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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Panzer is about 8 yrs old. About a month ago, I went out for some dinner and came home and could tell by the way he was holding his tail and his general attitude that he wasn't feeling well. He didn't want to play, wasn't super-overly happy to see me as usual. There was something wrong. Over the next day, he was becoming more and more uncomfortable.

I went to the vet who did an x-ray and found that 3 vertebrae in his back are, I forget the word, but compacted is the best synonym I can come up with. He prescribed him some prednizone and within a 2 days, he was back to his normal self.

A few days ago, Panzer was frolicking and playing and all was well. A severe cold front came thru that evening and the next morning, he was worse that before the original time. He didn't want to get up to go for his morning tinkle, and when finally coaxed into doing it, was very very ginger about walking, then going down the 2 small steps to the back yard. Since that morning, he's been absolutely miserable. The vet put him back on the prednisone, but he's not having the same recovery he did before and only seems to be interested in food, but nothing else (toys, playing, being petted).

I'm really worried that he will not make much of a recovery. I asked the vet if it could possibly be associated with the cold front and he didn't think so, just told me to increase his predisone dosage to three 1/2 pills a day. He seems to be making very very small improvement the last 3 days, but is just simply miserable. His appetite and water drinking hasn't changed, but I'm just not sure what I should do next. The vet told me about a back surgery that would fix the problem, but its far more expensive than I can afford. The cold front goes away on Monday and warmer weather comes back. I just don't know what to do next. Any ideas? Thanks so much!
 

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Our two year old beagle,Carlo,has a back problem also. He has had a few episodes where he can't walk and whimpers in pain. Our vet said we could do a CT or MRI but that would cost a few thousand dollars. He gave us a prescription for Tramadol 50 mg. We give Carlo one pill a day and he hasn't had a flare up in a few months. If we notice he is in pain, we give him an extra pill, up to three per day. Go figure-he's only two years old, skinny as a rail and very active. Why he's got a back problem is beyond me! It's worth a try to see if your vet is willing to try pain meds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for the reply! I was beginning to think that I wasn't going to get one.

He's actually shown quite a bit of improvement today. He's playing with a couple of his toys and actually telling me when he needs to go out and such instead of just laying around and only going out when I basically force him to go. He even tried to trot in the back yard today for a couple of steps but quickly realized he wasn't ready for that. Weird thing is today was the day where we cut back on his medicine....maybe he's going to pull through this much quicker than I was beginning to think.

I will definitely ask the vet on Monday when I go in to talk to him about progress what he thinks about the idea of pain meds.

That's odd that your's is only 2 and has those issues once in awhile. Guess it really is somethin' I'll have to deal with for eternity like he told me the first time a month or so ago.

Best of luck to you!
 

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Booker has had back issues twice in her 12 years - the first time was when she was 5 and basically overnight she went from being active to lying on the ground in extreme pain. That ended up with surgery for a burst disk in her neck. The surgery was expensive but she completely recovered and never had another problem with her neck. Then last summer she had another episode where she started acting really strange - the vet checked her over and there seemed to be soreness lower down her back. She prescribed low to no activity for 6 weeks (not a big stretch for Booker), Metacam when she seemed to really be in pain, and wait and see if she improved. If not, we could be back for another surgery. The good news is that the rest worked and she has been fine since - no further flare-ups (knock on wood - where is Moose's head when I need it?).

Here's hoping Panzer's soreness is more like Booker's second flare-up.
 

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The words you are looking for are herniated disks. If that is the problem, you have 2 options:

1. STRICT crate rest for 4-6 WEEKS, anti-inflammatory meds, steroids, and pain killers. This should let the symptoms subside, so normal activity can SLOWLY be resumed. A re-occurrence is likely to happen.

2. Surgery, post-op care, add in all of option 1, rehab if necessary. The difference is, surgery all but ensures it won't happen again.

If any signs of paralysis are present (weakness in the legs, back pain, cannot walk, etc.) you have 48 hours to have surgery done before paralysis will (most likely) become permanent.

IMHO, please find a way to have the surgery done. Check our funding links on this site. I had two beagles with herniated disks, both had surgery, both had two very different recoveries. Murphy was paralyzed at the age of 4, had surgery, rehab, and took over a year to learn to stand again. Summer, showed signs of paralysis, had surgery, woke up after surgery and RAN to the back door of the hospital because she had to go bathroom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, it's nice to see I'm not alone here, but also seems as if there are several different severities with this problem. In the last two days, he's shown great improvement and is able to trot around and play with the cats around the house a little bit in short strides. He's not showing the same discomfort in gettin up from a laying position, but is still a little slower than normal about it. He's even tried a couple of times to run in the back yard, but cuts that out rather quickly. I've tried to keep him from getting over excited to keep him from hurting himself yet again, but as you all probably know, keeping a beagle low key's not exactly the easiest thing to do.

Best thing, he's no longer looking at me with the miserable eyes that just break my heart anymore. It's really strange, maybe just a coincidence, that now that the cold front's gone, he's feeling much better. I'm sure there'll be another cold snap in the next week or so. If I'm right, then it'll happen again. If the vet's right, I guess he'll be the same or better than he is today.

Here's hoping! I'll post updates soon as they come! I'll try to upload some pictures and stuff to my profile soon as I get them on the computer. He's a beautiful piece of work! Thanks again for all your responses, thoughts, prayers, and advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ugh! The problem has happened again....

This time, he got a flea bite or something and was apparently gnawing at his tail and back and hurt himself again! I was 3 days away from his next dose of Comfortis too....really really irritating!!!

Anyway, the point of my post...

The vet, today, brought up to me a different type of surgery that less invasive and much less expensive. I forget what exactly he called it, but apparently they stick a needle into the back where the bulging disks are located and, using a lazer, they burn away the disk(s) causing the problem. The word he used was something like disintegration, but that's not the same word.

I was curious if any of you have ever heard of this or had any experience with this type of procedure? Thanks again!
 

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Must be a newer procedure. I haven't heard of it, but it sounds promising. If you get more info on it, please be sure to post it here.
 

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Please make certain that, whatever procedure is recommended, your vet has lots of experience with that procedure. It is up to you to do a lot of research, come up with a list of questions, find out how many times he has done it, etc. If any concern at all, go for a consult with an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. I understand the desire to go with a less expensive procedure if it will be just as effective tried and true measures but you don't want Panzer to be a guinea pig for your vet.
 

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Was the procedure called 'fenestration' by any chance? If that's what it is, I'm not too sure about the less invasive/less expensive aspect of it.

Two of our beagles had to have this procedure; for one, it solved the problem, for the other, he remained paralyzed because there had been too much swelling prior to the procedure.

A lot of the success rates for this type of procedure, in my experience, are dependent upon the location and severity of the disk rupture and the how long it takes to get to the surgery.

I agree w/JudyMaggie -- do your research and ask as many questions as you can until you are comfortable with any procedure that you are considering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
fenestration.....that's it I think. I know that's one of the words he used. I found this information on the net almost by accident. I happen to live in Oklahoma and not too far from Oklahoma State University:

Recently a new non-surgical method for accomplishing fenestration has been going through clinical trials at Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kenneth E. Bartels and others have published the results of their trials in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (reference 3.). Laser ablation is a technique where the disk is penetrated by a spinal needle and an optical fiber is inserted through the needle to permit the nucleus pulposus to be burned away by laser light. After coming out of anesthesia, the dogs are able to walk. Out of 30 dogs (20 were Dachshunds) that they were able to follow for an average of 50 weeks, 4 had recurrences of back pain. 32 other dogs were treated after the main study was submitted and 1 dog had a recurrence and required surgery.
 

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Wow I am sorry to hear this! I have lots of back problems and I sometimes can't bear i t but I can't imagin a dog going through this. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, my vet was wrong about the cost....the cost is roughly the same as the other procedure...but it is much less invasive.

I've contacted a few of those relief agencies for help with paying for the $2000 procedure, but have yet to hear anything back.

Don't dogs know not to have really expensive problems???

I'll figure it out somehow....I swear I treat him better than I would my own child if I had one.....lol.
 

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I hope he feels better, I know it sounds out of the blue but you could set up a fund for his surgery and people can make donations straight to the vets office.

There was a beagle in my area who got ran over and its leg was broken but the owner (an fellow college student) couldn't afford the surgery so the vet wanted to amputate he went on craigslist and wrote about it in the pet section and posted the vet office's number etc. for verification and people made donations for it and the pup's leg was saved.

Dont know if you'd want to do something like that but its a possible idea.

Also alot of Aspca organizations are willing to also help in an extrenuating case there are some programs out there.

I really hope all goes well with your pup.
Keep your spirits high, and let us know how it goes


-Best wishes
 

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I'm so sorry about everything you're going through! I'm not familiar with the surgeries, but it sounds like that may be the road you need to take. I would definitely check into the donations thing, many pet owners are more than willing to give a little to help out a fellow owner, especially if they can just donate straight to the vet doing the procedure.

Please keep us posted! You guys are in our prayers
 
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