I created this blog in July 2011 after my (then) 3 year old French Bulldog, Oslo, was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease (or IVDD), requiring emergency spinal surgery. This blog was/is a means to keep my friends, family & Oslo’s many fans worldwide up to date on his progress as he recovered, and to educate other dog owners about the threats of this terrible disease.
** Since it’s creation in 2011, my other French Bulldog, Jersey, has also had a couple run ins with IVDD… And in the winter of 2014 (3.5 years after his initial run in) Oslo had a *second* encounter. Disc Disease can affect one or all the spinal discs, so it’s not uncommon for dogs to have multiple encounters with it in their lives.
In the cases of Jersey’s first run in, and Oslo’s 2nd run in, I was able to recognize the IVDD warning signs very early, and both boys were able to be treated with medications and strict crate rest– thus avoiding the need for surgery.
In the case of Jersey’s second run-in– We were not able to avoid surgery that time. An examination by a Neurologist and CT Scan revealed that he had FOUR bulging discs in his neck. We decided to operate for the best possible chance of a full recovery. Neck surgery has a 95% recovery rate and dogs usually do very well with it. Unfortunately for us, Jersey was one of the 5% that had a complicated recovery. He remained painful & dependent on pain medications for *months* following the surgery**
If you are stumbling across this blog quite by accident, or if you have been linked here via someone you know, please read on for an introduction on who we are and (more importantly?) who Oslo is .
Up until he was 3 in July 2011, Oslo had been a wonderfully healthy boy. Besides some bouts with tummy-troubles (which can be blamed on his appreciation for food of ANY origin– including garbage bins) I had never had any health problems with this little guy. He’s a 28lb sack of pure love!
However, this all changed on July 5th, 2011. Following a play at the park, I noticed that he was acting very different. He was quite lethargic, seemed reluctant to move or walk, seemed uncomfortable and stressed out. I brought him into the vet and he was simply diagnosed with Heat Exhaustion. “Too much fun in the sun,” said the vet. “Let him rest a bit.” A mere 3 hours after that appointment we were BACK at the vet. His general lethargy had turned into downright physical pain– he was quivering uncontrollably, his abdomen & sides were tender to the touch, he could NOT get comfortable no matter what position he was laying in, and (most heart breaking of all) he was grunting and sniffling in pain almost constantly.
The vet met me back at the clinic and decided to take Oslo for the night. At this point she was suspecting a tummy-bug and the hope was that a good nights sleep, some fluids via IV, some pain-meds and getting him started on antibiotics would do the trick… Only, that wasn’t the case. At 4:30 am I received a call from the vet letting me know that Oslo was now exhibiting some lameness in his back legs. We were immediately referred to a Neurological Specialist at another clinic for further diagnoses.
A CatScan confirmed our worst fears–a condition called ‘IVDD’ & what appears to be a herniated disc(s). The condition can require immediate surgery to prevent permanent and complete paralysis to the lower legs. On July 6th Oslo went in for this emergency procedure, under the skillful hands of Dr. Nick Sharp of Canada West Veterinary Specialists. The surgery was a success, but it took Oslo another 3 months and many physiotherapy appointments to regain the ability to walk independently & control his bladder & bowels. Taking care of him in the first months following surgery was a full time job & a very emotionally & physically exhausting labour of love.
He is now 7+ years post-surgery and is doing very well. In the first few years following surgery he had no issues at all, but as time has progressed he has developed increased weakness and wobbliness. He is still able to run, walk, and play just fine though. Most people who meet him now would never suspect that he was once essentially paralyzed and had 27 staples up his back!
Whether you have been following this blog from Day 1 or whether you are just tuning in now, I hope that you find these pages informative. Some posts are sad and stressful, some are joyous and celebratory. Please share this blog with anyone you know with a French Bulldog so that they too can familiarize themselves with IVDD. There is no cure for IVDD, however knowledge of it can lead to adequate prevention.. which can, quite literally, save lives. Thank you.