My dog is 9 years old and is a Bernese mountain dog mixed with a…

My dog is 9 years old and is a Bernese mountain dog mixed with a beagle/boxer. She is about 75-80 pounds. I noticed in February she was dragging one of her back feet to the point her nail was filing down to the wick. We brought her to the vet who referred us to a neurologist. We narrowed it down to four options, herniated disk, cancer, menegitis, or degerative myelopathy. We tried a number of steroids and pain killers trying to see if we could do anything to help her walking. The drugs made her very anxious and we decided to stop them. She does not seem in pain and is her normal stubborn self and tries to play with other dogs when she sees them (jumping and play bouncing). The drugs show no improvement and we bring her back and are told an MRI is needed to confirm anything and it would be about 2.5k-3k to get a definitive diagnosis. If she needs surgery or it is cancer treatment it is an additional 5-10k on top of that. Unfortunately we can’t afford that type of bill at the moment and we opt for the conservative treatment and they gave us pain killers that we stopped giving her after a couple days. Fast forward to August she is starting to get much more clumsy with both of her back feet and struggling more with jumping and stairs. She is still walking a normal amount (.5 mile a day) but she is dragging her rear legs more and tearing through her booties. We bring her back to the vet and she says that she thinks it is a herniated disk because when her back is pushed behind her rib cage she shows discomfort. She doesn’t show any pain when we are walking her around the neighborhood and still is smiling and “trotting” her back legs are very irratic and if she high steps she is able to go further. She goes through rubber boots ever month or so from dragging them on walks but still seems mentally normal and happy. I am skeptical it is a hernatied disk because of her excitement to go outside and roll around in the yard. Also she seems healthy with her eating and behavior so I am not sure if it is cancer. I am hoping to see if there is anything that could help her and keep her mobile/happy as long as possible. If it is a hernatied disk is it something that will slowly get worse and worse? She has slowly gotten a bit worse and is still able to get up stairs but is starting to struggle more. I am looking into any types of treatment/PT. She seems normal and happy but her walking is clumsy and am hoping there is something else I can do besides surgery or cancer treatment.

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scgreco413
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Good morning. Sorry that you’re struggling with your pups situation. Has your vet done an X-ray at any point? That might hold some answers. Could it possibly be arthritis? One of our dogs is a senior citizen, and he struggles with his back legs now mostly due to arthritis in his hips. We are on a pain management plan with him, and I do stretch his legs each evening for a bit. Something you could talk to your vet about. Best of luck.