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--Success Story--    

Snoopy, moving forward full of life


by Sadia Caceres

On the night of November 18, 2010, 6 year-old Snoopy yelped and his bottom suddenly dropped to the ground and was unable to stand back up. I got so scared, scooped him up and he screamed in pain and bit my nose…as I lifted him, poop was dropping everywhere on the floor. I panicked and started crying hysterically wondering what was happening to my baby. There was a lot of blood dripping down my face from the bite as he punctured both sides of my nose, but I didn’t feel pain due to the adrenaline of what was going on. My nose was the least of my concerns at that moment. I placed him on the floor again to see if he would stand up, but he wouldn’t move; he was just trembling and had a terrified look in his eyes. I then placed him in his crate and called a friend who is a vet tech and told her what happened, she said “oh no, it sounds like it’s his back”. I knew Dachshunds were prone to back problems, but I never thought they’d become paralyzed in the blink of an eye. I then called the vet which was closed, but the doctor got paged and he went to the clinic to meet me there with Snoopy. The doctor examined him, took x-rays and put him in a kennel with a catheter to administer medication. He told me it was his back and he had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days.

I went to visit Snoopy the next day and to speak to his usual doctor. When they took him out of the kennel, urine was flowing out of him all over the vet tech and the floor. When I saw that, I walked to another room and started crying again. At that point, I had no idea he had lost bladder and bowel control nor that it was even a possibility. I was unaware of all the effects of IVDD. The doctor told me the x-ray showed four calcified discs and that he had lost deep pain sensation and bladder and bowel control. She said my options were to do crate rest with meds or surgery, but said that surgery would most likely not help him walk again because the damage was too severe. Of course, I know now that she misinformed me and that surgery should actually be done in severe cases of paralysis. Though she did tell me that if I opted for surgery it had to be done within 12-24 hours for it to be more successful, she practically guaranteed that it wouldn’t help him walk again. So I opted - though I still regret it - not to do surgery thinking I wasn’t going to put him through all that pain from the surgery and I mistakenly thought surgery would take longer for him to recover. I was so devastated by the thought that he’d never walk again.

I took Snoopy home from the hospital on November 21. The doctor prescribed medications, taught me how to express his bladder and told me to put him on crate rest but never specified how long; just said ‘until he feels better’. She recommended a rehab facility where they do physical therapy and acupuncture and laser therapy. Two weeks later, I took him to the Rehab Center and the doctor recommended I see a neurosurgeon. The surgeon examined Snoopy the next day and he told me Snoopy had only 1 out of 1,000 chances to walk again with or without surgery, especially since he had lost DPS two weeks prior. I cried every day; I was so depressed at watching him look so sad and unable to walk. I was also overwhelmed by the care Snoopy required with expressing his bladder and constantly having to clean pee and poop messes in his crate because I wasn’t competent at expressing him. Once I became an expert though, it became effortless and it’s part of my routine and our new “normal”.

On December 2, I started taking Snoopy to the Rehab Center for Acupuncture, Laser and PT three times a week. On December 7, I sent my first message to Dodgerslist and when I listed the medications Snoopy was on, the moderators quickly jumped in to tell me to call the vet ASAP and STOP giving him one of the meds! I was prescribed two anti-inflammatories (Previcox and Prednisone) which are a big NO NO as they can cause bleeding ulcers.

Acupuncture helps with pain relief and to stimulate nerves to repair

They also stressed STRICT crate rest which means no PT, but sadly, neither of the doctors I dealt with believes in strict crate rest. I stopped giving him Previcox the next day, though his regular vet didn’t agree and said it was a myth that two anti-inflammatories together would cause problems. Needless to say, I stopped taking my dogs to that vet.

Snoopy was on meds for 4 weeks and showed no signs of pain after tapering off. Five weeks into crate rest, he was able to hold a standing position for about 4 seconds. He graduated from crate rest on January 14 and since it was the first time I allowed him to scoot around…except for the few times he got away from me during crate rest…I felt so bad for him to see him struggling to scoot. However, he adapted quickly and I got accustomed to seeing him scoot around and no longer felt sorry for him once I saw he was back to his usual happy self…even though he can’t walk. One week after crate rest he started standing up on his own as he scooted. Two weeks after that, he started to move his hind legs while in standing position as if walking in place without lifting his legs off the ground. Furthermore, he slowly wagged his tail for the first time since he went down!

Around five months after he went down, he showed more improvements while I did his bicycle exercises…he seemed to place his hind legs on the ground rather then just flopping down…and his hind legs started to tremble and have jerky movements on a daily basis. Additionally, he began standing up on his own from a sitting position! At 6 months, he started standing up in place without me having to put him in sitting position first! His legs are constantly moving and kicking.

On September 10, ten months after Snoopy went down…when the doctor placed a needle on the back of his right hind leg above his paw pad…he yelped and turned his head to look at the doctor and started trembling as if it hurt him! The doctor and I where shocked! And a couple of weeks ago, as I had him standing on all fours, his right hind leg slipped back and he corrected it back to standing position!

It has been a year since Snoopy went down and he still doesn’t walk and doesn’t have bladder and bowel control, although he has had many improvements along the way…which shows that you should never loose hope. Most importantly, he doesn’t give a hoot that he can’t walk; he is pain free, happy and super spoiled! Some people told me to PTS him when he went down thinking that he wasn’t going to have quality of life…he certainly proved them wrong! I am so grateful to have him in my life and to see him so full of life. Though he only slowly wags his tail occasionally, he shows me he is happy in many other ways…he hops on his front paws,rolls over to get tummy rubs, he gives lots of wet kisses, barks along with his brother Cory, runs wild in his cart and scoots allover the house like a seal. I look at him and think..."how could some people PTS a dog like him? He's so full of life!”

I must say I am extremely grateful for the help and support I received from the Dodgerslist moderators and members. No vet could have given me the information, encouragement and attention I received from the moderators. They were a safe haven for me during the difficult times as well as the happy times when no one else around me understood what I was going through.

To those of you just starting out on this IVDD journey...I assure you that no matter how overwhelmed you may feel at first…it DOES get better and you’ll be glad you gave your fur-baby the chance to recover and go back to being the same sweet, joyful dog you’ve always known. Our dogs have a strong will and determination, they learn to adapt faster than we do. They teach us all a great lesson on endurance, perseverance and the will to live a happy life with those who love us…regardless of what life throws our way.