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of the Month -
At first I thought my Sammy was having stomach pain, as
evidenced by his yelping whenever I touched that area.
"No," said the vet, "It's his back,"
and she sent us home with mild medication and orders for
Sammy to "take it easy."
Four days later, on a Sunday morning, Sammy and his brother
Frodo exploded out of their crate as usual for their morning
walk. When Sammy raced around a corner, though, his backside
teetered over, and his back legs quickly followed. He
spent the rest of the day trying to make those back legs
behave and move as they used to, and I spent the rest
of the day trying to stop crying. Neither of us accomplished
these lofty goals.
Very early Monday morning, the vet gave Sammy a large
shot of steroids, Prednisone pills to take at home, and
a stomach protector. She said any improvement would be
seen in about 24 hours, and that after that his chances
of regaining feeling and movement were close to zero.
When we came home, Sammy dragged himself to his dog bed
to cuddle with his brother, and I searched for information
on the Internet about dachshunds with back problems. I
was lucky to find Dodger's List and the wonderful people
on it who would guide me through the next difficult weeks.
Reading through the incredible amount of information on
Dodger's List, I realized how many mistakes I had made
with my dogs. I never should have let them jump onto furniture,
and I should have put Sammy on crate rest as soon as I
knew he was having back problems. I felt incredibly guilty
but obviously could not change the past. I could, however,
put Sammy on immediate crate rest and keep him on crate
rest for the next 8 weeks.
More challenges followed, such as when Sammy could no
longer control his bladder. One vet refused to teach me
how to express his bladder, saying it was pointless because
he was leaking constantly, and forecasted bluntly that
Sammy would probably soon die painfully of a bladder infection.
My boyfriend and many contacts on Dodger's List refuted
this dire prediction and encouraged me to insist that
a different vet teach me to express. This wonderful, IVDD-knowledgeable
vet became Sammy's permanent vet from that point on, and
she checked on Sammy's progress almost every other day.
She echoed the Dodger's List advice that "I've seen
these little guys come back! Don't give up hope!"
She was right, too: just a few days after I learned to
express him, Sammy's bladder started working again. I
never would have thought I'd cry tears of joy when my
dog managed to "water" the lawn, but I certainly
did, repeatedly! (re-pee-tedly?)
Then, during week 5 of his crate rest, Sammy nonchalantly
lifted his back leg to scratch his ear. Was I hallucinating?
No --my boyfriend verified this seemingly miraculous sighting
-- Sammy was moving his back legs again!
Sammy has just finished his 8 weeks of crate rest, and
I am thrilled to report he is walking! We're taking it
slowly, and his back legs are wobbly, but I could not
be happier with his progress. My once-paralyzed boy has
come so far! He can even perform a revised version of
his "corner dance," where he energetically celebrates
the arrival of his breakfast.
I've learned so much from Dodger's List and received so
much caring, knowledgeable support. Most importantly,
I know now that dogs can and do have quality of life,
even if they remain paralyzed. After all, Sammy could
still snuggle with his brother, beg for cheese, and flip
over for a tummy rub, whether he could use his back legs
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