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Story of the Month - December 2007


When we were on vacation in Canada, we purchased a Dachshund Mini. My guinea pig's name had been Etoile, so we decided to continue the theme and name our new pet Soleil. She's now 4 years old and weighs about 11 pounds. Soleil is a vivacious dog who loves attention. People may think she's just a cute little wiener dog, but boy does she have a personality. She is very attached to our family; sometimes we think the name Velcro would have suited her better. She loves lying in sunbeams, red necking. (This is when she lies completely on her side with her neck stretched out and her back feet up in the air.) In the front of our house, we have a couch in front of a big window that overlooks our street. Soleil enjoys perching on the top of it, surveying her “kingdom” and barking at anyone who passes by her territory. Her life changed after the thunder storm on August 13th.

During the thunder storm, Soleil decided that she needed to guard the house. All she did was bark non-stop, jump on and off of couches, go inside and outside continuously, and aggressively shake her chew toy. Since she won’'t do her business alone when it's raining, I had to take her outside. This is when we first saw signs of an injury. I gently tugged on the leash and she yelped loudly in pain. For the rest of the day, she sulked and rarely moved; we new something was wrong.

My parents contacted the vet and scheduled an appointment for that night. My dog is terrified of going to the vet, so the veterinarian couldn't tell whether she was shaking from pain or fear. They put her on a medication called prednisone. She started to improve, but during the week she got worse. At this time, she was having little episodes (shaking and twitching) about once a day. With each week, they got worse and they had become both longer and more frequent. We took her back to the vet and they put her on painkillers. We tried that for a week, but that didn't work either. Back at the vet again, we asked to have an x-ray done. It showed that something was wrong with her neck. We quickly went to see Dr. Madore, a neurologist/surgeon, at the DVM, Emergency Veterinarian Clinic in Dorval, Quebec, the next day. She decided it was best to wait one more week because she did not display any neurological symptoms and continued the cortisone and prescribed Robaxin. Soleil was so drugged that she became a puddle, whenever we would pick her up, she felt like mush – it was tough to see her that way.

Dr. Madore called us a couple days later; we explained that she was not improving. Dr. Madore said we should come it ASAP for blood tests to prepare for the MRI. The next day, we took Soleil to the veterinary school in St. Hyacinth, Quebec, Canada; it was the only place where they could perform a MRI. The drive was very long; I had a terrified dog next to me, and there was no way I could comfort her. The plan was to bring her in early in the morning, then pick her up once she had woken. We dropped her off and went to visit a friend who lives close to there. On the way back home, we got a call from the vet saying Soleil had woken up very well. We decided to pick her up since we were already so close to St. Hyacinth. She was very happy to see us but was a bit woozy from the anesthetic.

Later on that weekend, the surgeon called us to tell us that she had a huge herniation in her neck and that surgery was definitely needed. We scheduled the surgery later that week. We brought her to the Vet for the surgery – waiting was sooo hard. The next day we got a call from the surgeon telling us that the surgery had gone as planned. We wanted to visit her, but the surgeon advised us not to, they still needed to do tests on Soleil's neurological damage. Later that day the doctor called us to let us know that Soleil was walking on her own and wanted out! The next day we received another call from the vet. Come take your dog home now, she is doing Super Well!” It was an amazing transformation! Soleil was sore but you could see that she was old self again. Now she's on house rest for two months.

Only four days after the surgery, she is doing extremely well. She has not had any pain episodes and her only problem is that she gets uncomfortable and itchy. She does look a little funny though, with her bandaged and shaved chest. At week two we had the stitches removed and shows no signs of that anything was wrong. It's now four weeks; I do not know how we are going to survive the remaining 5 weeks…Soleil thinks she is cured!

We are all glad that she is back and doing well – -special thanks to Dr. Madore and the DMV!

Michelle Caron

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