Dogs are man's best friend. Mary has been around dogs all her life and loves every breed she's met. You can never go wrong with a dog.
Does Your Min Pin Have Weak Legs or Back Problems?
The best place to begin seems to be at the beginning. Let me introduce you to my Min Pin. His name is Buzz, and he is a two-year-old brown Min Pin and the love of our lives. He came from Minnesota in January 2010 to take over our hearts.
He's been to school (puppy kindergarten, manners class, and agility training) and is a most personable Min Pin. Our vet is amazed at how well-behaved he is AND that he never bites! He's adorable and precocious, as are all Min Pins. I think that's where his trouble began.
Buzz is a jumper and runner. He jumps off of anything—including three and four-foot-high half-walls and pool decks. When he gets running, he runs so fast he almost looks like he's lying down on his side! Well, a month or so ago, we noticed Buzz was holding up his back leg.
At first, I thought he might've stepped on something, but I couldn't find anything in his paw. He seemed to stop, but then a few days later started again. He began holding it up higher and higher and not putting any pressure on it—time to call the vet.
The vet examined his leg and couldn't find anything wrong either. He explained he thought it might be Buzzie's knee because Min Pins are known to have trouble with their patella (knee). He said he tried to pop it, but it wouldn't pop, so he ruled out the knee. He mentioned Buzz's back but said he is too young to have back problems. So, he gave me an anti-inflammatory for Buzz to take for ten days and then return for a follow-up visit.
Most people shudder at the thought of giving their dogs medication but not us; Buzz will eat anything! The medication was liquid, so I put it on a plate for him to lick up. Every day at 11:00 a.m. I gave him his medication. He seemed to be improving but was still holding that leg up.
We returned to the vet, and he wasn't happy with the results. When he examined Buzz this time, he felt around Buzz's back, and Buzz pulled away. Now we had a more serious problem, and x-rays were necessary. I had to leave Buzz for a few hours because x-raying a dog requires anesthesia.
The vet called me about two hours later with the bad news; Buzz had a herniated disk, also known as intervertebral disk disease. Initial treatment is confinement for three weeks while continuing the medication he is on. At the end of three weeks, we will discuss what happens next.
Have you ever tried to confine a two-year-old child? Buzz is worse. All he wants to do is jump. The requirements are no running, no jumping, and no playing for three weeks! Short walks are allowed but use a harness, not a collar. This is almost a death sentence to a very active little guy.
When I got Buzz home and settled in his crate, I immediately turned on my computer and went to minpinpuppies.net:
"Invertebral disk disease affects both humans and dogs. In dogs it’s most often from jumping off of something. There might be paralysis of the hindquarters if the spinal cord is damaged. The nerves and spinal cord sometimes can take very little twisting or manipulation to create damage. For some dogs supervised swimming can be of benefit, under veterinary agreement, as it allows the limbs movement without bearing weight. Although more common in the long backed breeds such as dachshunds it can affect Min Pins as well."
Although I had done what I thought was extensive research before we got Buzz, I honestly never saw this one! As with just about everything else on the internet, no answer is definitive.
I go to another site that says:
"Congenital abnormalities of the spine. Young dogs can develop hind leg neurological abnormalities due to congenital deformities of the spine. Such deformities are typically visible on radiographs (X-rays). The severity of the signs depends on the abnormality and its location."
This makes me wonder as Buzz's vet said his condition was genetic.
The more I read, the more depressed I get. Different sites mention only surgery will prevent recurrence. Others say chiropractic or swimming therapy may help. I am heartbroken and, needless to say, upset and confused.
I call my vet for reassurance. I have been going to this vet since he moved to this area at least ten years ago (we had another dog who died before we got Buzz). His answer to me was he did not want to give me any misinformation at this time and would rather wait until the three weeks are up to see what we are dealing with. Consoling, isn't it? Not only that, should Buzz need surgery, he wouldn't do it. I would have to take Buzz to a neurology vet surgeon!
We are one week into our three-week regime, and I am already at my wit's end. Poor Buzz wants to play, and I'm petrified. Did I mention several sites said that paralysis very often follows disc herniation, especially in a young dog!
The dog's spine, just like a human's is made up of discs and cushions between the discs. These "cushions" are actually a gel-like substance that keep the two discs from rubbing together. When a "disc" herniates it means that the cushion/gel, has ruptured and is seeping out of the space it is supposed to occupy. This can happen anywhere along the spine.
Age can also affect the "cushion" as in old dogs with arthritis. Usually, if this disease is not caused by trauma it isn't seen in dogs until they are three years old or older. Apparently with the first instance of this disease in a young dog confinement and anti-inflammatory drugs are given.
So from what I can gather Intervertebral disc disease may be congenital or caused by trauma or caused by just jumping. It may or may not cause paralysis, it may or may not heal without surgery and it may or may not return.
At this point I am a nervous wreck, trying to crate my Buzz and keep him from jumping as much as possible and waiting for the next two weeks to pass to see exactly what's going to happen. (Pet insurance, anyone? I should have done that in the beginning.)
On His Way to Recovery
After three weeks, the vet says his back has healed. The disc is healed but now what? Everything I've read leads me to believe it will come back, and my vet said it could come back in seven years, or it could come back tomorrow! Right now, he's on one more week of "bed rest," then it's back to a normal life. I'll be living in fear of this happening again. If anyone has any suggestions or anything I can do to minimize the risks of return please, please leave a comment.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Fran on February 16, 2020:
Please keep me posted.
Our Min Pin Koko is going to be 10 in October. He had babied his back right leg about a month ago but after a few hours, he was back to running and jumping.
Today, he has been hobbling around all day, its as if he has paralysis in that same leg.
Saundra Majors on May 12, 2019:
Please keep me posted on Buzz , I have a 1 year old female black and tan Min-Pin
Bonniecarico1954@gmail.com on April 01, 2019:
Keep me posted mary about Buzz.
Bonnie on April 01, 2019:
please keep me post about Buzz.. my baby (butch) he mixed Terrier and Miniature Pinscher he be 1yr old this month. He is holding up his back leg. He love to run and jump just like Buzz. It start couples weeks ago.
Marwag on August 08, 2017:
just got the same diagnosis on my Min Pin . It's in his neck I'm devastated .cause he seems fine .keeping him quiet it's not easy cause no jumping on or off of the bed No jumping on and off the couch no stairs short walks I just don't know how I'm gonna do it for 4 weeks. Supposedly it's genetic to the breed . He was running and let out a yelp. Thought it was his shoulder. The possible paralysis scares me. The jumping puts a lot of stress on the neck.
Robert Limehouse on May 15, 2017:
I have an 6 year old min pin that has had this happen to him once and went away but guess what, it came back again so we gonna take another trip to the vet
Erin on October 07, 2016:
Did everyone use prednisone? What about using rimadyl?
Mary Craig (author) from New York on January 27, 2016:
Just keep an eye on her. If she does it al the time you might want to get a second opinion just to be safe. It could just be a stiff muscle or a small sprain from jumping, but I would watch it.
Mary Craig (author) from New York on October 07, 2015:
Oh Rob, I am so happy to hear he is doing so well! They are our babies and we will always love them. I hope he continues to be well for many, many years.
Rob on October 02, 2015:
Thank you very much! We have had great success. He is like a brand new puppy. He has recovered beautifully and is back to his old yet new self again! Thanks for the prayers!
Mary Craig (author) from New York on September 13, 2015:
Rob I will keep both of you in my prayers. We love our little guys and seeing them suffer is like suffering ourselves. I hope his pain is gone too! He's been through enough and should get to live pain free now.
Rob on September 12, 2015:
My min pin is 8 years old. He had a disc extrusion at C3/C4. The issue started 2 1/2 years ago and nothing showed on XRays. He was restless, panting and not lifting his head up. He occasionally yelped in pain when doing nothing. The vet started him on prednisone, tramadol and diazapam. After a month and plenty of rest he was back to normal. Then 3 months ago it started up again. He was back on all the meds which only worked temporarily and then completely stopped working. I took him to a neurologist who did an MRI for $2000. She located the extrusion and performed surgery for $2500. Right now my min pin is 3 days post-op. He has to be on strict kennel rest for 2 weeks and then will follow up with the neurologist. He is pretty normal from the surgery with slight weakness in his arms but that was also there pre-op. He is allowed 3 short walks a day no more than 5 mins each. Absolutely no running jumping or playing for the next few weeks. Really hoping all his pain is gone.
Mary Craig (author) from New York on August 13, 2015:
My vet suspected the infection and sent me to a specialist who did a spinal tap. The meds worked for him and now you'd never know. He never had any pain though, as I said, just keeping that leg up in the air.
The exact term is Inervertebral Disk Disease.
Glad to hear Archie is improving. I hope he continues to improve until he's back to his old self, with no pain!
danchiken on August 12, 2015:
It's day 10 he seems to get better.. He can run and walk easily with no pain with tail up and happy... BUT as soon as it's time to give him meds he starts to feel the pain.. I put a warm/hot toy on his back and that seemed to help. I have to give him the pain killer every 8-12 hours as soon as it gets closer to 12ish hours he starts to have the pain..
Please explain how ur Vet found out that ur buzz has the spinal fluid infection? And what is the exact term for that? How come at first ur vet told u one thing than the other???!!!??
Mary Craig (author) from New York on August 12, 2015:
Buzz had none of those symptoms. He just held his leg up, wouldn't put any pressure on it at all.
I find it strange the vet couldn't get xrays because the dog was in pain. Have you thought of changing vets? Obviously there is pain somewhere, a dog doesn't cry for no reason. I have never heard of a spinal injection for an ear infection. I seriously think you need a second opinion.
I really hope Archie does better soon.
danchiken on August 10, 2015:
I have a min pin his name is Archie hes about 6 and a half. Hes a crazy little punk. He was all fine (like everyones story) then he started yelping, crying. We rushed to ER and Vet told us different things like IVD and other (cant remember) so vet told us 6-8 week rest, gave us Tramadol, Gabapetin, Trazadone and I think some steroid (I'm school right now don't have the papers on me) Top of my head I think it was prednisone.
They did an Xray and said "we can't see because he's in pain" so they didn't see anything in Xray..
Now i'm assuming that my Archie has spinal fluid infection..
How is Ur BUzz doing? How was he acting? was he crying? Because mine little guy is really wierd. Because he can run and even jump and 30mins later his tail goes down and sits up. then might even cry.
let me know thanks:)
you can text me I have imessage
two 67 four two three five 5 three 9.. My Archie is in bed rest (day 8)
Please let me know ASAP... because I don't want to give my dog such strong drugs..
my pin did have an ear infecton like 3 months ago.. thats why I he has the spinal fluid infection ::))))
Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 02, 2015:
Aubree, I'm afraid Ibuprofen won't do the trick. Somehow you need to get her to a vet. It sounds like IVD or some kind of spinal injury. Let me know how you make out.
aubree on July 02, 2015:
Please I don't know what to say but me and my sister woke up this morning and Storm which in my sisters min pin was fine this morning, but now wont use her back legs we are so scared and don't have money for vet I don't know what to do and we feel so bad I think I'm gonna try giving her some liquid ibuprofen? And see what the does
Mary Craig (author) from New York on November 22, 2014:
You are most welcome Deborah.
deborah lewis on November 22, 2014:
...Thank you for insight.....
Mary Craig (author) from New York on February 15, 2014:
Oh dear Amy, best wishes to you. It may be difficult trying to keep her in a crate. Make sure to put a soft cushion inside and one of her favorite toys to make it seem more like home. Hope all goes well.
Amy on February 14, 2014:
I just took my min pin to an out of state vet- we are visiting my family. She's on 4 pills and will get an X-ray and second opinion when we get home. Going to buy a crate tomorrow- hoping she's not traumatized- she's never been in a crate! Best wishes ...
Mary Craig (author) from New York on January 27, 2014:
I don't know what to think either Kibbie, but certainly a second opinion wouldn't hurt. From what I have read an xray alone generally can show show IVDD but a CT Scan or Myelogram is often done to be more conclusive.
As for the jumping, keep in mind some dogs will start jumping as soon as there is any let up of pain. That does not mean they are healed but that they are without pain so on that I agree totally with your Vet. Crating Buzz was the hardest part of his treatment but remember it is also one of the most necessary. Hope all goes well and like I said, don't be afraid to get a second opinion.
Kbbie on January 25, 2014:
Hi, I went to pick up my dog a week ago, and she yelped and tried to bite me (never done anything like that). She is min pin Chuahua mix. 6 years old. Took to vet. Took xrays not under anesthesia, which doesn't makes sense from all I researched. I was not convinced the vet even knew what they were talking about. Vet said saw signs of degeneration on discs, and that perhaps slip disc or bulge but can't see that on xray, but the "differential" was "probably" this is what was causing her pain. They said cadillac treatment was two night stay in hosptial with IV meds. I said do you "know" this is what is causing her pain? They said no. (she never drags a leg etc., but wouldn't jump or run up the stairs). I said if they don't know, why put her in hospital. They said next treatment level would be to crate for two weeks and put on meds. I am doing that now. After the very next day, I took her out of crate, and she is jumpin all over the place. I can hardly get her on leash and stop her from jumping to take her out to go bathroom. Vet said even if pain free before two weeks, keep crating for two weeks. I am confused. Does she have it? I am still crating for the two weeks etc. and following vets orders, but I don't know what to think. Thanks
Mary Craig (author) from New York on January 22, 2014:
Unfortunately Maria, that sounds about right, if not on the low side. It cost me three thousand just for the testing. Hope things go well for your Min Pin.
Maria on January 18, 2014:
Our min pin is having these issues. She just turned 9. It is very hard to keep her from jumping on the furniture. Any idea how much the surgery costs? Our vet does not do this procedure, but she thinks its around 4k. Does this sound right?
Mary Craig (author) from New York on March 03, 2013:
The main thing is rest Edd...it can take. Quite awhile for this disease to be controlled. No jumping or running around. If it does not improve surgery is an option and it has a very high success rate.
Edd on March 02, 2013:
have twelve year old female min pin was in great shap at seven pounds just a little girl, jumped off a chair and lost use of her rear legs and being able to go potty she would just fall over,now in diapers and bed rest with anti inflams she shows some improvement its been over three weeks as old as she is i hope she gets well enough to go potty on her own if you can give me any info that would help that would be great. thanks
Mary Craig (author) from New York on January 06, 2013:
So sorry Louise. I know their weight is such a problem...Buzz will eat anything and everything, dead or alive! Good luck with your girl. I really hope the second surgery does the trick!
Louise Jutras on January 06, 2013:
My min pin is 5years and has had two surgeries in six month hopefully this is the last. She is in kennel rest for 4-6 weeks. She is doing better than the first one She has intervertebal disc disease
We were told to reduce her weight Hopefully this will work
Mary Craig (author) from New York on December 18, 2012:
That's wonderful Casie....its only been three months! So glad he's doing okay. Buzz turned out not to have IVDD but a spinal fluid infection...he will be on prednisone, 1/4 pill twice a week for a year! He seems fine but his appetite it outrageous.
casie on December 18, 2012:
hi hows your dog buss is he doing good still my pomerain is doing really good i had no surgeries just crate rest and meds for three weeks and its months later hes back to himself i try to keep him from jumping sometimes he does i hope and pray that it will never return good luck
Mary Craig (author) from New York on August 31, 2012:
Jaye, so sorry for your surgeries, especially the ones that didn't work! It is always so difficult with a dog, especially trying to keep a puppy down!
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on August 30, 2012:
Hi, Til...I'm so glad Buzz recovered and is doing well. I just read a hub by Mary615 about her mini schnauzer getting the same disorder from jumping. Her dog recovered after being prevented from jumping or climbing stairs. I think non-invasive treatments are always to be preferred and tried before surgery unless it's a life-or-death emergency (dogs or people, and I state that with the experience of 18 surgeries behind me--several of which did not work).
Mary Craig (author) from New York on August 30, 2012:
Thank you Casie for telling me the good news! I am so happy for you and your pup. It's a terrible thing when your dog is in pain and you have to watch. I wish you continued good luck!
casie mitchell on August 29, 2012:
my pom is doing really good in 1 week his back healed two more weeks of rest then back to normal the vet said he is pain free he should be good to run and play again but i have to watch his jumping for it wont come back he jumps off anything good luck with all the rest of you guys hope your dogs will heal and be back to nomal
Mary Craig (author) from New York on August 25, 2012:
Obviously I am not a vet Casie but I did a lot of research. IF it heals completely he should go back to normal. Good luck.
casie mitchell on August 25, 2012:
i have a pom in cage rest now he only has mild pain it hurts me that he canot run and play he has the disk thing to do you know if he heals without surgery if he can ever run or play again does your dog run jump and play again
Mary Craig (author) from New York on May 02, 2012:
I am so sorry Samantha. All min pins love to jump, run & play, I think it's in their genes. The only consolation is, if found early enough it can be treated and I have to say all the dogs I've seen that have had the surgery went on to lead normal, healthy lives, even going on to agility competitions! Please let me know how you make out, I would really like to know.
Samantha on May 01, 2012:
My poor baby Guinness (he's a min pin) is at the animal hospital now. I spoke with the doctor about an hour ago and said its an disc issue, & to call in the morning so he can go into more details of it. My husband and I are so worried for Guinness because he loves to jump, run & play.
Mary Craig (author) from New York on April 13, 2012:
Thanks Jessie, Buzz is doing fine. He'll be on steroids for a year to make sure but so far so good. I am so sorry to hear about your Pomeranian. It is a painful thing to watch and probably harder on you right now than your dog. I hope the meds work and surgery isn't necessary. We'll be thinking about you. Let me know how she makes out.
Jessie on April 12, 2012:
Our 6 year old Pomeranian is going though the exact same thing right now. It started Tuesday April 10th, she suddenly started dragging her back right leg out of nowhere. We have since seen our regular vet and a critical care surgeon. Per the surgeons suggestion, we are going to try the prednisone (steroid) and pain killers (although she doesn't really seem to be in any pain) for now and follow up with them this weekend.
I, like you, am a nervous wreck. Keeping my baby confined and seeing her not being able to run and play like normal is tearing me up inside. We're praying these meds help turn her around. The thought of not knowing if that leg is headed towards paralysis is the most frightening thing. I know there is a small window of time to get a dog into surgery if that's the case.
Unfortunately with her xrays it's hard to call whether or not a vertebrae is touching and of course her discs and spinal cord don't show up. I think a MRI is the next step if things don't improve.
Sending lots of positive thoughts your way, I hope Buzz is doing better!
Mary Craig (author) from New York on January 20, 2012:
Ace? Is it a medication?
Brett Winn from US on January 20, 2012:
Don't be afraid to ask the vet for some Ace if you need it ... it is very helpful in keeping a dog less active!
Mary Craig (author) from New York on January 20, 2012:
Thanks Brett, I think we have a long road ahead of us because crating him is working but the second I let him out of the crate he starts jumping. Thanks for stopping by.
Brett Winn from US on January 19, 2012:
I had a wonderful dog eventually become paralyzed with this. I pray your little dog will recover!
Mary Craig (author) from New York on January 19, 2012:
Thanks Krissy. Right now it's the not knowing if he's going to need surgery or not that's killing me and the fact that he won't sit still.
krissy72 from Ohio on January 19, 2012:
i'm sorry to hear about your dog having this disease. I hope that things work out for your dog. I know how hard it is to watch a pet suffer in pain.