Before we went to NYC, we noticed that Daisy was limping our her left front paw. We thought that she injured it some how jumping off the bed. We were practicing conservative management (rest with leash walks for bathroom breaks only), which we had learned about when Daisy hurt her knee a couple years ago. She seemed to be getting better after our NYC trip, but it was one of those things where she just didn’t quite seem herself.
Then last Friday morning Daisy was slow to get up in the morning and refused to go down the stairs. She was reluctant to eat her food and seemed to be in pain. We quickly got her in to the vet that morning and learned that Daisy may have Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD). In a nutshell, the disks are like shock absorbers for the spine and if they begin to degenerate, they aren’t as good at absorbing the compression placed on them, which can cause pain and potential spinal cord damage. Beagles are a breed that are predisposed to IVDD, so after a check by the vet, all symptoms seemed to point to IVDD. The injured paw was not really injured, it’s likely she was having nerve pain from her back shooting down her front legs as she was using her damaged disks.
Daisy was put on pain medication and strict confinement to help heal any damaged disks she may have. This means, no stairs, no walks, no jumping for 2 weeks. If she shows signs of improvement after 2 weeks, the strict confinement continues for another 2 weeks just so she can completely heal.
We keep her downstairs most of the time and use a carrier to transport her up and down our stairs. It’s been over a week now and she is showing signs of improvement. Of course the real challenge begins as she starts to feel better for both us and her, as we have to try and keep her from doing extra activity (like stealing socks and running around) and stay rested as she continues to heal.
Long term we will have to care for this in a lesser form of conservative management. Walks will be allowed, but we will have to minimize the stairs (which in our house are so steep) and jumping. And we will need to be on the watch for any signs that she may be in pain as this disease can progress at any time.
It’s so hard when you see an animal in pain, how I wish we could at least telepathically communicate to understand what’s going on. Although I’m sure Daisy’s thoughts consist of food, food, treats, walk, squirrel, food, food, people that feed me my food, squeaky toy, food, pain, food, sleep. We hope in a few weeks she will be back to her crazy Daisy self!