"MIGUEL LUIS "
We live in Mexico. I returned home from a short trip to California to find Miguel Luis acting ‘strange.’ I watched him and at first it looked like he might have a neck problem as he didn’t want to bend down to eat his food. I put the food higher and he ate. I thought Voila! problem solved. WRONG! A few days later I noticed his back two legs were weak and he was wobbly when he walked. PANIC! My vet has a general practice but specializes in orthopedic surgery and I’d discussed with him the implications if one of my dogs went down so I was confident taking Miguel Luis in that Antonio (Dr. Antonio Peña Jasso) could fix him. Antonio was encouraging – Miguel could still walk, there was no paralysis. He was still spontaneously taking care of his ‘bodily functions.’ So he went on semi-conservative treatment (dexamethasone and modified bed rest) for a week, then another. Sadly he began to get worse. There was still no paralysis and he still ‘performed’ but his back legs were weaker. At this junction Antonio felt a CT scan was in order. We do not have MRI facilities here although Antonio said that would be the better test. Bless this dear man’s heart. We don’t have animal CT facilities either so Antonio snuck Miguel Luis into a human facility at 10 at night, wrapped in a blanket and carried like a baby and even went into the CT tube with him to keep him still (even though he was mildly sedated). The CT showed mild compression at T11-12 and it was clear that (1) he was not a candidate for surgery (thank God!) but (2) he needed strict crate rest. My dear friend loaned me a wire cage that was appropriate for Miguel’s size. I chose a place to put it where he would be involved in the family activities, able to see out the window, in a light and airy place. He was the best boy ever! He never complained. He never cried. He got excited only when the cleaning lady came (he loves her and wanted to go see her) and I handled that with a shot of Rescue Remedy. Naturally I picked him up and carried him out to potty and back in, it seemed like 100 times a day. It wasn’t that much, of course, but in lifting a sturdy 20 pound dachshund, it sure seemed that way. Lili, his ‘tweeny’ sister would hang out with him and keep him company. She tried to get in the cage with him when I wasn’t looking but when I spotted his ‘get this dog out of my cage’ look, I removed her!
Eight weeks later. I started by letting him out of the cage under strict supervision… just a little bit of walking, just a little farther on his potty breaks. I noticed his thighs were ‘loose’ from muscle atrophy so I was careful not to over exercise or over stress him. Poco a poco (little by little), he walked a little farther, he was out of the cage a little more. I started teaching him and insisting he use the ramps and circled the couches with big floor pillows in case he jumped off the couch that ½ second when my back was turned.
We’re at week two post crate rest and except for the tiniest bit of back leg weakness, he’s near as good as new! He’s running (which stops my heart, of course), his back is straight, he is in no discomfort, and I’ve started taking him on short walks in the neighborhood. He’s doing great. He’s happy (and celebrated his 6th birthday on January 13), his little sister-dachs is happy to have her companion back and mama’s very happy that my dear boy is almost at 100%!
I want again to thank everyone on Dodgerslist for their help, encouragement, advice, and the wealth of information on IVDD. I could not have done this without you all. May God bless you!
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
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