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D2010-42

Dear Daisy Dog

Sandy, my 10-year-old Pekingese, has a slipped disc, and her hind legs are so weak she can barely walk. My veterinarian recommends back surgery, but I can’t afford it. Please tell me there’s another option so I don’t have to put her to sleep.

Daisy Responds

A slipped disc, also called intervertebral disc disease, causes pain and diminished function -– and sometimes paralysis.

Surgery removes the disc material pressing on the spinal cord and may restore function, but an article in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reports on a less costly non-surgical alternative that offers hope for Sandy.

The study compared decompressive back surgery and electroacupuncture in 40 dogs with chronic, severe neurologic problems due to intervertebral disc disease.

Nearly 80 percent of the dogs (15 of 19) that received only electroacupuncture therapy responded well, compared with 73 percent (8 of 11) that had surgery followed by electroacupuncture. By contrast, only 40 percent of the dogs (4 of 10) responded well to surgery alone.

Ask your veterinarian to refer you to a veterinary acupuncturist so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

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