|An unfortunate common problem with the Dachshund breed
is back trouble. Formally referred to as Intervertebral disc disease (IVD)
or non-formally as a ruptured disc. The elongated Dachshund frame creates a
suspension problem that makes them susceptible to IVD. Jumping to and from
furniture tends to compound the problem.
When Shorty first showed signs of having back trouble
she was four years old. I was told it most often occurs between three and
seven years of age. Her back legs seemed unsteady; she was in obvious pain
and arching her back. The vet advised several weeks of crate rest and
provided some anti inflammatory medicines. After a couple of weeks
confinement she was feeling better and within a month back to her old self.
I invested in a step ramp to assist her onto the couch since I knew I’d
never convince her that she didn’t need to be in my lap.
A year later she began having issues again and this
time it was dramatically worse. The symptoms came on quickly one evening.
By 2:00 a.m. that morning she was in so much pain that I rushed her to an
emergency clinic. With medicine to ease her pain we were referred to a
Arriving at the referral, there were a group of buildings
with a variety of veterinary specialties. Unsure, I walked into the
neurology building only to realize that the address was wrong. The lady
behind the desk tried to stop me from leaving, I later found that they
specialized in Dachshunds.
Arriving at the address I’d been given, Shorty was
examined and given steroids through an IV. The specialist recommended
conservative treatment; he indicated that the surgery was very expensive and
not always successful. After spending the night, Shorty was sent home with
the same medicine and advice we’d been given the previous year.
The following Saturday morning, Shorty’s rear legs were
completely paralyzed. She could move but only by dragging her rear legs
behind her. Since all these episodes began I had acquired an education in
IVD and knew that any hope we had relied on getting her to surgery as
quickly as possible. Much to my dismay it was a holiday weekend and the
clinic we were at just two days earlier did not have anyone on staff that
could do the surgery. They assured me that they would help me find someone.
The next call I received was from the neurology clinic
across the street that I originally entered by mistake. It turns out my
mistake was leaving the first time. This clinic not only had the latest in
diagnostic equipment they specialize in spinal surgery.
Dr. Anthony Hopkins agreed to do the surgery that
afternoon. When I took Shorty to the clinic Dr. Hopkins examined her and
her records thoroughly. During his examination of her rear legs she snapped
at him. I was mortified but apparently that indicated that she could still
feel what they referred to as “deep pain” and that was a good sign. After my
discussion with him I knew I was the right place and making the right
decision. As I left, I saw Dr. Hopkins cradling her in his arms which eased
my frazzled nerves.
Dr. Hopkins contacted me immediately after the surgery
and several times over the next few days. On Sunday Shorty was already
walking and urinating on her own, albeit unsteady but on the mend.