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I took havoc in for an MRI today after 4 months of his tail being on and off limp. He did get x-rays around Christmas and the vet that took the x-rays and did the initial exam mentioned possible lumbosacral disease. But after talking to a lot of people (vets, physio etc) that didn't seem plausible since he's so young. Well after 4 months of physio, acupuncture and osteopathy I finally asked for an MRI since he was not improving. Saw the neurologist last week, he said he has compression of the sciatic nerve and an MRI would let us know exactly what's going on.

Well today the MRI showed disc herniation at L7-S1 causing compression of the nervous tissues. He is on strict rest for three months and "prognosis is guarded without surgery."

What am I supposed to do with an over the top drive, 2 year old dog with degenerative disc disease?? I don't really know the point of this thread other than just me complaining. This sucks so bad, this is the absolute worst possible dog that this could happen to. I pretty much wrote off his agility career a while ago when things weren't improving...Now it looks like life is just gonna be crap for this poor dog:(

Aaaaaahhh:headbang:
 

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Oh no, I'm so sorry!! That is so young for LS disease :( Mikko was diagnosed in October but after we got some pounds off of him he's been able to maintain the same level of activity (though I cut down a good amount of agility).

What we did: initially a few days of rimadyl to get rid of any inflammation, cut off all excess weight (basically I can see his hip bones), did acupuncture, increased his Adequan, got him on Microlactin (main ingredient in Duralactin -human version is much cheaper), and eventually core strengthening exercises, and swimming.

I hope some of this can help.

You could look into more mentally stimulating sports like Nosework to help wear him out.
 

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Oh man I'm so sorry. Back issues are my worst fear.
 

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Thanks guys. He is on strict rest for 3 months, nothing other than light walks. The neurologist wants to be aggressive with pain control, apparently when you have constant pain like this it can actually cause the nerves to sensitise to the pain. He is putting him on Percocet and gabupentin (sp?). He can't take anti inflamotories because he is also on prednisolone for allergies (oh ya he's a wreck.) I am going to take a pound or two off of him, which is really all he can stand to lose as he's already pretty skinny.

I have been doing a bit of nose work with him, but I will have to switch him to food as a reward as I have been using a ball. It is just really tough because I dedicate most of my spare time to training and competing with Odin in agility and flyball. It's going to be very tough to find time to do completely different things with Havoc.

Also have no idea what we are going to do when we go camping or go to my mom's acreage on weekends. No one but myself or my husband can take care of this dog. He is aggressive and extremely hard to handle. You know those over the top schutzhund dogs that everyone on this forum talks about? He is one of them:( THIS SUCKS!!!
 

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Deep breath. In humans, many people with this very condition live active lives that are relatively pain free through diet, thoughtfully designed exercise programs (core training, water exercise), massage, acupuncture and other modalities. I'll bet dogs can do even better. Given that you spent the money on the MRI, which is already more than a lot of owners would do, I'm confident you'll be able to figure out how to give him a full, fun life with minimal or no pain.

Maybe your vet would let you put the dog in a pool to drain off some energy? Perhaps under supervision of a doggie PT specialist? Not cheap, but the dog would likely love it, if the vet would okay it and do a referral.

ETA: my senior is on gabapentin. It can make him sleepy, so we were instructed to give it at night. It's good stuff, and less risky over the long-haul than NSAIDs.
 

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Thanks Magwart, I'm hoping that with time this will get a bit better and he can live a semi active, normal dog life. The neurologist said to really do nothing for the next 3 months. (Except acupuncture, which is hard to do because Havoc is super aggressive being handled by strangers:() After 3 months I will definitely go back to physio with him, I have some equipment at home here too. Doing core and balance exercises right now is kinda part of my dogs' daily routine.

I'm actually very glad to hear that grabapentin will make him sleepy, trying to rest this dog is going to be terrible!
 

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I would ask about the likelihood of recurrence after initial injury even going your route. They told us with Grim and his disc compression issue that it would always be prone to re-injruy again.

For such a young dog full of life I might consider surgery even accepting the risks ..... (and dealing with a bad out come)
 

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I am considering surgery. I would probably do it if he were otherwise healthy.... He also has hip dysplasia (which is contributing to this) and he has terrible allergies which he has to be on pred for (which I know is eventually going to catch up with him.)

Plus I'm still recovering from $5000 in vet bills from my Aussie last summer. After which she died in a freak accident:( I' a little gun shy to go back into det after all that happened with her last year. It's been a very bad year for my dogs, starting I feel like my dogs are cursed.
 

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Nancy, did Grim have surgery for this? What was your experience like with him? I know that havoc will never do anything high impact again but I'm really hoping that hiking and camping aren't out of the question for the rest of his life, surgery or no surgery.
 

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No, Grim was 8.5 when this happened and we opted for conservative management. He passed away about 9 months later from hemagio.

Mmm the hip issue too.... I can see not doing surgery. Very hard with a high drive dog. I do know obedience and lots of it seems to help and I guess there is swimming at least part of the year.
 

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Thanks guys. He is on strict rest for 3 months, nothing other than light walks. The neurologist wants to be aggressive with pain control, apparently when you have constant pain like this it can actually cause the nerves to sensitise to the pain. He is putting him on Percocet and gabupentin (sp?). He can't take anti inflamotories because he is also on prednisolone for allergies (oh ya he's a wreck.) I am going to take a pound or two off of him, which is really all he can stand to lose as he's already pretty skinny.

Hi sorry for your Havoc's (great name I have a puppy Havoc) problems. I was curious about the anti inflammatories. I thought pred was the best anti inflammatory?? Your Havoc is getting that already. I have an almost 10 year old GSD Kaos who's hips are completly gone. He really can't even walk any more. He was taken off the Rimadyl and put on 10mg of pred 2 times a day (along with tramadol for pain). because pred is supposed to be the best. That's why I am curious. Also sorry for asking when this thread is about your Havoc's problems but can I ask how much pred he is on?? The pred is causing Kaos to gain weight from massive increased hunger. It makes him pant all the time besides the increased thirst. Also causes him insomnia. But if he goes off the pred he won't even be able to stumble around any more (which is going to happen eventually any way though)...
 

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Oh no, I'm so sorry, Kristi. :(
 

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so sorry to hear this:((((
 

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Fade2Black I'm not sure why they aren't wanting to use a higher dose of pred for his back. I'm assuming its because long term use of pred is very hard on them, it can have some pretty serious side effects (I'm sure that the drugs he's been prescribed do as well.) He's on 5mg a day and I really don't notice many side effects, he's always been a big drinker and is the highest food drive dog I have ever worked. So it's hard to say if he is actually hungrier or not.

I'm not sure if I should contact his breeder. I would think she would want to know, the neurologist says this is pretty uncommon in dogs as young as him. I didn't ask if its hereditary or not.
 

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Also, I forgot to mention the importance of getting his back adjusted. We get Mikko's back adjusted every two months to make sure it stays flexible and doesn't fuse. I don't know that you'd want to do it during this initial rest period because the point now is to get rid of inflammation, but the vet would know best.
 

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For an old dog, prednisone is a godsend but it is hard on the system, very hard, for long term use.

I really feel for you going through this.....hips even a high drive dog can learn to live with lots of the time but the back issue.....plus I think the prednisone can add to aggression. The gabapentin was good for Grim in the end (his back issue was not apparently painful as best they could tell but his tumors were in the shoulder muscles and were).

I think if I were a high drive dog I would rathre have a short life filled with fun and gusto than a long boring one. When Crya had severe HD the vet really recommended against letting her chase balls but she lived for it and I was not going to take it away from her. Later in life she got metacam.
 
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