Invertebral Disc Disease in Wheaty - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 05:38 AM Thread Starter
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Invertebral Disc Disease in Wheaty

My dog, Wheaty, was diagnosed with this disease today, or as his vet put it "compressed discs in the thoracic spine". Wheaty started going down hill last summer favoring his right front leg, not jumping up and down on the furniture any more, and now he can't even make it walking around the block. The first vet I took him to put him on an arthritis drug which he didn't respond to and which eventually gave him the runs so I quit giving it to him and took him to this latest vet who is an "orthopedic vet".

Obviously this is heartbreaking for me to watch Wheaty decline to the point where his quality of life is suffering (as I see it because he can't do things like run and jump any more and is getting to where he can barely walk). I was just wondering if anyone on the forum has had this problem with his or her dog and what they learned from the experience about what, if anything. can be done to help a dog that is stricken with this problem. I'm very sad for Wheaty right now and confused as to where to go from here and how bad this will get for him, or if there is even anything I can do to try and reverse this disease or if the best thing to do is to make him feel comfortable until he doesn't respond to this and is in constant pain.

Thanks for any help.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 07:16 AM
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When my Bichon had some back issues I brought her to a vet that specialized in chiropractic treatments for dogs. She really seemed to be in a lot less discomfort following these treatments. It might be worth looking into. I was also wondering if water therapy might be a way for him to exercise without straining his back. I am sorry poor Wheaty is having to go through this and I wish you the best as you try to best care for your little guy.

Diane and Molly
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Going to a chiropractic vet was an option I was considering but he was a long ways away so I took him to the orthopedic vet instead. They do water therapy at this vet but he didn't recommend it for Wheaty for some reason.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 04:52 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear this. I have had 2 longhaired dachshunds over the past 28 years and both had IVDD. I would have loved another one but the back issues are way too prevalent in the breed (90% of neurology clinic patients are dachshunds) so researched for a healthier dog and chose Havanese.

I am surprised your vet didn't suggest you crate Wheaty? When a dog has a disc episode with this (if it is truly IVDD) it is crucial to keep them from moving around. The usual protocol with the dachshunds is to strictly crate rest them for 4-6 weeks (awful...I know) taking them out only to potty. Very hard to do since they don't like being crated but if not kept quiet to let it fully heal, it can cause a worse herniation or rupture and then they can go paralyzed (why you see so many dachshunds in carts). This is not the norm usually with crate rest, or surgery if needed, they will recover well.

How old is he?

What are his symptoms exactly? Does he cry out in pain sometimes? Is he getting worse, better, fluctuates? Again with dachshunds (and I don't imagine it would be different for another breed) if managed properly in the healing stage they should recover to, or nearly to, how they were before. They usually aren't in pain all of the time. They are though prone to have it happen again so you have to try and keep "four on the floor" so they don't reinjure themselves. But unless there was nerve damage, dachshunds usually look normal again.

It sounds to me like there might either be something else going on or Wheaty's back has not had the chance to rest and heal.

Also are meds to help with inflammation etc.

I would take him to a neurologist for evaluation to be sure you know what you are dealing with. I know how awful it is to see your baby hurting. When dachshunds "go down" as we say when they have a disc issue, the window of time to help them is not very long (24 hours if really bad) the disc that is herniating is impinging nerves, etc which if left too long can permanently damage them. When the dog is left to run around loose with a herniated disc, just one wrong little turn, can cause it to rupture. As I said if Wheaty truly does have IVDD and no other issues involved it's very possible to get him out of pain and moving around much better. Since he's been hurting for a while now makes me wonder if something else isn't involved? It's not a progressive disease like arthritis would be, it flares up and after they heal should be a lot better. Not trying to scare you but if it is IVDD a neurologist would give better advice, am still surprised though that the vets you have been to didn't know to tell you to crate him, etc most vets would. Good luck please let us know how he does I feel for you IVDD is no fun but they can be helped!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2016, 07:29 PM
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Hi Havaguy,
I know this is an older post and I hope all is well with Wheaty now. I wanted to answer just in case you have not found any answers. My 3.5 yr old Havanese was diagnosed with disc problems. I saw two different local vets to get a second opinion and they both diagnosed spinal problems. The second vet sent us to a specialist in Appleton WI for a consult on disc surgery and to our extreme surprise he told us that our dog was suffering from two injured ACL ligaments in his legs! One was completely blown the second was pretty bad as well. There was absolutely nothing wrong with his spine, although two vets thought there was. We had spent two months trying to treat with rest and meds prior to this. All of his symptoms were very similar to your Wheaty.
If you would like to read our story in depth to compare, look under the 2 posts -Hind end weakness and Hind end weakness update.
Please consider consulting with a specialist if you haven't gotten satisfactory answers yet. Best of luck! I'd love to hear an update on your guy. Teresa

Last edited by Tward; 03-28-2016 at 07:31 PM. Reason: More info
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