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Story of the Month - August 2003    




I adopted Hannah from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Dachshund Rescue in August 1999 when she was 18m-2 yrs. old. Because she's a rescue, I don't know much about her background. What I do know is that she is BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!! She should have been name "Kangaroo" or "PogoStick" because she loves to jump, jump, jump! We had lost Sigi, our oldest, in February to heart disease, and added our newest, Lexi, about a month before.

It has been like the World Wrestling Federation at our house since Lexi joined us, with lots of romping between the 3 of them (Hannah, Lexi and their brother, Charlie). I don't know if this romping contributed to her injury; all I know is, that on the morning of May 24, Hannah acted as if she was uncomfortable, and was very quiet, unlike her usual busy self. I initially thought she had a tummy upset, but 24 hours later, as she was eating and pooping fine, and hadn't vomited, I decided it was her back. A few days later she was still uncomfortable, so we went in to my regular vet for x-rays of her spine, which showed compression of the T12-T13 discs. I must add that I had restricted her activity and started allowing her outside on her leash only.

To this point, Hannah wasn't showing any neurological changes at all except for pain. Our vet immediately referred us to a specialist, Dr. Elaine Caplan, who practices in Round Rock, Tx. (Austin area). Dr. Caplan is board certified as an internist and orthopedic surgeon, but she also does chiropractic [Dodgerslist editor's note: Avoid VOM, chiro or any manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic manipulation in IVDD dogs is dangerous since it may promote further spinal cord injury with dogs known or suspected of having degenerative disc disease.], acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments, so is able to tailor a multileveled approach to each animal.

We saw Dr. Caplan that Thursday afternoon, May 29th. She was optimistic that rest, steroids, Chinese herbs, pain medication and acupuncture might get Hannah through this acute phase without surgical intervention. Hannah responded very well to the acupuncture and herbs, and seemed happy and comfortable, but then woke in very bad pain on Sat. May 31st. I took her to my regular vet who gave her Torbugesic as well as methocarbamol (a muscle relaxer), and we went up on her Prednisone dosage. Dr. Caplan was consulted and agreed with the management.

I was living in fear that somehow Hannah would manage to move the wrong way and damage her spinal cord, despite all of my precautions! Hannah spent an uncomfortable weekend and was starting to be unsteady on her back legs by Monday morning, so we went to see Dr. Caplan again, and a myelogram that afternoon showed cord compression anteriorly and posteriorly at T12/T13. Hannah had surgery on Mon. June 2nd to clean out those 2 discs; Dr. Caplan said she removed a lot of disc material. Hannah spent a very groggy Monday night on a Fentanyl (a narcotic) drip, but by Tuesday morning, when I visited, she tried to walk right out of the crate when I opened the door! She was able to come home Wed. morning June 4th, walking well, on a tapering dose of Prednisone, eating, peeing, pooping all normally. She is still on Tobugesic for pain, which I am beginning to taper, but she doesn't act like she needs it. Her biggest problem is, Why won't Mom let me run around like normal now that I feel fine?! It's just keeping Hannah either in her Xpen, at my side on a leash, or in her crate, none of which she is terribly fond of, but, we'll do what we have to do to keep her safe.

We have started physical therapy, walking in the water tank and on the treadmill. She seems like she's going to make a full recovery, for which I am very grateful. I am taking her for walks in the baby stroller, which she tolerates, but I can tell that she'd rather be down on the ground with Charlie and Lexi.

I am very thankful to you all at Dodger's for all the helpful information and support.

Thanks again!
Ragni Jantzen and Hannah (and Charlie and Lexi)
- submitted by Ragni Jantzen





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