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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28486
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Dr Scott Our 6 year old mini dachshund has had a sore neck.

Customer Question

Hi Dr Scott
Our 6 year old mini dachshund has had a sore neck. When her nose or shoulder has been bumped she has yelped. Today she cannot use her front legs at all and seems to have no pains associated with this. It's like her legs are paralysed.
We took her to the vet on Friday he said he shoulder and neck had some problems and gave us piano meds which we have been giving her.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Honey. You've described a doxi suffering from cervical (neck) intervertebral disk disease - a "slipped disk". If she has completely lost the use of her front legs, Honey is a surgical candidate; in other words, the disk(s) that is compressing her spinal cord and causing her paralysis would be removed. Time is of the essence in these patients. The sooner surgical compression is performed, the better her prognosis.
Here are important facts for you to note:
The most important prognostic indicator for paralyzed dogs - usually due to degenerative disk disease in a 6 year old doxi - is the presence or absence of nociception (deep pain). This assessment is always subjective but apparent loss of sensation caudal (behind) the level of spinal cord injury suggests the possibility for permanent paralysis regardless of treatment. Approximately 50% of dogs in this condition recover if treated with decompressive surgery.
Approximately 90-97% of dogs with intact nociception, even if they're paraplegic or tetraplegic, recover fully or nearly fully with surgical decompression. However, the time frame for recovery is extremely variable (few days to many months).
With nonsurgical treatment about 85% of ambulatory and 50% of nonambulatory (but retaining pain perception) dogs ultimately recover.
The recurrence rate (i.e., a new disk extrusion at a different level) is low in nonchondrodystrophic breeds (non "pushed-in faces" breeds), although some of these dogs (especially German shepherds) may have initial signs attributable to disk disease at multiple levels simultaneously. For chondrodysplastic breeds treated with surgical decompression, recurrence rates vary from 5-20%. The recurrence rate for medically managed patients is about 40%.
Dogs with signs attributable to ascending-descending myelomalacia due to bleeding in the spinal cord have a poor prognosis.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your reply Micheal.
How do we know if she has myelomelacia?
What is considered a good time frame for surgery. It's a public holiday here so she will have been like this for 3 days before we get to the vet. We have her booked into the chiropractor vet tomorrow. Is 3 days too long before surgical intervention? Can you give us an idea of the approximate cost of such surgery?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Myelomalacia causes a rapid worsening of symptoms prompting euthanasia within days because it not only causes progressive paralysis of the limb muscles but can also paralyze the respiratory tract if it involves the brain stem.
Three days does decrease the likelihood of a successful outcome following decompressive surgery. Surgery still would give her a better chance of recovery than if she were treated conservatively but this would be predicated upon whether or not she still has nociception. I can't know what you would be charged but I would expect $5000-10,000 depending upon where you live. Always ask for a written estimate before anything is done.
Please continue our conversation if you wish.