Dog with a slipped disc - any experience please?

(9 Posts)
seeker Tue 01-Sep-09 17:52:55

My neighbour's dog had a fall yesterday and has slipped a disc at the base of her spine. The vet says that she need surgery which will cost £2000 - which they simply haven't got. It looks as if they will have to have her put down - does anybody know any alternative courses of action for them?

bedlambeast Tue 01-Sep-09 20:52:31

Second opinion! Hard to disgnose slipped disc immediately and definitively.

Maybe not to feel too bad if it is as bad as it seems. I wouldn't do spinal surgery and I have overseen the amputation of two legs (different dogs) so am not inherently squeamish about such things.

beautifulgirls Tue 01-Sep-09 21:00:03

Depends on the severity of the problem - vets will grade them and the way to manage them will depend upon the degree of problems (mild stumbling vs off legs totally etc) If the vet believes it is surgical then the prognosis without surgery is going to be very poor. Milder cases would be managed with strict rest and pain relief to allow things to hopefully settle down.
Is the vet certain this is a prolapsed disc (have they done specific tests to prove it?) or are they just basing it on clinical signs. There is another sudden onset paralysis that can occur known as a fibrocartilagenous embolism - basically a small piece of cartilage breaks off and blocks inside a blood vessel in the spinal cord causing a localised swelling and problem. These can be quite severe in presentation (right off legs like bad disc issues) but may respond better to medical management in time - bladder and bowels need to be managed in the vets (hospitalised) and physio etc. It doesn't mean a full recovery however.
I think your neighbour really needs to have a good long chat with the vet about the costs and ways to pay it off, about the diagnosis and whether or not this is absolute or assumed and what if anything the vets feel may be fair to at least try if the surgery is not an option cost wise - it may well not be fair just to try medical management if the diagnosis is certain for example. She also needs to be aware that the level of care required to medically manage the bad cases may be quite expensive on a day to day basis too so the costs can soon mount up there.
Wishing her the best of luck.

seeker Tue 01-Sep-09 22:37:58

Thank you for your answers. She's not the sort of dog who would be happy with a very restricted life - we live in the country and she is used to a lot of freedom. So it's looking like we'll be saying goodbye to Dotty - she is a lovely dog. We'll all miss her.

IdontMN2makecopyforlazyjournos Tue 01-Sep-09 22:41:45

Poor you seeker. Losing a dog is very hard but a compromised life for a dog is no real life at all. It's like people who give dogs chemo - they can't possibly understand that you are trying to help them, they're just in pain.

Sometimes the very best, most loving thing to do for our lovely dogs is to let them go.

seeker Fri 04-Sep-09 21:43:45

Well, things are looking up - very slightly. They were told to take her home with pain killers and keep her in a cage and see what happens- and she is better today. Still a long way from properly mobile, but much better. They've been told to take her back to be reassessed on Monday, so fingers crossed.

beautifulgirls Fri 04-Sep-09 22:55:40

Have they talked about gentle physio with her? It really does help if you can keep her legs gently massaged and just do very gentle bicycling like movements with them for a couple of minutes several times a day. Not pulling her around and hurting her back of course - just as she is lying down, a little on each side.
Sounds encouraging so I hope that things continue to improve.

valhala Sat 05-Sep-09 22:20:33

A dog at my local rescue collapsed with what is thought by the vets to be the same problem. At the time he simply could not stand at all, but a week and a half later, after steroids and a lot of investigations he is up on his feet and hugely improved.

Your neighbours might like to visit the forum of the rescue and/or comment on the board (or email the rescue owners, who are always happy to advise and share experiences). The rescue is Poplar Farm Kennels, and the address is here:

http://z10.invisionfree.com/PFK/index.php?act=idx

Good luck, I do hope that your neighbour's can report a appy outcome.

seeker Sun 06-Sep-09 07:58:36

Thank you all. I have passed on all the messages and links.

She continues to improve so we are all (she's a much loved neighbourhood dog!) keeping everything crossed. The trouble is, she lives on a boat so she'll have to be pretty nimble to go back to her old life. If she does recover but not fully a "house dweller" neighbour has said she can live with them, so we'll see.

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