Grace the Chihuahua's Health Issues

Grace is my 9 year old female chihuahua and everyone who knows me knows that her and my other 3 chihuahuas are my children.

Recently Grace was having what looked like severe anxiety and panic attacks due to pain in her neck.  She would tense her neck up and scream if you touched her neck.  This was happening twice a day almost everyday for a month.  After a recommendation from my regular vet to a neurologist in Maryland, I took her down there on Friday September 23rd.

The neurologist did some poking and prodding and could tell that there was some sort of spinal pain with Grace but the only 100% way to find out what it was and where it was, was by doing an MRI.  The MRI cost over $4,500 but without it, I would have no answers for Grace's pain and she would continue to suffer every single day.  I needed to be able to know what it was that hurt so I can properly treat her.

The MRI showed that Grace has Intervertebral Disc Disease  (IVDD) which is common in small dogs like Chihuahuas.   IVDD is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space.  In Grace's case, 3 of her discs ruptured, the C34, C45, and C56.  This is why she is in so much pain when it flares up.  So much pain that it actually causes her to go into a panicked state. 

Some dogs have it further down their back and end up losing the ability to use their hind legs and become paralyzed.  Luckily, Grace's is up higher and is treatable in a variety of ways, those of which I am still learning about as I research my options.  One option is surgery, which obviously comes with many risks, but there are other options for pain management.  Grace's quality of life is great. She literally JUST turned 9 and she is healthy in every other way.

My heart is breaking that money is even an issue for me.  I already spend $2,000 a year on my other Chihuahua, Rocky, for his heart condition.  He has Mitral Valve Disease but we have it way under control and he is thriving.  Unfortunately, I thought I had atleast another year or two before I had dish out major money on another one of my dogs.  So this was very unexpected.

I will be discussing my options with my regular vet (whom I trust with every fiber of my being) and in the next week I should have a better plan of action.  My goal is to give Grace a normal pain free life.  For now, she is on pain management with Gabapentin, Rimadyl, and Tramadol.  Because there are risks with anti-inflammatory medications, I am looking into other options immediately.  But in the meantime, Grace is not in pain and is enjoying life. 

Please consider donating to Grace and I or atleast sharing with others.

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Ellen Ross 
Camp Hill, PA
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