Back injury- Should I be Worried? :(


New Member
As I stated in my welcome message, my 6 year old tween recently experienced her first bout of back issues. Just to give some history, she has always been a healthy and rambunctious little girl getting into everything and constantly running and playing. The other day I took her out of her excersize pen and normally she bolts out and runs up the stairs. This time I saw a little hobble and she seemed a lil down, and also could not run up the stairs. When she tried to walk down she did it sideways. Something was not right. I called the vet and took her in the very next day. He did an orthopedic exame moving her body in all different ways to test any pain or resistance. Everything was fine but when he pressed down her spine there was a sensitive spot he noticed on top. This appeared to be the root of the slight delay in her hind legs. The vet decided that muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories were the best choice along with strict crate rest before we consider xrays, MRI or obviously surgery. He thought her case was on the mild side so decided to treat her more conservately.
We went home on Monday with the meds and prepared her for crate rest. So far she has been doing great, defacating and urinating like normal, normal appetite, etc. Today is Wednesday and I've already noticed an improvement in the legs. She tried to head upstairs and made two steps and was ready to do more!. Her personality also is pretty much back to her fun and crazy self. Obviously, this doesn't mean I will take her off of crate rest since right now she is on meds and I want her to heal completely not taking risks.
I guess what I would like to know is, should I still feel worried? I guess every since the problem happened I've been doing research and hearing stories about paralyzed pooches and surgury and incontinence that all starts with a back injury:( I guess im just looking for some hope that this isn't her fate. The vet is goign to check her again in 2 weeks and see how she is doing and at that point determine if we need Xrays, etc. I guess im just so worried that every morning I will open her crate to find her unable to walk. :(

Has anyone gone through a similar situation with a positive end?


Sounds like shes recovering very well, i would also add Glucosamine and Fish oil to her diet, to help her heal faster.


Alberta Region Moderator
A friend of mine has a beagle that got IVDD (which is likely what your little girl has) I talked to her about it and said that acupuncture has been known to help. Molly was in severe pain and was completely paralyzed... 3 acupuncture appts, pain and anti-inflammatory meds, and Molly was completely back to her normal self.


New Member
It sounds like she's doing well! Whatever you do, keep her on STRICT crate rest for the full 4-6 weeks. I cannot stress this enough. Also, stairs aren't the best thing for a Dox anyway, but you might want to put up baby gates so she can't go up them as frequently


New Member
re:back injury

My standard 5 year old "Longfellow" had this. Very suddenly one evening, couldn't move his back legs at all.
We took him to the vet, and he said there was a 75% chance that the paralysis would be permanent, but that he could be fitted with a little wheelchair chariot. Knowing Longfellow, I knew this would not go over well- stubborn little guy.
We put him on crate rest and a course of steroids, and he went to the vet's office every day for 2 weeks for water rehab ... he recovered completely, and pretty quickly too.

The exams and steroids and rehab cost about a billion dollars, but was thrilled to have my little buddy back on his feet.


New Member
found some good info

I was impressed with the amount of info I found here :
Dachshund back problems, and common owner mistakes

About 78% of all dachshunds who display symptoms of back problems recover without surgery. It does however take a lot of nursing care from the owners. First and foremost cage rest! We here excuse after excuse as to why owners "cannot" cage their dog..... it's more like... will not. They may cry, and beg to get out but if you want to help them, ignore them. If your dog still refuses to keep quiet and calm your vet can prescribe a sedative such as acepromazine. Cage rest means just that, no going outside and allowed to chase squirrels, or running with the other pets. Unless you have been given the ok by your vet. It's very upsetting when we do call backs and hear that your dog is feeling sooo good that he/she was running around the yard. Your dogs are on medications which make them feel better, and unlike their human owners they don't comprehend "feeling" better and actually being better.

In many cases the long term cage rest is due to availability of funds; which is completly fine. But if you are trying to avoid refinancing your house then stick with the medical suggestions your vet has made. No one knows your pet better than you, but no one wants to euthanize your dog because you couldn't keep them cage rested either. (I hate for that to sound that way, but this is how we feel, honestly)

In most cases just two weeks of cage rest and meds will do, but if your dog has lost bladder control and use of the back legs you may be in for a lot more time.

In surgical cases time is of the essence, the longer the disc material presses against the spinal cord the more damage it does. Your dog can go from walking to not walking overnight. Durning that time they start to loose nerve impulses, the last is deep pain, which is bone pain. This is tested by pinching the dogs toes and watching for a response. A withdrawl is not a "real" response, it is a reflex. Deep pain response is dialation of pupils, crying, if the dog is panting it may stop, they even turn to look at you or the toe you are pinching.

If a neurological exam determines the dog may need surgery they will undergo a procedure to determine where the herniation is. Either a myelogram (dye study of the spinal colum) or MRI can determine this. Spinal x-rays cannot and are generally not helpful to a neurologist. Myelograms generally can take from 30 minutes to an hour start to finish depending on the size of he dog and how well the dye flows through the colum. MRI take significantly less time, but in most cases they are not always accessible. Surgery is usually performed in the same day, they animal goes from myelogram to the OR. Depending on your surgeon it could be another hour. The process is quite simple, locate the lesion, clear it out and get out.

Expect you dog to stay overnight at least for 24-48 hours depending on the extend of the lesion, and their condition prior to surgery. After surgery you will be required to keep your dog on STRICT cage rest for 2-3 weeks. This means carrying them outside to potty and right back to the cage.

Picking a surgeon. It is my personal experience that I would recommend you find a neurologist/neurosurgeon instead of a general surgeon. no offence to the good ones out there, but they tend to cut corners. Dr. Chauvet (the neurologist I worked for) was adament about fenestration. Fenestrate means window, and it is when the surgeon creates windows in the discs above and below the herniation, this process helps in the event of a second herniation. If that happens the disk has a place to go and is directed away from the spinal cord. If you choose to go with a general surgeon ask if they do this, if not, ask why, and if they will, or can. Consider a university for the surgery, but don't expect it to be much cheaper than a neurologist :)

The cost.......

you can expect to pay between 3000 and 3500 for the myelogram, surgery, medications and nursing care. That was the basic cost where I worked. Depending on the area you live in it could be more or less, but in this type of case (it kills me to say this) I would go with a higher estimate. This is not something you want to bargain with.

post op.....

be prepared to go home with lots to do! If your dog has lost bladder control, you will either need to catheterize (if a male) or manually express the bladder. depending on how long you have to do this you may have to deal with UTI because even with catheterization or expressing you cannot fully empty the bladder, and so urine stays trapped inside causing infection. After two weeks you will have rehab homework, excercises that consist of weight bearing, massage, and range of motion. This is all very important because it helps retrain the nerves that were damaged from the herniation.

It's a tough road, and it requires determination. I hope this helps and the info isn't too overwhelming. If you have any more questions just ask! Dr. Chauvet has a website with some information..... Critical Care & Veterinary Specialists of Sarasota