We decided to start tapering her prednisone down, since she was doing so well. Unfortunately, within 8 hours, she regressed. Badly. When I saw her that day after work, she tried to walk to me and collapsed. I immediately grabbed the phone and called the vet and he decided we needed to bump her dose back up and schedule her for x-rays, so we could try to find out what we were dealing with.
I was devastated. I mean like crying-and-lying-on-the-floor-next-to-her devastated. To me, this meant it had to be serious. Cancer? Tumor? The thought of losing her was something I had not prepared myself for... it was always "sometime in the future".
I dropped her off at the vet office the next morning and was a nervous wreck all day, waiting for results. Finally, that evening I met with the vet. And his diagnosis? Well, we're still not sure. Here's what was found:
- She had spondylosis in her spine, over an area of about 3-4 vertebrae. Common in dogs her age (10) and may or may not cause pain.
- One of her disks showed signs of beginning to calcify. (Here is an article on disk calcification in dachshunds) While a concern, he didn't feel it was the likely culprit.
- The area between her two vertebrae closest to her pelvis was narrowed, indicating a possible slipped or ruptured disk.
From her symptoms, it seemed the most likely possible cause for her pain was a slipped disk, as this was exactly what she was doing:
When a disc first ruptures, it causes intense pain. When this occurs in the middle of the back, the dog will arch his back up in pain. When the herniation takes place in the neck, the dog is unwilling to turn his head, and may not even want to lower it to eat and drink. Some dogs will shiver from the pain and walk very carefully and slowly.
Now what? Well, the vet had an idea for Bailey that I did not expect to hear at all: hyperbaric oxygen treatments. More on that in my next post...