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Story of the Month - January 2008    




When we first brought Annie home in June 2003, we had no idea what IVDD was, but we quickly became educated.

When Annie was 2, she experienced some moderate back pain and was put on steroids. She recovered quickly with no additional treatment. A year later, in Dec 2006, Annie began walking funny; she was painful and panting heavily. Over three days of decline, we took her to the local vet and ER and were eventually sent to University of Illinois for surgery. She was paralyzed with no bladder control but still had deep pain sensation.

During those 3 days, the group on Dodgerslist was critical in our decision making process. We were completely uninformed about IVDD, and Annie may have lost valuable time if the group had not shared their expertise and encouraged us to seek immediate medical care. Annie had surgery at University of Illinois on Dec. 5th 2006. It’s amazing the level of care available for our pets. They woke up a surgeon and other members of the staff in the middle of the night just to care for Annie. The surgeon cleaned out one fresh burst, and also removed decayed material and scar tissue from the disk we now know she burst the year before.

Annie came home to Rehab Boot Camp. We did ROM exercises and water therapy once the staples came out. We even found 2 doggie physical therapists in St. Louis who rehabbed Annie on a water treadmill. WOW! I never knew such resources were out there. After 1 month, Annie began walking, and had a 95% recovery over 3 month’s time.

Sadly, Annie experienced symptoms of IVDD again in October 2007, pain and mild ataxia in the hind limbs. We panicked and rushed her to U of I again, but they sent us home because Annie seemed to be bouncing back after her pain meds kicked in.

I got back on Dodgerslist right away. Again, the group supported us emotionally and encouraged us to keep following up with the doctors as Annie eventually declined.

We all landed back at U of I where she had an MRI and surgery for another burst on Nov. 5th 2007.

Annie bounced back quickly, she was walking the day after surgery and if you saw her walk even a week later you may not know that there was anything ever wrong, (Except the shaved back and row of 33 staples of course). She tells us every day that she feels great, and is lobbying for less crate rest and more treats. But we will not give in!

Annie has not been allowed any furniture jumping or stairs since her first surgery, and she is down to a healthy 11.5 lbs from 14.5 lbs.

Watching Annie go down twice was emotional for us. I have never been so sad in my entire life. We wanted to make sure we were always making the best decisions for Annie’s well being, extremely difficult when time is of the essence and you have no idea what’s happening to your pet.

The group on Dodgerslist was critical support for us during both of Annie’s ordeals. Someone in the group has experienced EVERY issue that we’ve had with Annie, and shared their stories with us. It feels so much better to know that someone else has charged through all this and come out ok in the end.

                                            Thanks from Malia, Josh and Annie McDermott

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