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How Does A Vet Confirm Spinal Stenosis?


Guest BooBooMama
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Guest BooBooMama

Anyone who has been following my previous posts will know that my BooBoo has been in a great deal of pain in her left hind leg since mid- February. X-Rays showed no masses, no arthritis but just a small amount of calcification between two discs. We have treated her as if she has LS. She is on 300 mg Tramadol, 300 mg Gabapentin and 50 mg Deramaxx. She has had 2 chiropractic adjustments and thee acupuncture treatments as well as a Depo-Medrol injection but she still whines, seems agitated, occasionally limps and now she has lost her appetite. (No vomiting, no blood in stools and yes I have been giving her Prevacid.) I have tried B12, nutritional yeast, different foods- but she won't eat. Blood panels look good so far and she is not lethargic yet but I feel as if time is running out.

I want to confirm that this really is LS and not something else. Can anyone tell me which diagnostic tool is used to verify LS- is it an MRI or a CT scan? We have a CT in my area but not an MRI. I will have to travel 100 miles to get to an MRI. I do not want to waste the $1,500 on the CT if it will not confirm her problem. I am getting frantic now and just want to get her some relief.

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Guest gryhnd3

With us, it was a myelogram, done by the orthopedic vet that treats our group's dogs. He was all set to do surgery on what everyone thought was a disk problem, but decided to do the test instead that morning. We had already done an MRI and other treatments beforehand, so I would say that at least in our case, the MRI did not indicate stenosis, but the myelogram did.

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In human medicine, a CT will confirm spinal stenosis. CTs generally are preferred for visualizing bony structures. However, if the vet is trying to find out if there is nerve root compression (as a result of stenosis, or narrowing, of spinal structures), an MRI or myelogram is the preferable study.

 

I think the one big question you need to ask yourselves is: if the imaging studies do show an operable lesion, is BooBoo a candidate for surgery, and are you able to proceed if surgery is recommended? Surgery usually involves decompression of the nerve root (usually by removal of a segment of bone, or "laminectomy", and/or removal or repair of a disk). In humans, we have other, nonsurgical options for treatment which apparently haven't been studied yet in veterinary medicine. If surgery won't be feasible for whatever reason, I don't think that I (as an individual, meaning JMHO) would go ahead with either CT or MRI. Your vet will have to guide you in making this decision.

 

And as much as I don't want to even mention this word, does the vet feel that tumor is a possibility? That *is* something that should show up on CT, even if the Xrays appear normal.

 

I hope you get the answers you need to take BooBoo's pain away. :(

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