On the 9th June 2017 Roxy went to the vet for an Xray following some discomfort in her back. I had it in my head that it would be something that could be fixed but unfortunately the Xray showed different. It showed a condition which the vet has diagnosed as Lumbosacral disease. In simpler terms Roxy has arthritis of the joint between the last lumbar vertebra and the sacrum which is one of the bones that makes up the pelvis. This narrows the canal through the spinal cord and nerves that pass through. The disk between the vertebra and the sacrum is often abnormal as well which causes further narrowing of the canal. Both arthritis and disc disease put pressure on the nerves coming off the spinal cord which can cause damage.
The vet had stated it is early but we need to maintain and prevent any deterioration. My first thought was if this is what she is like when it is early I hate to think what she will be like when she is older and it does deteriorate. At an age of three I would not expect her to have a condition like this. I knew there was something going on with her back it just wasn’t normal the behaviour she was showing. The advice we were given was to make lifestyle changes like reduced activity meaning a few short walks in the park a day nothing too long. No jumping and we will need to lift her up and down stairs, which means we have to lift her up and down 3 flights of stairs several times a day to take her to the toilet. No crazy zoomies in the park and must stay on the lead at all times and no rough play. Basically taking all the fun away, she acts so happy when she is off the lead in the park or at the beach. Just to watch her and see her have fun she is a different dog and she can’t have that now. Everything is so restricted. We also got medication to give her and would be reviewed on every followup. The vets aim is to get her off the medication completely with the lifestyle changes that he advised.
I remember bringing her home and she was still out of it from the anaesthetic and I just looked at her and my heart sank. I just wanted to hold her close, but she wanted to be left alone. I really had it in my head that it was something that could be fixed and the fact it is something she has to live with and will get worse with age breaks my heart. I then started to research the condition on different things to help maintain her condition. We have changed her diet to Salmon and Herring AATU as it has more omega 6 and also has joint supplements. We have bought a really expensive bed to help her comfort when she sleeps at night. We have bought a stroller so she can still come out and enjoy long walks with Pixie, we love taking them to Largs, Troon and Castle Semple for walks but it is too long a walk for Roxy now so to prevent her from being isolated we got a stroller so she can still enjoy time out with us.
We have attended every follow up appointment and we are still on medication. We had a really bad spell were I had to take a trip into the vet to ask advice about her level of pain and walked out with 5 days worth of tramadol with was a nightmare to give. Now we are on Metacam daily and codeine when needed (which we have used a few times). It looks like she could be on this long term as she cannot handle pain very well. I am able to tell when she struggles and when she has bad days. She has became a lot more clingy and likes to have the odd cuddle now.
I still have hope that we are going to come off the medication and we will not need to use it but for now she needs it. I do not want to se her suffer in the slightest. She means the absolute world to me and it upsets me that she has this and the thought of her being in pain just upsets me. I want her to be comfortable and pain free. She is so delicate and the slightest thing scares her. I know that in time when she gets older she is going to get worse and with where the condition is I can imagine my head what is going to happen when she is old and what this condition can cause for her. I always think it is better to prepare for what is to come. There will be obstacles along the way but I will be prepared when they come.
We have another follow up at the end of October but nothing has changed, it will only be a chat about how she is the same and to pick up another prescription of medication. For now Roxy has a very restricted life in what she is allowed to do and I just need to deal with it, continue with medication and hope for the best.