Dog and Recurring Herniated Disc?

Odette

<3 life
O.G.
Aug 20, 2007
11,449
2
www.twitter.com
Last December (2011), one of my bichons had surgery to repair a herniated disc in her lower back, and the surgery was successful. She didn't have any issues after healing up, and went back to normal activities. Last night I picked her up and she seemed like she was in pain, she made a high pitched whine so I put her down and she just curled up and went to sleep, so I thought I maybe just grabbed something wrong.

This morning she is walking hunched over and appears to be in some distress - she was shaking a little bit, but she went outside and went to the bathroom normally. She is still able to walk, and I can pick her up and she doesn't seem to be in pain when I do that today. She's not overweight at all, and from what I know, she didn't injure herself (last time she fell off furniture).

I'm still paying off her previous surgery (over $5000), and I honestly can't afford another one. Last time she had the surgery, she was dragging her back legs and couldn't walk, so it seemed like last time was way worse than what's going on now.

My plan is to call the vet when they open, but does anyone else have experience with this? I feel like a terrible pet owner, even though I know this isn't my fault.
 
Feb 20, 2008
1,784
5
Don't feel like a bad owner - you're doing all the right things for your little girl. One of my Corgis had surgery to remove a ruptured disc when he was 8 years old. The MRI showed he had degenerative disc disease so the vet cautioned me that he would always be at risk for this happening again. So, for the rest of his life (he passed away last November at 16) he was not allowed to jump on/off the furniture or do stairs. He could still run and play and swim like any other normal dog but the jumping was off limits. We were fortunate and he never had a recurrence of back problems.

My female Corgi was 14 when she started having back problems. Out of the blue she started knuckling over and was literally falling over on one side when she walked. Since she was older, she wasn't really a good candidate for surgery so my vet recommended putting her on NSAID's and trying acupuncture. Withing 48 hours the pain was gone and she was walking normally. After that we just went back for 'maintenance' acupuncture treatments every couple of weeks and she stayed healthy until she passed away 2 years ago.

If I had know how well dogs can respond to the acupuncture I would probably have tried that before surgery the first time around.

Good luck with your girl and please keep us posted.
 

Odette

<3 life
O.G.
Aug 20, 2007
11,449
2
www.twitter.com
We just got back from the vet and we're going to do pain meds and a muscle relaxer to see how she responds. The vet did not think her symptoms were neurological right now, and that it could just be pressure changes and the really cold weather we are having that are causing some pain at the former injury site. So I gave her the meds and she's sleeping, so we'll see how she does in the next couple days.

Glad to hear your other Corgi didn't need surgery - my girl will be 7 this year, and I don't want her to go through another surgery if at all possible.
 

boxermom

O.G.
Aug 26, 2006
27,084
592
North Carolina
Our dog's situation is a bit different. He has a partially herniated disc in his neck that occasionally causes big problems but the vets say it's not bad enough to operate, plus the location is risky. If it goes badly (neck level) he could be paralyzed. So when he has a very painful episode of barely being able to walk, we have been told to give him a neuro-pain reliever we keep on hand (gabapentin) and diazapam (aka valium) as a muscle relaxer. So far we have gotten through the later incidents without having to take an emergency visit to NC State Vet Clinic in Raleigh.

Best wishes with your pup. It's terrible to know they are in pain.

p.s. inspiredgem, I have degenerative disc disease and while some people scoff and say *oh, everyone gets that*, when you have a severe form of it, your life changes and the chronic pain can be severe! I feel for your dog.
 

Odette

<3 life
O.G.
Aug 20, 2007
11,449
2
www.twitter.com
boxermom - the vet and I discussed gabapentin but thought we'd hold off and see if the anti-inflammatory and Valium did the trick. She did give me enough to have some on-had for any episodes that might happen after this one.
 

BookerMoose

Arrrooooo!
O.G.
Oct 21, 2007
4,107
164
Vancouver, BC
Our eldest beagle Booker had a burst disc in her neck when she was 5 and had surgery then - she is now 16 and still going strong. The surgeon said there were problems with the discs on either side of the one that burst and therefore he did something to them when he did the surgery - she hasn't had any other problems with her neck since, but a few years ago she did have some issues with a disc lower down her back. After a few weeks of reduced activity and painkillers and muscle relaxers, however, she was okay again and the problem hasn't come back since. So I think that if there are disc issues they can occur at other locations even after surgery but it doesn't mean another surgery necessarily. Good luck Odessa - hope she feels better soon.
 

boxermom

O.G.
Aug 26, 2006
27,084
592
North Carolina
Our eldest beagle Booker had a burst disc in her neck when she was 5 and had surgery then - she is now 16 and still going strong. The surgeon said there were problems with the discs on either side of the one that burst and therefore he did something to them when he did the surgery - she hasn't had any other problems with her neck since, but a few years ago she did have some issues with a disc lower down her back. After a few weeks of reduced activity and painkillers and muscle relaxers, however, she was okay again and the problem hasn't come back since. So I think that if there are disc issues they can occur at other locations even after surgery but it doesn't mean another surgery necessarily. Good luck Odessa - hope she feels better soon.
16! You must be the furmommy expert at home care, Booker! That's incredible. I have to trust the vets at NC State on what they told us about Sabo's neck, but I'm so glad your girl is doing well.

BTW, I love Beagles--they are the sweetest dogs and Sabo loves them when we meet them walking. There are a lot of Beagles, Bassets and other hound breeds around here.
 

Odette

<3 life
O.G.
Aug 20, 2007
11,449
2
www.twitter.com
Just wanted to report that Izzie is doing well on painkillers and Valium. Seems more like her old self (albeit a bit sleepier).