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Thread: Degenerative Disc Disease

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  1. #1
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    Default Degenerative Disc Disease

    We're just back from getting a second opinion and have found out that Bailey has degenerative disc disease and will require surgery. We are very lucky that the neurosurgeon had an opening for tomorrow at 3:30pm for an evaluation. They recommended i bring his food, medication and any items from home he may need/want as they may keep him and do the surgery on Friday. The neurosurgeon is about 2 hours away and Bailey will be required to stay at least one night. He currently only has localized pain (the 3 discs immediately behind his ribcage) with no paralysis or other pain YET! The vet believes he will recovery quickly from surgery and be his old self in no time.


  2. #2
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    Best of luck, hope it all goes well for Bailey

  3. #3
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    Unless there is a lot that you haven't reported, it may be premature to rush into surgery. What type of surgery would be done? Decompression and/or disk fenestration? If you read up on prophylactic fenestration you'll find a good bit of controversy about it. Are you using a neurologist or a surgeon for the surgery? Have you checked his/her credentials (i.e., board certified)? Are you in the US? What diagnostic tests have been done thus far? Myelogram? Is it confirmed that there is disk herniation?

    IVDD is very common, esp. in middle aged to older dogs. Surgery is usually done as a last resort after trying more conservative treatment. Generally if there is paralysis or motor deficits, surgery is done soon. For pain only, conservative treatment is tried first. My board certified surgeon has always recommended conservative treatment for my dogs with IVDD, and they have all responded quite positively with good resolution of symptoms. I've used exercise restriction (no stairs, jumping on furniture, playing with the other dogs, etc.) muscle relaxants like Robaxin, pain meds like Tramadol, prednisone (rarely and short term), acupuncture (I've seen very good results from a/c), etc. I also use supplements like glucosamine/chondroitin. Also, weight reduction would absolutely benefit Bailey whether or not he has surgery. I also have purchased carpeted stair steps that I have in front of the sofa and my bed for the dogs to use so that they don't jump on and off of the furniture. (They must be trained to use them but they love them once they figure them out.)

    I would not agree to surgery unless I had a full discussion with the surgeon or neurologist who would be doing the procedure and clearly understood the diagnosis and prognosis, potential ill effects, and the reasons that surgery is being recommended. Your referring vet seems somewhat cavalier (pun is intended!) about the prospect of spinal surgery, which is a pretty serious undertaking. Here is very detailed information:

    http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proce...1224&O=Generic

    http://www.dachshund-dca.org/discbook.html


    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  4. #4
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    You're right. There is a lot that i did not include because to do so would be a book instead of a discussion board posting.

    Bailey has been treated for this using pain medication, muscle relaxers and restricted movement with absolutely no improvement. This morning we went for a second opinion with a vet who specializes in pain management and physical therapy. New xrays, exam and a long phone call with our primary vet ended up with the same conclusion.

    I do not take surgery lightly but i do take Baileys well being to heart. If this surgery can alleviate some of his pain then it will be worth it. I see no sense in keeping him in pain everyday and using pain reliever to mask the pain instead of fix the problem. Masking the pain gives him a false sense of wellness and keeping him confined to a kennel for the remainder of his life is not something i feel is fair to him. I am not willing to let this get to the point that he loses the use of his limbs or becomes temporarily paralyzed and it turns into an emergency surgery situation.

    We will be seeing a neurosurgeon (yes, board certified!) tomorrow for an evaluation where i can ask questions about the surgery and the procedure. I saw no need in asking the vet since she does not perform this surgery. She did however, tell me as much as she knew about the surgical procedure and about his condition. I have dealt with this surgery specialty clinic before when my senior cocker was still alive and they do great work.

    Trudy

  5. #5
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    All the best for Bailey on Friday. Be thinking of you and Bailey.
    Sabby
    Rosie-06/06 - Ebony-01/07 Harley-08/08
    " My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dogs eyes "

  6. #6
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    Sending good wishes to both you and Bailey for excellent results. He is a lovely dog.

    The vet believes he will recovery quickly from surgery and be his old self in no time.
    That will be awesome!
    J.
    J. and pups, Gem, Monty, Harley and Sapphire

  7. #7
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    Trudy,

    Very good - you are going into this fully informed and you've tried all of the alternatives leading up to a major surgery! Your reasoning is sound, and you are getting expert advice. I'd be on the same path as you are on at this point. It's especially comforting when you have a past relationship with the clinic that would do the surgery.

    Please know that I wasn't being critical but wanted to make sure that not only were you fully informed, but that casual board readers understood more about IVDD and the various options (thus, the links). And some things I mentioned would be helpful after surgery too - the steps, etc. Acupuncture seems to be more and more accepted by conventional clinicians - and many are now using physical therapy such as the underwater treadmills, etc. I've been very fortunate in that these options have worked well and quickly for my dogs (thus far, anyway).

    As well as a social/support network, I believe that message boards such as this are a good way to educate many "unseen" readers, which is why I often post longer, more technical messages (that can often turn into a "book").

    I hope that all goes smoothly and that Bailey gets good results.

    Pat
    Pat B
    Atlanta, GA

  8. #8
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    Default Help

    Beailey looks really well concsidering what he has been through. I am really sorry to jump into your thread but I need urgent related advice. One of my dogs had fenestration ( spelling ) last week, and he has not improved. To the point where I have had to take hime back to the specialist this morning, they are doing a CRT scan with dye to have a second look. His MRI was clear other than this minor disc degeneration. The specialist this morning said he was concerned with his limb disorientation, he stagers quite a lot, and when going for Number 2'2 he quite often collapes to the side. They are looking to see if further disc problems are evident, but he has already mentioned the possiblity of further surgery, and I am still in shock to remember the procedure but it is to remove the discs. I am so worried I will rush my decision and make a mistake, but I don't want him to be in discomfort / pain. He is a brave little lad, and still has period of his old loving self. Any advice greatly appreciated as I am expecting a call in the next 4 hours.
    Thanks

  9. #9
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    Sorry I spelt Bailey wrong, real insult, just in a bit of a panic.

  10. #10
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    Poor Bailey. Incision looks good. He probably feels better than he has in a long time.Leo has a bad disc, not anything like what Bailey had. We will probably try acupuncture first if the need arises. Glad Bailey is on the mend and doing so well.
    Teri, Remus, Loki, Leopold
    3 cats - Rumor, Serenity, & Thor

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