Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Neurological Disorders Resources. Treatment and care for pets having pain or trouble walking or standing due to spinal injuries or neurological disorders like IVDD, FCE and DM.
Grrretl
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Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by Grrretl » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:40 pm

Hello everyone! Glad to have found this forum. :D

I just adopted an 8 year old dachshund from a rescue organization, and he has IVDD. He received laser treatments and he can now walk, but with a wobble on both rear legs. His injury is located in vertebral disks T13 - L1.

Have been looking at a Walkin’ Back Brace on this website, which provides for rehabilitation, and overall support for small dog breeds.

Would a brace of this nature help improve the way he walks, and get rid of the wobble to some extent?

Thank you for your opinion.

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CarolC
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by CarolC » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:11 pm

Hi Grrretl,

I've never tried that brace and I don't know anyone who has, and least not that I can remember. The best advice I can find seems to involve asking your vet, because the decision is made on an individual basis. Here are a couple of links.

http://www.dodgerslist.com/neurocorner2/backbraces.htm
http://www.dodgerslist.com/literature/S ... htm#Braces

It is not unusual for a dog with IVDD to be a bit wobbly (ataxic) after a disk episode. Some of them will improve, but often the dog will continue to have a bit of an unusual gait, which does not seem to bother the dog at all.

It is wonderful that you were willing to adopt a special needs dog. :wub: I would recommend reading the guidance on Dodgerslist regarding nonsurgical treatment (they call it conservative treatment ) of IVDD. Be sure the rescue you got him from did the *full* course of treatment, which involves 8 weeks of *strict* crate rest, and may include medication and cold laser (as you mentioned) or other *passive* treatment. If the rescue cannot assure you that the dog was in the crate 24/7 and only out to potty for 8 full weeks of uninterrupted rest, you may need to do that for your new dog in order to try to avoid a set back. You may also see a little improvement in the walking, but the main thing is to be as sure as possible that the disk is really healed.

Once the disk itself is healed, the nerves can then continue to heal for months and literally years. That is where you may see some gradual improvement in the gait. Physical therapy can help the dog make the most of recovery in the months following a disk episode, but it can only done after he is released by the vet, after the disk itself is definitely fully healed. Doing PT before the disk is fully healed can result in injury or even complete paralysis.

Dodgerlist is also a good place to learn about lifestyle changes appropriate for the IVDD dog, such as using a ramp instead of stairs, no jumping off of furniture, and even the right way to carry your dog.

:whale:

Grrretl
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by Grrretl » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:36 pm

CarolC,

Thank you for the very useful information! It is certainly appreciated.

The situation I have with my little Peanut (chocolate/tan dachsie, 12 lbs) is that he was turned into an Animal Center to be euthanized, the center opted for a DNK, and he was taken in by a Rescue. His paper trail does not describe what, exactly, was done with him. A foster mum kept him for 3 months, but this happened after laser treatments. If crate rest was part of the picture is unknown to me, but somehow he reached the point where he could walk with a wobble.

The veterinarian I have gone to for the last 10 years, to my knowledge, is not an IVDD expert.

After reading information on the links you provided, I am not jumping into any kind of brace.

However, I am trying to find a way for Peanut to improve his hind legs movement, but, I sure do not want to do something that will make matters worse. :shock:

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CarolC
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by CarolC » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:16 am

It sounds like he's a tweenie, almost a mini, that's good. :D It was wonderful of the shelter to save him and pay for cold laser, and of the rescue to pull him and foster him.
:angel:

I do not know if it is an option, but the rescue might be willing to put you in touch with the foster so you could get a more complete history on him. The foster may be thrilled to meet or email with you and tell you all about him. And the foster the rescue gave him to may have been a medical foster, or a very experienced foster (or may not). Also, if this was a breed rescue (a dachshund rescue), they may have more experience with IVDD dogs than a general rescue, and the vet they use may be better informed about IVDD dachshunds, but IVDD does affect other breeds, too.

Another thought is, if the rescue is local, and if the foster says the rescue vet has experience with IVDD, you might consider trying out their vet for this one particular pet, while continuing to take your other dogs/pets to your regular vet? Just an idea, thinking out loud. If the experienced vet can assure you that Peanut is fully healed, then your regular vet could probably provide his other routine care. Some dogs will have a second episode of IVDD, but the majority will not. (Again, it is helpful to address things in his environment like jumping off the bed and running up and down stairs, rough play with other dogs, etc. to try to protect him from further episodes.)

It would also be good to know where he got the cold laser, as I don't think that is available everywhere. At least here I don't think regular vets all have it. He may have been seen by a rehab specialist, I have no idea, it would be something to try to find out. You have a lot of unanswered questions it would be interesting to find out! :)

As far as I know, and I am not an expert, one important thing is whether he has any signs of pain at all. If you can't get much info from the rescue and don't want to try another vet, this is pretty basic and may be something your regular vet could determine. Or you may have a sense of whether he is completely pain-free yourself. Pain could be an indication that it may not be fully healed.

I'm giving you my :2cents: , but you have kind of a unique situation, not knowing his full history (he has passed through several hands) and you might consider asking how they would handle this situation on Dodgerslist. They are considered to be reliable for best practices in caring for a dachshund with IVDD.

If you can establish that the disk is indeed properly healed, then I would highly, highly recommend water therapy to strengthen and improve his walking. Hydrotherapy can be done at a canine rehab facility, or it can be done free at home with a dog this size. Here are some links about hydrotherapy.

http://www.abledogs.net/poppy.html
http://www.dodgerslist.com/literature/watertherapy.htm

Grrretl
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by Grrretl » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:04 pm

CarolC,

Thank you for all your good advice! :trophy:

Did talk to the foster, and also was able to talk to the vet that gave little Peanut the laser treatments. I live in Illinois, and all the individuals that dealt with Peanut live in Tennessee. I saw him online, and went to TN to get him.

Peanut had cage rest also, and the vet believes the disk between T13 - L1 is healed, but, Peanut will probably have some degree of wobble for the rest of his life. He also thinks letting Peanut have yard time where he can walk and move around may serve to improve the situation. He did not recommend a brace or a wheelchair.

Peanut does not appear to be in any kind of pain. Have not heard him cry at all. At night, when we all sit on the couch, he goes between me and the left armrest. I rub him down his back for about 15 minutes, and also use a cool gel pad on the area where the injury is. The vet thought that was fine.

Anyway, this little Peanut had one heck of a hard ride for a long while, but now he has settled down where he can enjoy his life. He just loves to be in the yard.

He is also a very lovable treasure. As far as I am concerned, he can wobble all he wants. That will just make him more special!
Peanut.jpg

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critters
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by critters » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:40 am

Grrretl wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:04 pm


I live in Illinois, and all the individuals that dealt with Peanut live in Tennessee. I saw him online, and went to TN to get him.
:whale: :wow: What a trip!

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CarolC
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by CarolC » Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:49 pm

Wow! What a story! :trophy: He is a very lucky dog!

Very cool that you got to talk to the foster, and the vet thinks he is healed. Yes, I'm sure normal walking will help. Exercising in an underwater treadmill is something else to consider.
Grretl wrote:He is also a very lovable treasure. As far as I am concerned, he can wobble all he wants. That will just make him more special!
Couldn't agree more!!! :D


Grrretl
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by Grrretl » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:11 pm

critters and CarolC,

Thank for your replies.

Will check to see if there is anyone offering water therapy (underwater treadmill) around here. I think I did a general search, and did not find any, but, I'll do some phone calls.

Still keep thinking about a wheelchair, and using it 2 or 3 times a day for some walking exercises in the yard. A rehabilitation type of exercise. Peanut wobbles with his rear legs, and some times he just drops to the ground and picks himself up again. Keep thinking if he had a wheelchair he could do some walking to strengthen his legs muscles without all the falling.
Would appreciate some thoughts on this.

Thanks for all your suggestions!! :D

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critters
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by critters » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:36 am

Grrretl wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:11 pm


Still keep thinking about a wheelchair, and using it 2 or 3 times a day for some walking exercises in the yard. A rehabilitation type of exercise. Peanut wobbles with his rear legs, and some times he just drops to the ground and picks himself up again. Keep thinking if he had a wheelchair he could do some walking to strengthen his legs muscles without all the falling.
I'd say that's a good idea, especially for longer and more social events. With Halloween coming, sometimes there are events for critters. Plus there are always trips to stores or parks that can be done. For the more social types these can be very rewarding, and it's just like people who can walk at home but who may use a wheelchair at, say, the mall.

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critters
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by critters » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:37 am

PS--I love that handle--Grrretl! :mrgreen:

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CarolC
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by CarolC » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:32 pm

I'd consider both sides on the wheelchair, but if money is no problem then it might be worth trying. On the one hand, I'm guessing it won't be long before he is stronger, and then he won't need it, so maybe just getting a rear support harness would be enough to keep him on his feet during rehab. On the other hand, he could use it now, and when he is walking better you could resell it, or keep it for later in case he needs it when he is 15 or something. I think he may soon be past this stage, but even if Peanut is walking well soon, there might be times when you could still use it. Joe had an IVDD beagle named Murphy who had back surgery and then learned to walk again. He still used the wheelchair for long walks where he might get tired.

Another way to look at it is that pushing up from a fall is a form of PT in itself. It's sort of a sit-stand exercise. It is strengthening his legs.

One more use of a wheelchair (or harness) is that it could help him get his energy worked off, which makes it easier for him to practice walking outside of the cart without being too energetic and eager. He's going to get his legs tangled and trip himself when he's not in the cart because that is part of recovery, but he'll do it more if he is a bundle of energy that can't slow down. :) If you let him burn off some energy, then take him out of the cart or harness, he may do better.

You mentioned using it in the yard. I'm not sure if you're considering using it *only* in the yard, or are picturing going for walks, and what I am going to say may not be an issue in Illinois where you are. When you have a small dog in a wheelchair on the street, it is harder to pick him up in a hurry, although with your dog being 12 lbs it is at least possible, but picking up a dog with a wheelchair attached to his body has to be done carefully so as not to strain his back. Picking up a dog wearing a walking harness attached to his body can be done quickly on the street or in a store if you get charged by a large dog. So depending on your city, you may be able to walk him in public or it may be safer to use the cart in your back yard (as you were saying).

Bobbie had no problem walking her dogs on the street in California. Paul in Maine used to take his wheelchair dogs to events everywhere. Here in Texas I have not been able to actually walk a dog around the block since about 2008 due to large, aggressive dogs running loose. There used to be a discussion thread here about attacking the disabled, and whether some other dogs react differently to a dog in a wheelchair. But here where I live, the issue is just that there are a lot of large, aggressive dogs and you have to be careful, especially with small dogs.

If money is no issue, a wheelchair would be worth considering for rehab as you say, with 4-feet-on-the-ground as a part of continued PT.
http://www.everythingdachshund.com/dachsyinfo/dachshundintervertebraldiskdisease.htm" wrote: Carts are made commercially or can be made at home to provide "mobility" for paralyzed dogs. Carts allow dogs to get up and participate in more household activities, but do not provide any form of physiotherapy. Owners who "abandon" their dogs to carts will probably never have a walking dog again. Carts have a place in the overall management of paralyzed dogs but can not be substituted for good nursing care and physiotherapy.

Grrretl
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by Grrretl » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:13 pm

Thank you both for your suggestions!!

I am going to give a wheelchair a try. If there is progress, fine, if not, I can always donate it to the rescue where Peanut came from.

Also, after doing some searches and phone calls, found a veterinary clinic with two certified water therapy doctors. They have an underwater treadmill for dogs, and it is only about 4 miles from where I live! Will be making an appointment to get Peanut evaluated, and see what they recommend. :D

Today Peanut had a dental, and he lost 12 teeth that were in bad shape. He goes back to the vet in 2 weeks, and after that, he should be ready for the water therapy evaluation.

Once again, thank you for all your help!! :snoopy:

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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by CarolC » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:23 pm

That is really amazing that you found a rehab place with a treadmill so close to home(!) Woohoo!!! Glad you won't have to drive a long way every time. You may want to consider an extra snuggly blanket to put in his carrier when cold weather comes. Some places do drop-off and work the dog in during the day, some let you wait in a waiting room, some let you watch. Some offer appointments and some offer packages (a group of sessions for a price).

Recovery is very gradual and having a whole bunch of appointments squeezed together in a short time is expensive and is probably not going to be extra helpful for a disk injury. Steady PT over time, and see where he is 6 months from now. They may want to have him in more frequently at first while he is getting used to the treadmill, but after that twice or even once a week may be good depending on what you can afford and what your schedule permits, because they will probably give you exercises to do at home with him between appointments.

Good idea on donating the wheelchair. I've done that with 3 wheelchairs (donated them to the PT place for loaners or to give to people).

Peanut hit the jackpot when they let you adopt him. A wheelchair, a dental, PT, and someone who loves him the way he is. He's a very lucky little dog.
:hearts:

Grrretl
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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by Grrretl » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:07 pm

CarolC,

I am the lucky one to have him!! :D

Lost my one and only 14 year old choc/tan wiener earlier this year. When I got him, he had been in a rescue for over six months. His name was Trooper. He had been adopted and returned for several misbehaviors. However, we got along great, and he was the most expressive and comical of all the ten dachshunds I've had during my life. He developed meningeal adenomas in the lining of his brain, and that was tough. I kept him until he had a tremendous seizure, and there was absolutely no hope.

This may sound crazy, but when i lost him, I knew he 'got his wings', and became my wiener guardian angel. A few moths later the thought came to mind to look for another choc/tan, and I found Peanut. Something (felt it was my Trooper) kept telling me to get him, no matter what the challenge. After the struggle to keep Trooper alive, I felt that I could do the same for Peanut, although this time it is not a matter of life and death. Keeping Peanut going is a pleasure.

I am very grateful for the great advice I have received from you, and will promise you that I will do all I can for my little Peanut.

:thankyou: :thankyou: :thankyou:

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Re: Wobble in rear legs after IVDD

Post by CarolC » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:39 am

I would love to hear how it goes. That's a nice story about how you adopted him and it must have been meant to be. 10 dachshunds is a lot! :D I noticed there was another paw in the picture with him, but I didn't know if the picture was taken at the rescue or your house with another dog. I had a mini named Matilda who I used to call my little comedian, always running with her ears flying, she would run up to the other pets full speed and poke them with her nose, it was so funny. I'm glad Peanut got the right home for him. :D

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