My Miniature Schnauzer Has Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease
My Miniature Schnauzer, Baby
Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease
This disease is also known as slipped disc, ruptured disc, herniated disc and prolapsed disc. This disease can occur in humans as well as animals. The old country people used to call this condition, "being down in their back". Some people have chronic back pain because of this problem.
In the Canine world, this is a common problem with Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles and Bassets. For obvious reasons, these breeds have long backs and are at higher risk. It is not that common in the Miniature Schnauzer. My Veterinarian explained this condition to me in this manner: There are 26 intervertebral discs in the dog’s spinal column. The disc is similar to a jelly donut and is composed of two distinct regions. These discs act as shock absorbers for the spinal column. Any injury to the spinal column can cause this disease. Sometimes, it’s just inherited.
Baby Is A Very Active Little Dog
I have a four year old Miniature Schnauzer. Her name is Baby. You may remember her because I have written about her before: I refer her as "The Queen Of The House" She is a very active little dog. She loves to play fetch with her ball, and likes “tug-of-war” toys. She is a jumper: likes to jump from the back of the couch onto the floor, jump up and off chairs and beds. She really likes running up and down the stairs in my house which are quite steep. She follows me wherever I go. I go up and down my stairs many times during the day, and she has to go right along with me.
Baby, My Miniature Schauzer
Baby Is Begging
Baby Loves To Play Tug-Of-War
Baby Enjoys Floating In The Pool
Baby Has Three Episodes Of Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease
We went for a walk one day, and were resting on a park bench just watching the cars go by. This happened four months ago. She suddenly decided to jump down from the bench, which is not at all unusual for her. As soon as she did this, she just sat down. She didn’t want to move. I tried to pick her up and she let me know something was terribly wrong. She yelped in pain. She refused to walk, so I carried her the four blocks home. I put her on the couch. Her entire body was trembling. The Veterinarian later told me that this is a sign of pain in dogs.
The next morning she was not any better. I called my Veterinarian, and he said to bring her in right away. He examined her on the table. He ran his fingers up and down her spine, and when he hit the area on the lower back, she yelped and snapped. After X-rays were taken, he showed them to me and explained that Baby has a herniated disc in the lower back. He said treatment would consist of complete bed rest, an injection of Dexamethasone which is used for inflammation in the joints, Dermaxx tablets for pain, and Valium tablets to take home to use to keep her still and quiet. He warned me that this is often a reoccurring problem: once this happens, it is likely to happen again.
For two weeks, I followed the Vet’s advice: no going up and down the stairs, no jumping, etc. I moved the couch up against the wall so she couldn’t jump off the back which was one her favorite things to do. I put a vanity bench on the side of my bed so she couldn’t jump up onto the bed. I rearranged everything possible in my house to try to prevent another episode. After two weeks, I couldn’t keep her down. She was her old bouncy, jumping dog, running up and down the stairs, and playing fetch with her ball.
Things were going along very nicely, until two months later. She jumped down from the front of the couch, and must have twisted her back, or just the force of her feet on the floor did it, I’m not sure which. Down she went. Wouldn’t get up. The trembling began. I knew right away she was in acute pain. I knew exactly what was wrong. Sure enough, the Vet confirmed she had “thrown her back out” again! He gave her the same treatment as before with the same warning: bed rest, no jumping, no stairs, etc. etc.
She got over this episode in about two weeks. Then, just the other day, she was playing ball in the yard, and jumped up to catch the ball. She went down on the ground, whimpering and trembling. I just couldn’t believe this was happening again. Back to the Veterinarian. He gave me the same diagnosis. He also gave me some stern admonition. Unless I wanted Baby to continue to suffer this progressive disease, we would have to change our life style. He said there is a strong likihood that one day this will happen, and she may never walk again. He said it was my choice. Either I take preventive measures or Baby would spend a lot of time in pain and in his office. Surgery may be an option, he said. The surgery is performed to relieve the compression of the spinal cord. She would need to see a Neurologist to determine if surgery would be the solution for her problem. That doctor would do a Myelogram, CAT scan, and a MRI and these would reveal the exact location of the disc that is causing the problem.
Baby Doesn't Feel Well Today
As I write this, it has been three days since this latest episode. She just lies around with that dull, expressionless look in her eyes. I carry her up and down the stairs. I carry her out into the yard to go to the bathroom, and then I carry her back inside the house. Since she is on Valium, it’s hard to say if she is lethargic because she feels so bad or if it’s the Valium.
Baby Is In Pain From Canine Interverbral Disc Disease
Baby's Attempt To Climb The Stairs
I put up a screen in front of the stairs so Baby couldn't follow me. She figured a way to get around the screen, and made a vain attempt to go up the stairs. Usually, she runs very fast up and down these stairs, but not now.
Baby Tries To Get Up The Stairs To Be With Me
What Are My Choices?
Now, this is my dilemma: I don’t know what to do. I think these are my choices:
1. I could have her see a Neurologist for further evaluation
2. I could take her to a Veterinary Chiropractor
3. We could try Acupuncture
4. I could keep her in a dog crate, or closely confined
Baby is very precious to me, and it hurts me so to see her in pain. If I change her lifestyle, what will become of her playfulness, her energy, her excitement when guests come to the door, and for just her zest in life. She could never do her tricks she loves to do like: dancing, jumping through the hoop, begging. She could no longer do the things that might hurt her back. It would be like restraining me, and not allowing me to do all the things I want to do. I would be very unhappy, and I think Baby would be unhappy, too.
I have to do a lot of thinking about my options. I know that if I don’t become proactive about this problem, it probably will occur again. If there is anyone reading this, and you have had a similar experience with your dog, I am open for any advice you may give me.
In the meantime, I'm just trying to keep her quiet, and I'm giving her lots of love and chicken (her favorite), and I just keep telling her how sorry I am that she is in pain.
An Update On Baby's Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease
I saw another Veterinarian about two months ago to get another opinion. That Vet put Baby on Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate to be taken once a day. She loves the taste. It's a chewable soft medication. I am sure this medication has helped her Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease. It is supposed to help her bones to get stronger. I continue to limit her physical activity as much as possible.
For now, we seem to have this problem under control.
Another Update On My Dogs Back Problem
I am happy to report Baby has had no reoccurrence in about six months. I continue to limit her jumping on beds and the couches.
She continues to take the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate once a day, and I really think this medication has strengthened her back.
The latest scare for me and Baby: She was bitten by what we think was a Wolf Spider. That made her sick for almost two weeks! Seems like it is always something when we have pets. We try so hard to protect them, but some things are just unavoidable.
I invite you to read some of my other Hubs about Baby and other pets.
- The Danger Of A Spider Bite To Your Dog: Photos Of The Bite My Dog Suffered
My dog was bitten by what appeared to be a Wolf Spider. Though spider bites are uncommon in dogs, this article will detail my first hand experience.
- My Miniature Schnauzer Has Trained Me Well
Having a dog like my Miniature Schnauzer has taught me many lessons I should have learned long ago.
- How Loud Noises Frightened My Schnauzer Until I Got Her A Thundershirt: Photos of Her Wearing The Th
My Miniature Schnauzer, Baby, is terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks. This article shares my concerns and asks for advice.
- Why Do People Have Pets?
Why do we keep pets? Why do we love our pets? This article tries to examine why I love my Miniature Schnauzer so much.
A great Hub by k9keystrokes
- Nervous System Disorders in Dogs: Spinal Problems in Dogs
Your dogs nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, sensory and motor nerves. Knowing how to determine of he is suffering from an injury or disorder in these areas is vital to his health and life!
Have you had any experience with this condition with your pet?
© 2011 Mary Hyatt