I'm brand new to this forum and joined because I'm struggling with my dog's recent health scare and I could use advice and support from those who have experienced it.
Bridget is an 11.5 year old standard poodle, always the picture of health, but about two weeks ago, she woke my husband and I up in the middle of the night panting and shaking and refusing to move from the spot she was in. We took her to the animal hospital ER and they determined she'd probably injured her back/had a herniated disc. It could have been from a jump off the bed, or it could have been a problem waiting to happen since she's nearly 12 and has been leaping and running her whole life (even earlier that day she was playing with her ball, being frisky, having fun outside).
The doctor prescribed Gabapentin anti-inflammatory and some prednisone steroid and she seemed to be feeling better for a few days and then had a major backslide when she woke us up in the middle of the night again a few days later shaking and panting, her back legs sliding and splayed all over the place. We went back to the hospital, made a neurology consultation which we had yesterday, and in between she's been having difficulty getting up at all on her own. With our assistance, she does eventually stand but she's not confident at all, she slides, she wobbles and falls over. It's been really devastating.
The neurologist declined to give her an MRI, insisting that we wait 2 more weeks to see if medical management and rest -- she's confined to the kitchen mostly with some gates so she can rest, and when she's with us, she is placed on the carpet by our feet and just rests/sleeps there for long stretches of time -- and then come back in for another consult.
The real issue here is that she has such trouble getting herself up in the morning and it's always so stressful for all of us. We need to assist her by holding up her mid section and then wait several minutes for her to get some footing. The neurologist said the fact that she can eventually find this footing means she's likely just experiencing an injury that will correct over time, but in the moment it doesn't seem like it will ever get any better. I very much wanted the doctor to do the MRI and am disappointed they chose not to.
When she's outside, she fares a bit better because the grass is soft and she can dig into it a bit more with her feet, though her back left paw curls under and has trouble correcting itself.
So, I'm wondering who here has had experience with this? And I'm also wondering how to best get her to lay down and get up. When I pick her up, which she allows me to do, I can be with her until she's a bit more comfortable -- I'm trying to limit this just for eating, taking her meds, and going out to pee and poop -- but when I leave the house or go to bed, I want to make sure I'm helping her lay down before I go. Currently, she's all shudders, she loses her ability to control the back legs and just sort of flops over. This always scares her. When I wake up in the morning to see her, she's panicked about her legs not moving and her front legs are splayed as she attempts to get herself up. It's heartbreaking. I'm also afraid she will further injure herself.
My instinct every time I see something like this is to put her in the car and get her back to the hospital and insist she needs help, but we've been there 3 times in a week and a half, and I don't want to be that crazy dog owner who can't follow vet instructions. I don't want to act like I know better than the doctors and the neurologist, but when she's with them she also seems to have an adrenaline rush and she's distracted, and she's sturdier and more alert and doesn't display the issues as badly as she does at home?
Anyway, apologies for such a long post. I'd really, really appreciate any tips, advice, suggestions.