walk indicating spinal cord damage
movement a crate provides protects the spinal
cord from further damage & allows the disc
to heal during the 8 weeks of crate rest.
dogs do it all!
Always crate your dog immediately when
you first suspect a back problem (shivering/trembling,
yelping, reluctant to move, arched back,
head held high or low, wobbly walk) and
get him to a vet asap. Transport
carefully using a crate padded out with rolled
up towels on either side of the dog to prevent
movement or jarring the spine when braking or
turning corners. Crating will help keep the dog
from further injuring the spinal cord that could
potentially lead to paralysis and loss of
bladder control. The restricted area (ex-pen,
crate, etc.) should be approximately enough room
to stand up, turn around and when lying down
fully stretch out the legs. The dog must stay in
the crate 24/7 to protect the spinal cord. Carry
to and from potty place. Stand in one spot. Dog
may only take minimal steps the harness and 6'
leash allow. Complete details on how to
implement crate rest.
dog MUST be under care of a vet. Don't
wait, minutes & hours matter... and if you
lack confidence in your vet or seem to be
getting nowhere, don't hesitate to ask for a
second opinion or better yet a referral to a
specialist (neuro or ortho) as these
specialists see many cases of back problems
You must inform your vet about everything
you are giving your dog: meds, food AND
supplements. This is to avoid any possible
side effects caused by interaction of any of
those substances. Your vet MUST be made aware
of what you are doing, even if it seems
insignificant to you.
whether surgery is an option or not. It is
also important to know that in the unlikely
case that your dog becomes paralyzed
permanently, a happy, comfortable and excellent
quality of life is made possible with
of board-certified neuros Find
Veterinary surgeons (ACVS) and neuro
surgeons (ACVIM) here: http://find.vetspecialists.com
recommendations and surgical costs from
or low interest credit for veterinary costs
can be obtained from Care
Credit. You find out online if you
is of the essence especially if
your dog's legs are paralyzed plus have lost
deep pain sensation. The last best chance for
a good surgical outcome is within a window of
12-24 hours from losing the last of neuro
functions, deep pain sensation (DPS). Even
after that window of time, there can still be
a good outcome. Each hour that passes
decreases that chance. Precious hours can be
lost with a vet that gets DPS wrong. As damage
to the spinal cord increases, there is a
predictable stepwise deterioration of
1. Pain caused by the tearing disc &
inflammation in the spinal cord
2. Wobbly walking, legs cross
3. Nails scuffing floor
4. Paws knuckle
5. Legs do not work (paralysis, dog is down)
6. Bladder control is lost
7. Tail wagging with joy is lost
8. Loss of deep pain sensation, the last neuro
function only correctly identified by a
specialist. A general vet is not
qualified to tell if a dog is a candidate for
surgery but is qualified to refer you to a
specialist. Only a board certified ortho or
neuro surgeon can advise you on surgery.
Neither surgery nor conservative treatment
(medications and crate rest) are "guaranteed"
to work. Understand surgery
vs. conservative treatment. If surgery
is not an option, do not give up hope because
many dogs have recovered with medications and
100% STRICT crate rest 24/7 for 8 weeks. Join
Dodgerslist support group to learn how to care
for your dog during a disc problem. http://dodgerslist.boards.net/
drugs used with disc disease.
up all meds your dog is taking. Be informed on
their use and adverse reactions. Mar
Vista Animal Center .
vet should discuss known side effects and run
proper tests before administering NSAIDs.
NSAIDs can become toxic to the liver and
kidney very quickly in some dogs. Read the current
label for any NSAID prescribed.
(dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone)
or NSAIDs can be very harmful
to the stomach lining and intestine. NSAIDs
should never be prescribed with a steroid.
These two classes of anti-inflammatories should
be accompanied by a stomach protector such as
vets use a washout time of 4-7 days if needing
to switch from one brand of NSAID or steroid
to the other.