Calcium deposit in dogs?

nodakgalOctober 17, 2006

Has anyone heard of this?

This is told from Grammas side now, so bear with me if things seem kinda sketchy.

DD has 2 dachshunds. The younger one Shadow is I am guessing about 5. About 3 months ago Shadow was having problems with his leg DD thought. He yelped when he jumped from the couch to the floor. Seemed ok. Then she noticed that night if you pet him on his back it bothered him.It seemed sensitive and he acted like it hurt if you touched it. She made an appt with the vet in town. They loused up the appt.(long story) She then took him to a vet about 26 miles away the following day, who she loves and is wonderful with Shadow. They did x-rays and she said he had a calcium deposit on his back...I can't remember exactly where but it was between two vertebrae. The vet gave him 2 or 3 shots. I think she said the shots would help the inflamation and help dissolve the deposit. He seemed to get better at first, then he seemed the same after 3 or 4 days, wouldn't want to come out of his kennel that he loves and just laid around and had trouble walking. He even fell coming into the house one afternoon, just walking on flat ground. They had to lift him up the one step going into the house. She called the vet and asked if she should bring him back because he didn't seem to be any better. The vet ordered some pills, (steroids)it took a couple days to get them. DD gave them to Shadow and he got better.

Now he is having problems again. He shakes and I am sure it is the pain. She called the vet again today and she told her for now to give him baby asprin for a couple days and call her back. DD thought she would order more of the pills and get them to her but the vet said baby asprin should help with the pain for now. The vet was even kinda puzzled about it.

What causes a calcium deposit? Is there any way to prevent it? I knew doxies have back problems, but had never heard of a calcium deposit?

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Years ago I had a Doxie with back problems. Sounds similar to your story. We were told not to let him jump anywhere, anyhow, anytime, so if he is still jumping, he'll have to stop. We even retrained him not to jump in bed with us. He got his own beds and stayed on the floor. Ours almost died when his back went out, couldn't even walk. They kept him at the vets for about a week and luckily, he survived and was able to walk again. It was surgery or steroids for the rest of his life. We chose steroids, and he lived happily to 16 years. So, yes, steroids are bad, but the surgery was iffy also. I'm not sure about calcium deposits, back then we were not as sophisticated in dog diagnosis. Hope that gives you some insights.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 11:43AM
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I was afraid of the steroids for the rest of his life. DD said that she thought she heard the steroids will cause ulcers in the stomach if taken for an extended time. I guess it may come down to it if they can't get this licked.

Also I goofed on the original post. Shadow got shots the first time he was seen, also DD was to take him back in a couple weeks which she did, then he recieved more shots. Then finally the steroids.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 11:59AM
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meghane can explain it better, but the link below will give you a general idea of what's going on.

The poor dog is obviously in pain and if this isn't treated correctly, and it continues to get worse, he could end up losing the use of his legs.

I've never heard of injections 'dissolving' calcium deposits. Even tho DD loves the second vet, any vet that's puzzled over a dog's back problems and saying to give aspirin and call her back apparently doesn't know what she's dealing with.

Have DD ask the vet for a referral to a specialist, or go thru the yellow pages and look for a listing. 25 miles away isn't far and DD may have to drive a greater distance to get the treatment the dog needs.

Does she live near a veterinary school? If so, contact them first.

Here is a link that might be useful: spine

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 12:05PM
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First.............forget that link in my's not the one I meant to link to!!
I just read your second post. If they can control the inflammation with the steroids, then it may be something he has to be on the rest of his life. Personally, I don't think the problem is something that's going to disappear. Spinal problems are usually permanent and changes to the dogs lifestyle will need to be made........just as nodakgal did.

My dog is on a low dose of steroid and has been for years. It's never bothered my dog's stomach, but if that is a side effect for your DD's dog, there are other meds that can be tried.

Don't worry about a life of steroids. Once the right dosage is found, seeing the wag of their tail and their bright eyes makes it all worth it.

Here is a link that might be useful: spinal problems

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 12:26PM
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Unfortunately I have worst case experience with Dachshund back and neck disc disease - my 2 special guys were two of the worst cases seen by the dog neuro surgeon. Steroids are a temporary measure - especially in the case of my dogs who fully paralyzed. The first Wonder Wiener was a pioneer in neck/back surgery - both performed at same time - but prior to that was hospitalized 3 times for 2 week periods as paralysis set in and given steroids. As feeling returned he was moved to increasingly smaller cages to restrict his movement. When his neck calcified surgery was only resort and then his back went as on call neuro was on in his way to operate so full body surgery - only did the procedure because of my guy's incredible will to live. My guy was 3 at the time - he lived to be 11 and walked again - Stage I disc disease. Jump forward from 1988 to 2004 - this time my 6 year old guy presented with absolutely none of the symptoms that I knew to look for - but when my husband walked down 4 steps carrying steak my pup didn't follow. Although we tried to curtail stair climbing etc. he did occasionally get away with it. I instantly examined him but there was no indication of pain. Called vet - I had just enough time to get there before they closed - vet examined him and also did not see any of the typical signs, but then Dachshunds are stoical. She was very concerned as we both had lived through this with our first Dachshund. She decided to take X-Rays. As she was doing so, he started to paralyze. She called the Toronto Emergency Neuro, but they require a 24 hour work-up and based on his symptoms and quick paralysis, Toronto neuro said we had better get him to Geulph Vet Hospital fast for consultation and no doubt immediate surgery with Neuro. It was a 3 hour drive with a paralyzing Dachshund - in the dark. Horrible. Neuro was wonderful - had done same surgery on his 2 dogs. Turned out that this little guy had Stage II disc disease which in a way is like ALS - nuclear fluid leaks on to the spinal cord causing spinal cord death to the extent that neither steroids or surgery will repair that damage. He was in surgery several hours and when he came home had to use a sling. After 8 weeks he had regained 70% use of his hind legs - which was disappointing to neuro but not unexpected due to Stage II disease. The neuro warned me that my guy would have a relapse and that a second surgery would not be successful so to enjoy the time that we had left. It was exactly 10 months to the day of his surgery when he started to paralyze - this time with extreme pressure on spinal cord nerves so I had to get him to our vet fast so as to be able to carry him without extreme pain. It was very hard trying to be upbeat and not scare him - although he was scared enough. Any Dachshund who has been through this recognizes the symptoms and what is going to happen. Although this time my guy thought he was going to be "fixed". Sure we could have operated and even if he survived he would have been totally paralyzed for life - and at 7 years and 2 weeks of age, not a chance I would do this to my little/big guy whose main joy in life was protecting his Mommy. No crying, nothing - just trying to be brave for him. I just can't understand why your DD's vet has not referred her Dachshund to a neuro - and very fast. Not every Dachshund has disc disease to the extent my guys did - actually we have had as many as 4 Dachshunds at one time, but only 2 to suffer were my soul mates - and the true Alphas. Some Dachshunds suffer calcification in only a couple of discs and surgery for that to me would seem minor. Some Dachshunds have many calcified discs yet never suffer from an event. But once they do, you can pretty much count on it happening again - and getting worse each time. We now have an American Eskimo - I just couldn't put myself or another Dachshund through the pain and anguish again - waiting for that little turn of the back and cry of pain. I know that German breeders are trying to breed Dachshunds with shorter backs - both my guys were gorgeous and long - and while it was hard to keep their weight at 10 lbs. (little gourmets) I somehow managed it. I really hope that your DD's pup gets help very soon. I really miss having a Dachshund - my Eskie actually gets worried when we meet up with Dachshunds - he senses the bond.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 1:01PM
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Gosh, it's been over a year since anyone wrote here, so I'm writing with blind faith and hope that someone can help me and my little Molly,

Molly is a 6.5kg mini shaded red dachsie, who has been lively all of her five years, with sometimes a little soreness in her back left leg -- but nothing that lasted longer than a few hops every few months.

Two days ago, she refused to walk up the step to the porch. Today I noticed she was walking a little gingerly, and she would have nothing to do with any steps. I took her right to the vet, and he xrayed her and we saw a calcification between the 12th and 13th thoracic vertebrae. He gave her a shot of steroids, with pills to follow for the next week, then he wants to see her again. I will keep her very confined for the next week. She is happy to sit on my lap or to be in her crate when I'm away.
I'm just wondering if anyone "out there" has any experience with this condition. Do dogs live well after an occurnce of this? Is surgery an option? Phyiotherapypy? We live in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, and the nearest facility that does myelograms is Vancouver -- 2 hours by plane. We'd happily make the trip if a myelogram is advised.
I guess I'm just wondering if Molly will recover. We lost our last little fellow -- Max -- when he was 6 to a herniated disc, and I hope we've caught Molly's problem in time.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 12:49AM
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Disc calcification is one of the first radiographic signs of intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). Because the disc is calcified, it has lost the ability to cushion between the vertebrae, and has lost flexibility. Both of these things can be painful. Unfortunately because the disc is not as flexible being calcified, it is more likely to herniate at some point. It is extremely helpful to NEVER allow a doxie to jump on or off of anything, as this can exacerbate a problem such as a calcified disk and lead to herniation. Equally or possibly even more important is to keep doxies on the thin side- slightly below a "normal" weight to keep as much pressure off the spine as possible.

A myelogram is useful only for further workup if you would be interested in pursuing back surgery. If you weren't going to go the surgical route, there is no need to do a myelogram because you already know enough about the problem to treat it medically. The myelogram gives a neurosurgeon more specific information that guides the surgical procedure. Surgery is a good option for dogs before their disks herniate, while they still have motor and sensory innervation to all limbs. Once they go down, surgery tends to be less beneficial, and once deep pain is lost surgery is rarely helpful.

Steroids are helpful in controlling pain and inflammation, but do nothing to treat the underlying disease. Many doxies do quite well their entire lives with restrictions on jumping, strict weight control, and cage rest + steroids or NSAIDs for flare ups. Others don't fare as well. Some doxies who lose rear leg useage and who are not painful are quite happy in doggie wheelchairs- we have one doxie who lives at school like that and he is just as happy as any other doxie who walks without a cart. The most important things for flare ups is strict exercise restriction and pain control. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 1:11PM
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Meghane, thank you so much for your reply. Molly's on steroids for the next week. She's doing OK, but not remarkably better. Still a little stiff. Molly is a thin little thing, so no problem there. I'm wondering where this came from. Is it hereditary? There was no disc disease in Molly's background.

We're seriously considering surgery.

I wouldn't mind Molly having a cart, but I'm terrified that her spinal cord will be affected, as Max's was. It simply deteriorated until we had no choice but euthanasia.

Oh, this is hard!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 7:42PM
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I have two mini daxies age four and five and the youngest has just been diagnosed with calcification of spine. I knew these little dogs suffer from back problems but never thought it would start at such a young age.I notice that DD has a five year old called Shadow and wondered if he could be my older dogs brother? Chippie is five and comes from Brentwood in Essex. So far he seems to be o.k. My four year old has just finished a course of Tramadol and is is also on Rimadyl 20mg. I would like to know if there is anything I can do to help him ie: supplements and a memory foam bed?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 1:41PM
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