Sunday, 28 July 2013 | Tags: , , , ,

Ruby’s in jail, with limited time out of the pen for the next month and no one around here is very happy about it.

My dog Ruby hasn’t been feeling well and it’s been a stressful and upsetting couple of weeks for us both. 

Those who don’t have a much-loved pet will likely think, “it’s just a dog!” But those who consider their pet their best buddy (read: fur baby) in the world will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Anyone who knows Ruby can attest that she’s a boisterous and active dog.  She can jump into my boyfriend’s truck, no problem.  She greets everyone like they’re the most amazing person in the world.  Basically, she acts more like a one year old than a five year old.

The signs were gradual.  She yelped a few times when I picked her up, and again when she was rolling around on the grass.  Such a sad little sound!  Then, she became lethargic, reluctant to jump up on her favourite chair in my office.  I thought it was the heat.

The next day, she was hesitant when trying to cross the threshold, which isn’t much of step. And, she didn’t want to bend her neck to pick up a treat that had fallen on the floor. Clearly, something was very wrong.

After two visits to the vet and x-rays, we were sent off to a neurologist. I didn’t even know such a specialty for dogs existed.  (The doctors and staff at Canada West are great.)


Being a good girl at the neurologist’s

Unfortunately, her x-rays were inconclusive.  She may have injured herself or she has IVDD, intervertebral disc disease, a problem common to dogs with long torsos and short legs.  IVDD can lead to paralysis of the back legs and can require surgery.  You know those little Dachshunds you see on wheels? That’s probably what’s happened to them.

The neurologist suggested an MRI for an accurate diagnosis.  It costs $2000.  Or, we can put her on crate rest for weeks and see if she gets better.  We’re going with option B for now.



Ruby is not a crate dog. She’s had full run of the house and yes, has been sleeping on my bed for years.  (If you had a real live teddy you’d probably sleep with it too.) So this is all a little traumatic for her. She looks at me with those big brown eyes and wonders what she’s done wrong. 

The princess in bed

The princess in bed

So it’s incarceration for at least two weeks. Then limited parole. But no running or jumping for a total of 4-6 weeks. And after that, no more jumping into the truck, onto the furniture or running up the stairs.  All this likely exacerbated the problem.  Talk about a bummer of a summer.  But if it makes her feel better, and saves me $2000, not to mention the cost of surgery should her condition deteriorate, I’m in.

Does your dog have IVDD? If so, would love to hear from you, all advice appreciated!

No walkies for a while…

No walkies for a while…



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  • Erin Frew

    Hi Kristina, I’m sorry to hear about Ruby! I grew up with a Westie, a dog who also has a long torso and short legs. One day at the cottage he jumped off of a slippery wooden dining room chair onto the equally slippery hardwood floor and he let out a terrible yelp and seemed to be in a lot of pain and not himself. I was terrified! So we took him to the vet and he gave him a shot of cortisone and he was back to himself almost right away. Based on his symptoms the vet assumed that something was wrong with the discs in his back. I don’t know if what Brechin had is as severe as what Ruby’s IVDD, but maybe you should look into or suggest trying a cortisone shot. Who knows, it could work, but if it doesn’t it won’t put a dent in your wallet. Hope this helps!

  • ankhamun

    Poor Rubie – My dog Mabel recently had back/neck problems and confinement is definitely the way to go. Mabel is 40lbs of pure muscle on the body of a corgi with the head of a german shepherd. Very long back, very short legs.

    But, can I also suggest, muscle relaxers if in a week she continues to have pain? Mabel was in so much pain, and we weren’t really sure what was wrong. We just knew she tweaked her back. Like you, Xrays showed nothing wrong. It was the same symptoms you talked about with Rubie. Along with confinement, after a week of her not really getting any better, we discussed with our vet and she prescribed muscle relaxers (on top of the prednisone and pain pill she was already getting). They worked miracles.

    While we didn’t crate Mabel she did get her bed pulled out to the couch and we adjusted our couch whenever we would leave so she couldn’t jump up. Crating would have been best but she’s never been crate trained properly and with two other dogs loose we thought it might actually be worse on her. After 3 weeks she was feeling dandy and after 4 weeks she was attempting to sneak on the couch whenever she could get the chance. If you notice Rubie starting to feel worse though be sure to take her back in ASAP. I hate seeing the fur babies be in pain!!

  • Chloe

    I’m so sorry – it sucks having a beloved companion in pain 🙁

    I had a rescued cocker who had terrible problems with joint pain (he had been abused and tossed from a vehicle). A friend recommended trying out chiropractic & acupuncture, so I found a vet who specialized in alternative therapies.

    It took a few sessions, but my pup lived many pain-free years after that!

  • Lindsay Duplessis

    I have a small Shitzhu who had the exact same problem three years ago. It was awful, the surgery was very expensive, and the vet told me it probably wouldn’t even work. Thankfully, I found something that does work, and it’s inexpensive and easy. It’s a chondroitin supplement for dogs called Vetri-Science Vetri-disk, available in Canada at http://www.urbanjunglepets.com. The exact link is http://www.urbanjunglepets.com/Joint_and_Inflammation-Vetri-Science_Vetri-Disc_Dog_Supplement.html
    I saw a difference in my dog within a few days. Since that awful weekend three years ago she has hurt her back a couple of times, but she justs rests for a few hours and is then back to her normal self. These pills are FANTASTIC and very natural. Little Ruby will only need one a day.
    I really hope this works for your dog as well as it worked for mine.

  • Anne Charette

    Hi Kristina,

    Sorry to hear about Ruby. I have a 13 year old yorkshire terrier that I had to keep off his feet for a month because of a twisted tendon and when that didn’t work, he had to have an operation on his hind leg. It was very painful for him and he needed pain injections every couple of days for 2 weeks after the procedure. Not sure I’d do it again. It was so hard to see him hurt and not be able to help. He’s all better now but I feel for you. I look at Ruby and she reminds me so much of Freud. Good luck. Anne

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Hi Anne, Ruby is doing much better, thank you. I still try to limit stairs and jumping and for the first time last week, I let her run in a park. Apparently there is a high chance of re-occurance so I’m doing what I can. I hope Freud is doing okay… it is so terrible to see them in pain and not themselves.

  • Salix

    May or may not be related… I have a female GSD/ Husky X that is getting up there now (she’s about 12) and this year she started to go completely lame. I had her on prescription canine NSAIDs so she could ambulate, but the vet also recommended a glucosamine supplement. I work in the medical field and was totally skeptical of glucosamine, seeing that several medical studies have been very inconclusive. But for the love of dog, I gave it a try. On the recommendation of a friend who also had an older lab with a similar problem, I got WellyTails Cartilage, Hip & Joint Dog Rx Supplement. I followed the instructions for initial loading doses, now she gets just two scoops a day on her food. You mix it with a bit of water and stir it all in so it makes a gravy of sorts. Won’t lie, it smells like ass (it’s made from green-lipped muscles, whatever those are), but she likes it, possibly because, well, it smells like ass… I could stop the NSAIDs after about 2 weeks and she was surprisingly spry again, even better than before the lameness. I have no idea if it actually does make the synovial fluid thicker (which is the fluid between joints, including discs which is why I mention it for your Ruby Roo) like my vet says, because that seems like utter hokum. But whatever it does, it works and has given my dog her mobility back.

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Hi Salix, thanks for this. I will check it out. She’s been doing well lately but it’s always good to take some preventative measures!