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Story of the Month - February 2009  



Ty’s family shares his story in honor of all the Doxies and their humans on Dodger’s List…those who came before us… and as a ray of hope for all those who follow.

Ty is a 5-year old long-haired dachshund. His story begins October 6, 2008 when he was first diagnosed with IVDD. That morning, Ty was simply not himself. He didn’t bother with any of his daily rituals. He failed to greet my Dad with eager licks and didn’t even rollover for his morning tummy rub. Instead of bouncing along at Dad’s feet into the kitchen, he sat sad-eyed in the doorway. He tried to move, but walking was difficult and it was clear he was in pain.

Dad took him to their regular vet that very day. The vet recorded:

Ty was weak in his back legs and wobbly. His proprioceptive reflexes were normal, but he barely lifted his paws to walk. He was treated with 10mg DexPhos IM and Cimetidine IM. On October 7, he seemed more comfortable and was treated with 5mg DexPhos IM in the AM and 10mg Pred PO in PM. He also received 100mg Cimetidine PO BID. On October 8 he was doing very well –walking normally and not painful. He was treated with 5mg Pred PO BID, 100mg Cimetidine PO BID and ½ G Sucralfate PO BID. He was sent home and the owner was instructed to continue 5 mg Pred BID for another two days then reduce dose to SID. Cimetidine and Sucralfate were continued BID. The owner was also instructed to avoid using stairs, using doggie door, and jumping.

On October 13, while at home, Ty became wobbly and painful again. On the 14 th Ty was presented for boarding and re-evaluation. He showed no improvement with cage rest. X-rays were taken on the 16 th and revealed a calcified disc at L1-2. He also had proprioceptive deficits and was non-ambulatory. Deep pain was present and he could bear some weight if supported. The prednisone dose was increased to 15mg daily. There was no change neurologically over the next 7 days. Deep pain was present, he could bear some weight. He was non-ambulatory…

For the next week, full crate rest was continued at the veterinary facility. When there was no improvement, Ty was referred to a board certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Milton, DVM.

October 27, 2008

The prognosis was guarded and the surgeon put the chance for success at only 50-50. Sadly, the surgeon offered two choices: PTS or surgery. Since there was no deep pain sensation, time was of the essence -- The surgeon wanted a decision by 3 PM that day. Fortunately for Ty, his human Dad was determined to give him every possible chance. He said if he didn’t try the surgery, he would second guess that decision the rest of his life. He would always wonder if Ty would have been in the 50% that would have made it.

Diagnosis: Ruptured L1-2; no deep pain -- signs of Myelomalacia.
Surgery: Hemilaminectomy L1-2
Removed a lot of disc material
Performed Duratomy.
Fenestrated L2-3 à T11-12
Progress: The surgeon, Dr. James Milton, and his & entire staff at the Veterinary Surgical Center in Birmingham were wonderful! Ty regained bladder and bowel control almost immediately and his tail was wagging…Three very positive signs! But, he did not seem aware of his back half at all…He just scooted around, his little rear-end dragging. My Dad was discouraged and afraid he would never walk again.

Even as the surgery was taking place, however, I was frantically surfing the Internet for answers. I found more than answers; I found hope. I found “Dodger’s List”.

Encouraged by their success stories and support, my sister and I committed to take responsibility for Ty’s rehabilitation. Our concern was that in their mid-80’s, the rigorous demands of weeks of Doxie PT would be too much for my parents to handle. Ty and the surgeon had done their part; we were determined to do ours.

Post-surgical instructions:

  • crate rest for 6 weeks
  • brief walks for potty breaks supported by belly strap
  • water therapy 2 times per day for 10-15 minutes each time
  • balancing exercises with a pillow
  • gentle massages

Progress seemed slow, but Dodger’s List kept us going and one month to the day after surgery, Ty walked…shaky, wobbly, wonderful steps!

He is on special food: Purina JM- Joint Mobility and his weight is already down from 25 lbs to 18.4. His care and rehab became a family project. My sister and her husband took on the first three weeks and then we moved him to our home in Kentucky. We continued the water therapy and then gradually built-up to two ten minute walks per day. Ty’s progress was amazing and on New Year’s Day we reunited him with the people he owns. We are thrilled and blessed to report that Ty is now back on duty as my parents devoted companion and best friend! He is on a strict diet, wearing a harness (no more collars except for ID tags) and using the wheelchair ramp at the front door instead of his old doggie door.

Lessons Learned:

Seek help at the very first sign of IVDD. Dad says now that looking back, he recalls Ty having some difficulty getting through the doggie door…That was, no doubt, an early sign of the trouble ahead.

Educate yourself. Print & post Dodger’s emergency list of symptoms on your fridge.

Also, don’t rely totally on your regular vet. Even the most competent may not know some of the valuable info posted on Dodger’s List. For example: Using Pepcid to prevent upset stomachs; avoiding Desitin because of zinc oxide being poisonous to dogs, etc.

Importance of crate rest. 24/7 as well as tips for successful crate rest, calming dogs, etc.

We hope our experience will help others as you have helped us...We will try to “pay it forward”…Thank you & best wishes always!

Ty and Family



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