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rustybucket April 30th, 2010 09:52 AM

Recently Paralyzed, cause unknown,
Hello all! This is my first post here on the forum, just found you guys on Google.

My dog Buddy (10 yr old Chow/Akita mix) has recently become paralyzed in his rear legs. This all started last Monday at lunch when he didn't want to go back outside when it was time for me to go back to work. By Wednesday his back-end was very 'wobbly', by Friday he no longer had use of his rear legs.

The vet has prescribed muscle relaxers, pain relievers and prednisone but has not been able to give a diagnosis.

On Wed (when wobblyness began) I took him to the vet for the first time. While at the vet I noticed a lump/knot on the left side (port side) of his spine mid-ways between his shoulder and hips. He is EXTREMEMLY tender/sensitive around this knot/lump.

At this point I'm literally out of options other than a VERY costly MRI.

I have x-rays and more detailed information posted online at:


Thanks again for any guidance, assistance or suggestions you may be able to provide.

Dr Lee April 30th, 2010 10:21 AM

I looked at the link. Buddy is a very cute dog. I do agree that a neurologist evaluation with MRI is the next step. Especially if we are not responding to the medications. I hope this helps. :pawprint:

mummummum April 30th, 2010 10:25 AM

Is there a veterinary teaching hospital anywhere nearby? They are usually less expensive and the best resources.

rustybucket April 30th, 2010 10:28 AM

[QUOTE=mummummum;913500]Is there a veterinary teaching hospital anywhere nearby? They are usually less expensive and the best resources.[/QUOTE]

The University of Florida is the closest facility with an MRI. They are estimating $1500 - $2000 for evaluation and MRI.

mummummum April 30th, 2010 10:36 AM

I appreciate your position Rustybucket ~ I often refer to my Ceili as my "retirement" dawg because of her substantial Vet bills.

greynold99 April 30th, 2010 10:51 AM

Personally, I've experienced a herniated lower-spine disk that resulted in much the same symptoms, ultimately not being able to walk other than short painful steps. Took 3 weeks bed rest and 6 weeks of therapy just to walk with a limp and then over a year to get rid of the limp...

Also experienced something similar with our small Jack Russell terrier-mix that on getting out for the first time to play a couple of years ago overexerted herself and hurt her spine, almost crippled herself - both legs would not work for several weeks.
Vet recommended getting one of those snap-on pet flotation devices and having her float in a warm water tub to exercise those legs as she was able to. She still does not have right full hind leg functionality/movement - she just kind of drags it along. Unfortunately, given a chance she'll run a cat on three-legs as fast as she can go.
Hope it works out for both of you.

mummummum April 30th, 2010 11:05 AM

A diagnosis would be useful first though and the MRI appears to be required to get one. With spine/cord issues I would worry about causing more damage by trying a therapy/ treatment before I saw the results of the MRI. My :2cents:

rustybucket April 30th, 2010 11:12 AM

[QUOTE=mummummum;913507]I appreciate your position Rustybucket ~ I often refer to my Ceili as my "retirement" dawg because of her substantial Vet bills.[/QUOTE]

I guess the part that I'm torn about isn't necessarily the money. It's the fact that Buddy is 10yrs old. From what the vet said there is very little chance that the MRI would actually show something that was operable.

What could the MRI find that would possibly be operable on a 10yr old dog? Approx how much would that operation cost?

It's just hard for me to consider putting him through an operation, especially one that close to the spine. Even with the operation he is still an old dog and probably only has a couple of years left anyways.....

The bottom line is that I don't know what to do.... :confused:

mummummum April 30th, 2010 11:55 AM

It's tough ~ specially with our older ones~ I agree.

The MRI will look at your dogs spine in three dimensions rather than the two offered by an xray. So muscles, ligaments, veins, arteries ~ anything soft tissue can be seen.

He may not need an operation. Hard to tell without a diagnosis. :shrug:

hazelrunpack April 30th, 2010 12:55 PM

I'm sorry you and Buddy are going through this, rustybucket! :grouphug:

We had a springer (age 6) that had an arthritic spine. Between getting both her hips replaced due to dysplasia, we found that her back was causing her a lot of pain and the pressure on the nerves was causing her to lose function in her legs. So we had a surgery done that sliced off the top of the vetebrae to enable the surgeon to carefully remove some of the material that was pressing on the nerves. She died just before her 15th birthday of unrelated causes and her back caused her no more trouble in those 9 years post-surgery. Even if she'd been 10 at the time of diagnosis, we still would have given her another 5 pain-free and functional years. So Buddy's age may not be that much of a factor, and there are things that can be fixed surgically or otherwise.

Proper diagnosis and info on prognoses with and without surgery may help you decide, and it might not involve an MRI. Given what we've experienced with our dogs past and present, if it were us, we'd likely find a good veterinary orthopedic surgeon and have an evaluation done. We've had very good luck at the local teaching hospitals. Orthopedics specialists treat many more cases like this than regular vets see and often can suggest therapies other than surgery. They often see things in xrays that our regular vets miss entirely. It might at least be worth a consultation for Buddy. :fingerscr

rustybucket April 30th, 2010 03:42 PM

Does anyone else feel that seeing an orthopedic surgeon would be a good step?

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