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Story of the Month - May 2009



Joey has never been allowed to jump off beds or furniture. Up till now Joey was a perfectly healthy dog.

Joey's first symptoms were very vague on the morning of January 5, 2008. It was very subtle, little things, such as he was walking a little slower, he didn't want to get up on the 2 inch living room cushion. He didn't want to walk up the small outdoor ramp. And he didn't want to be outside in our 60 degree day! While practicing some obedience heeling, I saw he wasn't interested in going over the 4" jump, but walked around it. That was enough for me! I kept him quiet for the rest of the weekend, and we saw our regular vet Dr. Junkas from Wright Animal Hospital.

After a neurological exam and x-rays, it was agreed that we see a surgeon as soon as possible. We had an appointment with Dr. Mitch Robbins from Veterinary Specialty Center, in Buffalo Grove, one of the best facilities with the best surgeons in our area.

When the surgery was over, the Doctor called me, Joey had come through the surgery OK, and said to call back in the evening for another report. At 9PM that night, I talked to Dr. Robbins and he said Joey had stood up and took some wobbly steps, he was very pleased. I was able to visit Joey that next day and was surprised as to the big lump on his back, I was informed that it was only surgical swelling and would soon go away. The next day, the lump was gone. I was also shocked to see Joey walking wobbly, it scared me but I was assured it was normal. The next day, Joey would go home, about 48 hours after surgery!

Our first night home was hectic. Joey was a little wild and didn't want to rest. He slept in a crate at the foot of my bed and cried most of the night. The next day, he was more subdued, more relaxed and that night I brought him in my bed and held him close. We both slept better since then! Joey came home with no medications, only 1/4 tablet of Tramadol every 8 hours for about 8 days. We have a 'recovery suite' in the living room, away from the other dogs. He has his bed, and is surrounded by potty pads and an ex-pen. He has his water bowl and only a foot or two to be able to stand or potty. He can see us and seems content.

Since that first night, things have been calm. Joey has bowel and bladder control and we take him potty often. Those first few days, he eliminated on the potty pads we had outside his crate. He seemed to need to go often, due to the prednisone he received in the hospital. He had a good appetite and seemed to be in fair spirits. He likes to keep busy in his recovery suite with bully bones or a favorite toy or kong. Those first five days post-op, Joey was not always steady on his hind legs, it is called 'ataxia'. Even though his 'wobbly legs' caused ME great stress, I was told it was normal and it would pass. By the 11th day, Joey's walk was much improved.

At 12 Weeks Post-Op, Joey is completely healed and his Physical Therapy continues, but now Joey uses Leg Weights on his tiny legs to help muscle strength! What a good boy!



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