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Sage – Spinal X-rays (a few updates)

For those following Carolyn’s post about the IVDD seminar, you may be interested in seeing these:

Here are Sage’s spinal x-rays. They show preliminary degradation (calcification of the vertebrae and some leakage of the disc fluid). X-rays are not terribly definitive.

When you look at the largest vertebrae just above the black spot you can see some cloudiness at the lower edge. This is the disc material beginning to leak out. You can also see that there is a little more solid white color on each side of this vertebrae connection here, as well as on the vertebrae to the left. This is calcification of the bone. For now, these are the two vertebrae most affected, though there is a third one just beginning to show signs of calcification.

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Important note: While these x-rays do show degradation, they are not necessarily an indicator that this dog will have a major problem in the future. He may never experience a traumatic episode in which a disc ruptures and leaks fluid into the spinal column, but it is certainly good to know that he exhibits weakness in this area and is something we will be watching as he ages. Carolyn’s posting regarding the information presented at the Cardigan Nationals IVDD seminar is very enlightening.

Common sense dictates that Sage isn’t a candidate for agility or other repetitive jumping situation, but we choose to allow him to live his life and enjoy it. Now, at age 2.5 years, he is a typical active, exuberant boy. For now he has no symptoms that would indicate that his back is abnormal in any way. Fingers crossed that it stays that way! (As mentioned in the comments section, we discovered this issue completely by accident. We were looking for something else, not a back problem, when these x-rays were taken.)

Common sense also dictates that the use of steps and ramps for Sage isn’t a bad idea. We have both and we like the products below very much. They work well for our situation and the extra wide treads on these steps really work much better for a long-backed dog.

This is the step that we got for Sage. There is also a 3-step version for higher furniture. The two-step is good for a sofa-height, and the three step works for a bed. This is a PetCo product and can be found online here. This is the link for the three-step version.

We also found a great folding ramp. It is light, but sturdy and not terribly pricey! It is also very portable.


5 Responses

  1. I was just wondering, is there a particular reason that Sage has had spinal x-rays already?

    • We thought that there was a good possibility that Sage had eaten a rock. We took him to the vet to check and they did the X-rays looking for a blockage. Thankfully, no rock, but that is how we discovered the condition of his spine – completely by accident.

  2. Ah I see now. Silly boy Rocks are for the birds not corgis.

  3. Wow. I think it is very lucky you thought he ate a rock. I also think it is great you are willing to share this information.

    I have stairs for my bed. I should probably get some for the couch. How does Sage like the stairs? I only ask because I have an x-pen permanently set up around my bed to insure Buggie uses the stairs! 🙂

  4. At first Sage and Denali wanted nothing to do with the stairs. I found that it was easier to train them to go up than down, so we started with that first. They now know that the command “steps” means to use them. If they are in a hurry they will shortcut the steps, but we have a waterbed so it isn’t as high. I think they’d be more inclined to use the stairs if the bed was higher. That said, it is a process, like any other behavior, and requires some training to get them used to using the steps.

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