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Old 02-24-2008, 12:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi everybody. About three months ago I noticed that Stomps' right hind leg was shaky and weak. I took him to the vet, who said it was arthritis and gave me medicine for that. I didn't think he was acting like he was in pain, but I always take a vet's opinion over my own. Anyway, the pain killers didn't seem to help much, and more recently I noticed that his left leg was very wobbly and sometimes he would walk like he was drunk. Back to the vet clinic, where we saw a different vet. She said it was a spinal problem (Stomps has a very roached back) and that I had to crate him for four weeks. I got a big crate for him and try to keep him in it as much as possible, but I figure he sleeps about 20 hours a day, so as long as he's not on the furniture, does he have to be in the crate? Anyway, he's a little better, but I think this is a chronic problem and not acute, as the vet thought. So other than keep him off the furniture, is there anything else I can do to help him? Keeping him crated indefinitely is no life for him. And other than his drunken walking, he seems healthy and happy. He's about 12 or 13. I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When Bubba, at the bridge, hurt his back several years ago we used the exercise pen to keep him off the furniture and baby gated the doors so he had the whole kitchen and den area to roam in when we couldn't watch him. The vet told us no jumping on furniture, no steps, and he had crate rest for three weeks. We felt so sorry for those pleading eyes in the crate.

After two weeks of crate rest, we leashed him for the final third week, and let him out quiet a bit sitting on the floor with him. We then went to the exercise pen to keep him off the couches after the three weeks. My husband also built a ramp for our steps (three) to get into the house which we used to get him the SUV and RV as well.


Here is the penned off furniture. We just folded up the pen when were were around and could make sure he didn't try jumping on the furniture.


This is Bogie using the ramp.

Sure hope Stomps will improve.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
She said it was a spinal problem (Stomps has a very roached back) and that I had to crate him for four weeks. I got a big crate for him and try to keep him in it as much as possible, but I figure he sleeps about 20 hours a day, so as long as he's not on the furniture, does he have to be in the crate? Anyway, he's a little better, but I think this is a chronic problem and not acute, as the vet thought. So other than keep him off the furniture, is there anything else I can do to help him? Keeping him crated indefinitely is no life for him. And other than his drunken walking, he seems healthy and happy. He's about 12 or 13. I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?[/b]

It is not about crating him for his life it is about 3-4 weeks so the injury can heal whether it is acute or cronic does not matter. Allowing him to walk any more than out to the potty is going to hamper that process. It is for the long time good of the dog to take this conservitive approach of "crate rest" not limited activity.

Canine Intervertebral Disk Disease
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Clinical signs of thoracolumbar disk herniation unfortunately are usually more profound than in the cervical area. With almost no extradural space for herniated disk material to occupy, the spinal cord can be severely compressed. These dogs have normal forelimb function with one exception. If the disk is just starting to protrude but has not actually herniated, dogs will walk with an arched stiff back due to pain. They often cry out when picked up or their back muscles are squeezed. They are usually reluctant to move around as usual. If more pressure is present on the spinal cord, ataxia and paresis of the hindlimbs is usually evidenced by the dog dragging its toes and walking with a wobbly gait. At this point immediate surgical intervention can provide excellent results. Further pressure causes hindlimb paralysis and eventually loss of deep pain sensation if therapy is not instigated. The greatest value of surgery is in the earliest stages of disk herniation. The longer clinical signs exist without surgical intervention, the less value the surgery can provide and the more permanent damage the spinal cord sustains.

...When a dog starts to show mild signs of pain indicative of intervertebral disk disease but is still ambulatory, restricted activity in a cage is indicated. Allowing nature time to heal the tear in the annulus fibrosus may be all that is necessary. If cortiosteroids are simultaneously administered, restricted activity is an absolute must.. Corticosteroids will mask the pain the body is using to tell the dog to "slow down." If the nucleus pulposus has not herniated but significant weakening of the annulus fibrosus exists, one good jump off the couch is all it may take for the dog to become hopelessly paralyzed from irreversible spinal cord injury. The absolute necessity of cage rest in these animals cannot be overstressed. Failure to do so often contributes to disk herniation. Such a dog can never be hurt by too much cage rest, but certainly devastating results can occur if too little cage rest is used


When disk disease causes motor deficits, a great deal of damage can be done to the feet and legs if the dog is not restricted from dragging across rough or had surfaces. When the owner can not directly supervise the dog's activity, it should be put in its well padded cage to avoid further injury.[/b]


Small Animal Orthopaedics
"Proper medical therapy for the thoracolumbar IVD patient includes cage rest, corticosteroid therapy, muscle relaxants if indicated, and frequent observation for deterioration of neurologic signs. "

intervertebral disk disease
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Medical treatment may be successful when there is only mild to moderate pain, and no weakness or paralysis. Medical, or conservative, treatment consists of anti-inflammatory medication in combination with strict cage rest (your dog will be confined to a cage, and let out only to urinate and defecate while on a leash). If your dog's condition worsens, or there is no sign of improvement within a week or so, surgical treatment should be considered[/b]
INTERVERTEBRAL DISC DISEASE] American College of Veterinary Surgeons

"Treatment Options
Conservative treatment with cage rest, confinement, and steroids is often only offered to patients that have only recently begun their first episode and the neurologic deficits are mild"

Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease
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Thoracolumbar IVDD most commonly occurs at or near the junction of the ribs and lower back. This type of IVDD accounts for 85% of all IVDD cases, and can be a very devastating disease leading to severe neurological dysfunction. Dogs suffering from IVDD typically have signs of back pain (arched back),

...Treatment of IVDD is usually determined by the severity of pain and neurological deficits. Two options exist for treatment, conservative and surgical management. Conservative management consists of anti-inflammatory doses of steroids, muscle relaxants, and strict rest. Pain medications may also be required to keep your dog comfortable. It is important to avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, Rimadyl, Deramaxx) and drugs that inhibit clotting (aspirin, Adequan, heparin) if future surgical intervention is contemplated.[/b]
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't have anything to offer but I wanted to say that I hope Stomps feels better soon. We are sending lots of positive thoughts your way.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm with Mikey, and I'd say I'm pretty experienced when it comes to basset back injuries.

My Ginger is currently on cage rest for a disc injury, along with prednisone and weekly visits to the chiropractor. She is now at 2 1/2 weeks and doing very well, but she'll stay there for at least the whole three weeks and then we'll evaluate her. I don't like to mess around when it comes to back injuries, I want them well and truly healed before I let the dog return to the normal routine.

Better she spend a few weeks in the crate than a lifetime of permanent disability.
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you, everyone, for the "come to Jesus" talk about keeping him confined. He's in his crate as we speak. Last night he actually went in of his own volition, which makes me feel better. I promise to be very strict about it. After his prescribed stint of crate rest, I'll talk to his vet about long-term care, since I don't think this is a short-term problem. Thanks again for everyone's tips, information and concern.
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Old 02-25-2008, 02:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Granted, it's easier with Ginger since she's almost 10 and not too rowdy.

When I had to put a 1 1/2 year old male on crate rest for panosteitis it just about drove us BOTH crazy.
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think the crate rest is very important. One thing I've discovered with my dogs over the years is that they really have to be hurting to let me know. So I fear mine would try to do things, even if it hurt them, rather than show pain. Hence, I will always listen to my vet about crate rest.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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When I had to put a 1 1/2 year old male on crate rest for panosteitis it just about drove us BOTH crazy.[/b]

When Zephyr had surgery and rehab on a streched digital extensor tendon she was on prolonged crate rest, 7 months. It definately had a effect on her. She demand and got a lot more personnal space for other dogs. It is not lightly reccommended because it can have adverse behavior effects.

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I'll talk to his vet about long-term care, since I don't think this is a short-term problem. Thanks again for everyone's tips, information and concern.[/b]
You also may whant to consider a conversion about when, under what circumstances, should surgery be considered. Surgery might lower future risks but it certain is not without risks itself.
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You also may whant to consider a conversion about when, under what circumstances, should surgery be considered. Surgery might lower future risks but it certain is not without risks itself.[/b]
I'm not sure that surgery will help, but I'll definitely ask the vet. But if it is an option, is Stomps too old (he's at least 12)?
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