Slipped Disk Options

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Slipped Disk Options

This is a discussion on Slipped Disk Options within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; So I reached out to pet my dog and he cried out suddenly. Took him for a walk, but he didn't want to walk. Looked ...

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Old 01-17-2016, 11:27 PM
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Slipped Disk Options

So I reached out to pet my dog and he cried out suddenly. Took him for a walk, but he didn't want to walk. Looked odd and acted even more strange. Took him to emergency vet. Vet told us its a slipped disk. No xrays or anything. Just felt some pain in the back area. dog is OK, but weak, a bit lethargic, and obviously doesn't want to walk much

It does sound like stage 1 or whatever the initial stage is for this problem. D

I have a couple of questions. Doc said to rest him for 7 days plus some anti inflammatory meds. Online, I keep reading (amongst all scary stuff) that 6-8 weeks of crate rest are required. So I am not sure what to do here

What do I look for? I am really bad at understanding dog's behavior so I am not sure what I should do. Should I just give it time and not freak out? Do I have to take him back to the Doc if he doesnt get better in a few days?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. I could build a computer for NASA, but I am really bad at this stuff. I just don't understand what means what when it comes to his health. He is 4 year old JRT mix and he really hides his pain well. I don't know what else I do to help. My heart breaks because I wish I could do more.

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated

Thank you
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Old 01-18-2016, 12:33 PM
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The gold standard imaging diagnostic for IVDD is the MRI, which, 10 years ago when my dog Annie had her first episode of IVDD cost upwards of $1500 in my area. That's just for a diagnosis, doesn't do anything to actually fix the problem. It is typically recommended/required for surgery, but if surgery isn't warranted or not an option, I don't know that there's much point in doing it.
My vet did x ray her back at the first episode she had, and it showed multiple calcified disks, but those don't necessarily make a dog symptomatic. The second time she had neck problems, we didn't x ray, and just started her on medication.

Annie's IVDD affected her neck, and the first episode caused her severe general pain and lameness in just 1 front leg, and the second (years later) which didn't seem as painful, but caused more significant neuro signs, stumbling when she walked, etc. The first time I remember thinking she was never going to get better 2 weeks- may as well have been 2 years for how long it felt- into her recovery (still frequently screaming when people tried to pick her up), it took a while before I saw real improvement, but then it was pretty fast and steady. The second time, it was more of a gradual, fluctuating progress back to her normal self. In both cases, I did crate rest for 6-8 weeks, then slowly returned to normal activity, but the first time she was acting "good" after 5 weeks or so, and the second, she was still a little wobbly at that point.

She was on pred/robaxin/tramadol, and I also started her on Adequan maybe 2-3 weeks after her first injury, when she just didn't seem to be recovering quickly. I don't know if it helped, but I figured it probably couldn't hurt, and there are others who've used it for IVDD with apparent success. She did seem to improve pretty steadily after that, but it may have been coincidence. Once her restriction period was up, I started her with swimming in the bathtub, then eased back into other normal activities. The first time, she made a 100% recovery, the second time (at 14 or 15 years old!), she returned to about 95% function. She was good for a while after that, but these days, sometimes has a strange gait in her front legs, though she doesn't seem painful- I suspect probably loss of muscle tone in old age coupled with still some loss of sensation cause her to not really be able to coordinate her feet well at times.

I would keep the vet updated on his condition via phone if they didn't give a specified time to return, and certainly take him back if they recommend or you notice any deterioration in his condition. It seems strange that they only recommended 1 week of restriction if they genuinely believe it is IVDD, and I would ask them if they feel that longer term confinement is warranted. If you have doubts about the way they're handling his treatment and/or he doesn't seem to be improving, you could always ask for a referral to a neuro specialist, this sort of cases are their specialty.

Here are some links that you might find helpful... just make sure you check with his vet prior to changing anything about his treatment plan:

Dodgerslist: canine back problems, all things IVDD

Conservative Treatment: Healing during a disc episode
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:20 PM
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Thank you for the reply!

I think the reason the doctor only prescribed 7 days is because he saw the dog was more or less OK. He was walking around, he was in a more or less good mood. He was scared, but playful. I don't think he would have prescribed 7 days if the condition was more serious.

My worries are that its something else. He's had a knee\leg problem for years. They could not figure out what it was and I am afraid it somehow related. That he has some spine issues that are coming out now. He was limping on his rear right leg, but the doc kept saying its a luxating patella. I might be connecting two different and unrelated issues, but I am just trying to see all sides here.

If its minor slipped disk, he should be out and about in weeks, from what I read. I just hope its not something else.
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Old 01-23-2016, 11:07 AM
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There is no one answer. It depends on how much pressure is being applied to which nerve, and how the dog moves etc. Our dog Samantha, has had problems, and showed one calcified disc, and she responded well to anti-inflammatories. She is doing well, but re-occurrence is always a possibility. There are times, when emergency surgery is necessary, to relieve pain and prevent permanent paralysis. Sounds like your dog will likely do well with medication for awhile.
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back pain, crate rest, ivdd, jack russell terrier, slipped disk

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