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Dogs/9 Year Old Wiener Dog


Hello, my 9 year old herniated a dics in his back last February and became fully paralyzed.  He had surgery which was $7,500 and he started walking about a month later.  Last week, we believe he did the same thing (not knowing how he did it) and he has been on cage rest ever since.  We have been giving him pain medicine and muscle relaxers which seem to help.  He now can come out of the cage to go to the bathroom and lay with us for brief moments.  We DO NOT let him run around or jump on anything.  We are slowly taking him off the medicine because he is showing very little signs of pain, but if he overdoes, then he starts all over.  Surgery is not an option this go around so we are only planning on doing cage rest when we have to.  My question is is there anything we can be giving him daily to elevate possible reoccurring injury?


Hi Kate,

You need to remember, you will always have a dog with a back problem. It's common for a dog with disc problems to have recurrent episodes.

It can take six months or longer for a dog's back to heal, so just persist with the cage rest, pain medicine (dogs are really good at not showing pain, but that doesn't mean they aren't in pain) and plenty of attention!

Talk to your vet about rehab exercises (they'll help strengthen neurological function and the muscles). Many dogs benefit from massage, swimming, or acupuncture. If your vet can't provide you with info on rehab, there are DVD's to help:

It's very important to make sure that your dog isnít overweight since heís predisposed to disc injuries. Excess body weight puts stress on the discs. Maintaining the correct weight, and the correct exercise may help keep future episodes from happening. Some dogs do better with a chest harness instead of a leash attached to the collar, as neck strain can be minimized with a harness.

A healthier dog is always better able to deal with any disease and that includes IVDD. Your dog will get the proper amount of vitamins and minerals by feeding him the best food you can afford.

During healing, Vitamin B levels can easily be depleted due to the extra demand during healing. Vitamin B12 can be given orally, it helps regenerate the outer layer, (called the sheath) of damaged nerves which speeds nerve reconnection. B-12 supplementation needs to be with a particular type of B-12 called "Methylcobalamin", because the other type of B-12 (Cyanocobalamin) does not have the same effects on nerve regeneration. B-12 Methylcobalamin supplementation is also very beneficial along with acupuncture for dogs experiencing chronic pain.

Coenzyme Q is a naturally occurring nutrient found in each cell of the body. In addition to playing a big role in the system of cells, CoQ10 is also believed to have antioxidant properties with benefits for certain neurodegenerative conditions. Although a small amount is found in some foods such as meat, fish, and nuts. Supplementation improves oxygen uptake at the cellular level, aids circulation, as well as stimulate the immune system. COQ-10, combined with Vitamin E, works to reduce inflammation. During healing from an IVDD episode, 30 to 100MG divided into 2 doses a day is often recommended. If your finances permit, COQ-10 supplementation might be beneficial to continue after recovery on a maintenance basis at the lowest dosage.

L-Carnitine helps transport fatty acids into the energy producing units in the cells, where they can be converted to energy. This is a major source of energy for the muscles and increases the use of fat as an energy source. It works best when combined with good-quality protein in the diet. 125MG divided into 2 doses daily during recovery.

L-Glutamine helps prevent the kind of muscle loss that can accompany prolonged rest. Stress from an injury causes the muscles to release glutamine into the bloodstream. Some experts say that during a time of stress as much as one third of glutamine present in the muscles may be released. As a result, stress and/or illness can lead to the loss of skeletal muscle if not enough glutamine is available. Therefore, one of the benefits of L-glutamine is to ensure enough of it is available in the body to help prevent muscle loss. An often recommended dose is 250MG a day divided into 2 doses.

Omega-3 fatty acids derived from cold-water fish such as Sardines, and Anchovies (amongst others), are a wonderful source of two fatty acids crucial to health: DHA and EPA which are also anti-inflammatory. Instead of using fish oil supplements, simply feeding one water packed sardine a day will provide your dog not only with those beneficial anti-inflammatory Omega-3 oils, but will also provide good protein. Your dog will think it's a wonderful treat! Consuming high doses can lead to clotting problems and deficiencies of Vitamin E.

All of the functions of Vitamin E aren't known, but it is thought to play a role in the formation of cell membranes, cell respiration, and in the metabolism of fats. It is an antioxidant and protects various hormones from oxidation. Vitamin E acts with the Omega 3ís and COQ-10. Dosages vary, however, 100MG during healing is often recommended.

Oral Hyaluronic Acid, or hyaluronan, may benefit intervertebral discs. Hyaluronic acid fastens onto collagen and elastin and creates cartilage. Itís found in every tissue of our body, and assists in the distribution of nutrients to cells that donít possess a blood supply. Cartilage is one example of such cells. The presence of Hyaluronic Acid in those cells maintains the lubrication of joints and allows them to preserve water for other tissues. Varied sources recommend dosage of 20 to 30MG divided into 2 doses a day.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)  maintains cell membrane flexibility and permeability, promoting exchange of nutrients. It also is important in connective tissue health and the formation of collagen while providing the body with raw materials needed to create new cells and repair and replace damaged tissues and organs. Since it crosses the blood/brain barrier, it is thought to be beneficial in maintaining intervertebral disc health. Dosage recommendations vary widely, but 50 to 100MG per 10 lbs of body weight daily is a conservative approach.

Always keep your vet informed of diet supplements you're using, many have drug interactions. It can take a month or longer of daily supplementation before you see the beneficial effects of diet supplements.

Along with your regular vet, you may want to consult with a holistic vet, so that supplements are correctly monitored and to be sure your dog is getting the correct doses. If your regular vet can't give you a recommendation, you can locate a holistic veterinarian here:

Locate a veterinary acupuncturist here:

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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