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Noela Lötter

    by Annalie Lötter

Noela is a black/brown Daschund 6 years old, and needless to say, is our baby in the house. She shares the house with 2 sisters, Triesie, American Pitbull terrier and Kailyn, Jack Russel.

We know every move that Noela makes so if there is something wrong, we will notice immediately.

On June 24, 2010, Noela had a upset stomach and it was a bit out of control. The next morning, 6/25 I picked her up and layed her on my chest, and I could see in her eyes that something was wrong and my husband, Kobus, said that he would keep an eye on her. He had to go out that morning for a hour or two, but when he came back, if she is still not fine, he would take her to the vet. He had the shock of his life when, upon his return, he found her dragging her rear body. She was red from all the dirt, but still barking and tried to run around like she always did.

He immediately took her to the vet, who diagnosed IVDD. We did not know what it exactly meant, but what he definitely told us is that the only option that we have is surgery and that will be R10 000 and he can only guarantee 95% recovery.
In the meantime while we are making up our minds, he will keep her there under sedation, Valium, and we could not visit her for the rest of the weekend. Now we know that God knows the best, because would it have happened during the week, we might have been more anxious and probably would have made the wrong decision.

I called the vet every 4 hours, and he assured me that she is okay, but I and Kobus knew that Noela cries when she is in a strange place and if she does not see us, she can get all stressed out. By the Monday morning, we decided to discharge her from the Vet and take her to another VET.

By that time I already surfed the net and immediately connected to the site of Dodgerslist. I searched the net by only inserted the word “daschund”. And with all the information that I got from Dodgerslist, we could immediately started Noela with crate rest. Kobus took a crate, cut holes around the crate so that Noela could see us, where ever we moved.

We could not determine that she was in any or much pain. But what we did realize is that she had this husky voice, which told us that she was constantly crying while in the vet’s rooms for the weekend. She was afraid and started wining the moment we moved out of her sight.

On the Tuesday morning we took her to Dr Rosslee at the SPCA vetenarian hospital.. At first she was a bit reluctant to examine Noela, because Vet no 1 is normally highly recommended.

We insisted, told her the whole story, handed over the CD of Noela’s spinal cord and so forth. She started with a deep sensation test. As she was starting with the test, someone entered the examine room, and Noela got distracted. The doctor then tried a second time, and Noela pulled her one leg back!!!!!!! That was all that the Dr wanted to see. She immediately withdrawn the Valium and muscle relaxers and put her on Prednizone.

I have to mention here that we were very concerned about the fact that we had to keep Noela on Valium all the time. I wanted her to be alert, because only then would we be able to determine when she is in pain.

At first the dosage was like 2 tablets twice a day, then after 14 days, 1 twice a day and there after 1 daily, and then 1⁄2 daily.

She told us that 8 weeks crate rest is essential, but I was the clever one, telling her all about the site because the facts and information made sense to us.
Noela had no control over her bladder and bowel and we started her on nappies.
We bought her very good quality nappies [diapers] and waterproofs and a nice lace to attach it to her neck band. Through this whole time, Noela was very comfortable and as long as she is with us, nothing bothered her.

Dr Rosslee also recommended that we put her on a diet of rice and chicken just to keep her stomach going, because all of a sudden she could not pooh. This helped a lot, although Noela hadn’t had much of an appetite. To see your doxie like this, not knowing if she is in pain or not, made us so tense and that had an influence on Noela’s behavior.

We changed her nappy almost every 2 hours, and could not bear taking her out because it was icy cold and in the middle of winter in South Africa. We kept her warm and comfortable and during the day when I was at work and Kobus on the road, we put her in front of the TV so that she felt not so lonely, but at night we gave her all our attention, talked to her, just holding her.

I did not keep a diary of which days she started doing what, but I went for an operation in beginning August 2010, and was discharged 3 days later. Noela was then constantly on the bed with me, and I remember that she was not able to move that much. It was if she was not interested in her surroundings and even her sister’s barking outside, did not alert her.

I went to work end of August, and we were a bit worried, although we could see that me staying at home for that long, really made a difference. Still she did not have control over her bladder and bowel functions.

September came and we started her with water therapy in the bath. It was still too cold outside to take her out. When we feel her rear legs and paws, it was icy cold, which told us that there was none or very little blood circulation. With every nappy change, Kobus would take her rear legs in his hands and do the “bicycle riding circles” with her legs – very gently though. As time goes by he could feel that she showed some resistance when he did the exercise.

When the weather outside turned warmer, we took her out one afternoon, and with a towel, rolled in a sling, tried to let her walk. She was not very interested, and she just sat there and smelled the grass and looked around. We realized then that we can now start taking her outside and maybe she will pay attention to her surroundings.

Kobus also build her an aluminium cart. Based on the Eddie’s cart. When we started putting her in that, it was if as a whole new world opened for her.
He took her for walks and she chased almost everything that passed her!!!! We actually had to attach a doggy band to the cart to have control over her speed. So we named it “Noela’s 4x4”

With Christmas on hand I almost every day told Noela that on Christmas Day I want to get rid of the nappies. And she would look at me with those eyes “Ye well, what ever turns you on Annalie”.

Then one day in November she started scooting!!!! We sang and danced around her. And soon after that we got one, then two then more than one night in a row – DRY NAPPIES!! We realized that this is the point now that Noela is starting getting bladder control. Bowel control still a problem.

We also put her in the bath with water and she managed to walk. She loved the small distances of walking because she got a piece of Vienna after every attempt.

For a week or so I started scratching behind her right ear and then the big present, Noela tried to scratch her ear with her leg, although very poor movements, the intention was there. Again celebration. I kept on cleaning her ears with ear buds, because we only became aware that this is one of the things that she could not do anymore.

So we continued with the practice, up till now where she is sitting and up goes the leg, either side, and scratching. She cannot do it for too long, but yes, she manage to scratch her own ears now.

It was just after Christmas 2010 when she gave us the big surprise. She lifted herself up from sit to stand and stood there with her wobbly rear legs, and the long body swinging.

It was our little girl’s Anniversary on 25 June 2011. Although we planned a party, our 3 girls have they own way of doing things. We are so proud of her, but most of all thank you all for being there for us. Still it is a long way to recovery for her and we are happy that she can walk and be her own loveable self. In her world it is NORMAL.

All our love and hugs.
South Africa