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Story of the Month - April 2003    



My dog’s name is Max. He is eight years old and has had two major disc operations. The first one was two years ago and he recovered almost 75%. I made him ramps both inside and out and tried to get off some extra weight. Then, this last spring he started dragging his back legs. I knew it was time to get to the vet quick. I took him to the best (I thought) hospital in Virginia. They kept him half of a day and sent him home for cage rest. That night he got worse and couldn't move at all. So the next morning I took him back. Another vet x-rayed his spine and gave us the bad news that it was to late. He said that if we would have had him there yesterday they could have saved him. I told the vet we were in the same exam room yesterday. He dropped his head and said the best thing to do was to put him down. I asked what chance he had with surgery. The vet said 10% or less. I told him that's better than zero and let's do the surgery. He came through great. Max didn't have bladder control but they found a little bit of motor function, and no deep pain.

We worked with Max for weeks, expressing his bladder a lot of times and several times after we had gone to bed. Then I started him on acupuncture treatments and changed his diet to white meat and veggies, no more dry food. He lost 5 pounds in two months. Then one day he started using his bladder on his own. Another day we saw movement in both legs.

Now, after 8 months he can stand up for minutes at a time and make a step or two. One night he walked almost 20 ft. in the yard. He is determined to walk again. I put him on wheels for a time but now we don't use them. I work with him in the bath tub and he moves the rear legs like normal in the water. We can see him progress more each week and he keeps getting stronger. My vet said that she had never seen a dog come back from what he had gone through. She said she felt he would walk again, maybe not normally, but that he would walk.

We are so proud of Max. He has given us his all and lives a very happy life. We never gave it a thought about putting him down. He had too much life in him. We hope this story helps someone in the same shape we were in, to decide to give their dog a chance. So many things can be done if you really love your dog and are willing to give him back some of the time that he has given you.

- submitted by Mike & Dianne Smith



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