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Archie with IVDD and a Ruptured Disc

Meet sweet Archie. He is a senior dachshund that lost the use of his back legs thanks to a disc injury for the second time this past winter. The first time this occurred was one year ago, and with cage rest and medication, Archie was able to re-gain function in his back end. We suspect the first injury was a disc bulge secondary to IVDD. This year when it happened, his mom was worried because it appeared much worse and was likely a ruptured disc as opposed to just a bulging one. It was worse than last time and she didn’t see much change with just medication. She contacted us right away and decided to do chiropractic with him.
At his first visit Archie had only a mild deep pain response in his back legs and had no movement at all. His muscle tone was like jello, he had no bowel and bladder control, and his back was incredibly hunched up. His mom had to bring Archie in using a laundry basket. It was heartbreaking to watch, especially as this little guy did everything he could to try and get around. He wasn’t showing any signs of pain, just confusion as to why he couldn’t move!
Archie was patient as was his mom. She followed our instructions to a T, she used all the tools we gave her and did so religiously. It was 7 adjustments later when Archie came in on his own accord, without a laundry basket, and on a leash. We nearly cried. It had been two and a half months since Archie’s first visit and each time he showed slight bits of progress. His mom never gave up and she entrusted us with the care of her beautiful boy. While Archie may have IVDD, he is moving beautifully, he has tons of energy, and he has never let his ruptured disc bring him down. Check out his before and after videos below!

 

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Gordon the Shepherd and his Pinched Nerve

Check out Gordon! He is a rescued shepherd that caught our hearts the moment we met him. He is an absolute Velcro dog and thinks he is only ten pounds. When Gordon started limping horribly, his fur mom was very concerned. It got to the point where within a few days Gordon wasn’t weight bearing hardly at all in his one front leg. His limp was horrible and he wasn’t getting up without help and didn’t come to greet mom at the door when she came home. The veterinarian couldn’t tell what was wrong and said they’d need an MRI and possibly surgery.

 

Not wanting to go that route unless there were no other options, Gordon’s mom gave us a call first. Gordon waltzed in non weight bearing on the one front leg and was in complete spasm throughout his neck. Upon further investigation, Gordon had always been a big puller on his lead. This had lead to a significant pinched nerve at the base of his neck.

 

After his first adjustment, Gordon began to weight bear about fifty percent of the time. Within three adjustments Gordon’s gait had completely resolved and he wasn’t limping any longer. He was getting up and greeting mom at the door and even running on his walks. His energy was back and overall he felt amazing again. All of this without ever having to go under the knife! Sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones we tend to ignore, we are so glad Gordon’s mom didn’t!

 

To watch a before and after video of Gordon- click here!

Jake the shepherd and his Arthritis

This handsome stud is Jake. Jake is a rescued German Shepherd that was found wandering the streets until he was brought to his forever home. He is a young bloke that found himself really struggling with some pain and discomfort, accompanied by a fairly consistent limp in his front leg. After a full work-up, Jake’s x-rays showed he had some significant arthritis in his elbows, one side worse than the other.

 

After giving Jake pain medication for a significant amount of time, his fur parents decided to give chiropractic a try because Jake’s cousins had both been doing so well under care. Within two adjustments Jake’s limping had decreased significantly, pain medication wasn’t necessary, and his movement and energy was up. Jake was doing fantastic and he hardly even showed the slightest bit of discomfort.

 

When it comes to arthritis, what already exists cannot be erased, and that is imperative to understand. Arthritis is something that should be prevented as long as possible, when at all possible. Keeping joint motion within normal is one of the best ways to protect against arthritis formation. Chiropractic is one of the many ways to make sure structure is sound and joint motion is at an optimum. Jake may not be able to diminish what he currently has, but we can certainly help prevent more from forming!

What Dog Breeds Are Predisposed to Back Problems?

dachschunWhy do certain dog breeds suffer from back problems?

 

Did you know certain dog breeds are predisposed to back problems, like intervertebral disc disease, at much higher rates than others? Unfortunately, a combination of genetics, body shape, and daily activities contribute to this doggy dilemma. Is there anything we as pet owners can do to treat the problem? To answer this, we must first understand what contributes to disc disease.

What breeds are most affected and why?

                  The most common breeds affected by disc disease appear to be:

  • Daschunds
  • Beagles
  • Basset Hounds
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Shih Tzus
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Pekingese
  • Corgis

corgiThis is probably due in part to their genetics. Unfortunately, the sequence of genes in these breeds appears to predispose them to back problems at some point during their lives.

Another factor involves the length of your pet’s back. Unfortunately, a long back isn’t the best design for spine stability. Think about it like a bridge. When you are traveling over a small river, does a bridge need a ton of support in the middle? Probably not. Now, imagine traveling over a bridge multiple miles long. I bet you see support columns every couple hundred feet to help dissipate the stress over the middle of the bridge. If it didn’t, the bridge would succumb to the stress and collapse. This stress is what long backed dogs experience in their spine and discs.

pekingese back problemA final issue involves smaller breeds. The little ones tend to enjoy jumping up and down from furniture. Unfortunately, jumping can be stressful because it leads to a compressive load on their discs. Dog discs aren’t designed for a compressive force like a human disc because they don’t walk upright. Imagine for a second that a dog disc works like an Oreo. The cookie part of an Oreo represents the bones of the spine and the cream filling signifies the vertebral disc. Dog discs are designed to resist shear forces. This force is similar to what happens when you twist the cookie top off of an Oreo. When it is done this way, the icing usually remains in the middle and is stable. Now, what happens if you squeeze the cookies together? The icing squirts out! This is how a compressive load works and can lead to back problems for dogs over time.

What can we do?

There are multiple options depending on the severity of symptoms. When it comes to a structural solution, surgery and chiropractic are effective treatments. Chiropractic is a great conservative route because an animal certified practitioner can guide misaligned spinal bones back toward a normal position. When the spine is in a more normal position, inflammation and stress is reduced on the vertebral disc and nerves. This will relieve any secondary problems like back pain and even paralysis. If a course of conservative care doesn’t work a veterinarian may recommend surgery. A surgeon will be able to work on the disc and ideally relieve pressure on aggravated nerves.

Supplements

Another potential solution is to add joint supplements to your pet’s daily routine.  When evaluating supplements, we want to look for ingredients such as glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, MSM and more.  We have a few that we tend to recommend more frequently than others.  Connectin Hip and Joint is a great supplement because it features the previously mentioned ingredients plus natural anti inflammatory herbs.  You can also visit our favorite products page to see more.

Many dogs will experience back issues during their lifetime. If they are a breed listed previously, it is probably the rule rather than the exception. Vertebral disc disease can be scary for our furry friends. Fortunately, there are structural treatment options for our pets like animal chiropractic!