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Holly’s Disc Disease and Paralysis

ivddMeet Holly.  She is a 5 year old Dachshund who woke up one day and couldn’t use her back legs thanks to a bad disc.  Naturally, her mother was frantic and immediately took her to the vet.  The vet was not optimistic about her recovery and told the owner that she may want to consider putting her down if she doesn’t start using her rear legs within 48 hours.  The vet recommended a trip to the neurologist and surgery as the only option to alleviate her intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).  Her mom couldn’t afford the recommended surgical route and went to google to find an alternative solution.

Fortunately, she found us!  She called, and we immediately gave her a few tips to help slow the inflammation and secondary damage that results from a disc bulge.  We also gave her a few rehab exercises to stimulate the injured nerves until we could arrive the next day.  When we showed up, she was starting to use her back legs again!  Sure, they weren’t working optimally but we knew with some care and rehab she should return close to 100% of her previous self.

After evaluating her spine, we found some muscle guarding, restriction, and spasm in the mid spine region right where her disc disease was suspected.  We addressed these issues, as well as some problems in the hips.  With the dysfunction in these areas now corrected, it took stress off the parts of the spine pushing on Holly’s injured disc.  We are happy to report that after about a month she is pretty much her old self!  She is running around and as spunky as she has been in a long time.  Now, we are on a plan to check her periodically just to help stabilize the spine, so we don’t have any future issues.  We look forward to seeing her live another 10 years as healthy as her first 5! Check her out below 🙂

 

Tank the Boston Terrier with IVDD

Say hello to sweet Tank! Tank is a six year old Boston Terrier that lost complete function in his back end one weekend. After a trip to the emergency veterinarian, Tank was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease that had caused a likely disc to herniate or rupture. The family was recommended to do an MRI and immediately follow with surgery, though there was no guarantee Tank would walk again after doing all of the above. After a little internet research, Tank’s parents opted to go the alternative route for a couple of weeks before making any other decisions.

Within his first adjustment, Tank went from unable to hold a stand to actually attempting to stand on his own. Though this is not the norm, we were amazed at how quickly his body rebounded. Three days after the adjustment Tank was able to pull his knees up underneath him. By the second visit he was actually pulling himself up to a stand on his toes. At his third adjustment Tank was using one of his back legs to walk while hobbling on the other. And after four visits, Tank is walking and even running, though a little funnily at first.

Tank had severe compression of his spinal cord from the intervertebral disc disease, when this happens the body has a natural reaction to shut down, which is where the paralysis comes from. As the vertebrae are able to move again, inflammation dies down as it is flushed out of the system and normal function is able to return. The beauty in chiropractic is that we are able to help return within normal function to the spine, and when that happens, we are restoring balance to the system, rather than just removing pressure from one zone and placing it on another. Because of this, we very rarely have seen pets relapse, which can happen with disc disease. Tank is an absolute rockstar, and we hope you’ll take a minute to see for yourself below!

 

Princeton the Dachshund and his Disc Bulge

Take a moment to meet Princeton. This handsome fellow was diagnosed with a disc problem that suddenly came out of nowhere. He began dragging his back leg and his parents feared it wouldn’t be long before he was partially paralyzed. They were told the options were surgery, a cart, and possible euthanasia. Princeton’s parents knew there had to be another option so instead they elected to try alternative care first.

At Princeton’s first visit we could see how much he was struggling with his one hind leg. It was knuckled under and dragging, he didn’t have much feeling in his back end, and we were concerned he may lose bowel and bladder control. He did, however, manage to wag his tail which was an incredibly good sign. It looked as though Princeton had the beginning stages of a disc bulge that if left alone could lead to a ruptured disc. 

Princeton was adjusted three times in two weeks and then once a week for the next couple of visits. By the second visit Princeton was already showing signs of improvement. He was resisting during his exercises and the feeling in his back leg appeared to be coming back. By his third visit Princeton had begun to lift his one leg up and attempt to use it. By his third week of treatments Princeton was actually utilizing the dragging leg. After a total of six visits, Princeton was back to himself. He is able to run and jump and his back leg no longer drags. His back moves beautifully and he continues to get regular chiropractic care just to maintain his mobility in his spine! Watch below to see his before and after video!

 

Jemma and her Severe Disc Disease

Jemma girl here is one special little lady. Jemma came to us in the winter, unable to lift her head and hardly wagging her tail. She was timid, scared, and in a LOT of pain. She was in a constant state of spasm in her neck and even the slightest amount of pressure would cause her to cry out. Jemma was on a large list of medications, none of which seemed to be helping her at all, and she was basically being crated all day to prevent her from further injury. At one point her fur dad was told she may need to be put down because she wasn’t improving.

 

Jemma’s dad refused to accept that as the final answer. He started searching for alternatives and found animal chiropractic. At Jemma’s first visit, we could see how bad she really was. She couldn’t lift her head beyond horizontal with her body and her little ears were folded back. Her muscles were twitching and she couldn’t help but whine in pain. This looked like some severe disc problems in this seven year old otherwise healthy girl.

 

Working very gently, Jemma was adjusted weekly for about six weeks. With each visit she started to improve, slowly at first but then the ball started rolling. She could lift her head, she was eating, and her muscles hardly twitched. Between icing, traction, and regular chiropractic, Jemma started to be a dog again. Her fur dad was able to stop all of her medications going forward and even then she continued to improve. Now Jemma is back to her normal self, she can jump and wiggle without an ounce of pain, and she can wander the house without being crated anymore. Most importantly, she can play with her puppy brother again. Jemma was not a lost cause, and there was so much more life left for her to live, it was just a matter of finding the right method to relieve her of her pain!

neck pain

Bullet and his Neck Pain

neck painBullet the beagle, an avid hunter, digger, and squirrel chaser. This guy really frightened his parents when he started screaming and crying at even the slightest touch to his neck. He couldn’t raise his head above a certain level, couldn’t turn his head side to side, and truly couldn’t be touched without going into a fit of cries. Their poor boy was in so much pain they were beside themselves on what to do. Medication wasn’t helping and none of the traditional options that they were given seemed to be working. At that point they decided to try chiropractic care for Bullet.

 

At his first visit Bullet was incredibly friendly but could hardly move his head at all. He was sad, low-hanging, and spasmed from his neck all the way to his lower back. In addition to his nerve impingement problem, Bullet also had a partially torn cruciate ligament in his back leg. If that weren’t enough this guy was just in a whole bundle of pain and we knew the healing process was going to take some time.

 

After his first three adjustments Bullet walked in with his head held high and spasm down to a minimum. He didn’t cry while being worked on and he could move his neck without any restriction. The pain he had been feeling had been greatly diminished and his parents were able to remove the medication from his regimen. It didn’t take long before Bullet was back to his normal antics of running, jumping and digging. Even with all of this activity his neck remains healthy and stable and his back legs are all on the ground as they’ve been able to heal naturally!

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.

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!