Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Zombiepanda » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:22 am

Could you by any chance post a picture of the X-ray?
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby AmberC123 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:26 am

I don't know how. I have it in my camera gallery but the attachment to add photos doesn't let me do it. I was going to see if I had better luck at work tonight on an actual computer.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby AHBD » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:29 am

Wow, he is big ! Males are usually slightly larger but not always. And I was referring to your post where you said you thought it was scoliosis. You might opt for a full blood panel to rule out any other possible factors in his lethargy or you can get a second opinion [ show the X-ray ] from another experienced reptile vet if you have the money, at least you'd be more clear on a decision if you think he's suffering too much.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Taterbug » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:32 am

AmberC123 wrote:Taterbug

That is what I'm afraid of. I don't want him to suffer, it's just a really hard choice because he LOOKS healthy, as you can see.

I'm thinking I possibly want to get some blood work done to make sure there's nothing else going on then have a serious talk with the vet about what the right choice for him would be. I just don't want to freaking do it. I love my little guy so much.


He's a lovely looking dragon and does look healthy. Bloods would be a good thing to look into - I think there are some things they can measure that can be indicative of chronic pain/stress though not as reliably as with mammals. I'd have to refresh myself, you vet would hopefully be up to date on that sort of diagnostic.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Rankins » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:26 am

I have had horrible back problems for 32 years. I have had two back surgeries and need two more. One to fuse my pelvis and to implant a spinal cord stimulator. It took 5 years before the doctors finally figured out why I was hurting so bad. They never did an MRI up until then, but when they found out what the problem was I needed emergency surgery to prevent paralyzation. But it was that way for 5 years!!!
How I got the treatment I needed was because I told my doctor I couldnt stand it anymore. So yes, back problems can be very, very painful. Hopefully it's not that bad for your dragon.
Ultimately it's your choice, and I'm sorry your going through this.
Last edited by Rankins on Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby JessPets » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:25 pm

I would take the hammock out, because it can rip toe nails or even toes if snagged. You can replace it with a old material one, like fleece
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby AmberC123 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:28 pm

[Click image to enlarge]

This first one is from when he was 8 months old. I brought him in for a bowel obstruction. The vet didn't comment on his spine at the time.

[Click image to enlarge]


This one is from his x-ray in December. It's very clearly gotten worse.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Rankins » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:35 pm

Looks like the back legs would give him the most problems. Is the vet sure its actually fused that way? Looks more like the vertebra have slipped out of alignment to me. Either way it looks painful....
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby AmberC123 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:58 pm

The back legs are definitely the worst. As for the fusion....I don't always believe everything I'm told just because a 'doctor' said it...so I showed to x-ray to a few different doctors that I work with (although they obviously work on people an x-ray is an x-ray).

When I showed them the x-ray I made a point of not saying what was wrong with the spine. They said the same thing the vet said, broken and fused together
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Rankins » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:17 pm

Yeah, it looks like the vertebra in the middle is outta place and at this point it doesn't matter if it was broken or slipped. Its been so long I'm sure it probably has fused. The grinding or moving at that joint likely cause calcium to build up and fuse it. The nerves that exit the joints in that area are probably pinched pretty bad.
Your dragon does look really healthy despite the spinal problems. So it comes down to quality of life and pain on how you decide to deal with it. If you do try to manage the pain and disability it may worsen as the dragon ages. Only you can make the decision and I'm really sorry you are even having to make it.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Drache613 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:15 pm

Hello,

Wow, poor Sasha. He looks very healthy & big.
You can definitely see the vertebrae abnormality there.
Based on all of you information, it sounds like a birth defect/condition that he was possibly predisposed to. Maybe his mom or dad had issues, etc, it's hard to know.
Blood tests would show blood calcium levels & other things that would indicate stress, etc.
How old is his UVB light?
The metacam can be helpful for pain relief.

Let us know how he is doing. I'm sorry you are in this predicament. Things like this are never easy to deal with.

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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby AmberC123 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:48 pm

His UV bulb is just over a month old. It's a ReptiSun 10 and I change it every 6 months.

For the blood work, I'm pretty undecided if I'm going to do it. I can't figure if the stress and trauma it will cause him will be worth it in the end.

He improved a bit with the metacam which means what's wrong with him is probably literally only his back. His back is something that cannot be fixed, he's been that way the entire time I owned him and it's just progressed to this point where it's gotten bad enough that we finally found it, so I don't know if doing blood work will be of any benefit because I think the end result is probably going to be the same.

He isn't happy. He doesn't move. He won't eat unless I shove food into his mouth, and then sometimes he still refuses to eat. And most importantly, I think he's suffering. I think he's in a lot of pain.

I really don't want to put him to sleep. But I think that keeping him as he is, is selfish and for me.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Rankins » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:58 pm

I'm sorry....
Your dragon understands..
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby Taterbug » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:43 am

Don't think any of us who have had to tell a pet goodbye wanted to do it, but it sounds like you have an answer for yourself and are working through emotional parts of what that means. My heart goes out to you.
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Re: Broken back with fused vertebrae and nerve damage

Postby AmberC123 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:59 am

Of course after finally making my choice I got home this morning and Sasha is super alert, was actually happy to be out of his tank and was climbing on me (granted his version of climbing is really sad and shaky) . He's currently chilling in his tank actually looking around at stuff and being interested in life.

I don't know what to do...I feel like this is a sign
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