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Story of the Month - November 2005    



Zoe's story is not as severe or dramatic as most, but I hope it can still be helpful to others. Zoe is six years old and has been with me since she was a puppy. She is a red, smooth miniature and was my first experience with Dachshunds. When she was two years old she had a serious reaction to her annual vaccines and although it was a frightening experience, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I had dogs and horses most of my life, and considered myself a good "dog mom." The vaccine incident lead me to the Internet and after much reading, I discovered I was woefully uninformed. I joined a few Dachshund boards, and read heart breaking posts about paralyzed dogs, and Dachshunds being euthanized. I also read a post from Linda Stowe, who wanted to start a list devoted to IVDD and it's treatment, and was gauging interest in such a group. I signed up right away.

The canine family grew to include a Toy Fox Terrier and another Dachshund.. I continued to read and learn. I cut down on vaccines based on the new protocol, I drastically improved my dogs' diets, I added supplements, and I keep my dogs exercised. I became a maniac about keeping my dogs fit and trim. I knew the things to look for that might indicate the onset of a back problem and I memorized my dogs gaits and how they stood. I discussed IVDD and treatments with my vet, and was assured that we were on the same page.

Our morning routine is always the same. As soon as I have both feet on the floor the dogs race to the kitchen for breakfast. Zoe is the alpha dog, and she must always be first. Zoe was not first. She was walking and I could see her slow as she made her way to the kitchen. She sat several times on her way. She ate, but stood very hunched. and then began to be wobbly in her back legs. Because of what I learned from Dodgerslist I knew exactly what was happening. I crated her right away, and was waiting at the vets when they opened. During the five minute trip to the vet, she had soiled her crate, something she had never done before. Zoe was seen immediately. After a thorough examination she was given an injection of Dexamethasone, prednisone tablets, the first of a series of eight Adequan shots and I was instructed to get some Pepcid AC to protect her stomach from the prednisone. I was also instructed that she was to be crated 24/7 and I was to bring her back immediately if she got worse. The vet and I also discussed where I should take her should she get worse during the night or when the clinic was closed.

Thankfully, all my dogs are crate trained. I set up an Xpen for Zoe, where she could still everything that was going on. She seemed content but the other dogs were not. The first few days were a bit chaotic as I tried to develop a new routine. Zoe stayed in her pen other then potty breaks, and I carried her in and out. She improved quickly, and after three weeks she seemed as good as new. She remained in her pen for the full six weeks. Zoe has gradually resumed her normal activity. She is doing just fine, but still trying to understand why furniture is off limits and jumping is forbidden.

I know there are no guarantees that this is the only incident or the end of the problems. There is more and more evidence that IVDD is a disease, and if this is so then she has it. I have increased her supplements, we are on a waiting list to see a holistic vet who does acupuncture treatments, and we are considering periodic Adequan shots. I will continue to feed her quality food and keep her fit and trim. I like to think that this will help, but the truth is I don't know. I like to think that although supplements, diet, and exercise did not prevent an incident, they may have lessened it. I do know that because of Dodgerslist I knew about IVDD and because I knew what was happening with Zoe I was able to get her the treatment she needed immediately. I do believe that helped to keep the incident under control. I also know that discussing this disease and it's treatment previously with my vet was one of the smartest things I ever did.

As I said, this story is not nearly as serious or dramatic as most. I would like to think that it will be a help to folks whose dogs have not had a problem. It can happe
n to you, and your knowledge and fast action can make a difference.
      - submitted by Kathy Nabhan, Indiana


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