FAQ

1. What CAUSED Oslo’s injury?

Well… In short– NOTHING. There was no big fall, accident, fight or trauma. This website explains it best:

As discs age and degenerate, they lose water content, and become less able to withstand compression. They become less able to withstand forces placed upon them. If too much force is placed on them, they can be squeezed and expand or rupture. This rupture usually occurs in an upward direction, and the disc extrudes into the spinal canal where the spinal cord is. Symptoms develop either because of the force of the disc material hitting the cord, or due to the disc material compressing the spinal cord.

3 years of playing, jumping into the sofa, running, playing fetch and generally being a happy dog is likely the culprit. His discs simply wore down. I took him out on Monday to play a game of fetch- we played for 10 minutes then went home. It’s likely that this innocent, non-eventful game of fetch was the ‘straw that broke the frenchies back’.

2. How much did his surgery cost?

Oslo’s surgery ended up costing about $7,500. That included the diagnostics (Cat Scan), Surgery, Days in Intensive Care, and Drugs. It was extremely expensive. We were not insured at the time, but were VERY fortunate to receive countless donations from friends, family & strangers alike to help with Oslo’s medical bills. In total, we raised almost $6,500 of his $7,500 bill. I am still blown away by the generosity of strangers!

When Jersey had his surgery (on his neck) in November of 2016, the cost was about $7,000. We had his soft palate operated on at the same time, which was another $3,500. Fortunately, we had learned our lesson about insurance by the time Jersey needed surgery, so his procedures were 90% covered.

3. What were Oslo & Jersey’s chances of a full recovery?

His Surgeon gave Oslo a 80% chance of making a full recovery. He also has a chance of a ‘partial’ recovery, and or course a small chance of no recovery at all. I am happy to report that he has made a Mostly Full recovery (with the exception of a tiny bit of weakness in his rear legs, which does not impede his ability to walk, run, or play).

Jersey was given a 90-95% chance of a full, straight forward recovery for his neck surgery. Unfortunately he was one of the 5-10% who did not have such a straight forward recovery. We were told that within a few weeks of the surgery he’d be healed and his normal self. 4 months later we were still having to medicate & keep him calm to avoid episodes of neck spasm.

4. How long did it take the dogs to recover?

8-12 weeks for Oslo’s initial recovery. The first month he was restricted SOLEY to a crate. His movement was supremely limited as to give his spine a chance to heal. After that, I was able to move him into a larger pen (but still enclosed). He had a bit more freedom, but still needed to be limited. For the inital 2-3  months following surgery, we focused on physical therapy, relearning how to walk, goto the bathroom on his own, etc.

The first month was the hardest and most intensive. The next 2 months were still quite tough, but not as scary. Once I ‘got the hang’ of his daily care, it wasn’t too bad.  I would say that it took about 6 months for him to ‘get back to his normal self’ and seem like a completely normal dog.

It’s now been 2+ years since his surgery, and he is 90% recovered. He is mostly normal, but does retain some weakness in his rear legs. He walks with a little bit of a funny walk, and isn’t really able to jump like he used to. However this does not affect his quality of life. In fact, most people don’t even notice it when they meet him.

5. Should I be worried about this happening to my dog?

Unfortunately, IVDD is very, very common in many short-legged dog breeds. I do not condone ‘fear mongering’ and do not mean to frighten anyone… but no matter how ‘well bred’ your dog is (Oslo comes from champion Canadian lines!) there is a risk that he/she could suffer from spinal issues down the road. Rather than live in fear, however, I advocate EDUCATING yourselves.

-Familiarize yourself with IVDD symptoms.

– Talk to your vet about IVDD. Make sure that they are familiar with it (you’d be surprised at how many aren’t!)

– Do your best to limit activities that are jarring and potentially damaging to the spine– jumping off furniture, running down stairs, intense games of ‘tug-o-war’ etc. If you can baby that spine from Day 1, they just may never have an issue.

– GET PET INSURANCE! So that if it DOES happen to you, you won’t be bankrupted by the bills.

6. Do all dogs with IVDD require surgery?

Definitely not!! Depending on the severity of the herniation of the disc(s), and if caught early enough (before paralysis, usually), dogs can often respond quite well to what is called ‘Conservative Treatment‘.

Conservative Treatment consists of:

– Strict Crate rest for 6-8 weeks. The dog must remain crated at all times during this period. Potty breaks should be limited to as few steps as necessary to get the job done. It is imperative that the dog is kept crated so that their spine can rest and heal completely. Think of the crate rest like putting a broken leg in a cast– the cast keeps the leg immobile so that the body can repair itself.

– Medications. There is no drug that can heal a herniated disc, however certain drugs will alleviate the pain and allow the dog to rest as comfortably as possible while the spine recovers. You should talk to your vet about an Anti-inflammatory (Oslo & Jersey have both been on Metacam with great success) as well as a good pain killer (We’ve used Tramadol with no adverse side effects). If you dog is experiencing muscle spasms, you can also use a muscle relaxant.

If your dog is medicated, but still seems uncomfortable– speak openly with your veterinarian about it and work to find a solution. A dog that is properly medicated, will be able to rest and recover much faster than a dog who is suffering unnecessarily.

– The cost for conservative treatment depends on many factors, but I would put it at around the $500-$1000 range (as it mostly consists of exam/diagnostic fees, & medication costs)

Be aware that  dogs treated ‘Conservatively’ are at a higher risk of having another encounter with IVDD than dogs who under go surgery. However, due to its MUCH reduced cost, and the fact that surgery is very invasive & hard on both dog & owner, I do think it’s something worth considering & chatting with your vet about.

7. Should I just put my dog to sleep?

No, no, no! First of all, dogs can & do recover very well with surgery &/or conservative treatment. I know that an IVDD diagnosis seems overwhelming and scary at first, but I can’t tell you enough how treatable this can be. With proper care & time, your dog has a very good chance of living a very happy life! Putting your beloved to sleep right away is usually not necessary. Please read this entry about life after IVDD.

Also! Even if your dog were to not recover from the surgery/conservative treatment, and had lasting paralysis in their hind legs– you should know that *that* also doesn’t need to be a death sentence. There are many paralyzed dogs living happy, wonderful lives. It definitely takes the right owner to care for a dog like this, but in the right home with the right person, these dogs can have a fabulous quality of life.

‘Bleu The French Pig’ is a particularly inspiring paralyzed Frenchie who is so full of life and never lets her paralysis stop her from doing the Frenchie 500 and living life to it’s fullest!

8. I just can’t do this. What are my options?

Nobody can deny that caring for a dog that has undergone surgery, and/or is being conservatively treated is a lot of work. It’s work, its time, and its a LOT of worrying. Let’s face it– some people are just not in a position where they can take on this sort of emotional and/or financial challenge. If that is you, please do not automatically assume that you need to put your dog to sleep. There are people out there who can & want to help!

First of all, consider relinquishing your dog to a rescue organization. Breed specific organizations are a good place to start (such as French Bulldog Rescue Network).  You could also try posting an ad on an appropriate Facebook Group– perhaps there is someone in your area who is experienced with IVDD, who would be willing to adopt your dog and/or help you through this difficult time.

You would be surprised and amazed at how generous and caring strangers can be, and how far-reaching the French Bulldog Online Community is! Don’t be afraid to ask for help ❤

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60 thoughts on “FAQ

  1. Hello,
    We have a Frenchie named Norton Henry….he is in need of his 3rd Disk surgery and we are totally out of funds….can you give me some ideas on how to raise funds? We are in desperate need.

    Forever Grateful,
    Pat M

    1. Hi Pam,
      The first thing you should do is create a blog (like this) for him. Post photos, videos, stories, etc. Be totally open. Let people get to know you guys. Also goto Chipin.com & create a donation page. This will allow people to donate to your cause. Then, tell absolutely EVERYONE YOU KNOW your story. Don’t be shy. You will be amazed at how many people will donate to your cause if you just ask for it. It will take work (I have probably spent 100+ hours fundraising, writing emails, making calls, updating the blog etc since this all began) but it has paid off! The key is to be extremely proactive and to not give up. When you create his blog, please let me know the web address. I’d be happy to help spread the word! 🙂

  2. I’m so happy to see Oslo doing so well! I’m terrified because my gorgeous little Lola just started showing some strange signs that are consistent with IVDD… She is going to the Veterinarian this coming week. I love her so much and seeing other Frenchie owners who have successfully overcome physical ailments has given me more hope than fear. I’m so glad you all around; prayers for my little girl are appreciated!
    -Erica

    1. Erica– Thank you for the comment! I am SO glad that you have found Oslo’s blog and that you have found it helpful. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE hearing that Oslo’s story & blog have helped other Frenchies (and their owners) who might be going through similar things. That is exactly why I wanted to create this blog in the first place.. so that our experience & photos could possibly help guide others through the process and show them what recovery from IVDD Surgery *looks* like. Wishing you & Lola all the very best. If you ever have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask! 🙂

  3. Tamara & Justin,

    I stumbled upon your blog months ago just when Oslo began having his problems. I think it must have been the 3rd or 4th post that you did. Your story was so heartwarming, I remember looking at my frenchie (Bo) and hoping that it would never happen to him. This week, it has. In almost the exact same description as what happened with your Oslo. The major difference is that Bo’s chances have been low from the start. Please read his blog here:

    http://www.mydogbo.blgospot.com

    Please contact me if you have the time. I would love some advice and guidance, and all the positive energy we can get! I have been posting in the ‘I Love French Bulldogs” group on Facebook as well.

    Alejandro

  4. Just reading about Oslo, I’ve already fell in love with the little guy. I am very thankful he had a successful surgery and I’ve always heard about IVDD, I just never knew how prone frenchies were to being diagnosed with it. My little Poey loves to run up and down stairs and he jumps up on our high bed. Its no sweat for him. Now, after reading about Oslo I’m very hesitant to let him do those things anymore. I thank you for being a dog lover and passing on this information. I hope Oslo lives a long cute life and he’s lucky to have owners like you to care for him.

  5. i just finished reading your whole blog on Oslo. i am so so so thankful for finding your blog, as i am going through the EXACT same thing with my 1 and a half year old baby Rocky, he actually looks almost identical to Oslo. it was actually heart warming to have come across your blog after what ive been going through the last 3 days. it started on saturday when my little rocky was just not acting like himself he wouldnt come when i called him he just completely kept to himself and didnt seem to want to do anything. which is extremely odd because he is the most energetic little thing ever! so i thought maybe it was him just feeling a little under the weather, just like soemtimes people tend to feel. so the night goes on and its around 11pm and i noticed rockys body was so hard and he was so stiff so i just gentely rubbed him and he would fall asleep. an hour later he got up. i carried him off the bed and i put him down. he wouldnt follow me, when usually he is like my little shadow. so i noticed he could not use his back legs what so ever, they were completely un mobile. so i panniced and thats when me and my boyfriend rushed him to the emergency. they put him on fluids and pain meds, even though he didnt show pain what so ever. the doctor told us that they think that it might be something called IVDD and explained it. i was in tears but i kept hoping for the best 900$ dollars later.. we picked rocky up the next morning and took him to Canada West (where oslo went!) and they did the MRI and yes, he had a slipt disc in his spine and needed emergency surgery right away and explained the cost and thats when i fell to my knees and didnt know what to do. i am 22 years old and my boyfriend is 21 and we both just dont have that sort of money to throw around. and unfortionatly no we dont have pet insurance on Rocky.. so right now i am in the mix on trying to get approved to get it financed but it is just such a load on my shoulders. Rocky is my life and he meens the world to me and i would sell my soul to the devil just for him to be ok. i wish i could take this all away from him, but i cant. he is day2 of recovering from surgery and ive tried reaching out to family for the cost but its hard for people to help as much as they want to but im trieing as hard as i can and trying to do anything possible to save my little boy. i just wanted to write to you to tell you that your story really gave me a peice of mind and helped me more then you could ever imagine. i dont feel as alone as i did the last few days. honestly they have been the hardest few days of my entire life . if you would be able to talk further with me you can no idea how much i would appriciate it. i feel so alone and so broken down. and i hope to hear a responce. it would honestly meen the world to me.
    I hope you and your two babys are good, and all the best to you xx
    Sincerely,
    Nicole&Rocky(nicoleh00@hotmail.com)

  6. hello there!! As soon as I read Oslo’s story I burst into tears. My baby frenchie Frankie, who is just about to turn 3 has exaclty the same thing happen today!! He seemed completley fine with no symptoms of this but last night he was up all night groaning in pain and really stiff. I took him to the vet this morning and got told from a scale on 1-5 (5 being the worse) is spine is a 5. The xray is horendous. It looks like he just has a peak right in the middle of it. My boyfriend just got home with him then and im completley heart broken. He was walking when he went to the vet and now he can hardly move and his back legs are pretty much not working at all..just dragging. We have been given lots a medication and told to moniter him for the next few days and if he is the same we have to go the spinal specialist. I have not stopped crying all night 😦

    I just honestly cant believe it! What happened to Oslo is happening to Frank exactly! To an absolute tee! looking at his x rays im pretty defenate he will have to have surgery. Im absolutley beside myself. it cost us $750 today for all the xrays and I felt sick about that. But hearing it can cost up to $8000 made me and my boyfriend burst into tears. obviously we have to do what we have to do to fix him, I wouldnt have it any other way. But i dont know how in the world we can pay for this and now we cant even get pet insurance as it is now pre existing 😦

    Please can you offer any advice.
    Thanks so much 😦 and i hope oslo is doing well xx

  7. Thank you so much for your blog. When our Frenchie, Kizzy, about a month ago started to display symptoms of disc issues, I used your blog information to convince our vet to send us straight to the neurologist. I was convinced there was something serious going on and wasn’t willing to wait around. She had emergency and, she’s been having a great recovery up until today. She started displaying similar symptoms – shaking in the legs, weakness when walking, uncontrolled urination. She has had strict rest for the past five months, so we aren’t sure what is going on. Did Oslo have intermittent pain after surgery? I’m stick to my stomach thinking we might have to go through this all over again, but I haven’t had much luck at all today finding out if pain here and there is normal vs. something to be worried about. We’ve already spoke with our vet today, putting her back on pain meds until she can be seen tomorrow. Thank you! Jenn

  8. My Frenchie Matisse has IVDD. I tried to send you a comment before but I don’t think it worked. What I wanted to say was that I think we got Matisse from the same breeder you got Olso from in Alberta. In fact I am sure of it. Did you inform Karin of Oslo’s condition? We just spent over $5000 we don’t have and she hasn’t even had surgery yet. It would have been nice to be informed so we could have gotten medical insurance as a precaution.It is heart breaking and if she needs further care it will be impossible for us. Can you give us some ideas to get started fundraising if we need to for further treatment. Matisse is my baby and I have to help her. She is beautiful and loving and part of my family.

    1. Hi there. Very sorry to hear about Matisse’s situation. IVDD is so awful and it always saddens me to hear that yet another Frenchie is going through it. In terms of fundraising, my suggestions are always to start a blog and a fundraising page through http:://www.chipin.com. I cannot stress enough though how important it is to stay up to date with your blog. Post OFTEN, share as many photos and videos as possible, be open and forth coming with information. People will only donate if they feel truly connected to Matisse.

  9. Hi Tamara,
    I just found this blog a few days ago. My frenchie Mo had his operation on his herniated disc about three months ago. He is now walking but he is still incontinent and he cannot control his bowels. Did Oslo go through this and if so… how long did it take him to recover? It has been such a rough three months. Thank you for any advice you can give us!

    1. Hi Diana. Glad to hear that Mo is walking again! Yes, it took Oslo a long time to regain control of his #1’s and #2’s. To this day (a year and a half later) he still isn’t perfect and will often ‘lose control’ when excited.

      Is Mo able to hold his urine at ALL? Are you having to express his bladder?

      Remember that the bladder is a muscle… and like any other muscle, when it hasn’t been used for awhile it will become weak. Through the process of recovering from his surgery, Mo’s bladder will have become weakened (not to mention the fact that there will undoubtedly be some nerve damage). So, you will need to start small. Treat it like potty training a puppy all over again. If possible, get him outside once every 2 hours, praising & treating him when he goes in the appropriate place. Slowly, over weeks, stretch out the time between potty breaks to 3 hours, 4 hours, etc.

      Slow and steady. He’ll get there 🙂

      Also, I am not sure if you have taken Mo to see a Physiotherapist at all.. but perhaps a session or two with one would be helpful. They might be able to give you some tips on how to encourage the nerves in and around his bladder & bowels to work properly. Oslo did about 10 sessions with a PT and it was very helpful. Every week they sent us home with exercises to do with him- it was really very invaluable.

      Email me if you need any more help! I’m always happy to share experiences! tamaralakeman@yahoo.com

  10. hi Tamara
    i have just been through a similar experience with my frenchie Betty she is only 2 years old she not only had a herniated disk but has malformation of the spine which has caused her vertebre to grow deformed and pinch her spinal cord we went through all the trauma of seeing our poor baby over a couple of days not use her legs at all and trying to get funds to pay for her opperation they performed a hemilaminectomy (T10-T13) and they stabilised her spine with screws and cement the day we brought her home i was so upset to see that she was just the same as before but day 5 after opp she stood up on both legs and was starting to look so much better now we are 3 weeks on and she is almost back to her normal self all her stitches out …. she is a crazy frenchie always going 100mph every where so now the hard thing is keeping her calm everybody said that i was mad for paying so much for her opp we were insured but only basic cover (also have 2 other dogs another frenchie called Bailey and a rottwieler called Diesel) they would only pay for 3000 of the 5500 bill but we were lucky that our family helped us out with a loan i am so pleased with her she is so much better i know that things will be different now she cant do all the jumping off an on the sofas and beds but she is going to have great life and that is all that matters to me is she is a happy dog.
    I wanted say thankyou for helping us through this with your blog it was great to read and see the pictures of oslo getting better its been a very traumatic experience exhausting at times hard work an sleepless nights but we are on the side of recovery now so all is looking GREAT!!!! Bailey is Bettys half sister different mums do you think she may have the same problem in her life?? Thanks again you helped us so much.
    Lucy from Essex,England

    1. Hi Lucy!

      Thank you so much for your note! I am so glad that you found some solice reading Oslo’s blog! One of the major reasons I started this blog was to educate people and SHOW them what IVDD & it’s recovery looks like. When Oslo went through it there was nothing like this out there… and I was so overwhelmed & scared. I just wanted to know what we were up against!

      Anyway, I am SO glad to hear that Betty is recovering well. Her lifestyle will certainly change, but it’s 100% possible for her to live a normal, happy, fulfilled frenchie-life.

      As for your question about whether or not your other dog, Bailey (who is Betty’s half-sister) is also at risk…. I am sorry to say, that yes, she would be. However, not because she is Betty’s sister.. But because she is a French Bulldog. ALL Frenchies are at risk for IVDD. Some more than others, of course (due to genetics and what not). But even the most well-bred of French Bulldogs can suffer from IVDD. Their bodies are shaped in such a way that this is just a very, very, very common issue. My advice to you would be to increase your insurance coverage for Bailey now. OR! Simply start saving $50 a month or so. Also, while you are at it, restrict Bailey from sofa jumping, stairs & WILD play (I know it’s hard when you have a crazy frenchie!) If you can keep her from doing anything too crazy, you may be able to avoid her damaging her spine.

      I do not mean to frighten you! There is a chance that Bailey will never experience what Betty has. Living is fear is not the solution here… But being proactive is a good thing.

      All the best to you guys!! Oslo & Jersey send snorts & snuffles.

  11. Hi Tamara,
    I honestly can’t thank you enough for this blog.. Before I found this website i thought i was all alone. My frenchie Gizmo (2yrs old) has been a blessing in my life..He has been the sweetest craziest litl guy, and it really is true what they say about frenchies,once you get one you never go back, they are truly like litl humans. I have to say this has been the hardest week of my life with Gizmo..He started acting funny on Monday and not jumping on the bed or to greet people and he would even cry in the middle of the night for me to pick him up and put him on my bed. I took him to the vet on Tuesday and she said that his spine looks normal and that he has allergies and an infection in his paws..I knew this didn’t sound right bcuz i kno my gizmo better than anyone, but she gave us antibiotics and sent us home. That night he was crying and panting and throwing up and I have never been so scared in my life. I thought it was a reaction he was having to the antibiotics so i rubbed his ears and he eventually fell asleep. When we woke up in the morning he couldnt move his back legs at all..instead he was walking on his front ones and dragging his back legs..I freaked out and went back to the vet ASAP. Once again his spine showed no signs of pain when the vet examined him but she did an xray and it did show a little something wrong. We were told to get to the vca hospital ASAP and do the MRI. We ended up going to a diff vet and he examined him and we did a ct scan and id did show that one of his disks did rupture and he needed surgery. It is now day 2 of his recovery and he cried alll night..he was also panting and I just dont know if it was from the stress from the surgery or is he in pain? Or because he wants to run around and knows he cant? We got a steroid and some antibiotics from the vet. The neurologist said he will walk again, and I am very hopefuly as well. I know I have to have patience but he doesnt want to move at all. HIs back legs are still not working and I know you can’t tell me how long it will be until he walks again. But is there anything I can do to make him more comfortable? I try to rub his ears and he loves sucking on ice cubes..he still doesnt want to eat anything and i have to feed him his water with a spoon… Any advice would be soo appreciated…this is my baby and i need him to be okay and have an amazing life…
    ❤ Kisses- Gizmo and karolina

  12. Hi Tamara,
    Thank you so much for this site! It has helped in sooooooo many ways. My friends Frenchie had his surgery yesterday and your site gave us the idea to also reach out to people to help with Brutus’s spine surgery.

    It is great to see Oslo has made an amazing recovery, gives me hope with Brutus. 🙂 Below is the donation campaign i set up for Brutus, if you could help us spread the word that would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you again for this blog, it is priceless.
    Judes

    http://pledgie.com/campaigns/19657

  13. Hi . Your blog is very helpfull. We have a 4 1/2 years old frenchie as well. He got the operation done yesterday. Everything happened in 24 hours and he went from a healthy dog to … Dr Sharp at Canada west did the operation. He said there was only. 65% chance that he will walk. Bu today after the surgery he said there is 90% chance of recovery. We are so so happy. However I went to see him tonight and he was panting hard and he was very anxious. He also sat in a weird siting position and tried really hard to wiggle around. We are very scared can ,you give us some feedback about your experience
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Della. Dr. Sharp is one of the best there is. He also did Oslo’s surgery. I think that he tends to be very conservative in his prognosis’s. He only have Oslo an “80% chance” of a full recovery…. and I am happy to say that Oslo is 98% back to normal! He has some lasting issues, but nothing at all that affects his quality of life.

      In terms of how your dog is doing right after surgery… Remember that this was a VERY major surgery and that the road to recovery is looooong. Panting, sitting strangely, being in pain and discomfort, are all totally normal. Your dog will need to learn how to walk, run, sit, lay down, stand up, etc etc etc all over again. Be patient, he will get there! Canada West has an amazing team of PhysioTherapists, and I would strongly recommend that in about 2 months (or when Dr. Sharp thinks your dog is ready) you book some appointments with them. Oslo benefited hugely from his physio-appointments.

      Also, I have documented all of Oslo’s recovery right here in this very blog. Please feel free to read my earlier entries for more details of how Oslo was doing just after surgery 🙂 I posted lots of photos & videos in those early days.

      XOXO

  14. Thanks Tamara
    We just took him home today. He is steel panting nonstop and he hasn’t lay done at all. I contacted Canada west they only advised me to monitor him Incase his gum is going blue it white.
    Do you have any advise for me. I really appreciate it
    Thanks

  15. Thank you for posting all this info – I am waiting for a call from a surgeon to discuss setting up a consultation but am trying to wrap my head around the situation as much as possible while I wait. Can you email me and let me know what the total cost of the process was so I can have an idea of what funds I need to raise etc. Thanks in advance.

    dmohsenipour@gmail.com

  16. Found your blog while doing some research on IVDD, my baby Oscar (half frenchie half Boston) is currently at NC State Vet School undergoing surgery any minute now. Your story is very similar to ours, went from perfectly fine to basically paralyzed in his hind legs overnight. How’s Oslo doing now? How long did recovery take? Do you have any tips on how to limit activity and prevent it from happening again? Our little man just turned 2 so still has loads f energy that’s going to be tough to contain. Fingers crossed oscars surgery goes as well as oslos! We miss him so much already and it’s only been a day! Thank you for posting this blog

  17. Hi Hannah
    Just came across your post, My Frenchie went through the surgery about 3 months ago and he only had 65% of being able to walk , he was fully paralyzed with no deep pain sensation, Afte 5 weeks of rest he was able to stand up and now he walks on his own.
    Do Not loose hope, it takes patience and hard work , please take him to Physiotherapy, we did 10 session for him,
    There are lots of information online, post opp care is very important
    I know exactly how you feel,
    Dont hesitate to contact me via Email if you need info
    THis BLOG (Tamara ) helped me a lot when I was going through this

    della1364@hotmail.com

  18. Hi there. First, thank you so much for all the work you’ve done to bring this subject to light. It means a lot to me right now.
    Secondly, I have a hard question I don’t really want to ask, but I am a person living with some amount of mental and learning disability and some family members of mine who I know have good intentions are causing me a great deal of angst and confusion, and I need help understanding how well you think Oslo has recovered post-surgery in terms of his being able to lead a full life and have a quality of life that is worthwhile. I wince even asking that…my poor little guy seems to be in pain (which is maybe a good thing? I mean — the fact that he’s not ‘gone down’ yet and is still feeling pain as opposed to a loss of feeling altogether) and I feel all kinds of angry and upset when anybody suggests that at just four years old I should be making some sort of grave or profound decision about his future. I’m absolutely committed to helping him through the crate rest and able to adhere to that — and it seems like a no-brainer to me to at least try to set up a crowd-sourcing campaign to get him the surgery but that thought is based upon the idea that after the surgery and after the aftercare he would basically still be able to at least enjoy his life well and not have to be on tons of meds and so limited in his play as to be depressed and feel confused or frustrated that he can’t play like he used to. So … sorry for the long explanation, I’m not so great at linear thought and getting to the point etc. can you maybe give me your thoughts?

    Thank you again,

    Frenchie Love and wiggles,

    Harry

  19. Hi – do you have any recomendations for pet health insurance? There’s so many out there, I’m not sure which one to go with.
    I enjoyed reading your blog, I went through the same thing with my last Frenchie. These dogs are a lot of work but they sure are worth it!
    Thanks,
    Misha

  20. Our amazing Frenchie, Lily, is exhibiting signs of IVDD, she is still walking but she is trembling, has a tense abdomen, is holding one of her back legs up, is panting and is not herself, she doesn’t like to be cuddled as it seems to make her uncomfortable. We do not have the money to get the corrective surgery, it costs 10,000$. She’s had x rays and blood work and nothing has been conclusive but all the signs seem to suggest IVDD. I am beside myself with worry. Any advice?

  21. Hi Tamara:

    I can’t tell you enough how helpful this blog has been. Your dogs are a delight, and your candid accounts of their triumphs and hardships are so comforting.

    The past three days have been petrifying, as my nearly-three-year-old pigfrogdog Spudlee James (my boyfriend & I rescued him this past March; he’s our first dog) started demonstrating signs of IVDD. Mild shaking, twitches in his neck and back, general discomfort, and the constant adoption of ‘down dog’ — basically, when he’s in spasm, he tries to put his butt as high in the air as he can get it!

    Two vet trips and a neurologist visit later (but no MRI – yet), Spud is on meds and cage rest for the next four weeks. The X-rays and physical tests are not 100% conclusive, but they show a poorly developed spine…par for the course with these little dudes, eh?

    Neurologist thought he was a good candidate for conservative treatment, and the spasms are far less frequent since he’s been crated, but my paranoid/guilty/heartbroken feelings are eating me alive. If I could crawl in the crate with him and sleep for the next month, I would.

    I’m curious about Oslo’s recovery life – once he could walk and function again. Are you able to leave him at home at all? My boyfriend and I both have very hectic professional lives, and I already have intense guilt about leaving Spud alone for 4-5 hours at a time when we both have work. My fear is that even if we build ramps to couches and set up the house to minimize dangerous movements, he’ll need much more watchful care than we are able to provide.

    Your post about your first pup really hit me hard. I am always worried about providing enough love for our boy. That I might not be a good enough dog Mom…that I couldn’t prevent this horrible pain from happening to him…ugh, it just kills me.

    Thank you. Sorry for the extremely long comment!

    Best
    Maggie
    http://instagram.com/spudleefrenchie

    1. Hi Maggie! Firstly, my apologies for the late response 🙂

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I am always so happy to hear that Oslo’s blog has helped other people (and pups!). IVDD is a very scary thing, but knowing what to expect helps ease the fear of the unknown. That’s exactly why I created this blog, and why I still update it.

      To answer your question:: Oslo is 2+ years post surgery now, and he can absolutely be left alone. For the first 8-10 months, I would crate him when I wasn’t home because I was worried about him getting into trouble while I was out (attempting to get up onto the sofa, playing too rough with my other Frenchie, etc)… However, once I was confident that he was fully healed and he was familiar with his new physical limitations, I have had no troubles leaving him and his ‘brother’ alone together.

      Keeping your little guy crate for 4-6 hours while you are at work is absolutely okay. Most dogs will just sleep while their owners are out anyway. Invest in a large crate, or exercise pen, and keep him in there with a couple toys & chews. Alternatively, you can also ‘gate off’ a safe area of your home while you’re out. A bathroom works well, long hallway, office/den, kitchen, etc. That would give him a slightly larger (but still very safe) place to be. Make sure to never leave him unattended anywhere where there are stairs and/or things that he can jump up & potentially fall off of.

      It’s 2+ years post surgery, and Oslo still is NEVER allowed to go up or down stairs alone.. he is also never left unattended on my bed or sofa lest he jump off when I am not looking. However, aside from those basic, common-sense things, he lives a very normal life.

      He has gotten very used to his limitations, and generally will not even ATTEMPT to go up or down stairs. Instead, he waits patiently to be lifted. He also doesn’t even try to get on the sofa/bed by himself (unfortunately, if I leave him up he has tried to jump DOWN by himself… much to my horror!)

      Remind yourself that MANY MANY MANY dogs are left crated all day long while their owners work 9+ hour work days. Your 4-6 hours truly is not a big deal 🙂 If you are feeling terribly guilty about it still, perhaps look into a dog-walker? Someone who can come by once a day, for just half an hour? They could take the little guy for a short walk, give him some love & a break from his crate.

  22. Hi Tamara…

    In one of your earlier posts about Oslo you spoke about using Recovery SA. Do you mind my asking if you still have him on it?

    I rescued my dog from the racetrack in Kansas when she was almost 8 years old. Now @ 11.5 she was recently diagnosed with lumbosacral stenosis. I’ve taken her for acupuncture and laser treatments to ease her pain and like you, a friend suggested I try Recovery SA. In almost a week we are already seeing a much improved dog. Her limp is not as pronounced and she hasn’t had any incidents of her back paw knuckling on her causing her to fall down. She was also having accidents and could not control her bowel on occasion – that hasn’t happened either. We give her only half a teaspoon with her supper and she sleeps until morning. Did you find this to be the same for you with Oslo?

    I appreciate nays feedback you can offer.

    Marie

    PS – I love the pictures on your blog. Such beautiful dogs… ❤

    1. Hi Marie–

      Yes, my fellas are both still on Recovery SA. Sounds like you have had WONDERFUL success with it!! Our results haven’t been quite as dramatic as yours… but I absolutely believe that it helps them in smaller ways. Oslo’s movement since starting it about 8 months ago is a lot more fluid and ‘natural’ looking. I imagine that is results in him feeling more comfortable and less stiff as well (because he certainly looks that way!). Keep it up!! Recovery SA has a lot of glucosamine in it, and glucosamine is known for being VERY helpful with joint pain even in people.

  23. Hi Tamara, My frenchie Olive is just two weeks post-spinal surgery from IVDD. Her story is very similar to Oslo’s – she went from perfectly fine to paralyzed in just a few hours. I’ve been reading through Oslo’s journey as Olive lays next to me in her crate (snoring loudly of course!) In a lot of your earlier photos, you mention and show an exercise pen. Do you have a pen that you could recommend? I’d like to have this option for Olive once she can move away from strict crate rest. Thank you!

  24. Hello. I love your block on Oslo and Jersey. It has been so helpful to me. We have two frenchies, both brindle, a male Henry and a female Isabel. In January Henry had his first herniated disc. We had no clue what was happening (pre-discovering your blog). Short story we got him to a vet quickly and withing 24 hours he had surgery to relieve the compression. Hugely expensive, hugely stressful. Henry did beautifully with the surgery and along about March was recovering very well. In fact he was off his meds and back to walking more or less normally. Then it happened again! Less severe as before. We were in complete shock that it could happen again much less so soon. This time though we opted for medical management, though we have really been left to our own devices with very little guidance from two different vets. Your blog has been very helpful though and comforting… so very comforting. We are on week 10 now and he’s doing lots better. Just staring to walk a block. Still keeping very quiet, again starting to lessen the meds. During this second round the second vet we went to who looked over his MRI showed us how every one of Henry’s discs in the MRI were clear and not white as they should be. He said that that was an indication that they had all crystallized (lack of water makes things in MRIs clear) and that likely this will be a life long issue for Henry (he’s 5 now). Fortunately we know now what to look for, what do to help reduce his risks (not that we allowed him to jump much at all before) and what to do (calmly) if it does happen again.

    Again your blog has been a huge comfort. Thank you so much for it and for continuing to share. Please don’t stop…

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Joseph. Wow– Henry is so lucky to have such lovely, attentive owners. IVDD is a horrible, awful disease with no cures or even real preventions. You do the best you can, of course.. but sometimes even then they have disc problems! It’s extremely frightening and disheartening. I sure hope that Henry is continuing to do well.

  25. Hi Tamara, Thanks for setting up this blog. It’s extremely valuable information for us frenchie owners. Im happy to see that Oslo is doing better and is fully recovered. My frenchie George was diagnosed with IVDD just a few days ago and is now recovering in the hospital after a long surgery. Were hoping to bring him home in the next couple days & understand we have a long road ahead of us. Any further advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to send me an email or reply here. Thany you!

  26. Hi there- I was just researching IVDD but wow- what beautiful pups! My dog landed in the ER for IVDD 3 days before his waiting period was up for the insurance- rotten luck. And now of course they (Trupanion) consider his entire spine and neck a “preexisting condition.” I would like to know if you looked or were able to find insurance that would cover future ruptures on Oslo? After researching and finding nothing, I am ready to give up. I do not want to live in fear of this happening again.. . Please let me know if you have a moment. Thank you! Elizabeth

    1. Hi Elizabeth! What absolutely AWFUL timing!! I am so sorry that it worked out that way. Arg! You must be so frustrated! Unfortunately, I am not aware of any reputable (or even non-reputable, for that matter!) pet insurance companies that offer coverage on so called “pre existing” conditions. Oslo & Jersey are now insured with Trupanion & we have been quite happy with them as a provider… But yes, as you know, any future spinal issues with Oslo would not be covered should they arise. Fingers crossed that they won’t!

      Please do not let this one pre-existing condition sway you away from insurance, though. Yes, it sucks that this one (potentially big & expensive) issue wouldn’t see coverage… But there are still MANY big, expensive reasons to cover you pup. Cancer, skin issues, organ failure, a car accident, dog fight, etc etc etc. In my mind, it’s still very much worth while to continue with your insurance. I can, however, very much understand your frustration. It’s an AWFUL position to be in!

  27. I can’t believe how similar this is to my frenchie who is in can wear after an regency surgery this evening. I would love to chat with you if you have a few minutes for an email as support is key for this I am learning and you seem to have gotten through it a lot. If not I inderstand but I am in literally the same boat as Oslo was. Yikes. It’s terrifying.

  28. Hi there, first, How is Oslo doing today?! What a brave little babe you have, I am so sorry to hear that he is in pain again, I know that feeling of watching your little baby hurt and not being able to fix it, its heart wrenching!

    I wanted to write to you and Oslo and thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge of IVDD with the public! If not for your blog, I’m not sure where my Frenchie, Wyatt, would be right now! Long story short, Wyatt went into the Vet Saturday with the exact same symptoms Oslo had…standing there stiff, not following me, shaking and panting etc…after being sent home with no answer and some pain meds which didn’t seem to ease the pain, I took to some investigating of my own! After listing the symptoms Wyatt had on a random google search I somehow was taken to your story. Every single things you said happened to Oslo was happening to Wyatt! When I got to the part about Oslo becoming paralyzed I immediately took Wyatt to an Emergency vet. Still not diagnosed with anything except “being in pain” he got another pain medication that still couldn’t ease his horrible pain. I began to dive deeper into your blog and realized even if the vets couldn’t see it, I KNEW what it was… IVDD! Wyatt went for an MRI the next morning, and sure enough he had a ruptured disc in his lower back and had massive blood clots. He went into immediate surgery and is now healing at the animal hospital. When I was visiting him today I couldn’t help but think of Oslo and your blog and how it prevented so much further pain and heartache. I am just eternally grateful I found you guys and took the steps to get Wyatt the care he needed before something even worse happened!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    1. Hi Krista!! I am so sorry to hear about Wyatt and I hope that he is recovering well. Thank you so much for your fabulous comment. I can’t tell you how much it warms my hear to know that Oslo’s story (and my story too, I suppose!) has reached you, and managed to help you & your sweet boy. If you ever need any advice or words of encouragement, please do not hesitate to reach out. I can be emailed directly at tamboden at gee mail dot com. Sending you lots of love!

  29. Hello!

    First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Because your blog popped up when I googled “French Bulldog hurt back” on August 6th, I was able to get Porkchop to a neurologist within 4 hours of his disc rupture. Porkchop lost all deep pain within hours of arriving at the vet, and we decided to go for surgery as soon as they could fit him in. 21 hours after his initial rupture, Porkchop was in surgery. With the rapid loss of deep pain, we were told that his case was extremely severe and that his chances of a full recovery were 50/50. We didn’t care, we just wanted to help him feel well again. I completely understand the financial burden of such a choice, and I have started a Go Fund Me page as well as urged other French Bulldog (actually all breeds but especially Frenchies) owners to get pet insurance. It is now 6 days since he has been home. The neologist said that there was nothing we could do to help his deep pain, or any feeling for that matter, come back and that if it was going to come back it would… but if it doesn’t then that is due to nerve damage from the rupture. They sent us home with a sling and said they walked him outside 4 times a day to keep his arms strong. They told me to do leg exercises on him to keep his hind legs moving and keep the muscle mass strong. I’m so glad I read your site tonight, as I was searching for the chances of him recovering. Two days after coming home, last week, I took him to another vet and did acupuncture and laser therapy as recommended. I am now freaking out because I feel like I’ve moved him around too much! He is going back to his neurologist tomorrow to have his staples removed but I am terrified that he is moving too much. We have a rug that I change him on and there is a bed for him there, and he only walks from the crate to his potty pad and then to his bed but I am definitely cutting that out. In total its no more than 3 feet. He is getting anxious in his crate so I thought that was a good thing, and the vet said that if we weren’t doing things with him then he would have to be crated so I have been letting him sit in his bed outside of the crate… I just want to do everything I can to give him the best chance of recovery.. Can you tell I’m new at this? It’s so scary. Anyway, I started my research today because I didn’t know if any of the therapies out there would increase his chances at regaining feeling in his hind legs. I’ve heard everything from Oxygen Therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, water therapy… the list goes on… but after reading your blog I feel like right now, none of those options are on the table for at least 6 weeks. I am wondering if you have any advice… I am wondering what outlet you used to generate donations (we raised $2010 so far on Go Fund Me, but I believe we have exhausted our viewers with updates) and mostly I am just super grateful for you… thank you so much.

    Much love to you and your babies…

    Carmela & Porkchop

    1. Hi Carmela! Sorry for the delayed response. I am so sorry to hear about little Porkchop. How is he doing now?
      I have heard wonderful things about acupuncture, but haven’t tried it. Oslo did 10 sessions of physio therapy after his surgery (we waited until 6-8 weeks post op to start), and they did water therapy & laser with him. It was about $80 a session and SO SO SO beneficial. If you have a physio therapist your area, I would highly suggest you go in for a few sessions once Porkchop is on the road to recovery. It can take some dogs *years* to recovery from surgery, and some of them bounce back very quickly. I would suggest talking to your neurologist about things you can do at home (like massage) to keep his nerves & synapses firing. Our Vet & Physio team had us massaging Oslo’s feet & legs, as well as doing a very very basic exercises with him while he was still in the initial recovery phase. The idea was simply to touch his feet as much as possible so that they nerves would fire and keep working. Also, we’d do gentle range of motion exercises with him to keep his ligaments limber. I’m not a doctor so I really can’t offer you medical advice, but I would suggest you bring all of these suggestions up with your vet or neuro. As for money– we used GoFundMe and had amazing success. However, I have a real knack for blogging and online networking, so was able to put those skills to work for me– which helped a LOT. The #1 mistake I think people make when trying to raise funds online is that they simple go on, and ask for money, and then leave it at that. People will not donate to a cause when they don’t feel CONNECTED to it. That is why creating a blog or Facebook page, updating regularly with photos, videos, and well-written words is absolutely paramount. Best of luck to you & porkchop!

  30. Hi there,

    First off – excellent blog! I have read this in its entirety and have learned so much! I have a 2 year old frenchie “Chef” who yesterday showed all the symptoms of IVDD you spell out. I took Chef to the emergency clinic and indeed the doctor mentioned this disease. She put him on a anti-inflammatory and pain medication. This morning he was actually worse – yesterday he did not have any implications with his walking etc. This morning he was very unbalanced and did “knuckle” a bit in his hind legs. I have had him crated all day and am following your guidelines along with other research.
    I am waiting for a call back from the doctor to possibly bring him in today to see a neurologist. My question to you is: should I opt for a MRI right away to fully diagnose the extent of the damage (did you do this will all 3 cases of your dogs?) Should I trust the doctor’s prescription of if indeed they recommend surgery vs. the conservative treatment? I know you did one surgery and two conservative treatments, was this recommended by your vet or did you make the ultimate decision. Unfortunately, I do not have pet insurance so this will be a very tough period for us.

    Thank you for any feedback/suggestions and also for all the great information you shared in the blog. – Jared

  31. I wish that I read your blog earlier because we just had to put our Frenchie down today and he was only 3 years old. If I had known earlier about IVDD I would have made major changes to his lifestyle. Bruno had an injury two months ago and I would have put him on crate rest. I beg that Frenchie owners to be well versed in IVDD. He was walking fine one day and the next day he was paralyzed and it spread quickly to his upper back. We had to make the gut-wrenching decision to put him down. All vets need to inform Frenchie owners of IVDD.

  32. Hello my little frenchie Sam sounds just like Oslo he was acting strange the other day, my vet has done x rays and has told me his vertebrae is fused together, I am heartbroken he is currently on tramadol for his pain and hopefully my vet will refer him for a scan, I just want my baby to be well again.xxx

  33. I read through these comments and wish to myself that I wasn’t among all of you that have a frenchie with ivdd, but starting the night before last I joined all of you on this journey. Our boy Norman is 2.5 years old and could not settle and get comfortable. As the night went on he was panting harder and harder and by 4 am I told my husband we had to take him to the emergency vet. And that’s where we got the news. We have cried so many tears. Norman came to us at a very low and sad time in our lives and he saved us. In his short life he has went through so much starting with mange, then lost his eye to a dog bite, terrible allergies, and now this. We took him to the university vet teaching hospital and they informed us that he has around 7 spots that are weak on his spine. They advised us that if they did surgery it could make him worse. He can still stand on his back legs but is not able to walk on them or even get up on his own. He still has bladder and bowel control. Can you tell me would you get a second opinion? From what I have read it seems like surgery tends to be the answer in a case like this. They also only put him on tramadol and gabapentin. No steroids. Should I call back and see about the anti-inflammatory med? Your blog has made me feel so much better. Although we have a very long road ahead of us he will still be with us and for that I am very thankful. You gave me a glimmer of hope which is more than I had.

    1. Hi Andrea! I am so sorry to hear about Norman, but am very glad that my blog has helped you. To answer your questions…. Yes, I do think that you should call your vet and ask about an anti-inflammatory– (‘Metacam’ or the generic version ‘Meloxicam’ to be specific) Tramadol and Gabapentin are good together, but I do think that an NSAID (anti-inflammatory) would be helpful to have in the mix as well.

      As for a second opinion– if that’s possible for you, I think it might be wise. Some people live in more rural places and don’t have access to multiple Neurosurgeons… but if you live in a bigger city and can see someone else, it certainly wouldn’t hurt. You wouldn’t even necessarily need to have Norman re-examined at first. You could just ask if another Neurosurgeon would be willing to look at his diagnostic imaging and see what they think.

      Surgery is very invasive and certainly something that you should avoid if you can. The fact that Norman can still walk and function means that he truly is a good candidate for ‘Conservative Treatment’ (which means, crate rest and meds, rather than surgery) 🙂 However, it sounds like you don’t fully feel comfortable with your current vet’s diagnosis and treatment plan, and I always think that as owners we are best to trust our guts. If something doesn’t quite feel right, and you think you need a second opinion…. by all means, GET ONE! There’s no harm in gathering as much information as you can before making a decision ❤

      All the best to you. Please feel free to email me if you have further questions– tamboden@gmail.com

  34. Hello!! I can not express enough how thankful I am for your blog. My dog Rocko has just recently been diagnosed with IVDD and it is affecting his c2-3 and c6-t2 area. Fortunately for us he is’t showing signs of paralysis yet so we think that conservative treatment is the way to go for now. I was wondering if you recall what risks your doctor mentioned for Jerseys surgery? Considering they go through the neck. I just want to be as informed as posible if it comes down to surgery. I am a huge worrier and seeing him in pain is really making me consider the surgery. We are on two weeks of medicine and alternative treatments and I am growing impatient. I am trying to be strong, but his sudden midnight cries of pain are not helping and his neck spasms are so strong too. Any information on the posible risks of this surgery would really help. Thanks in advance I hope Jersey starts to feel better again. Please keep us updated your blog is so helpful.

    Kind Regards!!

    1. Hi there!! Oh, poor rocko! And poor YOU!! Those cries of pain and spasms are absolutely awful! Jersey also wasn’t demonstrating any paralysis prior to surgery, but we went for it anyway as dogs who have the surgery have a much lower risk of reinjury later. Unfortunately dogs who are treated conservatively have a fairly high chance of going through the same thing all over again down the road.

      Surgery, doe 90-95% of dogs is pretty straight forward. The recovery process (I was told) typically just takes a few weeks. Jersey’s recovery has been abnormally long, slow, and bumpy. I strongly suspect that one of his discs hasn’t healed properly, But unfortunately can’t get him in to see his neurologist for another 6-8 weeks (due to the 700km distance)

      I would strongly suggest having a frank discussion with the Canine Neurologist in your area. They would be best equipped to tell you about all the risks and benefits. Each dog is different and each case is unique. What’s been true for Jersey might not be the same for your sweet boy.

      Best of luck to you guys!!

      1. Thank you so much for your quick reply. I really appreciate your point of view having gone through this already. I am meeting with the neurologist tomorrow and hopefully we can come up with a good plan for Rocko. I do have another question. I noticed in your blog that you use a playard, I was wondering if you recommend me getting one for Rocko. He has a basic metal crate but he isn’t a big fan of it hard as we try to get him to like it and I hate seeing him locked up in it. I was curious if maybe the playard would be better since he would be confined but still have the top open which might make him feel less constraint. Just wondering your opinion on it. Thanks again for all your help. I hope Jersey feels better I know how hard it is having the doctor so far away.

        Kind regards!!

  35. We LOVE using the playyard/playpen. It makes getting them out so so so much easier.

    That said!! Only use it if Rocko is not a jumper. It would be completely disastrous if he attempted to jump *out*.

    My boys are not at all jumpers, and and never once attempted to even put their front legs up on the side– so it works well for us. Other people have more bouncy frenchies though, so it really depends on Rocko 🙂

    But yes, for us, the baby playyard works beautifully.

    Best of luck with the Neurologist!!

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