Rumor has it that with the passage of time, the legs of a Dachshund have become shorter. Maybe that is a reason why if someone asks you to describe this breed, you might say ‘low to the ground and short of leg.’ We’d like to introduce you to Roscoe who is a five year old Dachshund whose medical diagnosis and treatment included words that are longer than his legs!
One day Roscoe became very lethargic so he was off to visit the family veterinarian. He was diagnosed with back pain and given pain medication. The next day Roscoe started limping and by that night he was dragging both rear legs. Given his breed and his age, his symptoms were suggestive of intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) which is seen in Beagles, Basset Hounds, Corgis but is especially common for the Dachshund. Advanced imaging (an MRI or magnetic resonance imaging) and a neurological consult were recommended. Once IVDD is diagnosed, the sooner the surgery, the better the prognosis for a full recovery. In Roscoe’s case, the rapid progression of symptoms indicated that surgery should be done immediately.
So what is IVDD? A dog’s spine is made up of several small bones called vertebrae. They extend from the base of the skull to the end of the tail and are connected by cushioning discs made up of cartilage called an ‘intervertebral disc.’ Running through the vertebrae is the spinal cord which is made up of nerves. IVDD is a condition where these discs either bulge or herniate into the spinal cord space and then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord, causing pain or even paralysis.
The next long words Roscoe heard are decompressive hemilaminectomy which means surgery to remove the bone over the area of the spinal cord compression. Surgery was performed and Roscoe was soon on the road to recovery. what are his favorite things to do these days? He likes to go for walks at the beach where he’s found himself to be a topic of conversation because of the battle scar along his spine. Extending from about four inches from his neck to about four inches from his tail, people are naturally curious about what happened. Roscoe lives with a little girl and a cat so he has great playmates. If he gets tired of playing, he loves to bury himself in his blankets. Not on his list of things to do is jumping on or off the furniture. He’s also hoping that he doesn’t have to learn new words that are longer than his legs.