bounces. She jumps on and off furniture for the hell of it. I've been trying to keep her leashed or carry her around with me inside but she's still doing a lot of jumping on and off of the furniture before I can catch her or block her. This is so frustrating and futile.

Definitely going to make an appointment for acupuncture next week if this "rest and give more pain meds for two weeks" doesn't work for the third time. I feel like all of this pain management stuff is just a bandaid and not addressing the actual problem.
I'm so sad because deep down I know her back's going to get worse and worse as she gets older and she's just going to be in pain for her entire life.
Usually crate rest is recommended because when the dog begins to feel better (which the meds should help to happen faster than the back is actually "better") they will no longer restrict themselves, or some will persist in activity even when painful. If she can't be crated, can you use an expen? Activity restriction is really the lynchpin of resolving/managing back issues for most dogs, and I would guess is probably why you aren't seeing improvement. It sucks for you and the dog, but is temporary and gives you the best opportunity for them to be able to return to normal activity levels without pain.

I've had 2 dachshunds, and both have have mild/moderate disc issues, which in most cases (3 of 4) resolved completely with strict rest (4-8 weeks) and meds (steroid, muscle relaxer, pain med, adequan). The episode that didn't completely resolve was my 15 year old Annie, who continued to show some proprioception deficits (front legs would sometimes interfere with each other), but seemed pain free. Outside of that, they were able to slowly resume normal activities after their rest period, and they aren't/weren't couch potatoes! A coworker of mine had a dog who had disc surgery because she had difficulty restricting him and couldn't get his pain managed with medication alone. Super expensive ($9000) and required even more strict rest for the 8 weeks following surgery, but the dog is doing well now.

You might try supplementing with either a tested joint supplement or ask your vet if they think Adequan might help. I used it with both of my dogs, as a last ditch effort when Annie didn't appear to be improving the first episode, then with subsequent episodes for both dogs because it seemed to help (she improved steadily after starting it, but I don't know if because of that or just because she was going to get better at that time). It isn't very expensive for a small dog, and has minimal side effects- worth a try .

You might also check the Dodger's List website/email group ( Dodgerslist: canine back problems, all things IVDD ), it's probably the most concentrated source of information on IVDD available, and was even recommended by the neurologist who performed my coworker's dog's surgery. Someone there may have experienced what you are and have more suggestions.

Good luck, and I hope she feels better soon!
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:18 PM
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@busannie Thank you for your response! That is so much better information than what the vets have been giving me. And no wonder she wasn't healing after 2 weeks of rest and pain meds if you and Dodger's list both say it can take up to 8 weeks for the disc to heal! All four vets just said "a couple weeks" of rest and would only give me two weeks worth of medication.

That is very helpful and gives me hope.

I will need to ask the vet for medication to keep her calm though. It is impossible and she's just going to scream in her crate. Can't use an ex pen- I have a 3 ft one and a 4 ft one (for my late rabbit) and she has scaled both of them. She's very determined and crafty and crazy. She's just going to have to suck it up and stay in her crate for the next few weeks I guess.

Still going to look into acupuncture as well.

Also saw a relatively inexpensive dog stroller I might get for her so I can still take her out on walks in the nice weather but she'll be in a little stroller crate so she won't actually be walking.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:32 PM
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There is also medication the Vet can prescribe to keep her calm, which sometimes is necessary.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:34 PM
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You're welcome! It's definitely hard to see them miserable and not themselves. The first time Annie had disc issues (both of my dogs have been the neck), it took about 3 weeks to see any significant improvement, but she was painful enough during that time to restrict herself more or less, though I still crated her. Once she started to improve, it was harder to keep her quiet, as she started wanting out and to move around more if given any extra space. I think I switched her to an expen around 5 or 6 weeks after the start of the episode as she was becoming quite resistant to being crated around that point and I was concerned she would reinjure herself nosing forcefully at the door. I have a wire top for my expens, and used the lower one (2' I think) to discourage her from jumping or climbing, and that worked ok. Bus improved rapidly the couple times he's had problems, but as he's an active dog when left to his own devices and crates well, I still crated him for weeks. He might have been ok with a shorter period of confinement, but I figured I'd rather be safe than risk making things worse or causing unrecoverable damage by letting him do too much, too soon. I think he was only on meds for a couple weeks each time, but Annie was on them for considerably longer. I was lucky in that one of the vets I regularly use also has/had dachshunds, so had some personal interest in management of IVDD, and maybe was more well versed than average?

I would definitely ask your vet about the prospect of a longer period of rest and medication, and go from there.

I have heard of people using pet strollers to confine their dogs even in the house because they can just wheel them along wherever they go and some dogs are calmer with their owner close at hand. I would imagine it would be a good way to give her some mental stimulation while still restricting her physically. Not sure what meds she's currently on, but some pain meds also can cause mild sedation, which might not be a bad thing in cases like this. Definitely something to ask the vet about, and let them know that she won't settle even just for brief periods of restriction.
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