degenerative disc disease

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Barked: Fri May 22, '09 6:25pm PST 
Hi. I was wondering if anyone has had to deal with this disease. Our 3 - almost 4 - year old was diagnosed this week with DDD. Josie suddenly - without trauma - seemed to have severe pain her back. We brought her to the vet and they started her on prednisone for the next three weeks (load then taper). She initially had limpness in her hind quarters but this seems to be getting better. It is very hard to watch her in this much pain.

Barked: Fri May 7, '10 10:10am PST 
Hello, I’d like to share some news about laser disc ablation. My dachshund, Jackson, at 3 yrs had multiple painful episodes of pain and losing his hind legs functions. Each time he had an episode we would crate rest for a 4-6 weeks and he got better a few times, this went on for a year or more. Finally with the last episode, he was losing all function and had to have surgery. Surgery was a success but it was a slow and painful healing process, like caring for a baby. The surgery in Seattle was about $5K (which is outrageous, I’ve noticed other areas charge $2500-$3K).
Around that time we learned Jack had multiple discs that may rupture, as the doctor said “he did not win the back lottery”. 5-6 months went by and we started having multiple episodes again, which were different discs protruding now. We were devastating!! I spent hours researching online and came across laser disc ablation. Was this the answer to my prayers? Yes- it was!
I won’t go through all the details but you can read about it at http://www.dfwvetsurgeons.com/t-facstaboutbacks.html. Basically it’s a non-invasive preventative procedure where they just shave their back and insert needles and use a laser to vaporize the disc material in multiple discs at once. The dog rests for 2-3 weeks then returns to normal activity. They have very, very LOW numbers of dachshunds who relapse after this.
To be fair, Jack had a few painful episodes right after, which the doc said was not normal. We rested and were OK-it worked! Now it’s been a 1 ½ yrs and zero episodes, running, playing, and actually in the best shape of his life (he used to carry extra weight- hence the back problems). But of course no jumping! Best of all the surgery is only about $1500. So it was actually cheaper for me to fly to Dallas (from Seattle), pay for a hotel, & have the surgery then it would be to have 1 more BIG invasive back surgery in Seattle, plus I believe with our careful care-he is cured now!
As far as I know there are only 2 locations offering this, Dallas (link above) and Oklahoma State. Also, you do have to have you dog stable for a month or so BEFORE the operation otherwise the needles could push the material out more creating more problems. That was scary, I felt like we had a ticking time bomb—we kept him crated for 6 weeks prior and I was scared the whole time he was going to have a problem, but we made it. I just had to share because I found this on my own and it wasn’t information readily available on the web. Please share with anyone who may need this and feel free to contact me with questions. Best to you all!
-Stephanie & Jackson