Back leg weakness in a young dog-now we don't know what it is
  • So we had a scary incident with Oskar, and I'm about to go to the vet this afternoon, but thought I'd see if anyone else has run into this.

    Oskar was acting odd the other night. It was late, and I'd just got home, and he wasn't as effusive in his greeting as usual. Then I noticed he was systematically getting out his favorite toys (egg baby platypus for the record..he's had it a year and it is still his favorite) and laying down with it, but while he was looking for his toy, his tail was down. I thought something was up, because of that. He brought his toy over by me and laid down near me and was much more "clingy" than usual....like he had to be in physical contact with me. He just looked kind of scared.

    Then he tried to get up and couldn't. He's always been slow to get up (which now worries me), but this time he tried, and his back legs collapsed under him twice, and his tail was down. We got him up with a towel, but he was scared and agitated, looking at his back legs....he couldn't keep them under him, and couldn't seem to control them. We got him to lay down, and palpated him--range of motion was fine, and though he was curious, he also clearly was in no pain. But also no control. He could stand but not walk easily. We went back and forth on the emergency vet (our place is like 5 times the cost of the regular vet and they take your credit card as you walk in the door, so I avoid it unless there is bleeding or severe pain or something clearly critical), but he wasn't in pain, and after about an hour, he was able to walk ok, though we noticed his toes were turned in a bit on the right side. We put him to bed then, and when he got up in the morning, he was walking ok, except for a very slight lag on the right side, and by the end of the day he was walking normally.

    He was clearly alert the whole time, so I don't think it was a seizure. I think that the tail down was not just a sign of discomfort, anxiety now, but might have been something in the spine since the weakness in his legs was bilateral.

    He's not even two. He'll be two at the end of May. He's 120 pounds, and could probably stand to lose 5 pounds (which will be a priority after this), but it seems more than just weight....

    I'll let you all know what our vet says today, too, but it was super scary, and I really want to know what is going on with our big boy!
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2012-05-20 17:17:52
  • sachismomsachismom
    Posts: 113
    I am so so sorry to hear about that. Give him hugs from Sachi and me, and let us know how it goes, so scary.
  • jellyfishjellyfish
    Posts: 1081
    That sounds terrible and scary! Keep us posted, I hope the vet has good things to say.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3816
    Poor Oskar :( Here's to hoping that it's something minor and easy to cure
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  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1981
    sorry to hear about Oskar!!! Fingers crossed for a good outcome! Keep us updated!
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1822
    When he's standing stable, try supporting him and then lifting one back leg. Let the leg drop to see what position it takes. If it knuckles and he doesn't notice/corrects, it may be neurological.

    I knew of an older rescue Jindo, who also had discoid lupus, who developed degenerative myelopathy.

    P.S. I understand your hesitancy towards going to the ER vet. My first ER experience in SD consisted of two different people coming up to me and charging $500 (x 2) to my credit card before they would start looking at my dog.
    Post edited by ayk at 2012-04-30 14:48:40
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 2738
    Love to Oskar! I'm sad to read this today. Please let us know what the vet thinks and how he's feeling. :( That's so strange. Poor boy!
    photo forumthing_zps355635f7.jpg
  • Ann, that's one thing I thought of (myelopathy) that scared me, because when he had the weakness, I did drop the leg and when it fell on his knuckles, he didn't notice or correct it. It's not like that now, so I'm hoping maybe it was just at that moment, but it scared me to see that. :(

    And I should I did check to see if he had feeling in the legs, and he did (we would have taken him to e-vet immediately if he had not). But he couldn't control his back legs or his tail. :(
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1822
    DM usually hits older dogs so it's probably some other neurological issue like an infection.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 2803
    I hope it's nothing too bad feel better soon Oskar.
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 5year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4322
    Oh no, Lisa!!! I am so sorry to hear about this. :(

    Unfortunately, Oskar's episode sounds too familiar for me. However, I doubt his problem is anywhere near as severe as Nola's (stroke brought on by a massive seizure and compounded by pressure in her brain from a tumour).

    However, I did want to ask if there was any way that you (or your husband) might have given Bel's pheno dose to Oskar by mistake. (I did that once, gave Bella Nola's pheno and Nola Bella's thyroid meds, and while the results were not quite that dramatic, Bella did have some ataxia as a result of the accidental dose.)

    Either way, I hope that it was a one time incident and that there is nothing wrong with Oskar from a neurological standpoint.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
  • brittkbrittk
    Posts: 301
    Hugs to Oskar. Hope its nothing serious and can be treated easily and quickly!
    Loving my Kai-ya :)
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4050
    Lisa I'm so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts are with you both. Please let us know how things go today.
    Post edited by tjbart17 at 2012-04-30 17:23:27
  • CarabooACarabooA
    Posts: 551
    I really hope you get some answers at the vet. Please let us know how it goes. Thoughts are with you and Oskar!
    What day is it?
    Why, it's Today....
    Ah, my favorite day!

    PrettyKi11-13-12 OutsidePlease11-13-12-1Mirraheartssnow
    Kitora (Kai Ken), Kunai (Kai Ken) and Mirra (Siberian Husky/Border Collie)
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 2738
    edited because its fixed.
    ;)
    photo forumthing_zps355635f7.jpg
    Post edited by WrylyBrindle at 2012-04-30 17:44:36
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4050
    Why do I do that everytime lately!? I'm better on fb.
  • sukoshi_momsukoshi_mom
    Posts: 737
    Hope Oscar gets better. Wonder if he has a pinched nerve in lower disks.
  • It was not good news. The xrays showed spondylosis in at least 6 vertebrae, including C1 and C2, and another lumbar vertebrae already looks fused.

    Oskar will be 2 years old at the end of May. His spine looks terrible. It probably was a pinched nerve that caused the weakness in the back legs.

    Right now we're sort of sitting with the news, and figuring out what kind of conservative treatment can keep him mobile as long as possible. He needs to loose some weight. Walks--no running, no jumping--will be good, and always with a harness so there is no stress on his cervical vertebrae. Swimming would be good, but in NM, that's not an easy thing.

    He was probably born with a weaker spine, and the body has been building up bone to help support him.

    Of course, he likely will not have his full life span, given how bad of shape his spine is in already, but he's also still fairly flexible now, and not in pain, so he should have some more good years. As I told my husband, it's kind of like he's an old dog in terms of his spine. I remember when we looked at the xrays of my GSDs spine, and it looked like this, and he was 7 years old, and my vet said "he's too young for his spine to look like that" but now we're seeing the same thing, except that Oskar isn't even two. :( :(

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • dlrobertsdlroberts
    Posts: 6552
    Uggggg. Lisa. I'm so sorry to hear all that you're going through. You guys are in my thoughts.
    dlrobertsdlroberts
    Dave, proudly owned by Joey (Shiba Inu), Tyson (Kai Ken), and PRG's Mason Julien McDieserton III, a.k.a. Diesel (Labrador Retriever).
    "My opinion may have changed, but not the fact that I'm right"
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3816
    I'm so sorry Lisa, that really sucks :(
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  • One thing I should add for other people: Oskar has always been slow to get up. He will start to get up, then sink back down. He was also clumsier than usual as puppy, and was always hesitant to jump up (like in the car) and very very slow to learn to climb stairs--and then he always had problems with is back legs on the stairs. Even as a young pup, he would get up slowly, front legs first, pause, then get up the rest of way--yes, kind of like an old dog.

    At first, I thought it was just puppy clumsiness. Then we said "oh, he's just so tired at night." But when I told my vet about that, along with the problems in his back legs, he immediately thought it was a red flag, and that was the moment he said we for sure needed x rays right away. He said the the problem was Oskar's spine has never been strong, and so the hesitation we've been seeing is him trying to get his legs working.

    I don't know that there's much that can be done once a dog has this condition, but I guess, now, if I saw a young put with that kind of hesitation consistently, I'd probably take them in and have xrays done sooner. :(
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1822
    So sorry to hear about Oskar, Lisa. I hope that the conservative treatment will stop/slow his condition from worsening, and that he'll get to enjoy life as an early retiree.
    Post edited by ayk at 2012-04-30 19:46:01
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12109
    Oh no Lisa ( @shibamistress ), this is such bad news. I'm so sorry. Kaia has spondylosis too. When I read that his tail was down the first thing I thought of was Kaia... She does that too. :o(

    Ok, the info I can provide that may help you is Velvet Elk Antler - It's like a dream supplement for Kaia (and Ahi). Check this out: http://www.natraflex.com

    Also, our vet does adjustments on Kaia for her back and it seems to really help her. She has studied canine chiropractic care.

    This is so sad for such a young dog. :o(

    ----
    image
    ------------------ YamabushiKennel.org | BradAnderson.org ------------------
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 2803
    @Brada1878 do you give the dogs human one or the pet formula?

    I might have to order some for Saya to try.
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 5year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 2738
    LIsa, I'm really sorry. :( I hope that some of the treatments suggested will help him out. Oskar is a good boy and he is in a good place there with you to help him. love from my pack to you and yours.
    photo forumthing_zps355635f7.jpg
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4322
    *hugs*

    You guys will be in my thoughts. :( I am so sorry to hear this.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1981
    I'm sorry to hear about this and don't you go beating yourself up, you didn't know and cannot predict everything in life! Big *hugs*
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2055
    This stinks. I really hope you find something to help Oskar out.
    image
  • So sorry to hear about this. I hope some of the suggestions will be really helpful.
  • AraksAraks
    Posts: 802
    I'm so sorry, Lisa :( like the others have said, don't beat yourself up about it, and I'm sure you guys will give Oskar a great life.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1653
    Wow Lisa I am sorry, I was not expecting to hear this about Oscar. Maybe glucosamine chondroitin w-MSM supplementation will help and later acupuncture if the pain increases. Also, in humans chiropractic procedures can help so I can't imagine why it would not for Oscar.

    Hoping progression will ease up a bit with supplementation.
    Snf

  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2055
    Oh, something I just now remembered. I was reading some studies on joint stuff, and they mentioned Green Lipped Mussel as being better than Gucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM. I think it's a powder, and you can get it in specialty-food stores and some places online. Several of them said this (I'm skeptical of only one study, but there are a few who tested it and all had the same results) so it might be something to look into. I don't know how well it would help the spine but it seems to work good in the other joints.
    image
  • We were thinking of the glucosamine, too, but like Brad's suggestion, and the green lipped mussel....I feel like I read about that somewhere but can't think of where now...I do feel like there must be some supplements that can help ease some the symptoms, and moderate exercise will help too.

    Massage is good for people with this problem, so probably will help him too. It helps with easing the muscle tension that can come along with this. I've been thinking that canine massage was something I wanted to work on, so now I have a big motivator right here in our house. And yes, accupuncture is supposed to be good with people to relieve pain, so I bet it would help with him too. Right now he doesn't seem to be in pain, but eventually he will be....

    Thanks for your thoughts and well wishes, everyone.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2012-04-30 22:26:00
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 2803
    So sorry this happened. :\

    I hope message and supplements helps. Saya loves being messaged.

    I haven't tried green lipped mussel powder yet been meaning to.

    I plan to try the velvet antler stuff too been meaning to try that for long time. I'm hoping my local health food store has the green lipped mussel stuff.

    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 5year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • I just get depressed every time I look at this thread. Poor Oskar. It's really not fair that this has happened to such a sweet boy. I'm so sorry to hear this.
  • CarabooACarabooA
    Posts: 551
    So, SO sorry bad news. But at least you know what is wrong now and can help him in the best way he needs.

    We've actually used the Lippid supplement! It did work very visibly for 5 years for my heeler-cross dog that I had long ago. He had a broken pelvis when I found him @ 4-5 months old, so he eventually developed severe arthritis in his right hip joint. I started him on it when he was 5 years old (started showing stiffness when rising) and he took it until he was 10. He had to have pain meds at the end but the brand I had him on (and just started Mirra on) was/is GF 600 by vetri-science. The dogs think it's really yummy so it's easy to give. Causes some pretty stinky toots at first but levels out. And Mirra does seem to be showing some relief after being on it for 2+ months now....

    Hope you find some things to help your dear Oskar!!! So sorry!
    What day is it?
    Why, it's Today....
    Ah, my favorite day!

    PrettyKi11-13-12 OutsidePlease11-13-12-1Mirraheartssnow
    Kitora (Kai Ken), Kunai (Kai Ken) and Mirra (Siberian Husky/Border Collie)
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4050
    Lisa I am so sorry. I know how it feels to look at your puppy and know that he won't live his full life. I still look at Koda sometimes and know that his life with my was shortened.

    Ok here we go treatments and supplements. I did T-Touch with Mei to calm her anxieties when she came here and it totally worked to relax her. Koda got massages after surgery to loosen his quads. It definitely helped. Amazing was the acupuncture though!! The day after surgery I physically watched his whole body relax during acupuncture. It amazes me to this day.

    Water therapy was also great. It allowed him to exercise and still be relaxed. This is pricey though. We also did the laser treatments.

    As far as supplements I want to try the antler. Jen told me about it when I saw her and it looked easy to travel with. Glucosamine chondroitin with msm liquid is what I give at home but it has to stay refrigerated. Koda also gets fish oil daily. He stinks about pills now.

    There are also herbal remedies for inflaation like liquid yucca and passionflower will calm him down on bad days.

    There's also stem cell treatments for arthritis. I haven't tried it yet with Koda but probably will have to when he gets older. It surprisingly enough has gotten great reviews.

    Any questions you have please ask. I may not know the answer but Koda has a team of vets and holistic vets that don't mind answering my questions when I ask them.
    Post edited by tjbart17 at 2012-05-01 00:56:44
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 302
    You are such a diligent, careful pet owner, it stinks that this diagnosis has to happen to any of your dogs! Not that it's better happening to any other dog... but yeah, it seems like Oskar was a pup just recently, and now this already?? I'm sorry... on the other hand, it's so heartening to see that you have such good support on this forum. I have no good advice for you, but if I see anything, I'll be sure to pass it along.
    image M.C. with Bowdu (Shiba Inu) and Bowpi (Basenji) at The House of Two Bows
  • sukoshi_momsukoshi_mom
    Posts: 737
    Do you have access to a swimming pool? I would discuss a swimming therapy program with your vet. You will need to rinse Oskar off to get the chlorine out of his fur, but swimming would be a good idea. Strengthening the muscles to support the spine is a worthwhile strategy. Acupuncture/pressure might be a good option. Find a vet who is familiar with acupuncture/pressure. Maybe you will want to learn acupressure. (There are charts that show canine pressure points/chi paths.) On a practical level, maybe Oskar will need to use a ramp to get around in some areas. Also, a firm bed (Kuranda?) might help. Basically, the treatments used for people with disk issues could probably be modified and used for a dog.
  • okironokiron
    Posts: 3413
    No suggestions but you guys will be in my thoughts.
    -Rina
  • sachismomsachismom
    Posts: 113
    So so sorry to hear such sad news. Our thoughts and love are with you.
  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1478
    I feel for you and Oskar. Nothing I can do or add to this, but best of luck to you all.
  • NekopanNekopan
    Posts: 869
    This breaks my heart. I'm so sorry you and Oskar have to go through this, Lisa.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    Thanks for your thoughts everyone. We're going to get the elk velvet antler stuff for him, for one thing, and I will probably make an appt. with the holistic vet too. I'll probably have more questions for people who are familiar with different alternative therapies, too, just not quite able to sort through it yet.

    I'm kind of shell shocked, honestly, and haven't had enough time to do more than be in denial. I know this isn't an immediate death sentence--I now know several people who have spondylosis--but it's also still quite a shock, and since he's already showing problems, my vet does believe he probably will have a shorter life span. :( I need to get out of that, and start focusing on what we can do, but it's still kind of hard.

    The swimming thing would be great, but it's a bit difficult in NM! there is a fancy kennel that has a canine therapy pool, but it's pricey....we will try it occasionally, but probably can't do it regularly.

    Well, when I went to (human) massage school, I knew I also wanted to do canine massage. I guess this will be a big motivator to learn more about it, as I know it is often a help for pain and muscle tenseness in people with this disease, so I know it will be good for dogs too.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 2803
    Again so sorry about this hope the antler stuff helps. I plan to try it with Saya soon too.

    This just seems so sudden. :\

    Is this a genetic thing? Does the breeder need to know just in case or?
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 5year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    It is genetic, though how it is passed down is not entirely clear yet. The genetic marker for it is known in humans (rather recently I believe), but I don't know that it is known in dogs.

    I did tell the breeder. She was recently looking for a home for Oskar's dam anyway, spayed, as a pet, so it's not like she'll be bred again, but I did want the breeder to know.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3280
    Wow, that's terrible news. I'm sorry. It's definitely hard to learn that such a young dog is going to have a short life span, but hopefully that will just make the time you have left with him that much more precious.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester and Bestimus Mucho(cats)
    image
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    We did order some velvet antler stuff....hope it will help!

    But I feel pretty bad, because lately Oskar has been kind of mouthy (I mentioned this in the mouthing thread). He's super softmouthed, so it never hurt, but lately he'd been whipping his head around and putting his mouth on us if we grabbed his collar. Now I know why: it hurt him. C1-3 are in particularly bad shape on him, so any pressure on his collar would hurt. And he was trying to tell us, but as always, my big boy is gentle, so even when he's "nipping" to indicate pain, he did it softly. It just makes me cry thinking about it.

    On a practical note, though, I wonder if we should find a harness we can leave on him more of the time. My vet said we need to walk him with a harness (which we already do), but in our house, we do need to have a way to grab him sometimes to pull him away from the other dogs, or from door, etc. But the collar is not a good idea. Anyone have ideas for a harness he could wear comfortably a lot of the time? Or some other ideas?
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4322
    I wonder if one of the comfort flex harnesses would be light enough for him to wear all the time. Do they make them that big?

    If not, maybe a Dean & Tyler harness that is similarly styled? But they are heavier and may cause him to retain some heat.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    I love those comfort flex harnesses....and have been wanting an excuse to get one for him. I'll have to look at sizing.

    I don't know if this is the best solution--does anyone leave a harness on most of the time? Maybe I can just try redirecting him. The reason we need something is he's not always willing to come in from outside and sometimes I've had to pull him away from the gate (like when the UPS man comes) or also in the house, to pull him away from Bel if there are food or toy squabbles or if he's trying to "fence fight" with Toby through the window. Ideally, I guess we'd work to just be able to call him away from the other dogs situations with a "leave it" and we mostly can now too, but until that's completely down, I'd feel better having something to use to grab him if I needed to.

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4322
    Nola has a harness on the majority of the time now (when she is out of her crate). However, she wears a Ruffwear Webmaster harness. The harness is to help me pick her up when her back legs fail her and to help her get around if she is having a particularly rough day. That and because of the fur loss around her neck (and her weight loss), her collar is really loose around her neck, so if I needed to grab her for what ever reason, she could very easily slip her collar (even if it is a limited slip).

    I also keep it on just in case she snaps at Bella and I need to separate them quickly. Knock on wood, this has not happened yet, and the only living thing she has snapped at yet has been me.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    Post edited by sunyata at 2012-05-03 15:15:07
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    Thanks Casey. I do have plans to get a ruffwear harness for Oskar....because I thought about the mobility issues too, and know that it will be helpful to have a way to get him up in the same situation. (damn, that was pretty hard to type out....) Actually, now that I think of it, it's probably best just to get one for him soon.

    And additional note about his diagnosis, something that came up from someone via an Akita list....I was so upset by the xrays, and I think our vet was too, that we didn't even talk about the "whys" for Oskar's ataxia. I just assumed it was neurological, I guess, and probably the vet thought he told me. But...as someone pointed out on the other list, spondylosis doesn't actually mean there IS neurological problems, unless a growth is pressing on the spinal cord. It occurs to me that the vet probably thought he told me that when he said he wasn't optimistic about Oskar having a full life span, and I was too upset to ask. He also said he was not optimistic about surgical interventions given how many vertebrae were already effected.

    Well, we'll be back in very soon, so I can ask for more information. But....I suspect the ataxia is a sign of something pressing on the spinal cord already. I also did try the test where you see if they notice that they are walking/standing on the knuckles and Oskar didn't notice it. :( He would now, I think, but when the ataxia was bad he did not. It's obviously already more than just the problems with his spine.

    I hate this. :(

    But thank you, Casey for reminding of the ruffwear harness. It makes sense to get one sooner, rather than waiting til we really need it, I think.

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2372
    My foster had a harness on all the time and so do the Akitas owned by Steve and Judy in the AKIHO club. I don't think there is anything "special" about any of these harnesses. My cats always wear "normal" cat harnesses, too. (I don't like the quick-release collars because it defeats the purpose of putting my contact info on the cat if its lost, but at the same time I don't want them to choke. The harness is a good alternative.)
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
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    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1981
    @shibamistress-- sorry there is nothing I can do/add but we are all here for you! big *hugs*
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4322
    Yeah, the Ruffwear harness has been a lifesaver for us. Even though Nola is now super light (she has lost more than 10 pounds in the past 6 months, some of which she needed to lose), it is still hard for me to stoop down to scoop her up when she falls. So having the handle and the support of the harness is really nice.

    Granted, Oskar is much bigger than Nola, so a different solution might be necessary for helping him when he has bad ataxia in the back end.

    Either way, I am so sorry that you guys are having to deal with this. Oskar seems like such a sweet dog. And he is SO young. :(
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4050
    I used the ruffwear harness to carry Koda's back legs after surgery. It made life a lot easier. I was in correspondence with a woman at the time who was using one for her Mastiff. She said it worked well on her as well. It's definitely a good option. I also purchased a sling but the harness was easier for one person to handle. The sling worked really well the first day when he was the worst with the stump but it took two of us. I did get his back legs really off the ground with it though.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 2803
    Just putting this out if you sign up for the superflex newsletter they give you "Velvet Antler: A Gift from Nature." book I'm not sure what it's about, but I didn't know signing up for their newsletter does it. Cool I hope it has some nice info on the stuff.

    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 5year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    Some of you may have seen this on fb...it's our update:

    Talked to the vet more and it's 9 vertebrae. Since our vet is out of town a lot, I asked what to look for, and what would constitute an emergency in this case--when his stiffness is normal and when he might need to see a vet right away. What could happen is a herniated disc--he'd be in a lot of pain then and wouldn't be able to get up. Also we have to watch for neurological problems from pressure on the spinal cord. The vet said it's possible one of the problem vertebrae in the neck is already pinching the spinal cord occasionally, but right now, we think he's mostly ok.

    I believe there may be some surgical options, but we havent' talked about them in detail yet, as given how many problem vertebrae there are, they are probably cost prohibitive for us anyway.

    The worst part? The vet said, well, I don't expect him to have a full life span, which I knew, but I said, well what do you think? and he said "keeping him comfortable, without neurological damage or paralysis or excess pain? I hope you can get him to 5. Maybe a bit longer."

    Nothing is certain of course, but it's not good news. Still, as Chrystal said on FB, now that we know, we can make his life as good as possible and not put things off. And that's true. The gift is having him at all. He's such a sweet boy.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2012-05-14 18:35:15
  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1981
    Waw....I know you must be going through a hard time now. Hugs!!!
  • Gosh I hope your vet is wrong. Sometimes pets will surprise us with how long they last and hopefully Oskar can go on happily for longer than it takes to reach five.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4322
    Awww. I missed this on FB (I have been crazy busy this week and it is only Tuesday!).

    I am so sorry to hear this. But it is a blessing to have him in your life. I know exactly how you feel dealing with Nola. Just make the time that you have with him as wonderful and as easy on him as possible (which, I know you will do that and more).

    *hugs!* If you ever need to talk about it, you know how to reach me. :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    Oskar is much worse this weekend. He can barely get up, and is clearly confused and probably in pain but we have no idea where he is in pain. He is eating still, but he's acting like my GSD who died of cancer two years ago. It's really awful...it hit him so fast and he's like a very old, very sick dog right now.

    On Thursday when we were in cleaning out his eyes, I asked about entropion and glaucoma. the latter of course can't be diagnosed easily outside of the optomistrist's tests, but the vet didn't see anything that made him suggest a trip to the optometrist. IN fact, Oskar seemed way better: after his eyes were cleaned out he seemed a little more chipper (not a lot but a little). There were no scratches on the cornea and things seemed ok. He's got some eyedrops which have kept his eyes a bit clearer and probably more comfortable--he's not scratching at his face today. The vet was a bit puzzled by the irritation, but thought he'd either got something in his eyes from digging or he was having a very severe allergic reaction to something.

    We also thought the antihistamines were making him very tired.

    The vet also mentioned "wobbler syndrome" which he believes Oskar may have--at least is probably likely from the already extensive problems in the cervical vertebrae (he also, however, has damage to thoracic and lumbar vertebrae). He thinks there is already some neurological damage, which would explain his behavior now.

    Perhaps the eye stuff is just unrelated. But in any case, our boy is very, very sick. We may take him to the urgent care vet tomorrow if he's not better, though I don't know there is much they can do. But I'd like to know if something else is going on in addition.....or we're missing some other problem because of the extreme bad shape of his spine.

    Anyway, that's where we're at. Thanks for all your well wishes and for this space to talk about it....we appreciate it.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • sjp051993sjp051993
    Posts: 1540
    Sending hugs and prayers.
    Stacey living with Tora, Kazue, Ritsu and Kuma the Shiba
    www.suteishiikennels.com

    DSCF0686IMG_0940 - Version 2DSCF0714IMG_1151

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  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2372
    Oh my gosh, poor Oskar. :(
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 2738
    love to you all.
    photo forumthing_zps355635f7.jpg
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2055
    Oh, no, poor guy. Sending good vibes your way!
    image
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3280
    Poor Oskar. Hugs for everyone.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester and Bestimus Mucho(cats)
    image
  • AraksAraks
    Posts: 802
    I'm so sorry this is happening to you guys. :(
  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1981
    *hugs oskar*** hang in there!!!
  • jellyfishjellyfish
    Posts: 1081
    :(((((
    I'm so sorry :/
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 302
    Really heavy-hearted after reading of all this...
    image M.C. with Bowdu (Shiba Inu) and Bowpi (Basenji) at The House of Two Bows
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-05-20 13:14:55
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    We took Oskar to two vets in the past 24 hours, as he has had an increasingly stiff neck and been unable to lay down, and also has some of what I think of as typical neurological type problems--confusion, lethargy, standing with his head in the corner, etc.

    One didn't even look at him (but at least they didn't charge us). The other redid his xrays and did a full exam and bloodwork. Now we have more questions than answers. On all the high tech xrays on the computer, this young vet did not feel it was necessarily spondylosis. She saw some problems in the lower vertebrae but not as bad or as much as on previous xrays from our regular vet. She also did not see as many problems in his cervical vertebrae. This would be good news, except that now he won't move his neck at all if he doesn't have to, and by the time we left, he was starting to cry if it was touched, though nothing seems wrong on the xrays and his blood work was good.

    he has an upper respiratory infection for sure, so we're treating for that. He has dry eye syndrome, so treating for that too. But the cervical/spinal problem is inconclusive. She didn't see anything that looked problematic, but did say it was clear something was wrong still. Of course, when she went over possibilities, they were scary as hell--one is meningitis, though he does not have the usual accompanying fever. I decided not to focus on that right now, though she said it more than once. One is not quite as bad is that he does have "wobbler's syndrome" but that she simply can't see the damage on her xrays. This is a distinct possibility--it is what our original vet thought was a possibility as well.

    In any case, he's back home and I guess a neurological consult is next. We just spent a fortune today for no real answers. :(

    He's clearly very sick and doesn't feel good, and of course who knows where the infection came from, but now we have to keep him away from the other dogs, so now we have two dogs who have to be separated.

    Overall, I've had better weeks.

    But you know, even though having a very sick dog and a puppy at the same time is exhausting, at least we have the pup to also make us laugh at his antics, and have something positive to focus on.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • CarabooACarabooA
    Posts: 551
    I sooo hope you guys can find some answers for him. Hopefully your vet will have an "Aha!" moment and you'll be on the road to some comfort for Oskar. Sincerely wishing you the best for your situation!
    What day is it?
    Why, it's Today....
    Ah, my favorite day!

    PrettyKi11-13-12 OutsidePlease11-13-12-1Mirraheartssnow
    Kitora (Kai Ken), Kunai (Kai Ken) and Mirra (Siberian Husky/Border Collie)
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 2803
    Sorry to hear they're no clear answer what is up with Oskar. :(

    I can't imagine how it can be to go through this. I've been through seizure with our 13year old boxer and then leukemia with the 7year old boxer a month after Pearly was put down due to seizure being worse.

    So hard to see him so low energy and not happy looking.

    When We didn't know Bella had hypothyroidism she was very fatigued barely played even with new toys and only got happy when mom came home then she would go back to laying down.

    We brought her in vet did blood draw and meds help her so much. I was afraid it was something much worse! :\

    I hope things get cleared up on what this is and something can be done for him. I agree puppy antics helps when times are tough.
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 5year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2372
    I hope that the original diagnosis was wrong and that the new symptoms will lead to a diagnosis that is treatable and has a better long-term outlook.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • sukoshi_momsukoshi_mom
    Posts: 737
    This Wiki article mentions a new treatment for Wobblers Disease:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wobbler_disease

    Does your vet have access to a vet teaching hospital that might be able to look at Oscar? (When Sukoshi was having problems with the liver shunt, I took her to the University of California Davis Vet School. They located the liver shunt after several tries and preformed the liver shunt surgery. This literally saved her life.)

    Keeping my fingers crossed for Oscar. Shiba hugs to all!
    Post edited by sukoshi_mom at 2012-05-20 23:11:59
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3280
    Ugh, that's tough. It's so frustrating when you don't even know what's wrong.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester and Bestimus Mucho(cats)
    image
  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1981
    I am sorry to hear about this....as everyone said, i hope you guys find the real reason soon. Poor oskar...:(
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    He seems to be feeling better today--I think the infection was kicking his butt too. I'm taking the new xrays back to my regular vet along with oskar and everything else for another consultation to see what they think.

    Gotta say, though, that other vet, though very good, was more than twice as much in price than our regular vet. :(

    But he seems to feel much better today.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3185
    Poor guy! Akitas are so stoic too.
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    Just another Oskar update. I think we're back to the original diagnosis. We went over the new xrays the new vet took, all 11 of them (no wonder our bill was well over $500!) and even I could see the narrowing spaces between the vertebrae, and the spurs. We did not, however, see any fused vertebrae--the orginal xrays my regular vet took were a bit overexposed in the lumbar region so that was a mistake. But the other things...yes, they are there. I asked why the new vet might have acted as if they weren't a big deal (she saw them, but said the were "normal" in large breeds) and my vet said he wondered if she mistook Oskar's age for older. I wonder if it is just experience--she was great and willing to try a lot, and quite helpful, but also very very young, and fresh out of vet school.

    My regular vet also got a much better look at the cervical vertebrae because they know Oskar and knew they could bend his neck more without hurting him or him complaining, and they did get much better neck xrays, and I could see the unusual bone growth on the vertebrae there too.

    Anyway, I have no doubt the spondylosis is there. And how else to explain some of his problems, like the weakness in the back legs which we now recognize he has had since a pup, and the fact that he is still weak there?

    So while some of his problems this weekend were exacerbated by an infection, the original problem still remains. :(

    For now, we're just going to manage it with meds as needed. The young, new vet said, well if it is spondylosis or wobblers (the other, related possibility) he needs to be in cage rest all the time and not allowed to run. I told this to my regular vet, who simply said, what kind of life is that for him? which is what we thought. We'd rather go for quality of life, even if that means his life is shorter.

    But for now, he is back to his old self, if with a bit of weakness in this back legs off and on.

    Thanks for all your thoughts and sympathy. It really means a lot to us.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • Does the fact that his spine was not actually fused (but rather the old x-ray was overexposed) make his prognosis any better? I mean, obviously it's just not good news to have this condition but I am so hoping that something will look up for him.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    Yeah, it may be a good sign that the vertebrae aren't actually fused yet in the lumbar region. It means it is not as bad as we originally thought, so it is some good news. The real problem here is the bone spurs pushing into the spinal cord, or the narrowing vertebrae causing a disc to bulge out (again, possibly into the spinal cord). He's showing some neurological problems already, so.....It's not great news, but it is still a bit better than we thought, which is something.

    I did ask my regular vet about a neurological consult. Of course he said I should do it if I felt the need to, but pointed out what they could do would probably be things I wouldn't want to do. They can do a spinal tap, but that would mostly be for meningitis, and it is highly unlikely he has that. They can insert dye and do an xray to see if the discs are bulging into the spinal cord, but unless I'm going to do surgery on the discs, that seems a bit unnecessary. Or they can do an MRI. So I will mull over the neurological consult, but will not be in a rush to do it now.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • HollyHolly
    Posts: 10
    Hi, I am so sorry to hear about Oskar. We are going through something similar right now with our Shikoku, Hugo. He has hind leg weakness and he is just under 2 as well. Our xrays came back normal and now we are seeing a neurologist. The first consultation and his intial thoughts are Hugo has a neuromuscular disease of some sort. But now we still need to find out what and how to fix it. If anyone else knows of any known muscle weakness problems in Japanese breeds please let me know. Any information would help.
    As for Oskar I hope he feels better soon.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 3594
    I'm sorry to hear this about Hugo. I have no ideas what this could be, though maybe someone else does? Please keep us posted on what your vet says. Did the neurologist mention any possible types of diseases? What are they going to do in the follow up?

    I'll be thinking about you and Hugo. :( Keep us posted on his progress.

    Oskar is doing quite well. His back of course is not going to get better, but right now, he is happy and does not seem to be in pain. Our vet wants him on some muscle relaxants, but I prefer not to medicate him if he doesn't need it, and right now he seems quite happy. We're not giving him a lot of exercise, but he romps in the yard with the puppy and that doesn't seem to bother him. We walk him with a harness not a collar. he also has lost about 10 pounds so I think taking the weight off helps him as well.

    I know that he will likely have other bad days, and that this is not going to magically go away, but right now he is doing well.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2012-07-25 17:24:06
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5497
    I'm so so SO sorry Lisa.

    We both got Oskar & Wraith around the same time, so it feels like they're related lol Oskar is like the nephew I never had :)

    Poor baby. ~
    - Osy ~
    image

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