Author Topic: needing help for dog with calcified disk  (Read 3044 times)

betty wilson

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needing help for dog with calcified disk
« on: July 08, 2016, 07:40:47 AM »
This has been a hard year. Several months ago my 8 year old border was diagnosed with beginning stage of kidney disease and now yesterday after x rays with disk disease and arthritis.The x rays showed L7S1 calcified disk with ostiofite(sp?) coming off it. This is the section between the last lumbar and 1st sacral vertebrae (the lumbosacral junction). He is receiving acupuncture and laser therapy for pain. He is energetic, at a good wt. 42 lbs. but bunny hops when he runs. His agility days are obviously over and he is no longer doing sheep. I understand No jumping at all but I am unsure what type of exercise I can do with him. Should I tug, let him chase after balls that have stopped rolling? Are there any specific fit paws exercises I could do with him. I plan to channel him into nose work and rally obedience. Suggestions, thoughts of how to best help my dog continue to have a quality life style will be most appreciated.

dogrsqr

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2016, 09:39:17 AM »
Betty I would seek the advice of a good orthopedic vet/chiropractor to get answers to those questions.  If you have someone in your area that understands working dogs that is at least more helpful than your typical veterinarian.  In the end you can only get the best information you can get and then make your own personal decisions about risk vs quality of life. 

Gina Pizzo

betty wilson

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2016, 01:26:12 PM »
Thanks Gina. We will indeed seek out a good orthopedic vet.

TheQuestKnight

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2016, 12:50:49 PM »
Hi Betty,

PLEASE do NOT be depressed!  Your boy has MANY years of a quality life ahead of him!

Our soon to be 6 year old, female BC, Lily, had a VERY similar lumbo-sacral diagnosis earlier this year.  Lily is a bit of a "wild child"; and when we inadvertently let her play get a bit too intense, she was coming up lame and wobbly in her hindquarters the next day.  We consulted an orthopaedic surgical team at our veterinary hospital; and x-rays really didn't reveal very much, other than the fact that she has EXCELLENT hips; and that there seemed to be a bit of an anomaly at her lumbo-sacral junction  They advised that our next step should be to consult with the neurological team, and they recommended an MRI.  The results of the MRI revealed a SLIGHT narrowing of the "canal" for the nerve root out of one side of the lumbo-sacral joint; but they did not feel that narrowing was the source of her problem, instead they believed it to be inflammation of the muscle tissue surrounding that part of the spine putting pressure on the nerve root and "scrambling" neurological signals.  They prescribed GABAPENTIN to be used on an "as needed" basis whenever Lily "over-did" and came up lame; and that Rx has worked wonders, for the few times that she has needed it since!

We also consulted with our alternative therapies/rehabilitation vet, who works in close conjunction with the traditional vets at the hospital.  Lily receives monthly chiropractic "tune ups" and laser acupuncture; and she is LOVING LIFE!  As for exercise, we, with our traditional and alternative therapies vets' approval, pretty much permit Lily (a "sprinter bodied" BC) to pretty much do whatever she wants to do; but we do NOT encourage unneccesary jumping or any kind of tight, twisty turns in play; and we limit her to several 3-5 minute "sort of intense" exercise sessions daily, with long breaks to cool down and recover in between.  She also gets walks, hikes in the local parks, etc. on a regular basis.

As for the "bunny hopping", that is VERY COMMON with dogs that have mid-thoracic-to-lumbo-sacral vertabrae issues that cause pain.  IF you take a video or CLOSELY OBSERVE the "bunny hopping", you will very likely see that there is a dominant leg that is bearing most of the weight; and a leg that is being "carried", very often barely touching the ground, that is being protected...and this is the side of the spine that is being protected to prevent the nerve from being aggravated further and causing more pain.  Even if you simply give your boy a "feel good" massage, you will feel some tightness in the muscles in that area because they are actively protecting the vertabrae and nerve root(s).  This is ALWAYS a conundrum for folks with dogs dealing with these issues.  To provide relief, it is ALWAYS best to apply ice to the affected area FIRST, with 2 layers of toweling between the ice and your dog so it doesn't get uncomfortably cold.  IF the dog REFUSES to lie still for 5-10 minutes, STOP!!!, they're NOT yet ready.  Once they can accept ice therapy for 5-10 minutes, wait at least 30 minutes to permit the body to return to normal temperature; and then apply 10-15 minutes of MEDIUM heat with a heating pad...this will encourage increased blood flow, which will also help reduce inflammation.

Lastly; and PLEASE, I hope that no one takes offense; but pick up a "ball head massager" (search Hitachi Magic Wand; and do NOT be alarmed when you are directed to an "adult site".)  Most drug stores, Walgreens comes to mind, carry massagers of a virtually identical design...I just want to ensure that you're looking for and buying the right type!  A few minutes of massage, starting at the base of the neck, proceeding down one side of the spine to the base of the tail; and then going up the other side of the spine to the base of the neck 2-3 times daily can also offer significant relief.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, check with your vet(s) before using ANY of these adjunct therapies; and by all means, NEVER force your dog to tolerate ANY of them...he knows what feels good and what doesn't!!!

Regarding early stage kidney disease: do NOT panic about that either!  Our late BC lassie Geal dealt with that for almost 6 years!  We had GREAT success with a supplement called "Azodyl", which helps to do some of the stuff that the kidneys do before toxins reach the kidneys, so it reduces the strain on the kidneys.  You'll also want to significantly reduce protein treats; and replace them with fruit, veggie and carbohydrate treats that are low fat...to much fat put A LOT of stress on their pancreas.

By and large, they do NOT need to put on a "prescription kidney diet", which is basically expensive junk food, at best!  You really need to find a high quality dog food with about 20% protein; and do a basic urinalysis at least 2 times each year to ensure that the urinary pH is where it needs to be; and that there are no crystals in the urine that can result in kidney and/or bladder stones.  In this regard, a number of grain-free foods can be problematical...to help protect the kidneys, some whole grains and a LITTLE lamb or beef are NOT a "bad thing" to keep the pH where it needs to be.  In addition, DL-Methionine can be added to the dogs diet to help acidify the urine.

If you find that your boy is having incontinence issues, FIRST check for a UTI..................it that is negative, consider an Rx called "Proin", we used it with our Gael for many years with incredible results and NO side effects!

From a competitive agility/herding/farm dog on sheep perspective, after you do the testing and get the results and recommendations, I'm NOT convinced that those ENJOYABLE pursuits need to be taken off of "the table".  Can your boy have as many agility runs in a day as before?  NO.  Can he work sheep as long as he used to and would certainly like to? NO.  But there is that middle ground...quality of life as seen through your boy's eyes compared to "tolerable discomfort with the help of some meds and therapies afterward".

We have lived with and loved semi-suicidal BCs that would have considered 4 broken legs a "minor inconvenience" for over 25 years; and we have ALWAYS valued QUALITY OF LIFE over QUANTITY of life...and we've found that every now-and-then, you simply have to turn them loose and let them enjoy what they LOVE, because that is the BEST therapy............................and then patch them back together afterwards.  Yeah, it's NOT easy to see your kid(s) hurting every now-and-then; but all of ours, so far, have lived 13-14 years......................and they were ACTIVELY ENGAGED in their favorite pursuits, even if it was at home or at a park, until days before the "crossed over"...

Our best advice, for as much as you can reasonably and logically afford to do, gain as much knowledge about your boy's conditions, do what you can to help him tolerate them better; and then let him LIVE AND ENJOY HIS LIFE!  At times, it won't be easy; but you'll NEVER regret your choices on his behalf!

Sincere Best Wishes!!!!

Al & Barb Ceranko, Pelli, Katie & Lily aka Castle Camelot     

This has been a hard year. Several months ago my 8 year old border was diagnosed with beginning stage of kidney disease and now yesterday after x rays with disk disease and arthritis.The x rays showed L7S1 calcified disk with ostiofite(sp?) coming off it. This is the section between the last lumbar and 1st sacral vertebrae (the lumbosacral junction). He is receiving acupuncture and laser therapy for pain. He is energetic, at a good wt. 42 lbs. but bunny hops when he runs. His agility days are obviously over and he is no longer doing sheep. I understand No jumping at all but I am unsure what type of exercise I can do with him. Should I tug, let him chase after balls that have stopped rolling? Are there any specific fit paws exercises I could do with him. I plan to channel him into nose work and rally obedience. Suggestions, thoughts of how to best help my dog continue to have a quality life style will be most appreciated.
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.

betty wilson

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2016, 01:24:44 PM »
Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed reply. I am most grateful and now more hopeful. I just want to be sure Quinn continues to enjoy a quality of life without causing further injury to himself. We have been working with a vet nutritionist to deal with the kidney issue and he has been receiving acupuncture and cold lazer monthly so will continue that. I will also look into the other wonderful suggestions you had. thank you again so very,very much for your insight and help.

TheQuestKnight

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016, 02:27:14 PM »
Hi Betty,

So very happy I provided you with some potentially helpful information.  If we have learned nothing else from all of our fur-kids, present and past, we've learned that each dog is an individual and will likely respond to identical therapies in different ways, so EVERYTHING is "custom tailored" to their specific needs and individual body chemistries and structures, so don't be at all disappointed if you need to try different therapies because one that produced results for someone else's fur-kid isn't producing the same results for Quinn.

FWIW, maintain a daily diary of Quinn's dietary intake, activities, therapies, meds and supplements......and make note of anything such as increased/decreased water intake urination, changes in the consistency/quality of the feces, changes in coat texture, signs/locations of pain/discomfort/lameness.....................it may seem inconsequential on a daily basis; but when your vet(s) have a record to examine to try to establish trends, that diary can be extremely helpful.

Again, you have EVERY REASON to be hopeful and optimistic!  Quinn will read you like an open book with large print...and if you're worried about him, he'll focus his energies on finding ways to "fix you" and make you happy...it's the nature of the breed!  Stay HONESTLY UPBEAT and OPTIMISTIC...and your attitude will go a long way towards healing Quinn.

Stress is NOT good for ANY sentient being, so always keep that in your mind...and in your heart...and you and Quinn will be FINE!!!

Hugs & wags,

Al, Barb, Pelli, Katie & Lily

Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed reply. I am most grateful and now more hopeful. I just want to be sure Quinn continues to enjoy a quality of life without causing further injury to himself. We have been working with a vet nutritionist to deal with the kidney issue and he has been receiving acupuncture and cold lazer monthly so will continue that. I will also look into the other wonderful suggestions you had. thank you again so very,very much for your insight and help.
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.

Karen Echternacht

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2016, 03:38:47 PM »
There are also other sports that you two might enjoy.  Tracking, trailing, and trieball come to mind for "differently abled" dogs.

Amber Fountain

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2016, 08:06:10 PM »
I think nose work is a great idea! We've dabbled in that a bit, and the dogs really seemed to enjoy it. Best of luck, and I hope he gets to feeling better with acupuncture and cold laser!


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Amber, Braddock, and Magic
Round Rock, TX

MSito

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2016, 01:16:37 PM »
My " bunny hopper" does pretty well. I do keep up on massage, easy hikes, and swimming. She is 11 plus now and is very eager to agility. I think the best therapy is the massage at least for her.  It's certainly made an improvement. Also keeping her at the lower jump heights. 

betty wilson

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Re: needing help for dog with calcified disk
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2016, 06:38:46 AM »
Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions and support. The idea of a daily record is a good idea and will do that. I am so grateful, hopeful and determined to continue to provide joyful activities for Quinn as we move forward. Wish I could talk Hubby into a small pool he could swim in.