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Help! Damaged Discs
by Sonja
Help! Damaged Discs Today my 1-year-old Maltese Tim was diagnosed with a serious back problem: damaged discs (lumbar vertebras). The doctor says this is common in toy breeds, his discs are not the size they should be. The doctor gave him a pain killer and prescribed lots of resting (how? He is the most lively Maltese I know!). No playing, no jumping, no running. That way he will become painfree again, but the initial problem will never go away. Has anybody made similar experiences! I feel devastated and so sorry for the poor little guy. How do I explain that I am not punishing him, when he wants to play with me and I know, it is not good for him. He is used to being around his Maltese friends and long walks with us. The doctor said there is surgery, but did not explain in detail.Help! Thanx for your input!


I'm so sorry, I know this is so hard for you and your poor little dog. You can't explain to him why he is in pain, or why he can't play, but you know in your heart you are doing the right thing. Often, resting is impossible at home, and many of these dogs need cage rest at a hospital. So do try your best to limit his activities. You may want to use a crate or cage, especially when you aren't home. It is really hard when they are on pain killers, because the dog doesn't feel pain and wants to move around more. Keep him off slipery surfaces like tile or hard-wood floors, don't let him jump on or off couch, bed, or stairs,and get him some extra chew toys and safe stuff to chew). Be very careful when picking him up to do it slowly, and keep his back as straight as possible. Sometimes they do get better given enough time and rest, others require surgery. Surgery is not 100% effective though, and usually needs to be done by a specialist, although some general vets are good at it. I've never seen this type of surgery myself, but I have known dogs who had it though, and some of them showed remarkable improvement, others showed some, others had no improvement. Keep in touch with your vet and let him know your concerns, and if you don't feel there is any improvement with treatment, consider a specialist. Good luck, and I do hope the little fellow gets better soon.

I am sorry to hear about your little guy Tim . I have never heard of this but I am thinking you may want to get a second opinion or ask for some reading materials from your Vet to see all of your babies options. Good Luck Donna & Gracie ps keep us posted
I just spent the past week in the same state as yourself. In my case, the onset was immediate with excrutiating pain in the hindquarters, but nothing localized. I would like to also suggest you get a second opinion for the following reason: My vet is a very gentle, knowledgable guy who spent over an hour(!) with my 5 year old. It was impossible to determine what actually had happened and he pointed out that if it was a disc problem, it would not show up on an x-ray at this point in time, so an x-ray was useless. He put her on Rimadyl (new anti-inflamatory & non-steriodal which is incredible). We took her off after four days and so far all is good. I guess I am wondering how your vet could know immediately that it was a disc problem, particularly in a baby. Disc problem are degenerative and take a long time before they will show up on an x-ray. I guess I am encouraging a second opinion because the vet I am telling you about was my "second opinion" after I realized that my vet of 20 years was not paying attention to something potentially very serious. I know you must be very worried. Since I got botched up by a "people doctor," I don't stand on ceremony anymore. If you find your first vet to be right, then you only will have more confidence in him. I hope you will let us know what happens.
Hi Sonja,so sorry to hear about your sweetheart. My jessie started limping and just plain out of sorts, not the happy little girl she usually was,we had the vet examine her and he said that she had a back injury and gave her an anti-inflamitory to take on set intervals. She was o.k. for a while(a few weeks)and then it began the limping, not being able to jump up on my lap etc..The vet began the same treatment and For the past 5 or 6 weeks she has been fine! There were ony the understandable precautions we had to take such as, not letting her jump up or down from high places,the vet said she would know her own limit, and she did!

I do fear however that the pain will return and she will be miserable,as you know to see a playful little pup just being still and unhappy, is pitiful. I hope your little one gets well and that everything turns out o.k. Keep me posted!

Sonja, I agree with the others on the second opinion. What do you have to lose? I don't have any experience on this, just wanted to send an encouraging note and hugs (gentle ones...) for Tim. Please keep us posted with news, okay?
Update on Tim's back problem: The anti-inflamatory treatment went well, Tim is almost back to himself. I showed his x-ray to another vet, who agreed with what my vet said: His discs in the lumber vertrebra area have not developed to their normal size. The lumber vertrebras moved closer together not leaving enough space between them. One "false movement" and the pain starts.

Only time will show what happens next. He could be painfree for a long time or make the wrong movement at once. The doctor says we have to keep an eye on him, no excessive jumping or playing. The only problem is that is he used to being around his two maltese friends, who he already misses very much. But they are so "interactive" that he might get hurt again. A difficult situation, in a week or two I will arrange a meeting ...

Thank you, Kristen, for your post. I guess, we are dealing with the exact same problem. Tim does not know his limits though: He is the biggest jumper, I know. I wanted to sign him up for agility, but I guess we'll have to keep away from this sport. How is your little one doing? Still no problem? That would be great.

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