Herniated disc in dog- has anyone gone through this?

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    I have a 5 year old Maltese, Frankie, who herniated a disc on the left side of his neck. His is on his third week of steroids and muscle relaxants. He is on the process of being weaned off the meds, week 1 – the meds were 2x per day; week 2 – 1x per day; and now week 3 – every other day. X-rays were taken and nothing appears to be abnormal, however, I know that x-rays are not always reliable. All neurological tests done by our primary vet are negative, but to date, I am not see the improvement that I guess I expected Frankie to have after going into his third week of medication.

    Frankie, has never been the typical Maltese lapdog. He is very hyper, active dog, and believes that every person and other dog is his friend, with the exception of squirrels and cats, I am not sure there is a person or another dog, Frankie, has ever not gotten along with.

    His personality is still very lethargic, the spunk and vim and vigor simply are not there, and I am very concerned about him. I know a lot of people refer to their animals as their children, and I am no exception, Frankie, is truly my baby, and was a replacement for two tremendous losses in my life in one year, my Mother and Grandmother. With that all said, I simply besides myself everyday in tears as I have not seen any dramatic change in him since we started the meds. He seems to be able to move his neck, but he favors the right side over the left side, but he simply has not gotten his “personality” back. He was not able to bark when the incident first occurred, nor could he shake his neck, and well, I can say that he shake his neck, and the barking is occasional, not the barker that I had before the incident.

    I am also very concerned on how to have him groomed. I religiously took him to the groomer every 5-6 weeks, and I am very fearful that he will be re-injured if he is not handled properly, and I by no means am I referring to the grommer, but more to Frankie and him not wanting anyone to touch him at this point and time and not cooperating with the groomer.

    I am considering a holistic approach, however, I am a fork in the road on what to do and how to approach it.

    I live outside of Orlando, in Central Florida, and would love to hear any suggestions that you may have with regards to treating Frankie.

    Thank you so much for any thoughts or comments that you may be able to share with me.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=Janet]herniated a disc on the left side of his neck.

    His personality is still very lethargic, the spunk and vim and vigor simply are not there,

    I am also very concerned on how to have him groomed.

    I am considering a holistic approach, however, I am a fork in the road on what to do and how to approach it.[/quote]

    Hi Janet-

    Was there an acute injury (pulling excessively on his collar?) that led to the problem? Was it acute onset or did you notice the change over a day or two? Was there a loss of appetite, change in bowels or other systemic symptoms?

    My general answer (without delving deeply into Frankie’s history) to your question is this. If there was an acute injury then I would concentrate on high dose antioxidants, e.g. Nu-Pet wafers and Antiox capsules, glucosamine sulfate and nutritional upgrade to manage his case. Nutritional upgrade involves using more fresh food (especially meats) and less commercial, processed food.

    If there was no obvious acute injury then you definitely should consider holistic and homeopathic therapy. If there is a veterinary chiropractor in your area I would start with a consultation with them. They will deal with the physical level problems which should help in the short run.

    The real issue though is at an energetic level. By dealing with the underlying energetic imbalance which has led to the symptoms of cervical disc disease you will be treating and [b]preventing [/b]future problems. Consult an experienced vet homeopath for this type of deep curative treatment. Even if you don’t have one locally, many of us will work on a phone consultation basis.

    Regarding the grooming, I agree that it could be a problem. I would keep him nicely brushed out and as clean as possible until he is 100% better. When you do have him groomed, talk to the groomer about his problem and see if they have dealt with similar situations. Regardless, if he gets stressed out at the groomer you may want to consider a home groomer. That way you can be there and hold Frankie’s paw when he is groomed to help prevent any unnecessary jarring.

    Regarding holistic treatment in general, I can’t urge you strongly enough to learn more. There is no question in my mind that this is the best way to maximize Frankie’s quality and length of life. Start by reading the first few chapters of Dr. Don Hamilton’s excellent book. I guarantee you’ll never want to treat just the symptoms (by covering them up with drugs) again.

    Feel free to post here with any questions.

    Good luck.

    Tony Scott

    Dr. Jeff
    Thank you for your prompt reply it is very appreciated.

    As to your questions, the injury was I believe acute in nature. Actually, what I believe lead to the incident, was that we were having a new roof put on my condo, the roofers made alot of noise, besides they also went the the ceiling of my storage unit and put a hole through the unit, which I can only imagine what that sounded like to Frankie. I think he spent the entire day going from window to window, barking and trying to see what had happened, and thus, I believe he self-inflicted the herniated disc. You mentioned the high dose of antixodants, where would you recommend that I purchase these and what would be the dosage, for a large Maltese (almost 14 pounds).

    Also you mentioned a book by Dr. Don Hamilton, what is the name of the book?

    Thank you again,


    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=Anonymous] where would you recommend that I purchase these and what would be the dosage, for a large Maltese (almost 14 pounds).

    Also you mentioned a book by Dr. Don Hamilton, what is the name of the book?

    Hi Janet-

    Sorry for the delay in responding but my computer broke.

    You can buy the Nu-Pet wafers and Antiox antioxidants in my e-store. I will afix labels on the bottles with proper doses.

    Dr. Hamilton’s book is Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs. It is the first or second recommendation in my bookstore.

    Dr. Jeff



    I’m very distressed about my dog. His vet thinks he has a herniated disc but they aren’t 100% about it and his situation is getting worse by the day. I read what you suggested to Janet about a chiropractor as my dog’s symptoms just suddenly appeared and I was wondering if you had any other approaches that could maybe make him more comfortable?

    thanks so much,


    My dachshund suffered herniated disc in the lower back over a month. Suddenly he started walking and running again after being paralyzed in the back legs for 6 days at the end of his illness. He was taking rimadyl for pain during the period and I was moving him outdoors for sunshine and fresh air during the day on a wheeled cart. He had his regular home cooked meals (chicken, rice, broccoli and carrots). He suffered two weeks of soft stools mid-month and went on rice and boiled chicken only. His stools firmed up the same day he started walking again. I saw two vets during his illness and both gave him dire prognosises of never walking again. His entire illness lasted about a month with the paralysis lasting 6 days at the end of the month. I was overjoyed when he started walking again. Don’t give up on your dog and don’t let anyone talk you into having him put to sleep.


    hi Dr Jeff,
    my dog is 11. He lost feeling and control of his left front paw on Sunday. Went to my vet, and he said he must have injured a disc in his neck. Put him on prednisone, and am starting to decrease the dose gradually. On the whole, he is recovering, using the leg, and placing the paw down on the ground. I have read online today that these disks can heal themselves with rest and medication. I do not know how he did this…only a possibility of coming out of my car while still sleepy from anesthesia to remove a growth from his mouth on Thursday.

    Anyway…I am keeping him very quiet….his appetite is very good. So far the only problem was last night when we walked him a little too much to let him move his bowels, them he dragged the paw a tiny bit later that night. Today he was fine again.

    Can this heal on it’s own possibly? Are there any other things I can be doing to help him recover….hot packs or cold packs. Nutrition wise, is there something I can give him?

    thanks….marcie k

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Can this heal on it’s own possibly? Are there any other things I can be doing to help him recover….hot packs or cold packs. Nutrition wise, is there something I can give him?

    Yes, the body can definitely adapt to the possible cervical disc protrusion. Anti-inflammatories (like pred) will decrease the swelling and thereby help the body to adapt.

    For long term maintenance I prefer natural meds like Antiox and Resveratrol, etc. A fresh food diet, minimizing vaccination and homeopathic care will help prevent flare-ups of this condition as well as development of others in the future.

    Dr. Jeff


    My 7 y/o mini Dachshund, Turbo, injured his neck last week. We believe it was from jumping down from the seat in my husbands big truck (Turbo has been on the road with us from 7 weeks old) He’s always been healthy and muscular.

    We took him to the vet who said the pain is in the top of his neck and gave us an anti-inflammatory for 2 weeks. She said there wasn’t really anything she could do and we should take him to a local Neurologist Vet and expect to pay about $2400-$3500 for the tests and surgery. Yikes! We can’t afford that all at once and every vet specialist in the area refuses to bill you. But even if we could we’d really rather not put him through such a dangerous surgery if we don’t have to.

    Turbo walks slowly and keeps his head down sometimes depending on how long it’s been since he had his meds. We aren’t allowing him to do anything except walk outside to use the bathroom. He stays lying down most of the day, except when he wants to follow me around the house, so I try to stay seated too.

    His appetite is great, he’s using the bathroom regularly.

    A few years ago Turbo got attacked by a big dog and had his leg broken. We had to have it pinned and I nursed him (carried him out to use the bathroom and never left his side for fear the cast would move) for 6 months. I have no problem nursing him now if we can figure out the best course of action.

    Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!

    Dr. Jeff Feinman


    I’m so sorry to hear about Turbo’s neck problem. As mentioned, there’s lots that can be done to help herniated discs without the expensive surgery.

    First of all, the good news. That being the extra space present in the cervical spinal area (the neck). Neurologic deficits and pain from herniated discs occur from irritation and pressure on the nerves in the area. The extra space in this area is therefore very helpful clinically and may improve Turbo’s prognosis.

    My advice is to get an exact clinical neurological diagnosis since you have a local vet neurologist. You’re not going for the expensive MRI and surgery, but rather to learn all of the options and get a conventional diagnosis.

    This info can then be used to help guide treatment. Therapies like homeopathy, acupuncture, physical rehabilitation, etc can all be very, very helpful in this situation.

    Feel free to get back to us once you see the neurologist. If you decide against going in then there may be a local rehab facility that can show you exercises to help. Also, natural antiinflammatories like Antiox and Vetri Disc from Vetriscience may help.

    Good luck!

    Be well.

    Dr. Jeff

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