Best sources for dealing with potential IVDD, back leg problems with senior corgis

My corgi Orson is a senior dog who has been slowing down for a while but is now losing mobility in his back legs. A few years ago, he had trouble with a disc in his back. We kept him on anti-inflammatories and pain meds as directed by the vet, and he got much better but he continued to have a tremor in his back leg and slow down on our hardwood floors. It has gotten much worse, and he can only walk on carpet or grass. We are seeing a specialist vet tomorrow morning, who I imagine will start with X-rays or a myelogram. Orson saw our regular vet last night, and she put him on a muscle relaxer and pain medication. Orson does not seem to be hurting, but the vet said that dogs with back problems sometimes don't show the typical signs of being in pain. 

Do you all have recommendations for the best sources (books, websites, forums) for becoming familiar with IVDD and other back conditions/diseases?

How many of you have corgis that have been treated for IVDD? Have any of you been through the back surgery experience?

We are trying to figure out what is going on and what to prepare for--anything you can suggest will be greatly appreciated.

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Noodles, who is 11.5, started having weakness in his hind legs in December and I took him in. His vet doesn't think it's a disk problem, but that his arthritis is acting up. He's on 2 medicines and hasn't gotten any worse. Some days are better than others. I limit his jumping up on the couch and watch him carefully on our status. His walks are slow and shorter. I just really look to him to gage how much exercise he wants to do each day.

Thanks for replying, Alison. It sounds like Noodles and Orson are around the same age. (I don't know exactly how old Orson is since he is a rescue.) It is good to hear from someone with a senior dog--Noodles is very handsome, by the way! 

My Max had IVDD in his neck which we treated with acupuncture.  But he later developed a tremor in his hind leg, first one then the other.  Which appeared to be the beginning of DM shortly before he turned 13.  They are not in pain with DM since it is a deadening of the nerves, unfortunately there is no treatment or cure for it and it's progressive.  Some begin to lose all movement and control of bodily functions fast, others live a happy life using a cart to get around.

As for difficulty in walking on tile or hardwood this is what we did.  I found a place that sold cheap yoga mats (Five Below if you have one where you live is good) and I laid them out on the kitchen floor and the hardwood that wasn't covered by carpet.  They don't slide and are easy to cut to fit.  Keep him off stairs and build (or buy a ramp) if he has no choice but to use stairs to go outside.  My husband put a ramp over our deck stairs so Max could go out without being carried.  There is no surgery if it is DM.

Many prayers and good thoughts for your Orson.  Please keep us posted.

Thank you so much, Linda. We appreciate the prayers and good thoughts. I can imagine that dealing with DM is very tough and that you must miss Max very much. Is he the fluffy corgi that is in your picture? Now that Orson is getting up there in years, I have been trying to get prepared for what is ahead.... Thank you for reaching out. 

I have started to read more and more of the threads on here, which have been immensely helpful.Someone else suggested Dodger's List, which is dachshund-focused but has a lot of great directions and suggestions for dealing with IVDD. I also ordered the Corgis on Wheels book, put together by Corgi Aid, and that came in the mail yesterday.

Orson saw a great specialty vet here in Austin, who said that he is likely dealing with some form of IVDD in his lower back. Of course, they can't know for sure without substantial imaging tests. Because Orson's motor skills are still good, the vet suggested that treating him with pain meds, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers and confining him to a specific area of the house to limit his activity would be the best course of action for him. The vet said we could do an MRI and think about back surgery, but my husband and I believe that would be too invasive for him at his age. I am glad that he seems to have shown minor improvement in the past few days with the medication, but I realize that this is something we are going to be dealing with from this point on.  

Thanks also for the tip about the yoga mats. We have mostly hardwood in our house, so yoga mats will be a big help. 

Elizabeth....yes, that is my Max.  He has been gone a little over a year and I still miss him every day.  I love my other guys completely but sometimes a very special one comes along and that was my Max.  I'm glad you are educating yourself on the subject.  Just as with human doctors we tend to trust them to know what is best but educating yourself is best so you can ask the right questions and understand.

If Orson is in pain I would also ask about using acupuncture for pain control.  As with humans they can build a tolerance to pain meds..  I didn't not believe that it worked but when Max developed the IVDD in his neck his pain was so severe that meds were not helping that much and he was always doped up.  Acupuncture was suggested and I was willing to try anything to help him.  After several treatments he was like a new of pain.  I was so impressed with how it worked on a dog that doesn't know it was suppose to help him that I tried it for myself.  I have a fusion in my lower back and pain management shots had stopped helping me.  I have been going for acupuncture for a good 5 years now and instead of living my life with a pain level of 8-10 my pain level is now in the 2-3 range so it is something I can recommend.

I know exactly what you mean about a special one coming along. I can tell Max was a wonderful dog. We lost our other corgi Arthur very suddenly a few years ago, and we still talk about him all of the time.

Orson's specialist told me that he didn't think he was in pain but that we can't always tell with dogs. He said the mild pain medication would help him relax and heal, so we are keeping him on that. Orson mainly looks uncomfortable and confused when he's trying to get around and his legs don't let him do what he wants. Again, we are trying to restrict his movements as much as possible. I ordered several cheap yoga mats, and they should be arriving today, so I hope that will help, too. I have been reading that acupuncture has helped a lot of dogs, but it is good to hear from someone with first-hand experience. It's especially helpful to hear that it worked for both you and Max. Did it help with Max's mobility? Was he better able to get around and move his neck? 

In about a month, the specialist wants us to start Orson on some physical therapy, but I'm not sure what to expect from that.


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