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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14901
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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Doctor! I am curious if a dog could herniate their L5 disc

Customer Question

Hi Doctor! I am curious if a dog could herniate their L5 disc from severe diarrhea that they got from consuming a bully stick?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Interesting question; did this happen to your dog? I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.
It seems unlikely that diarrhea, no matter how severe or from what cause, could cause a healthy disc to herniate.
If the disc was abnormal already, and about to herniate, then it may be possible for straining associated with diarrhea to be "the last straw" causing the herniation. Dogs can have discs about to herniate, and not show much in the way of pain or symptoms until it herniates. So, it is possible for a dog to have a bad disc, but for you not to know it was there, and then have it herniate when he got the diarrhea.
It still seems unlikely, and I have not seen anything like this happen in my 30 years of practice, but it could be possible.
How is he doing? Can I help with or answer anything else?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Rebecca,

It's actually my boyfriend's dog. He was convinced that when he had given a new bully stick to the dog (who's had no issues in the past with this product) and the dog got ill (no vomiting, just "severe diarrhea"). He then took her to the vet hospital after 2-4 days with the diarrhea not going away. Mia was still staining to go to the bathroom. She wasn't able to stand or move her hind legs. They did get her from a breeder so they were told degenerative myelopathy was negative. The vet told us that the diarrhea could have been from parasites, colitis/indiscriminate eating. This could be paraparesis from IVDD, FCE or inflammatory myelopathy. There was also extra lumbar vertebrae. They did discuss a very expensive surgery with us to repair this or we could try steroid treatment first. We went with steroid treatment as surgery is over $10,000.

A woman at the dog park yesterday told me that her dog died from a similar situation when she had severe diarrhea and it caused paralysis that her dog was too weak after that happened and died. It didn't make sense to me so I wanted to check as I was worried.


Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
I agree, it seems unlikely that diarrhea would cause paralysis.
I hope your boyfriend's dog responds to the steroids.
Let me know how he is doing and if I can answer anything else. Kindly consider rating my answer if I answered your questions; you will still be able to get back to me with an update.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
How is the dog doing?