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Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your Toy Poodle with this question, but need a bit more information please.
Is your dog vomiting or having diarrhea at all?
Is she eating a normal amount of food, or less?
Is she able to walk if you help her to stand up?
Thanks for that further information, it has been very helpful. I have just a few more questions:
Does she seem hunched up with her tail tucked under when she stands?
Does she drag her toes on her back feet at all when she walks?
Ah... ok, that's been helpful! Is she at the vet now?
Hi again Jill,
I am concerned that your dog may be experiencing back pain due to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD, herniated disc). This happens when the material in the discs between the boney vertebrae in the back ruptures out and presses on the spinal cord. There is a lot of internal swelling when this occurs, leading to pain and decreased nerve function. This can happen in conjunction with arthritis of the vertebrae, because that causes decreased flexibility between the vertebrae.
Basically, the vertebrae are bones that protect the spinal cord which runs through a hole in the vertebrae. Each vertebrae has a little "shock absorber" between it and the next vertebrae, called a disc. The disc it a lot like a jelly donut! It has a fibrous part (the bread of the donut) and then a squishy substance in the middle (the jelly). In SOME dogs, this jelly in the middle becomes chalky and hard as they age. Dachshunds are prone to this. So, when the back flexes and extends, instead of the jelly compressing and expanding, this chalky substance gets squeezed - and it does not compress, but instead it extrudes out and you thus get a herniated disc.
I'm so glad she is at the vet! If she has ruptured a disc, the sooner treatment is begun, the better the prognosis.
Treatment for IVDD often involves anti-inflammatories, pain killers and/or steroids. The goal is to decrease the swelling which in turn decreases the pain and improves nerve function. Sometimes, however, they are not enough. In these situations, surgery can be done to go in and remove the disc material that is pressing on the spine. This is called "decompression" surgery.
In order to determine what is appropriate treatment for your dog, a veterinarian needs to perform a very thorough neurological examination. The vet looks for neurological deficits such as a delay in turning the back foot over if it is turned so the top of the foot is on the ground instead of the pads, while the dog is in a standing position. The vet also looks for "purposeful movement" which is a stepping motion of the hind legs when the vet supports the dog's weight so the legs can swing freely. There are a number of other neurological tests the vet does to test reflexes. Also, the vet manipulates each vertebrae in a way to find where there may be pain.
Often, if a painful area is located, the vet will recommend x-rays to look for a compression between the vertebrae. This confirms the diagnosis.
The prognosis for each patient depends on the symptoms, the results of the neurological examination, how long the problem has been present, and how the dog responds to treatment.
Here are some links with more information:
If your veterinarian diagnoses your girl with this problem, when she comes home, you will need to keep her as quiet as possible, with just short visits outside to do potty business. Carry her up and down the stairs, as this is when the back flexes and extends the most, and further damage is most likely. She will come home on medications to help decrease the inflammation. They are very quickly effective!
Many people with back pain report that a warm compress is soothing, and your dog may appreciate that too. You can do this by making a wet towel compress. Place a small wet towel, folded into a zip-lok bag (unzipped!) and heat for about 2 minutes in the microwave. Remove and press all the air out. Make sure it is not too hot! You may want to put another towel around it, and then gently place over your dog's back.
So, from what you are describing, my top rule-out would be back pain due to IVDD, and that is the first thing I would check for on a physical exam. There are some other possibilities, but this would certainly be at the top of the list!
If you feel my answer has been helpful, please hit the "Accept" button and leave feedback. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it!
Good luck, and best wishes for your baby! Please let me know how she does.