The vet is an idiot.
Update II: Heard from the vet directly, instead of her office. She is convinced it is nothing more than arthritis, likely from some past injuries before we had her. The discs are not moving together, there is no infection, and puppy should be feeling better soon. I am so relieved, and happy to be the idiot!
Your kind thoughts and prayers and ear-scritches and tummy-rubs have all been conveyed to Pepper. She gave the smallest little thump of the tail in gratitude. It hurts her to wag, poor baby!
From me you get my humblest and heartfelt thanks for your support. You Slackers are O-kay, I don't care what other bloggers say!
I was up at 1:20 last night to check on the Pepper Pup.
"What's up, Pup?" is my standard greeting. Of course she started to move and then the pain was so intense she began yelping and trying to move away. Just... away. From the pain. Tail-tucked and head down whining.
Just take me, God, and let this poor creature mend! Argghh!
Up to the computer, I thought about something Pam had said in the comments, and decided I'd hunt down this awful thing. No, I'm not a vet, and I'm still waiting to hear from them, but I'm a sensible person who had seen a remarkable set of x-rays and can deduce what is going on. Barring some sort of infection, it seems she has all the classic symptoms of Intervertebral Degeneration, which most dogs can overcome if they stay still and don't aggravate the blown disc. She has two, in the common diagnosis areas. No wonder she's hurting!
She still has full use of her limbs, and can stand up to eat, and perform necessary functions, so I think she has a good chance of recovery. She's always been a mellow dog, so keeping her still shouldn't be too hard to do. There's only a 5% difference between plain rest and surgery and rest, so I think we'll wait this out.
Meanwhile, her appetite is mostly good and she's on pain pills and muscle relaxers. So, y'know, I can't let her drive or operate heavy machinery for a while.