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--Success Story--    



by Carol Justic

I wanted to give something back to you guys at Dodgers List. I don't know how I would have survived without the knowledge and support of this site.

On the night of July 15th 2009 our 11 year old doxie Wendy went down. I'll never forget the sound of the wailing coming from her after she took a very short leap off our deck most likely going after a chipmunk. The sound was just gut wrenching. She curled up in terror and pain and over the next 4 hours continued to lose all movement of her hind legs. It was excrutiating to watch. She spent the next 36 hours at our local vets where they gave her IV meds to see if she recovered movement, all the while testing her deep pain reflex. Less then 48 hours after she went down the vets gave us that difficult decsion. Put her down or get her to Boston for surgery ASAP as she would continue to lose sensation of her hind legs the longer we waited. After a night of no sleep, we decided that our dog with "9 lives" (long story behind this but she's been a very expensive doxie over the years) could possibly beat the odds.

On Friday morning we picked her up and drove her down to Mass Vet Referral Hospital in Woburn Mass. Without having taken an x-ray or MRI; just by feeling her spine and examining her the Neurologist gave us some good news.... if we got her into surgery right away then she would have an 80-90% chance of walking again. This was about the best news we could hear and we felt more confident than ever that our girl was going to come out of this walking.

At about 7:00 that evening we got the devestating call. I knew something was wrong, the surgery was taking way too long. After a 4 hour surgery the Dr. said that he could not repair Wendy's ruptured disc as well as he had thought. He did the best he could but it had been bulging way too long and the bone, cartilege and tissue had all grown together over the disc for years and caused too much long term damage. They did an x-ray right before surgery and could not even tell truly how bad it was. After he went over the details of the surgery (which just sounded to me like Charlie Brown's parents talking)he ended the conversation stating that he was very 'guarded' about Wendy's recovery and would put her chances of walking again at less than 50%.

This was when I found Dodgers LIst and helped me get through one of the most tumultous times of my life. We had so MANY other things going on at this time, we were leaving for China in 3 weeks, I was partially laid off from my job. Our contractor up and left us without finishing construction of our house and my mother was in the hospital and had almost died. Everything at once. No kidding, when it rains it pours.

Life has a funny way of working itself out.

When we brought Wendy home a week later she could not pee, we had to express, she had minute sensation in her toes and she was just plain miserable. We started a week later with PT and slow and steady we started to see progress. First it was the light bearing of weight on her hind when we did her PT at home, then it was her peeing on her own. Finally, right before we were leaving the Country she wagged her tail, just a tiny bit. Over the next 3 months we continued with her PT every other week. She made small baby steps but it was wonderful in our eyes. The Therapists were thrilled, they encouraged us to keep her PT going, don't let her drag her bum and walk her lots with the sling.

At the end of November 09 the Therapists had the Neurologist come in and look her over. Though he was encouraged by all the progress she had made he still thought she was going to need the wheels because she was so unsteady and wanted to drag her bottom. He deemed her "as good as she's going to get". Well - we get the last laugh!

As soon as he left the the Therapist advised us against getting the wheels, they knew Wendy was the "slow & steady" type and wanted to give her more time to progress. We changed her therapy to laser/combined with the hydrotherapy tank. This was the best thing we could have done. She excelled with this and when the New Year rang in, we got rid of the slings. Wendy was independant, wobbly but on all 4's! At the end of January, we graduated from all PT. Now, just try to stop her! Her left leg still sticks out a bit and her run is more of a "bunny hop" but she can chase squirrels, run in the house (even on our tiled kitchen floor) after her toys and hop around when she see's her food dish coming.

She may not "look" like the Wendy of days old but without a doubt, she's BACK!
Here are the key things to our and Wendy's success:
1) Losing weight! She went from 31lbs to 22lbs.
2) PT / Hydrotherapy / laser treatment
3) Getting rug runners for all of her "common" areas where she would "drag". This gave her confidence on her feet when she moved from the living room into the hall or kitchen which was tile.
3) Love and Patience!
4) Believe in your dog, make adjustments based on their personality
4) Persistance, persistance, persistance!
Best of luck to anyone facing the same or similar challanges to what we went through....