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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 19331
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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My 3 yr. old maltese/pappillon, went out side and came up

Customer Question

my 3 yr. old maltese/pappillon, went out side and came up stairs with her tail down and panting and shaking. I cannot get an appointment and am concerned about her well being. Her tummy is hard.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 4 months ago.

Hello.

Given the signs and breed, this is most likely IVDD (intervertebral disc disease). This is where a disc ruptures or herniates in the back pressing on the spinal cord which causes weakness and nerve roots which causes pain. Signs can be as mild as reluctance to walk/ climb stairs to as severe as full paralysis. Many dogs present like Annie with panting, trembling, abdominal tensing and just not acting right.

Diagnosis is made on neuro exam and then can be confirmed with advanced imaging like MRI, CT or myelogram.

Treatment is based on the stage of the disease:
> Mild weakness/ pain can be treated with strict exercise restriction and anti-inflammatory meds (Rimadyl, Deramaxx) + other pain meds (Gabapentin, Tramadol). Crate confinement for the majority of the day with only short leash walks outside is key, and I like to do this for 1-3 weeks.
> Severe neurologic deficits and paralysis require back decompressive surgery to correct.

It sounds like your dog will do fine with the more conservative management of pain meds and rest for 1-2 weeks.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.