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Spondylosis Diagnosis in young dog

(5 Posts)
Vinnyinny Tue 14-Nov-17 12:57:43

Hi- I’m just looking for some advice really. My 3 year old Staffie Cross has just been diagnosed with significant spondylosis in his spine. He had an MRI and a CT scan yesterday and the vet seemed quite surprised at how significant it is- it’s restricting the nerves in his spine. I’m so sad, and really worried about how life will look for my young dog now. Surgery is an option, but is very risky so for now, he is being given Tramadol, Steroids and Gabapentin. In addition to my concern over his quality of life, I’m so worried about money- he’s insured, but only covered for £2000 for the lifetime of the condition- we’ve spent that already on diagnostics. Has anyone been through this with their dog? Do you have any advice? Thanks smile

Shambolical1 Tue 14-Nov-17 23:49:11

My old boy was diagnosed with spondylosis at the age of eleven, but looking back I can see there were little signs going back almost to the time he came to me as a rescue aged three; the odd light scuff of one back paw every so often, a little uneven muscle development. He had led a very active happy life though.

Dogs are good at covering pain so unfortunately by the time they need medicating their condition may have deteriorated quite a lot.

In his case surgery wasn't an option but he did quite well, carrying on for another two years before things became obviously difficult for him. We had a couple of false alarms and then the day came when he went to his bed after a potter about one day and wasn't able to get up again.

If you decide on the surgery option, you'd want to go to one of the expert referrals centres but that can be a bottomless pit funding wise and if your insurance won't cover it, you might have to decide whether you want to put him through a serious, difficult operation with a long recovery period, or keep him as happy and pain free as you can until the time comes he has to leave you. If you have a little left of your insurance limit you could ask for a consultation at one of the referrals practice (they might be able to do that by looking at his scan results, rather than you having to visit) and that might help you decide.

You could add a good joint supplement to his diet, and there are people who swear by turmeric paste, or acupuncture. Hydrotherapy wasn't recommended for us; apparently it's not very good for spinal problems.

So sorry you're having to face this with such a young dog. It's horrible.

CrikeyPeg Wed 15-Nov-17 09:10:19

I share your pain vinny our boxer who is not yet 3.5 years old was diagnosed with spondylosis earlier this year. Using unconventional methods (animal communicator) once we knew where to look we could see spurs on the spine on X-rays taken when he was just 15 months old sad He is on monthly pentosan injections, daily nsaid tablet, and glucosamine/MSM. Its a bit crap for him as he is a busy, energetic young dog and so we have decided to lkeep him as comfortable as we can and et him be the boxer that he is and live his life doing his craxy boxer stuff. He would hate to have to sit on the couch and watch life pass him by even though we know we will have to say goodbye to him earlier.

Vinnyinny Wed 15-Nov-17 13:26:34

Thank you both for responding. It’s helpful to hear your stories. I think it’s the sadness of knowing he is so very unlucky and likely to have a more painful/limited life than we had hoped for him that is the tough part. We were referred to an orthopaedic specialist who was very thorough and helpful. He’s going back next week for a check-up. We’ve decided to try and save some money every month for what feels like the inevitable surgery he will have to have. Kicking myself for not getting better insurance.

It’s true though that I should let him be the dog he is and not try to restrict him too much- especially if we know he may not live as long a life as we thought he would- that’s good advice. Thanks 😊

CrikeyPeg Mon 20-Nov-17 08:34:30

It's tough vinny this is our second experience with the condition. Our first boxer was diagnosed with it when he was about 7 in his spine and his knees, although it was not as severe as that of our current boy. Keep us posted as to how you get on.

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