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June 23, 2011

New Territory in Pet Ownership

My seven-lb Teddy Roosevelt Terrier, Claire, was a rescue from the Carson shelter in 2006, and has been certified as a therapy dog through Delta society for several years. She has walked with a pretty pronounced curved back for about a year and a half or more. I've taken her to several vets without pinpointing the exact problem. She's had a few incidences of pain, but nothing that lasted more than a day--until last week. She was yelping so much that I took off in a hurry to see any vet who would have me. I was referred to a specialist, a veterinary neurologist, for a spinal consult.

Claire had an MRI on Tues afternoon, which is a story in itself--$2300 just for the test. But it gets worse: she has a herniated disc in her back which requires a $6000.00 surgery. Since I absolutely do not have that, we're treating her conservatively with meds: steroids & pain medications, possible therapy to include hydrotherapy, acupuncture, massage.... that should treat the symptoms for a while & ideally lessen the inflammation, but won't cure the problem. She's still got a good ten years left on her, which means at some point, this degenerative condition will require surgery. So I've got to start now applying to foundations like Actors & Others for Animals, set up a ChipIn page to accept donations, set up a facebook page in her name, whatever I can think of....

I've requested a written estimate of the surgery from the vet & a letter stating her condition. I've never entered this territory before as a pet owner so will be taking it one day at a time....

Do any of you have dogs with back issues? What sort of therapies have you tried? Any resources in the community with pet owners without financial means? Please give me any referrals or leads you may have in the comments to this post.


  1. I'm so sorry El. Jill had one episode that landed us at the vet and another that had me all worked up that ended up being nothing. I've been told that Jill's discs are very closely spaced so we very likely will have problems in the future. I know I should look into pet insurance but I haven't.

    I wish you the best with Claire! I hope that you are able to manage her pain while you raise the money to get her surgery.

  2. That's the thing--I HAVE vet insurance for both dogs. But the policy has caps for each specific category. Spinal/back stuff caps out at $3000, and the MRI was itself $2000, which leaves little to nothing left to treat her.


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