BACK, TEETH & OTHER COMMON MEDICAL ISSUES
What is IVDD & how does it relate to my dog's back?
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae (bones) of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the spinal cord space. This is also commonly called a herniated disc or slipped disc.These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord, causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.
Made up of a gelatinous substance surrounded by a thick outer layer, intervertebral discs are basically the shock absorbers of the spine and therefore very important.
Some symptoms that your dog may be experiencing a back related injury include:
Unwillingness to jump
Pain and weakness in rear legs (lameness)
Crying out in pain
Hunched back or neck with tense muscles
Reduced appetite and activity level
Loss of bladder and/or bowel control (urinary and fecal incontinence) or unwillingness to posture to eliminate
My dog has just injured its back and is not moving, what should I do?
It's important to keep you dog from moving around immediately after their injury. If you have a crate, make a comfortable bed in there and only let your pet out to use the bathroom (you will have to carry them).
They will need to get to your vet (or if after business hours or on the weekend) or to emergency care as soon as possible. Your vet will most likely prescribe anti inflammatories and pain medication for short term care while you decide what the best treatment plan is for your pet.
Conservative treatment may include total crate rest for more minor injuries and more serious ones may include surgical intervention.
Where can I learn more about IVDD & disc issues?
We recommend two websites to learn more about this condition:
Dodgerslist is a breed specific guide to disc disease in dachshunds and covers just about every aspect of the condition.
You may have head of Crusoe the Celbrity Dachshund? He has also been afflicted by this condition. His owner has developed a fairly extensive page offering lots of tips and differing points of views on how best to treat dachshunds with this condition.
Does my dog have to be euthanised because it can't walk?
No. Dogs are adaptable and can quickly learn to walk using a wheelchair. There are other tools like "drag bags" and diapers to help your pet if they don't regain full use of their legs, bladder or bowels.
Why does your site keep mentioning dentals?
Dachshunds have notoriously bad teeth compared to other breeds. Often, we get dogs surrendered to us that are seniors and have never had so much as a teeth cleaning before. It's not uncommon to have to have all of a doxie's teeth pulled when they have been neglected for a long time.
For this reason, we highly recommend a yearly dental for all dachshunds.
What is the average cost of a dental?
This depends on where you live, but a basic teeth cleaning with no extractions usually run around $500 in the Portland metro area. If it is discovered that lots of teeth have to be pulled after x-rays, you may spend upwards of $1800.
Finally, if a dog requires full-mouth extractions due to neglected dental care, this procedure can run as much as $2400. The typical well-cared for pet getting regular dental care should never have to experience a procedure this painful and involved.
Does my dachshund need a dental every year?
Simply put: yes. It is much more cost effective for you and better for your pet to get an annual cleaning and a just few extractions at a time as opposed to major dental surgery every few years.
Why do dachshunds need dental care?
Lack of dental care may potentially lead to kidney and liver problems. Unchecked dental disease can eventually lead to organ failure in some cases.
What is Cushing's Disease?
Cushing's disease is a condition in which the adrenal glands overproduce certain hormones. The medical term for this disease is hyperadrenocorticism. Literally translated, “hyper” means over active, “adreno” means adrenal gland, and “corticism” refers to the outer part of the adrenal gland.
The adrenal glands are located near the kidneys and produce several vital substances that regulate a variety of body functions and are necessary to sustain life. The most widely known of these substances is cortisol, commonly known as “cortisone.” Decreased or excessive production of these substances, especially cortisol, may be life-threatening.
This disease could be caused by one of three things:
1) A pituitary gland tumor located at the based of the brain that may be either benign or malignant. The tumor causes the pituitary gland to overproduce a hormone (ACTH) that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
2)An adrenal gland tumor. If the tumor is benign, surgical removal will cure the disease. If the tumor is malignant, surgery may help for some time, but the prognosis is much less favorable.
3)Excessive cortisol from prolonged use of steroids.
What are some of the symtoms of Cushing's Disease?
Some of the common symptoms of Cushing's include:
Increase thirst and urination
A "pot-bellied" appearance that won't go away with diet and exercise
How do I know if my dog has Cushing's Disease?
Your vet will run diagnostic tests to diagnose the disease. They usually start with blood work to see if the results indicate a potential Cushing's diagnosis such as elevated liver enzymes, decreased BUN levels and high cholesterol.
Your vet may recommend an ultrasound or will likely run a high (or low) dexamethasone suppression test. This test helps a vet determine the cause for the disease (pituitary or adrenal dependent). This distinction is vital for treatment. However, this test requires patients to spend at least eight hours in the hospital and can be costly but is a worthwhile diagnostic tool.
My vet just confirmed my dog has Cushing's Disease, what should I expect?
Treatment will be determined based on the underlying cause for the Cushing's disease diagnosis and may include medication, surgery or discontinuing a steroid (if your dog is on one and this is causing the issue).
This can be an expensive disease to manage but successful monitoring and treatment can prolong your pet's life for years, depending on the cause and progression of the disease.