Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Dachshund IVDD Spinal Paralysis Signs Treatment UK

Harvey 2011
Harvey, our mini Doxie, Daxie or Dachshund is approx 7 1/2 years old.
We got him when he was 4.

Two weeks ago,  when letting him in from the garden he wouldn't do the little jump up into doorway step so I picked him up.
When I put him down, I noticed one of this back legs was kind of dragging, buckling over a touch.

A single tear ran from my eye as I rang my partner as I knew from past experience with a Basset Hound what this could mean.
Boris, one of my last hounds lost all use of his back legs in 24 hours and we had to put him to sleep.
I was dreading a repeat. 

We took Harvey to the vet that afternoon and they confirmed my worst fears. Spinal trauma causing loss of sensation in Harveys back leg/s.

Possibly or probably IVDD, we don't know yet as we have just been told to crate him for 6 - 8 weeks and to give him steroids.

Now, I have to say I fell apart for that first week. My immediate emotional reaction was "run"
I did not want to watch him suffer and not be able to do a damn thing about it "but" watch him suffer.
The emotional stress was overwhelming.

Harvey is "the doggy love of my life"
I have had several Bassets and a mini Schnauzer before him, all rescues and I loved them all but Harvey is my baby.

He looks and behaves like the eternal puppy.
Tiny, full of mischief and will play "chase" with you all day.

So the realization that if his condition worsened, (incontinence) we would have to put him to sleep was crippling me.
I don't know how this may come over but those early days I just wanted to leave him with the Vet so I didn't have to watch and wait.
It's the not knowing that is the hardest thing to learn to live with for me I think. Stuck in limbo.

Harvey Before He Got Sick.

And of course you replay all the things you let him do that you know you shouldn't have.
Free range of the entire house, running up and down the stairs 50 times a day. Jumping on and off the sofa and any other object he managed to get onto.

And of course, the classic, Dog insurance.
Hindsight is such a bitch!

Daxies are VERY high energy dogs. They do not sleep all day like some breeds and they are very much the pack animal never really happy unless we are all together whether that be at home or out walking.

I am ashamed to admit I even had thoughts during initial emotional fall out,  along the lines of:
"One way or another... I just need to know what we're dealing with"
And by that I meant, a small part of me would have preferred to have been told "Sorry there's nothing we can do...." because at least that way, I could start the process of acceptance and grief.
The thought of caging him for 8 weeks and watching him unhappy was terrible. 

I started doing what I always do in these helpless situations. Research.

I needed to know what we were dealing with, what the future held and what we could do to help him recover. Knowledge is power.

And today, two weeks on, I am determined to see him mobile again. No matter how long that takes or whether he uses his legs or some doggy wheels. As long as he is not in pain and happy is all that matters to me.

He has never been caged in or crated so that was the first and hardest hurdle emotionally as you can't reason with a dog. But after one full day, he chilled out and seemed to accept the situation and curled up to sleep most of the time

I take care of him all day every day.
Feeding and giving him water in his crate, carrying him to and from the potty area and supporting his back legs if he is unable to stand straight to wee or poo.

I give him his steroid medication disguised (crushed up) in tinned salmon. (lol)

I have spent a small fortune on importing some stomach protectors from the USA (Pepcid AC which dogs can take) as here in the UK the vets don't seem to care or offer them routinely preferring instead just vocally list "Vomiting Blood or Blood in his feces " as a possible side effect of steroid use

This is actually totally avoidable IF you give him Pepcid AC an hour before the steroid pills. 
Me & Harvey 2011

I asked the vet about buying him some wheels to make his rehabilitation easier for him and us and was told: "We don't have any experience with wheels so we can't advise" (Brilliant

So once again, I went and researched them mainly needing to know whether they supported the spine and hind legs or did they allow the back end to swing around as that would be a recipe for disaster.

I have found a UK maker of mini wheels who claims they are the only brand who design their carts to keep the spine straight and supported as all other and bigger brands have loose harnesses that swing about which is NOT good for a recovering spinal injury.

I am going to measure him up tomorrow and order one.

I don't want him to become dependent on it of course,  but if he can support himself when he sniffs about the garden to find his "pee patch" and have a few hours a day out of the crate on the ground floor... then I will feel so much happier for him and I know he will be too based on the videos and peoples experiences I have read about.

They're not cheap at £170 but then you shouldn't have a dog if you can't afford the insurance or like us were stupid enough not to take insurance out!

It's a small price to pay for peace of mind and to watch him mobile as his spine heals.

Here is the link to a wonderful forum that deal with IVDD and spinal issues in dogs, mainly Daxies but other breeds too. Join the group and post your experience and they will give you tons of user experience advice that your vet may well not do.

And here are some videos of success stories for recovering IVDD Dachshunds.



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