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Yorkshire Terrier Dragging Rear - Need Help

November 16th, 2005, 01:26 AM

I am new here, and looking for some info on the recent problem with my yorkie. His name is Piper, he is only 4 years old. Just today he started dragging his rear end, and will not use his back legs really. We took him to the vet, and the vet wants to start with a blood test, and then xrays tommorow.

For about the last year every once in a while Piper would have problems jumping up, we took him to the vet once, he had a blood test, they found nothing and then he recovered. This time it is different, there is no sign that he will walk :(

I am trying to find as much info as I can. I have read a lot about disc problems? If this is the case what is the cost for this kind of treatment, such as surgery. Not that it matters, b/c we will do anything, I am just getting worried about everything.

Any help would be so nice, Sorry I have rambled on. I guess I am looking for someone to give me hope that we will get our spunky Piper back.

Thank you so much

November 16th, 2005, 01:57 AM
I joined this group too, only a couple days ago because my baby has been having problems...

I'm really not too sure of what is wrong with poor Piper, but that my dog Mocha is starting to drag his hind legs too when jumping onto beds and couches, and he was recently diagnosed with Intervertebral disk hernia. Are there any other symptoms? I have some thorough insight into what is going on with my pooch on another thread "Confused and Scared.. doggie depression, does it exist? HELP!!" I'm not sure if it will help figure out what is wrong with Piper, but if conditions are similar, it might be of some use!

I hope you find out what the problem is with your puppy, and I agree, I will spend anything on my Mocha, too :) Let us know how the blood test and x-ray goes!

November 16th, 2005, 06:51 AM
Before going with expensive surgeries (or worse). Find a pet chiropractor. My vet has one available and I asked for the her stats. Apparently she originally worked on horses etc, but moved to smaller animals that had back problems. She had a high success rate with fixing full and partial poralisis (sp). It couldn't really hurt. Her best work was with disk problems.

Obviously you'd need to find your own, but ask your vet, they are out there. (unless you vet is only out for money and doesn't suggest you try alternatives to surgery).

November 16th, 2005, 10:43 AM
I cannot stress enough the importance of having your dog X-rayed as soon as possible to determine cause of paralysis - I am using the word paralysis because that appears to be what is happening. There can be a few causes but if your dog is experiencing calcification of the discs resulting in pressure to the spine, you will either have to have your dog put on steroids and kept perfectly still, and moved to increasingly smaller crates as movement begins to return - if it does - no guarantee. Plan B - preferable, depending on results of X-Rays is surgery. Since your dog's problem still continues to be confined to back end, only a few discs might be calcified - or affected. This will determine the final cost of the surgery which MUST be performed by a specialist - in my 2 cases it was a Neurosurgeon - full body - back and neck. Cost was $6,000 - last surgery performed in June 2003. But not every dog's condition is as severe as suffered by my two wonder wieners - 2 of worst cases seen. But the longer you delay, the stats on regaining X% use of legs decrease. Also if it is a Stage II type of disc problem, nuclear fluid could have been leaking causing spinal cord death - the symptoms do not present the same for Stage II as they do with Stage I - Stage II is "all of a sudden" - and off you go to Guelph for midnight surgery. Unfortunately the surgery will either work or it won't - again no guarantee. Your profile does not state where you live. You would have to be referred to a specialist. Your vet would take the first X-rays and if surgery is called for will make referral for you. If you live in Toronto, I know where you will likely end up. McMurrich Street or Guelph. I must stress again - please have X-rays done asap. My dog's were done as soon as limp started - and it was a good thing. Please report back.

November 16th, 2005, 10:53 AM
Oh my goodness, I am completely scared. I live in BC by the way, in the lower mainland. Piper cannot move, and our vet knows this and he said today at around 4pm he has him booked for xrays. I guess I will no more once I find out the xray results. I just can't comprehend how fast this happened. Thank you all for your replys


November 16th, 2005, 10:59 AM
I can completely understand how fast this happened - try 15 minutes for full body paralysis. This was my Stage II guy. Stage I took a bit longer - a few hours and I could see it happening. I am happy to hear you are going for X-Rays. Your primary vet's X-Rays should indicate basic problem. If you are sent to a neuro, heavy duty X-Rays will be taken prior to any surgery. Hopefully it won't come to that. I strongly suggest that if your vet wants to keep your dog at the clinic tonight that you allow him/her to do so - particularly if he is put on steroids to help on an interim basis. Or if you have a full service emergency to cover nights and your vet wants your pup moved there tonight, please do so. At least at the vet's you can be assured that the dog will be kept still - much easier than trying to do this at home. I really wish I didn't know so much about this subject.

November 16th, 2005, 11:47 AM
Thank you so much for all of your help. I managed to get Piper in at 1:30 today for xrays.


November 16th, 2005, 02:07 PM
Will watch for results. You should be able to get them today and you are 3 hours earlier than we are. Really hope that only a couple of discs are affected so that treatment can be easy(ier) and have a better chance of success. If puppy is hospitalized, when he comes home, trust me, "h" on earth trying to keep from excess movement. It will really help if your vet has other patients who have been through this. My vet has a lot of experience.

November 16th, 2005, 04:34 PM
Well, we just got a call from our vet, and he has faxed the info to a specialist. He told us that he couldn't really find anything on the xray and that he needs a different one. I am currently waiting on a call from the specialist to find out when we will take Piper in. Would they not be able to see disc problems --- I wonder what else it could be. I will post again when I know more.

November 16th, 2005, 04:44 PM
The specialist's office just phoned me and said I can get Piper in to their office in the next 1/2 hour he can see him. This by the way is literally impossible, as I am more than 1/2 hour away. So, the next time is tommorow at 12 noon. This is just to see a neuro specialist, I thought it was for some special xray, but it is not. The secretary said the specialist reviewed the records, and gave us those 2 times, which doesn't really tell me much as to how serious this is really. We are going to pick up Piper shortly. I don't understand what else could be wrong. A tumour somewhere? Brain Damage? His spirits are good though.


November 16th, 2005, 07:49 PM
Here is the latest update.

I went to the vet to pick up the xrays, he showed them to me and said that he is unable to make any kind of diagnosis, we are going to the neuro vet tommorow at 12pm. Midway through his body, on his spine he said there looked to be spots between his discs, but said it was hard to tell what it was. He did say that Piper's lumbar region was probably what was affected. So perhaps disc problems or a tumour.

He did not want to give him prenisone (sp) tonight as he doesn't want his movement masked. I asked if he thought Piper had paralysis and he said no, he said that Piper is just not putting weight on his rear, but is not paralyzed ???

Tommorow he said they may want to do a CT, this is very expensive 800 I think, my vet said if we wanted to depending on what comes out from the consultation we could try prenisone (sp) first, and then maybe go to CT scan and further different treatment.

I asked about chiropractic medicine, and he didn't have much to say.


I will post again after the specialist appt tommorow

November 16th, 2005, 07:51 PM
Oh, one more thing he said his pancreatic enzymes were a little high from the blood work?

November 17th, 2005, 05:48 PM

Here is what the specialist has said

-mildly enlarged cardiac silohuette
-several disc spaces containing mineralized materials
-Dorsal to the L2/L3 disc space, there is a small amount of mineralized material within the spinal cord
-soft parasternal murmur (noted that Piper was shaking & Panting during)
-Pain elicited upon palpatation of dorsal spinous processes of the cranial lumbar spine
-rest of exam was unremarkable

Neurological Exam noted
-hindlimb ataxia
-delayed postural reactions in both hindlimbs
-Neuroatomic localization to spinal cord segments T3-L3

Likely Diagnosis is Invertebral Disc Herniation, but other rule outs include disospondylitis, myelitis, and neoplasia

70% Chance that strict conservative management will help
30% Of these dogs relapse that range from incoordination to paralysis

At least 80% chance that surgery will reverse clinical signs

Diagnostic Plan
-CT of T/L spine
-Decompressive Surgery

Due to diarrhea and blood discontinue metacam

I am not sure what I should do???

November 17th, 2005, 05:57 PM
Piper has already had episodes where he has been unable to jump, and a little wobbly on his legs, in these cases we rest him and give him Baby Advil and he is back to normal. The vet said given his history it is likely that Piper will relapse then if he has crate rest, and the fact that each time he is getting worse is not favourable.

Piper has also recovered by about 50% with just 2 days crate rest. The issue I guess is if he has another attack that could potentially leave him paralyzed.

January 28th, 2007, 02:46 AM
Well it has been a little over a year, and I am sorry to say that Piper is suffering a relapse, and I currently have him on crate rest. I am going to try and get him into the vet tommorow, but I am afraid that he is paralyzed. Does anyone know how to check this?

Back in Nov 05 we opted for Crate rest, and if I remember correctly we kept him confined until Christmas, so about 6 weeks, only bathroom breaks. We didn't give him prenisone. It worked!!! But sadly today Piper has had a relapse and is not using either of his back legs, he completely drags both.

I am not sure what the options are now? I really don't want to have surgery, our vet talked us out of it last time.

Anyway, thought I would update.

January 29th, 2007, 07:03 AM
Have you been back to the vet yet? Are you seeing any improvement?

We just emerged from Hobo's second bout with this condition and it is scary and sad to see them so incapacitated.

Hope you will have some good news to report soon. Good Luck :fingerscr

January 29th, 2007, 07:59 AM
I'm sorry to hear about the relapse. I had a similar thing happen with one of my cats last year and I found the Prednisone worked really well in combination with the cage rest. I also took her for acupuncture and so far she's been fine. Please let us know what the vet says, and good luck.

January 29th, 2007, 12:21 PM
Is Piper completely paralyzed - or is the paralysis limited to the back legs (at this point)? To tell you the truth, I thought that Piper had had surgery when first diagnosed - this would not mean that a relapse would not have happened. It may not be too late for Piper - If Piper were say 12 with a life expectancy of 12 - 15 years, I wouldn't do it. Both of my guys were young - first one 3, second had just turned 6. But the big difference even though each pup was worst case since every single disc in their bodies were effected, our second guy turned out to have Stage II which resulted in some spinal cord death as the nuclear fluid leaked on to the spinal column. When he started to paralyze, it happened in 15 minutes - an he was already hooked up to steroids. He had to be rushed to Guelph University for midnight surgery as due to speed of paralysis, by morning it would have been too late. He had an MRI and other X-Rays - which of course do not reveal the spinal cord death (at least not on June 15, 2003). The neuro was very optimistic and thought he would come back to 95% - he regained only 70% - which was more than enough to lead a decent life for an Alpha pup, but due to spinal cord death evident at that point, the chance of a major relapse was very likely - with a second surgery being ruled out unless we wanted him to have only 20% use of his body - not the life for my guy - and our Neuro had 2 pups at home recovering from same surgery - so he told us just to enjoy the time we had left - 10 months to the day of his surgery, Jack paralyzed. He also had a slightly enlarged heart. Going in, had we known he would only have 10 months - and based on my experience with our first guy - basically knowing what the surgery entailed (it is not an easy operation when dealing with full body) - I probably wouldn't have put Jack through it. But a decision had to be made immediately - and based on our previous experience, and Jack's age, we went ahead. Had he been 12 or so I wouldn't have done it. So I think you will have to see the neuro and determine if it is too late. You would be looking at I expect $6,000 plus - with absolutely no guarantees. If only a couple of discs are affected - and not spinal cord death - cost would still be very high due to the MRI etc. but chances for recovery - and the recovery process itself would be greater. I met people at Guelph whose dogs had surgery on only one or two discs and they were up and about in no time -almost like out patients. I hope that Piper does have a chance. I don't suppose you happen to have the pet insurance plan VetInsurance?? If you do, they may well cover the surgery. VetInsurance didn't exist when we had our Dachshunds, but I did take it out for our Eskimo - and could not believe that it covered disc disease surgery - but it does not cover Hip Dysplasia. Most definitely major X-Rays will be required and not the type taken at a regular vets office. In Toronto there are excellent neuros, but even in the worst emergency will only operate with a 24 hour work-up period - X-Rays etc. But Guelph - and I expect BC is the same - has on-call neuros who have the equipment on hand to do immediate MRIs etc. and midnight surgeries. Best of luck and please report back. What you will really want to watch for is if Piper really starts to cry when picked up - could be pressure directly on the spinal nerve. This happened with our first guy - we had to carry him to vet - each of us holding the corner of a blanket.

January 29th, 2007, 05:57 PM
Well we are back from the Vet - Piper got an IV drip and some steroids - he also has something for the pain. There is no change yet, my VET said to wait 10 days.

Piper is in REALLY good spirits (He is 5), and he was sooo excited when I brought him home and gave him a treat.

I really don't know what I should do? I don't have pet insurance. But it looks like surgery is my only option.

Piper in the last year has done really well, and just recently got really hunch backed, and then now has completely lost his mobility. He still has deep pain in his hind legs, and can go to the bathroom on his own.

Does anyone know how long it takes for the Prenisone to work? Does everyone faced with this decision go with surgery?

January 30th, 2007, 10:26 AM
I am surprised your vet wants you to wait 10 days considering Piper's history. My vet would immediately have had us at the neuro's or if an appointment wasn't immediately available - arranged an emergency appointment with Guelph neuro. As far as how many people opt for surgery rather than steroid treatment - these days - many. When my first guy had his full body surgery the procedure was still new, but he was 3 and it was his only chance - fortunately surgical techniques had advanced during the 1 1/2 years prior during which he suffered from 3 events of paralysis treated at vets for 2 week periods. This started in 1987 - shortly before that the normal treatment was euthanasia. We took the gamble and it paid off. Jump forward to today. Every Dachshund I see has to say hello to me and many bear the tell-tale back scar. Their owners often tell me that after the first event they opted for steroids, but at second - surgery. And condition had usually worsened by the second event. There are no guarantees either way. But 2 weeks in hospital being treated with steroids sure isn't cheap either - and depending on how bad the disc disease is, hospitalization is often required. I hope things work out for Piper. But waiting for 10 days - and I stress that my opinion is based only on my very considerable (and unwanted) experience with this dreadful condition - is 10 days too long. If you do see a neuro you will have to pay again for all of the required X-Rays etc. Don't want to be the voice of doom and gloom here, but having seen the worst of it twice I have issues with disc disease. My Eskie is not likely to develop it, but then my friend's Weim has just been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and now must decide what to do. But her pup is 9 1/2 - Weim's have an average life expectancy of 10 - 12 years - something which definitely must considered - her pup has many affected discs and this surgery is not easy is such cases - and the pup is absolutely huge. But should my Eskie begin dragging his bum I would freak and show up on vet's doorstep. Best of luck.

Mocha's mum
January 30th, 2007, 06:44 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your pup :sad:

My Lhasa has Intervertebral Disc Disease which means the gooey, cushioney gel between his vertebrae has started to calcify. Depending on the nature of the disease, it could be genetic, or due to an accident. I wrote a bit about it on the pet encyclopedia on this forum. Anyway when he gets a flare up, he suffers paralysis in his rear legs, as well as muscle spasm and pain. His last flare up was in July, and he didn't 'recover' until September. He was on Metacam once a day.

He was also put on kennel rest. Which means, kennel all the time (or mommy's lap), and carry outside to do business. NO stairs, NO jumping (even when pup is feeling better). I would often hold Mocha on my lap and put a warm bean bag on his spine and belly, which would help with the spasm.

I also bought a ramp for the bed and couch. It was $150 at PetsMart. It's a worthy investment for sure. And it didn't take long for Mocha to get used to it.

Now, depending on where you live, you may be able to get surgery for you pup. However, it is quite pricey ($7000). I live in Edmonton, Alberta, and the only clinic in Alberta that does the surgery is in Calgary. So there would be travel expenses as well. The surgery is called a disc fenestration, and it involves scraping out the calcified center of the affected discs.

I know this is a rotten disease, and it broke my heart when my pup had his flare ups and was unable to walk or even stand. But with some preventative measures and TLC, you should be okay. Mocha hasn't had a flare up since the summer, and he's pretty much back to normal. He still has a little waddle and sometimes loses his balance when he's trying to lift his leg, but he's a heck of a lot better than he was last summer!