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--Success Story--

Ollie plus 3 1/2 yr update!

by Pam Wahbe 

   

     


On January 19, 2008 I left to visit my daughters at college, leaving Ollie and Heidi with my husband. At this point, Ollie was, as far as I knew, healthy and just getting older, with a little gray around his muzzle at age 7. When I arrived home the next day, the dogs were understandably excited to see me walk in the door and Ollie got up on his hind legs to meet me at the gate. He made a horrible scream and laid down on his side with his back arched, panting.

We went to our regular vet since he was open at that point and he took an x-ray and sent us to the emergency vet up the street. He said that Ollie had ruptured a disc at T11-T12 and was on his way to being paralyzed. He explained that he was not equipped to do surgery but the emergency vet was. It was implied that if the surgery didn’t work or we didn’t do it Ollie would have no quality of life and basically we would be acting selfishly if we didn’t put him down.

By the time we got to the ER it had been approximately an hour from Ollie’s disc rupture and he was paralyzed. He lost bladder and bowel control along with deep pain soon after arriving at the ER. We were informed that they were also not equipped to perform surgery on him and offered to call around to neurologists to see who was available. They found a surgeon an hour away who would attempt the surgery for $8,000 but due to the speed in which he lost bowel/bladder control and deep pain they gave him a less than 5% chance of the surgery being successful. At that point we opted for conservative treatment because of his poor prognosis. They put him on Prednisone and TraMadol for pain and told me even though I was totally devastated that nursing care is very hard but it is doable if I made the commitment. She emphasized that he would not permanently be in pain and would adjust to his situation if given the chance.

It was very hard at first. It became my job to problem-solve and comb the internet for answers and solutions. After finding the Dachshund Rescue of North America (DRNA) site and writing a very nice lady named Yolanda who had a post seeking a permanent home for a paralyzed doxie she rescued, I asked her for help. Yolanda told me about Dodger’s List. Ollie went straight to his crate for 8 weeks, only coming out for potty breaks. After a couple weeks we weaned him off his pain medicine. He was very comfortable and his personality started coming back full-force. This is when I knew for sure that everything would be ok whether he walked again or not. He didn’t care he was paralyzed. He cared that he was comfortable, fed and loved.

At this point in time it has been 2 1⁄2 years and Ollie is still making very small but steady gains in function. He can move his feet at times, has shown improvement in bladder and bowel control (slowly getting better but still needs expressing) and wags his tail sometimes. I think that’s what I missed the most, the tail wagging. Ollie has a cart and is still OCD about fetching the tennis ball whether he’s in the cart or scooting in the house. He runs like the wind and even now it still makes me happy to watch him run. We still do water therapy at home and also range of motion exercises to keep him in shape as his nerves continue their attempt to reconnect.

Ollie will never give up and neither will I. We are a team. Somewhere along the way what was once very hard has become routine and normal to us. Ollie was just one of the rare dogs that have an injury so severe that it results in long-lasting problems. Most dogs do regain function during the crate rest period. My point of view is that, like some people, some dogs have different mobility and capabilities and if they are happy and pain free, they are a true success story. Thank you so much, Dodger’s. Without you all we wouldn’t have stood a chance. The support is invaluable and you are a constantly flowing source of great information and solutions.

Ollie's scooting cape, Oct 2010
[Editor's note: Pam has shared directions for Ollie's protective blue scooting garment]

http://www.dodgerslist.com/literature/incontinentdown/Olliecape.pdf    Note: Dachshund Delights will custom make a cape for you.  Contact: http://www.doxidelight.com/entryway.htm

 

July 2011 update: After 3 1/2 years of no movement in his rear legs he has started moving them in walking movements and trying to stand up when he's really excited like when he's waiting for me to put him in his cart to go outside! We just came in from "swimming" in the baby pool and his back legs were doing the doggy paddle for the first time EVER. Not small movements where you don't know if you imagined them, full range of motion kicking!

NOTE: Ollie was diagnosed with a very advanced state of untreatable cancer. Ollie inspired so many and will continue to do so from another world.  He left us with wonderful memories and his joie de vivre. We'll never forget you Ollie.