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Cauda Equina in Dogs

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  • Cauda Equina in Dogs

    Has anyone ever had to deal with this in their dog? My 7 year old lab has just been diagnosed and a decompression surgery has been recommended. I am nervous due to her age, am worried about the recovery time and the stress of recovery on her...and the huge what if it doesn't work??
    Our vet has said she has had great success with other dogs having this procedure (she is a very well known orthopaedic surgeon). She also said that as the calcification in my dog's vertebrae gets worse it will eventually damage the nerves to a point where she will lose control of bowl and bladder function and will become paralyzed
    She is like a child to my husband and I (we have no human children) and it's hard for us to watch her in pain, and we need to know that we are doing the right thing with the surgery...it's going to be close to $4500 Wish we had opted for the pet insurance when she was a puppy!

  • #2
    Years ago, like 15 I had a dog with this when she turned like 13..there was no surgical option at that point. We did accupuncture for a few years, but she then indeed lost bowl and bladder function so I had to let her go. She was a once in a lifetime dog for me and I wish I had had another option to try. 7 is not that old at all. If you can afford it, I think you should really really consider it. Cauda Equina is not a good thing at all.


    • #3
      7 isnt old!!

      When she is 14, you'll be happy you gave her a chance

      Im assuming she was diagnosed through MRI or myelogram, and you are working with a neurologist?


      • Original Poster

        Thanks Squish! I don't think she is "old" either, she is still a puppy in my eyes!
        She was diagnosed based on radiographs and symptoms, however before they go ahead and do the surgery they are doing a CT scan to make a positive diagnosis. If it is for sure CE, they will head straight into surgery so she won't have to be anesthetized twice. If not, then no surgery


        • #5
          I knew an Irish Wolfhound years ago who was diagnosed with this at eight years of age, surgery was not mentioned at that time which must have been ten or fifteen years ago. She was a little weak in the rear, it progressed, and eventually she did have fecal incontinence, but that was managed and she was still able to get around. She went totally down in the rear at age ten and was then euthanized.

          Don't know what I'd do with a dog like yours who might enjoy a longer lifespan.....it's a tough decision!

          Sometimes you wish you could give them a questionnaire about their preferences!


          • #6
            Do you mind PM'ing me, assuming you are in Canada...I'm just wondering if you are in my area and would be coming to our practice, or another referral clinic in the area. I know a lot of great boarded surgeons and neurologists. With the technologies we use on pets these days, its unbelievable what we can diagnose and often fix/treat. I operate the CT at one of these referral practices...can guarantee you that the CT part of the procedure is non invasive and regardless if you do decide to proceed with surgery or not, a CT (or MRI - depending on surgeons preference) will give you a great deal of information on the actual need for surgery vs. medical management.

            Again, not an easy decision...especially since its no cheap procedure, but I wouldnt let your labs age effect your decision at all (says the 13 year old labx beside me).