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Story of the Month - January 2005    




In the middle of June 2004 we noticed that Jesse (our red dapple, miniature smooth) was limping on her left rear leg. We took her in to our vet to have her looked at. The vet thought that she had just pulled a muscle while she was playing with her brother Sebastian. He put her on a course of Rimadyl for the pain and she seemed to get better. She had her last dose of the Rimadyl on the morning of Monday June 21. The next Wednesday she woke up in the morning fine, went potty and had breakfast. Then she went back to bed with my wife for a couple of hours. When she woke up at 8 am she couldn't stand. My wife called our vet right away and they were able to get her in to see one of the vets at 9am. I had already been at work for about an hour when this all happened. I left work and raced to the vet's office to be there when she was being examined like any other father would. The vet did a couple of x-rays of her spine and they showed some minor calcification occurring in some of her discs.

The vet gave her an injection of steroids to start to relieve some of the inflammation on her spinal cord. He put her on 5mg of Prednisone (1 tablet twice daily for 5 days, then 1 tablet daily for 5 days, and finally 1 tablet every other day). He also put her on 500mg of Robaxin (1/4 tablet 3 times daily) as a muscle relaxer. He had us put her on strict crate rest except for potty breaks and wanted us to come back in Saturday afternoon for a recheck to see how she was doing. During this whole time she never lost her bladder or bowel control, she never lost her deep pain sensation and she kept her wag.

Between the initial visit to the vet on Wednesday morning and the recheck on Saturday I searched online for anything I could find about IVDD so I could ask the vet some intelligent questions when we went back in. During my search I came across Dodgerslist and read everything that was on the web site. At that point I signed up for the email resource group and was overwhelmed by the support that I received from the members. Because of all of the information that I had read I was starting to get worried that we needed to do the back surgery on Jesse because what I was reading was leading me to believe that the disk herniation she had was a Type 1 rupture. I called the vet Friday morning because of my concern and talked to one of them. The vet whom we've now decided we will be dealing with most of the time told me that they don't normally do the surgery unless the doxie is losing or has lost their deep pain sensation.

When we went into the vet's on Saturday Jesse was already doing much better as she was able to stand up, though she looked like a drunken sailor because she was wobbling all over. Her right rear paw was working fine but her left one was knuckling under and wouldn't straighten out. I had printed out a number of the articles that I had read on the Dodgerslist web site and had highlighted a number of things that I had wanted to ask the vet. She sat down on the floor with us and answered all of the questions that I had while examining Jesse. It turned out that she had gone to veterinary school in Madison, WI and while she was there she had assisted with a number of downed dachshunds. Because of all of the questions that I had asked our vet was going to do some research on a couple of things for Jesse in terms of treatment. She recommended doing both acupuncture and chiropractic treatments as they seem to help with downed dachshunds. [Dodgerslist editor's note: Avoid VOM, chiro or any manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic manipulation in IVDD dogs is dangerous since it may promote further spinal cord injury with dogs known or suspected of having degenerative disc disease.]

I did some searching online and located TOPS Veterinary Rehab located in Grayslake, IL. They do acupuncture, chiropractic, water therapy and a number of other treatments. TOPS only sees patients on a referral basis so I called our vet on Monday, June 28th to get a referral to get in for an evaluation. During this time we were crating Jesse and giving her the Prednisone. Normally Jesse doesn't like things like thunderstorms, fireworks, etc.... Jesse was in her crate chewing on a bone and our neighbors decided to set of some fireworks. I went to take the bone away from her and because the Prednisone was making her a little food possessive she bit me a couple of times while I was taking the bone away. This put her evaluation at TOPS off by a week because she had to be house confined for 10 days. When we did go into TOPS July 23rd we found out that Jesse had actually partially torn the ligaments in her left rear stifle. The vet at TOPS figured that because she had been favoring the left leg it put extra pressure on her back, and during one of her play sessions with her brother she did something that caused one of the disks in her back to rupture. By the time we were able to get into TOPS Jesse had recovered almost all of the use of her legs but she was still favoring the one leg with the ligament problem. They decided to start on a series of acupuncture, chiropractic and underwater treadmill therapy to strengthen and heal the ligaments. After the second water treadmill treatment the vets decided that she didn't need that therapy because of how quickly she was progressing. After her third therapy session they weren't able to see any limping or favoring of the left leg.

Jesse has been going to TOPS for the chiropractic and acupuncture treatments since August and is now on a 10 week interval between acupuncture treatments and 12 weeks between chiropractic adjustments. All of her vets are extremely pleased with how well she is doing and they all say that if they didn't know that she had been down and unable to use her rear legs that they wouldn't be able to tell. With the help of some extremely caring vets, and the help and suggestions of people on Dodgerslist Jesse has had a successful recovery from her injury and is back to her playful loving self.

- submitted by Matthew Link


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