Acupuncture and Chiropractic to treat a Dachshund with Disc Disease

zoeyRivertown Animal Hospital is fortunate to have a certified veterinary acupuncturist and veterinary chiropractor, Dr. Mary Arnesen.

On Saturday we had a call from a gentleman looking for Dr. Arnesen because his three year old Dachshund, Zoey, was unable to walk.
Zoey ‘s owner had met Dr. Mary about 10 years ago when his other Dachshund, Abbee, had a similar problem.  At that time he had been told by another veterinarian that the only hope for Abbee was to have spinal surgery at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital.  Dr. Arnesen treated the Dachshund with a series of acupuncture treatments.  Her therapy resulted in a remarkable improvement.  The dog eventually regained the full function of his rear legs and lived to be 14 ½ years old.

Zoey, the little dog I examined on Saturday was unable to use her rear legs. She was suffering from a common condition of Dachshunds called Hanson’s Type 1 Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). With this condition, the soft material that cushions the vertebra will suddenly herniate into the spinal canal and compress the spinal cord.  The resulting impingement of the spinal cord causes pain, inflammation and decreased sensation and mobility in the rear legs.  The dog may also lose the ability to urinate and defecate.

Unlike most dogs with less severe forms of IVDD, Dachshunds quickly lose full function of the rear legs and without rapid treatment will be permanently paralyzed.  The standard recommendation for dogs with this condition is to have rapid surgical spinal decompression.  Even with this aggressive treatment the dogs may remain paralyzed.

Zoey was unable to move her rear legs but could feel deep pain when the toes were pinched. This gives us some hope that the nerve function can return. Realizing that surgical treatment is the recommended approach to severe IVDD, Zoey’s owners chose to treat her using acupuncture and chiropractic therapy.  Standard medical therapy with prednisone, muscle relaxers and pain medication was started on Saturday.  On Sunday,  Zoey received her first acupuncture and chiropractic treatment with Dr. Arnesen. I do not know yet what the outcome for Zoey will be. This can be a slow process.  I hope she will be able to walk again.  I will let you know.

Updated March 24, 2012

Great news for little Zoey.  According to her “mom” Michelle, Zoey is doing “wonderful!”  She is walking and running again.  They are very pleased and happy with the results of the acupuncture and chiropracitic treatment Zoey received with Dr. Arnesen.  Visit our testimonial page for more on Zoey.

– Dr. Ginger