The Edmond Sun


October 1, 2012

Back, disc problems require quick attention

EDMOND — Q: My 8-year-old Pomeranian Tinkerbell has had some serious problems lately. For a few weeks it sounded like she was dragging her nails on a back foot when she walked. More recently she has started holding her head down and to the right when she walks, stands or lies down. She is eating and doing all her normal potty things well but just acts like she is in pain. She also walks slower than normal. What can I do to make her more comfortable and do I need to see her veterinarian?

The short answers are “yes” and “yes.” At Tinkerbell’s age there are several possibilities for her symptoms, and they may be multiple. Dragging her leg very possibly is due to pressure on a nerve from a disc or from arthritic changes occurring in her vertebrae. Frequently bony changes in the vertebral areas can make a back uncomfortable with or without causing pressure on a nerve or nerves.

She may have pulled a muscle in her lower back, and or neck area that may account for her head tilt and carrying her head low. Of course, there also may be a pinched nerve in her neck.

She needs to be examined carefully by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Lab work and radiographs will be helpful in complementing the physical examination. A neurological exam will likely be the most informative during the exam.

Radiographs will tell where any narrowing might be occurring between vertebrae in her back to give a clue about a ruptured disc or pressure on nerves. Ultimately, likely a CT scan will be recommended so exact causes can be defined. Surgery may or may not be necessary to fix her problem(s).

There are several palliative things you can do to help with the immediate pain and if it is just a torn or strained back muscle, allow it to heal sooner.

Hot packs placed on her lower back and neck can certainly help relieve pain and help the healing process. Placing a wet, folded washcloth inside a plastic sandwich bag and warming it in the microwave makes a great wet-heat compress. Check it on your forearm first to be sure of the temperature.

Placing these warm compresses on the sore areas for about 15 minutes two to three times a day will offer a lot of relief.

Of great importance is to limit her activity over the next two to three months with no jumping up or down from things, no rough play or running, or standing up on her back legs if she tends to do this. Keeping her in a crate during the day should be done the first two to three weeks.

When you let her outside, take her out on leash so she does not go chasing off after anything.

Your veterinarian likely will offer pain medication, muscle relaxers and give you the best advice for long term. Cold laser therapy and acupuncture are two very helpful therapies for acute and chronic pain and soreness.

Should she suddenly become paralyzed you need to take her directly to the surgeons facility. If surgery is not performed to relieve the nerve compression causing the paralysis she likely will be paralyzed for life. She should at least be evaluated as soon as possible. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely for long-term care of Tinkerbell’s back.

DR. M. MARGARET KING, a longtime Edmond veterinarian, is a guest columnist. If you have any questions for her, email them to

Text Only
  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks items for agency history project

    If you have historic pictures or artifacts related to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the agency is asking the public to share them.
    “The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is working on a history project. If you, your family, friends or acquaintances have any old photos or artifacts related to the OCSO we would love to have them or a digital copy,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

    April 16, 2014

  • oil infographic[1].png Easy on the coconut oil

    These days, it seems like coconut oil is soaking up credit for its positive affect on a wide range of health conditions. But, still developing science around the popular oil tells a little different story.
    “We know all saturated fats are not created equally, but there’s no evidence that coconut oil is better or healthier than other vegetable oils,” said Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Easter 4e.JPG Moms Club finds Easter fun at Fountains at Canterbury

    The Fountains at Canterbury hosted members of the Moms Club of Edmond-West Tuesday morning for a Easter egg hunt and party complete with a special visit from the Easter Bunny. Residents at the Fountains at Canterbury hid several dozen eggs filled with prizes and candy for the children. The Moms Club of Edmond-West is a nonprofit, local chapter of stay-at-home moms who aim to support each other during the day.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos