Friday, February 4, 2011

Canine Degenerative Disk Disease

My husband and I came home one day and our baby "Nugget" a dachshund -chihuahua mix was trembling and shaking. We knew something was wrong but didn't have a clue as to how bad he was injured.

We thought maybe he had been playing too hard with our other dogs and decided to wait a day and see if his condition improved. He seemed a bit better the following morning but when I got home from work that evening he was dragging one of his back legs and falling to one side when he walked. We then rushed him to the vet and learned about
" Canine Degenerative Disk Disease."

In veterinary medicine:

"Intervertebral disks connect the vertebrae, or bones, of the spinal column together. These disks provide flexibility and support. Degeneration of an intervertebral disk may lead to protrusion, or bulging, or it may cause herniation, or rupture. Pain and weakness or paralysis may occur, depending on the degree of damage to the spinal cord. Damage is the result of both mechanical compression of spinal tissue and secondary reactive vascular and chemical changes within the tissue. This damage to tissues results in disruption of normal spinal cord function.

Small dogs, especially those with faulty development of the cartilage, termed chondrodystrophy, are prone to sudden disk ruptures and to a rapid onset of symptoms. Large dogs are much more likely to have gradual disk protrusions with slowly progressive pain and weakness, although they can also experience rapid herniations. Dogs with symptoms of disk herniation should be evaluated immediately by a veterinarian. Diagnosis of a disk herniation is confirmed with x-rays and/or a myelogram, which is a special dye study that allows precise localization of spinal cord lesions. Depending on the severity of the case, and the overall condition of the affected dog, treatment may involve medication or surgery. Many dogs with disk ruptures recover. However, in very severe cases, in which the dog has lost the ability to feel deep-tissue pain, the paralysis may be permanent."

Source and further information:

Read more: Came home Saturday night and my dog could not walk. He was diagnosed today with Inverterbrate Disc Disease? Ever heard of it? Can you give me any information on this?
We were told that to get him the proper help, the procedure would cost anywhere from $3,000-$5,000.

Many friends and family advised me to just have him put to sleep as there was no guarantee that an operation would even help him get better. This accident happened so soon after I lost my mother and I knew I simply  couldn't bear to lose another thing that I loved so dearly in such a short time span.  And all I could think about was how many times "Nugget" had made us smile and I kept picturing his little wagging tail and I knew I owed it to him to try and give him another chance to run around again and just be his little doggy self.

It ended up costing $3,600. (Not counting local Vet bills and loss of time from work)  He had completely blown-out 2 discs and the doctors suspected it was probably when he was playing with one of the other dogs and he probably crashed into something. I was amazed at the level of care...especially the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy--

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) chambers work on the principle that high oxygen concentration, combined with increased air pressure in the chamber, raises plasma-oxygen concentration, allowing oxygen to diffuse into tissues at distances three to four times further than usual to promote healing.

It took a bit of therapy after we got him home and extra time and effort to help him out ... but to me it was well worth the money spent. Our "Nugget" gets around pretty good these days. He kind of wobbles when he walks but he runs like a horse ...and I like to think that his quality of life today although not as good as it was before his much better than him not being here at all!

Here he is with his "landing strip" shortly after his operation.
Here he is checking out his "sea paws" a few months later in Trinidad,California.  We love our little "Nugget" baby! He still gives me so many smiles on a daily basis I know the money I spent on him is simply karma . :)

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