by  Katie Loenberger
At Daisy’s very first puppy vet appointment, our vet stressed the importance of crate training dachshunds. Although initial crate training was difficult, it was the best training we ever did with Daisy. I never dreamed that she would need to be on strict crate rest at the young age of 4. On the morning of 12/2/10, Daisy suffered an acute disk rupture between T13 and L1 while going down the two front steps in front of our house. She immediately laid down in the grass and did not want to move. She was trembling and could not get comfortable, but she was walking normally. Daisy was taken to the vet and diagnosed with Stage 2 IVDD. Our vet sent us home to begin conservative treatment right away and prescribed eight weeks of crate rest along with Metacam and Methocarbamol. The next morning, I carried Daisy outside, and she could not walk. Her back legs were now paralyzed and she had lost bladder control. Completely devastated, we took Daisy back to the vet, and she was admitted to the animal hospital at the vet’s office. The vet started her on a high dose of steroids, and she was seen by an orthopedic surgeon later that day. Although I was very reluctant to the idea of conservative treatment, the vet reassured me that it had high success rates with many dogs. However, the very next morning, on 12/3, the orthopedic surgeon called and said that Daisy did not have any deep pain sensation and needed to have surgery right away. Since he was unable to do the surgery that day, we were sent to Ohio State Veterinary Hospital for surgery. Daisy was given a 30% chance of being able to walk again with surgery, and she was in so much unmanageable pain that our two options were to have surgery or to have her put down. The resident surgeon on call was very good about explaining the quality of life dogs can have even if they are paralyzed and given a cart. Even with only a 30% chance of full recovery, I knew that there was no way I would put down my little girl. Daisy spent three days in the intensive care unit at OSU. During this time, my husband found Dodger's List, which was such a great help and comfort to us.

Upon leaving OSU after surgery, we were taught how to express Daisy’s bladder. We were sent home with Prednisone to reduce swelling, Tramadol for pain, and Pepcid AC to protect her stomach. She did not want to eat her dog food while on the pain medicines, so we fed her canned chicken baby food. Daisy underwent 6 weeks of strict crate rest which was followed by physical therapy at OSU. We had not seen any changes in her ability to perceive deep pain sensation, so our surgeon and physical therapist at OSU recommended getting her a cart. The day after our last therapy session at OSU, Daisy became painful again and cried when she was picked up. This resulted in an emergency trip back to OSU. Upon consulting with another specialist at OSU, we were advised to put Daisy back on crate rest and give her Metacam, Gabapentin, Tramadol, and Pepcid AD for 10 days. The specialist had done research on ruptured disks and found that in rare cases, the disk can begin to slowly leak again. After 10 days, we began to take her off the medicines and found that she was no longer in pain.

In late January, we ordered Daisy’s cart from Eddie's Wheels, and after about 2 weeks of getting used to it and bumping into the furniture, she was back to her old, playful self. She loves spending time in her cart! We are back to our daily walk routine, chasing her balls, and following us around the house. In February, I looked in to other treatment options that I had read about on Dodger's list. I found a Holistic vet five minutes from our house who is licensed in acupuncture and also does cold laser therapy. Daisy had six acupuncture treatments along with laser therapy, once weekly for 6 weeks, with no noticeable changes. She began to not accept the needles anymore, so we discontinued the acupuncture treatments. The vet still recommended that we continue the laser therapy treatments since there is research supporting that it helps facilitate healing, and is also fairly inexpensive. Since March, Daisy has had laser therapy treatments twice a week. We now go to the vet once a week for laser treatments. Daisy is also on a variety of vitamin supplements, which the Holistic vet believes will help as well (Nueroplex and Canine Musculoskeletal Support, both from Standard Process Veterinary Formulas, a Collagen supplement, and a biotic to help with her urinary and digestive tract). We also do daily range of motion exercises two times a day to keep Daisy’s joint working.

Around Easter (5 months after her injury), we noticed about an inch of her tail twitching from the end while my husband was petting her and scratching her belly. Then around June, we noticed about half of her tail was now twitching. The surgeon at OSU said he has seen dogs that slowly recover and walk again one year to a year and a half after their injuries. In addition, the Holistic vet had a pug that was paralyzed in all four legs, and after a year of receiving laser therapy, it began to wag its tail again. We still haven't given up hope that Daisy may one day walk again, but if not, she is perfect the way she is. I will never regret the decisions we made. She is a completely happy dog who loves life! She is pain free and does not realize or care that she has a disability. She has been such an inspiration to many people we meet on our walks, at the vet's office, and around town. Daisy and I would like to send a huge thank you to everyone who is a part of Dodger’s List for the invaluable information that has given us so much hope and helped us get through many very difficult times. We have learned that IVDD is not an end; it is simply a new way of life