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Well, if you checked out my "Poor Tio" thread then you know he was in some pain from something.. It has gotten worse and worse and as of yesterday he is completely lame from the waist down. He still has feeling and prick sensation but cannot walk at all. He's been crated and the vet gave him a steroid shot and will continue with the steroid therapy. She hinted at he might need surgery and we'd have to take him on a 4 hour ride to Nagoya. And it will be a hefty bill which is fine... I hope that isn't the case and he recovers with rest and steroids.. but man....I am so incredibly down right now. He's only 11 months old...!!!

Any advice or words of help would be very much appreciated.

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I know you will do your best for Tio.

 

will you be seeing a specialist in Nagoya? My boy has been hurt a couple of times (but not as bad as a possible herniated disk) and a good orthopedic surgeon is worth his/her weight in gold. And don't try to push the recovery. Be very patient.

 

I am sending recovery mojo to Tio.

 

Jovi

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I'm so sorry Tio (and you) are going through this.

 

I don't have much to offer other than personal experience. Quite a few years ago, I had an active 4 y.o. border collie who had a herniated disk. Chance was evaluated at Cornell and we opted to try a conservative approach of strict crate rest before going for surgery. It was a tough 8 weeks for him (and me), but he survived and we were able to avoid the surgery.

 

You might want to invest in some puzzle toys and similar things you can do to occupy him when he's in the crate. Whatever you do, don't feel sorry for him and give in and allow him to do things he shouldn't be doing. It really is a case of tough love he needs, but he won't understand that so you'll have to be strong for him.

 

Hang in there. And best wishes for a full recovery.

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Thank you Jovi. The vet in Nagoya is apparently one of the best although we will be looking for someone a little closer. I'd prefer even going up to Tokyo than to Nagoya. I'm still perplexed how this happened. We have fun playing and training but I always keep in mind that he is still a pup so no jumps with frisbee and try to keep his governor turned down with ball sports. Maybe I didn't keep enough control...

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I'm so sorry Tio (and you) are going through this.

 

I don't have much to offer other than personal experience. Quite a few years ago, I had an active 4 y.o. border collie who had a herniated disk. Chance was evaluated at Cornell and we opted to try a conservative approach of strict crate rest before going for surgery. It was a tough 8 weeks for him (and me), but he survived and we were able to avoid the surgery.

 

You might want to invest in some puzzle toys and similar things you can do to occupy him when he's in the crate. Whatever you do, don't feel sorry for him and give in and allow him to do things he shouldn't be doing. It really is a case of tough love he needs, but he won't understand that so you'll have to be strong for him.

 

Hang in there. And best wishes for a full recovery.

Thank you. When he was crated that strictly what did you do about pee and poop? Right now Tio has no control over his bladder so he is lying on pee sheets. I'm also going to cut his belly fur back a bit to help but any other tips on the details of crate life would be great.

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Are they certain Tio has a herniated disk? (Have they done an MRI)?

 

Border collies are a lot like thoroughbred horses - accidents waiting to happen. I know two dogs who had herniated disks. In one case it was an injury that occurred while he was working sheep, in another case I don't think there was any specific or unusual "trigger". Both were adult dogs at the time of injury.

 

All turned out very well in one dog's case, after surgery (they tried conservative therapy first), and the dog has now been approved to gradually resume working sheep, much to his delight. I hope someone with direct experience can weigh in on this.

 

I wish you and Tio the very best of luck!

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Thanks for that.. What happened to the other dog...?? :unsure:

 

No, they don't know for sure if it is a hernia or not. The symptoms are consistent with one though. The vet we take him to now is not set up for serious cases like this so we are looking elsewhere right now. His initial visit for this issue was at a different vet who took x-rays which showed all normal. They have an MRI machine as well and are pretty well equipped. The problem, according to my wife, is that they have pretty crazy prices and do a lot of unnecessary procedures. I want to find out though...

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I have a bad story about a dog going through the surgery. I would opt for conservative therapy first. The dog I knew was a bro to my 12 year old Mick. Mick has horrible spondilosis with quite a bit of fusing. I retired him at a very young age (under 5 yrs old) to maintain his health. He also suffered from some debilitating tick diseases at a young age that didn't help. He is doing good. He's never had a rupture or herniated disk. Just major fusing. He works a tad and stays active but no hard work.

His brother had a disc rupture, the surgery was a failure, He was wheelchair bound for 5 years.

Something I worry about all the time.

Good luck

Hope your boy get better.

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I also posted in the general section under your question about crate restriction.

 

I'd be inclined to go the conservative route at first. I have not had experience with a herniated disc, but my 14-year old had a suspected fibrocartilagenous embolism (FCE) four years ago. At the vet I was told that if I wanted to have surgery done, I needed to do it right away. I don't have a lot of faith in the outcomes of such surgeries, so I opted for the conservative approach. In my dog's case, the paralysis was very short lived in one hind leg, but persistent in the other. She did not have incontinence issues, but there was a pretty long period of time before she regained deep pain response and propioception in the one hind leg. I used the services of a vet who provided electroacupuncture and I think it really helped. Then again an embolism isn't a herniated disc, so I don't know how applicable my experience might be to Tio's situation.

 

Several dogs I know of whose owners opted for back surgery had very poor outcomes. If you're considering surgery, please do a lot of research and find a vet who has done the surgery before (numerous times if possible) with good outcomes.

 

It's tough to make a decision if you don't really know for sure what's going on. But when it comes to backs, I think a specialist is probably the way to go if you can afford it.

 

J.

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Thank you. When he was crated that strictly what did you do about pee and poop? Right now Tio has no control over his bladder so he is lying on pee sheets. I'm also going to cut his belly fur back a bit to help but any other tips on the details of crate life would be great.

 

We were permitted to take very slow leash walks to the front yard for pee & poop breaks (no trips to the back yard, as there are too many steps). There were a total of 3 steps (2 and then 1), and he had to take them extremely slowly. The walk was slow, the leash was short. No excitement, no movement other than what was absolutely necessary. ETA: Chance was motion reactive, so I'd time the potty breaks for times of day when there was less traffic and people going by.

 

It sounds both from your original description and what you've said above, that Tio's disk may be worse than Chance's was, or it may be in a different location and pinching different nerves that affect his elimination. If hat's the case, yo may have to rely on the pee pads. Have you asked the vet about it? I think it would probably be best to get a detailed explanation of just how restricted his activity must be.

 

Again, best wishes.

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His initial visit for this issue was at a different vet who took x-rays which showed all normal.

 

I honestly don't have enough experience to comment with any certainty about this, but Chance was diagnosed using an x-ray, and the herniation showed quite clearly.

 

He'd originally been misdiagnosed by a vet who hadn't taken x-rays, and the vets at Cornell were quite upset that given his symptoms that wasn't done right away. MRIs weren't routine for dogs yet at that time, but I suspect if they were available at all, Cornell would have had one. But the x-ray was -- in this case at least -- sufficient to see what was going on. I don't know, though, if that's always true, so it might be another good question to ask your vet.

 

I also have no experience with back surgeries, either human or canine, and I don't remember anymore all of the discussion around Chance's treatment. But I do know that the pain management doctor I see for myself says that 75% of his patients are failed back surgeries, and he's told me more than once that he tells patients to do anything they can to avoid or delay back surgeries. I don't want to be alarmist -- and there are obviously instances where there are no other options -- but it would make me want to be very, very sure the vet is both experienced and not rushing into anything without making sure that all other options have been exhausted. And I think I'd get a second opinion, too, before going that route.

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I'm afraid that the outcome with the 'other' dog wasn't good. He took a tumble working sheep and seemed in pain. (The owner was away from home at the time, so it took a while - a day? - to get him in to be seen). By the time they got him seen, the herniated disk had swollen. They did surgery but he never regained deep pain sensation and was fully paralyzed in the rear, couldn't even pee. It was no life for a sheepdog in the prime of his life, and his owner released him, up on a hill on a sunny day, where he could watch the sheep he loved so much.

 

I think someone with a more positive outcome is going to try to weigh in today.

 

I do think the key, if you go a surgical route, is to try to find someone with a LOT of experience. I'd want someone with a LOT of experience looking at my dog even if I were taking the conservative route. Ditto what Gentle Lake says about second opinions.

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Sounds like a specialist probably needs to be involved. I know about the human aspect and how these things work. I have two herniated discs in my neck. There is a big difference in herniated and ruptured discs, also in where they are herniated at and could possibly be putting pressure on the nerve root or even the spinal canal itself, which I might be concerned with since he cannot walk at all you say. Usually if it is the nerve root it is painful but not to that degree unless it is severely compromising the nerve root, then complete loss or partial loss of use can happen. The problem is the longer the problem goes on the more comrpomised and damaged the nerves become and even after being repaired, you may or may not get the nerve feeling back. It is a very strange feeling not being able to feel you limbs. If it is ruptured or putting any pressure on the spinal canal itself, probably surgery may be the only option. X-rays can diagnose the herniation but an MRI is probably needed to see how it could be compressing on the canal or nerves.

 

If it is just herniated it can be extremely painful from personal experience there. However, there is probably nothing you did or could have done to prevent it, sometimes (at least in humans) these things are hereditary so I would assume could be the same in animals. I have been conservatively treating mine for 7 years but I am on 2 medications a day and have to go periodically for shots in my back and neck (anesthetic shots to help ease the pain and help the muscles surrounding the discs to relax). I don't know if they do corticosteroid shots (which help ease the swelling) or not for dogs but do not let them do these in excess or too close together in time. Too many corticosteroid shots can soften the bones and make matters worse in the long but an initial shot may be helpful. I stay on arthritic medicine daily along with a muscle relaxer to help ease mine and there are still days when I cannot feel my hands, they are just numb.

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Hi,

 

My dog Bob had a severely herniated disk in his L/S region. To someone who didn't know him,you may not have even noticed any outward signs - I noticed he was resistant to jumping up in the car and was all of the sudden much more compliant about counter surfing :) But then at night, I noticed him whimper when he switched positions in his crate. Bob seemed to have a slight limp but it was very hard to determine where it was coming from and it was intermittent at best.

 

This all started during the thick of winter and we had so much snow and ice, I figured he slipped. I am very fortunate to work at a specialized veterinary hospital for ortho and neuro and had him looked pretty quickly. Initially, the doctors thought muscle strain or groin pull and we tried some rehab and conservative therapy including pain meds and muscle relaxers. Even our gait analysis mat didn't show any obvious source of lameness. After this conservative approach, he didn't seem to get any worse, but not really any better either.

 

After about a week or two I got impatient - I had one of doctors who excels at muscular skeletal ultrasound anesthetized him and really examined the groin. She found nothing inconsistent with a working dog so while he was under, we threw him in the MRI. He was only in there about 5 minutes when the neurosurgeon came into my office proclaiming he knew exactly what was wrong! The MRI showed a severely compressed disk that was herniated. Everyone says it, but it was unbelievable how stoic these dogs are even with such a severe case.

 

Here is a screen shot of his MRI showing the affected area:

 

BobsMRI.jpg


The white line between the bone is the spinal cord and you can see about 2/3 of the way to the right where the disk has herniated. This would have knocked a human on their ass!

 

I eventually opted for surgery after seeing this. I work with some of the best rehab vets in the country and even they all agreed that surgery was the best route.

 

Our neuro surgeon is awesome - he is board certified and does laminectomies about three - five times a week. I don't think my experience is unique because I work with him. As soon as he was done, he came to my office (still in scrubs) to tell me that it was one of the worst he's seen but was very happy with the procedure. Bob came out of surgery between 3pm and 4pm and was awake and standing by 7pm. At 10pm, the techs took him out to pee and he was not a compliant patient with the sling and was lifting his leg to pee only 6 hours post surgical. When I got to work the next day, other than the shaved patch on his back, there was no way to know he had surgery!

 

Bob's recovery has been unbelievable! He had leash walks and crate rest for about the first month but as it is with border collies, I had to reign him in. At 6 weeks postsurgical, I was told I could start ramping up his routine and then just yesterday (a couple days shy of 7 weeks postsurgical) he was able to go back to very light stock work. That made both of us so happy!

 

So much went right for me. First, the access I have to care is great - I am very, very lucky that way. Not many people have this luxury (great job perk!). Second, getting into the MRI and seeing the actual image is a godsend. Had the doctors and I not have seen the images, we may have continued with conservative care. The doctor that operated on Bob was board certified, well qualified with a ton of experience and our staff is pretty awesome. Add to that, Bob is a young (almost 5 years old), fit, working dog and I was able to catch this really early. I just hope that we continue on this positive path as he returns to full work and trialing.

 

Michelle

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An update.

 

Tio is showing no improvement with the steroids but we have managed to get an appointment this Saturday with one of the top surgeons in the country specializing in neurological and spinal cord damage. The wait a few more days is certainly not doing his chances any good but that is the best time we could get.

It's about a 4 hour drive so that is going to be tough on Tio, too. Briefly, on the phone he suspected it wasn't a hernia and asked that we stop the steroids since there has been no effect after three full days of treatment and said they don't treat with steroids anymore anyways. We also got a hefty "grant" from my mother-in-law to give him the best treatment we can. That's comforting...so hang on Tio boy!!!

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Well, we got a diagnosis. Not a herniated disc........but rather Ideopathic Meningitis. The affected section of the chord is at the 5th verterbrae confimed by MRI and spinal tap. So, for the next two weeks it's steroid and antibiotic treatment. If he's still incontinent after that time period I'll make the decision.

I could have used a pain killer myself after I got the bill...

 

Thank you all for the help..

 

Chris

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