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New spinal injury

Neurological Disorders Resources. Treatment and care for pets having pain or trouble walking or standing due to spinal injuries or neurological disorders like IVDD, FCE and DM.

New spinal injury

Postby wheeliepom » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:25 am

Hi all,

My 10 month old Pomeranian was attacked by another dog two days ago and suffered a broken spine in the process. The vet noted that she still had a small amount of sensation in one leg and they went ahead with a surgery to attempt to fix her spinal cord in addition to repairing the break. Her chances of walking again are small but I know they don't want to get your hopes up and tend to underpromise. I'm hopeful that with a lot of physio and rehab I could potentially get her up to 3 legged mobility at least. Aside from the paralysis and incontinence, she is doing as well as can be expected and is eating and drinking happily.

I'm very lucky that my dog is so small (5 lbs) as I know it will be much easier to do just about everything. I am not able to bring her home from the vet for another week or so as they are keeping her as calm and immobile as possible following the surgery. Of course this means I have hours and hours to pore over everything on the internet and I've come up with a few questions.

Does anyone else take their disabled pup everywhere with them? Regardless of her mobility I would like to bring her around with me once healed because she's a baby and still needs to enjoy the world. How do you deal with incontinence issues on the go? It's still too soon for me to tell what level of incontinence she has but as of now she is just slowly leaking.

Do your pups sleep in bed with you? There's nothing I love more than snuggling up with my dog at night and I was hoping that I could figure out a solution to have her in bed with me even if she's incontinent (pads, diapers, etc.).

I see a lot of information about expressing and incontinence for male dogs. Mine is a female - how much more complicated will things be as a result?
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Re: New spinal injury

Postby CarolC » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:24 pm

wheeliepom wrote:Hi all,

:welcome:

Two days ago is very recent, glad you found the forum so quickly!


My 10 month old Pomeranian was attacked by another dog two days ago and suffered a broken spine in the process. The vet noted that she still had a small amount of sensation in one leg and they went ahead with a surgery to attempt to fix her spinal cord in addition to repairing the break. Her chances of walking again are small but I know they don't want to get your hopes up and tend to underpromise. I'm hopeful that with a lot of physio and rehab I could potentially get her up to 3 legged mobility at least. Aside from the paralysis and incontinence, she is doing as well as can be expected and is eating and drinking happily.

I am glad you were able to save her. Yes, I think you're right about how they don't want to get your hopes up, and also they don't know how much an individual owner is prepared to invest (time, energy, money) in the recovery. It is too soon to know how much function she has coming out of surgery, she still has a lot of swelling and so forth around the surgical site. After a few weeks that will go down and you will have a better idea of your starting point.

I'm very lucky that my dog is so small (5 lbs) as I know it will be much easier to do just about everything. I am not able to bring her home from the vet for another week or so as they are keeping her as calm and immobile as possible following the surgery. Of course this means I have hours and hours to pore over everything on the internet and I've come up with a few questions.

Does anyone else take their disabled pup everywhere with them? Regardless of her mobility I would like to bring her around with me once healed because she's a baby and still needs to enjoy the world. How do you deal with incontinence issues on the go? It's still too soon for me to tell what level of incontinence she has but as of now she is just slowly leaking.

Yes, especially with such a small dog, she can go everywhere with you if you enjoy it. It kind of reminds me of Wheely Willie.

http://www.wheelywilly.com/

Do your pups sleep in bed with you? There's nothing I love more than snuggling up with my dog at night and I was hoping that I could figure out a solution to have her in bed with me even if she's incontinent (pads, diapers, etc.).

You'll have to find out by trial and error and experience on this. There are a couple of issues. One is fit of the diaper. Another is the nature of the incontinence.

If you can get a diaper that fits well enough to avoid leaks, she could sleep with you. I am guessing you'll probably want disposables if that is the case, as they seem to have better elastic around the legs. I would probably go with human baby diapers, though I am not up to date on the current doggie disposables. They didn't used to be as absorbent as baby diapers, they might be better now. Some places will send you a sample. As small as she is, she may need the preemie size if you go with baby diapers. My one dog wears a denim diaper with a pad in it, rather than a disposable, and it is a good fit but it does leak when she lies on her side sometimes, it wouldn't work for sleeping in the family bed.

Another thought is, if you are concerned about her maybe getting rolled over on, or trying to jump off the bed, you could put a playpen or "side sleeper playpen" right next to the bed. I think the side sleeper has the "baby" up close to bed level where mom and dad can see easily. A regular playpen will have her down lower, but you can reach over and touch the netting and she knows you are there. It isn't the same as having a little warm ball of fur snuggled under your chin but you'll both sleep well and still be together.

Another issue is, like you say, you aren't quite sure how her incontinence will be yet. Some do not eliminate at all without being expressed (bed always clean and no need for a diaper), and some eliminate everything 24/7 even after expressing (diaper needed), and some are kind of in between (they can stay clean and dry for a number of hours if expressed). For a dog who eliminates a lot even with expressing, there is a product called a drag bag that can be worn with the diaper as a kind of backup plan to catch any waste and protect your floors or furniture.


I see a lot of information about expressing and incontinence for male dogs. Mine is a female - how much more complicated will things be as a result?

I'd say expressing a female might be easier than a male, but I know not everyone agrees. If you go to this link and scroll to the end, you will see videos about expressing both males and females:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=16027

Here is a link about expressing the bowel, as well.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=18586

The only thing that seems harder about females needing diapers is, you need to be aware of not allowing fecal waste to collect in a diaper where it can come in contact with the female area and possibly cause a urinary tract infection. You really need a diaper with an adequate tail hole to let doodles fall out of the diaper. We had one member here who was a nurse and for her small dog, she double diapered. The dog wore a snug diaper to absorb urine but let the solids fall out the tail hole. Over that the dog wore a second (cloth) diaper with a generous fit in the seat, and there was a ribbon around the tail that could be tied so the diaper would be snug around the tail. This way the first diaper absorbed urine and kept the female area clean, and the second diaper caught any solids. I'm not explaining this very well. She's adorable. There is a photo of her in one of her diapers under the section called Double Diapers in this link:

https://www.handicappedpets.com/mediawi ... male_wraps

I do not think the lady on etsy makes those cute ruffled diapers anymore, but here is an example of another diaper with a cord-lock tail that might work as a cover.

https://www.samsdoghut.com/ecommerce/do ... wraps.html


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Re: New spinal injury

Postby wheeliepom » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:11 am

Hi Carol,

I really appreciate your detailed reply. Yes, I found the forum quickly. What can I say? Researching and reading really soothes the stress of this situation. Plus I can multitask while I work. :wink:

I'm very lucky to be living abroad in a country with very affordable vet care so I am able to do a lot for my pup. I am not sure about the types of physio facilities available in my area so I will be asking my vet about that once I have her home and am waiting out her crate rest period. I'd love to give laser and acupuncture a try and I can always buy a kiddie pool for my back yard and be a hydrotherapist. I also work from home so I will be with her 90% of the time and able to do lots of exercises.

I know it's still far too early to tell how things will be but it helps me to brainstorm solutions. I'll be researching the best wheelchair for her next too. Wheely Willy was great to see! I definitely see that kind of lifestyle for us.

More questions:

How tired does your pup get when wheeling around? What's the longest they can spend in a wheelchair (once they are built up to it)? My pom is still a puppy and very vivacious so I'm curious if I'll be able to give her enough exercise to tire her out (it was hard enough with all 4 legs working).
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Re: New spinal injury

Postby CarolC » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:02 pm

wheeliepom wrote:How tired does your pup get when wheeling around? What's the longest they can spend in a wheelchair (once they are built up to it)? My pom is still a puppy and very vivacious so I'm curious if I'll be able to give her enough exercise to tire her out (it was hard enough with all 4 legs working).

I'm not a good one to answer that because my one dog learned to walk again, and the other one has partial use of her hind leg and has her own unique way of kind of bouncing along, so she doesn't use a cart.

In general, if the dog is small, or especially small with a long body, they can sometimes find a way to rest by lying down, for example on a pillow. Someplace here there is a good photo demonstrating this. I think it might have been one of Bobbie's dogs. She is the wheelchair expert but I don't think she is here right now, however here is a post where she addressed that question.

Bobbie in viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9806#p64292 wrote:Actually, a small dog like a Dachshund or corgi can use the cart most of the day without problems. Candy can lie down in his cart, and he spends at least an hour in it every morning before I leave for work and usually 4-6 hours in the evening and probably 8 or more in it on a weekend day. I don't think I'd recommend that in a dog that was rehabbing, but if a dog is fully healed and still uses a cart, it can be used more than a couple of hours. K9cartswest used to have a Dachsie that was in the cart throughout his waking day because he gnawed his feet if he could get to them.

Note that when she mentions Dachshunds and corgis, those are both breeds with short legs and long bodies, making it easier to lie down. But if you can get the right "big pillow", hopefully your dog can roll up to it and rest.

The main thing is, even if you have a dog who has figured out how to lie down in her cart, you still need to take her out of it periodically so she does not develop saddle sores. Hopefully if your dog wears a diaper, it will give her added protection in the cart saddle, but you still have the harness as well. It is something you will no doubt fine tune when the time comes.

The other thing is, they say you should not ever leave a dog in a cart unattended. Dogs do flip over, get hung up on furniture, etc. You'd want to be home, which it sounds like you will be! :trophy:

There was something I neglected to mention in the previous post about diapers. The idea of sleeping with you does mean she would need to wear a diaper at night, and if she is wearing one during the day, then she is diapered 24/7. There is a certain benefit in letting the dog sleep without a diaper at night, for example in her own playpen next to your bed. It is healthy for the skin to be able to breathe, and comfortable for her, and lets her groom and curl up more naturally. Most dogs who dribble during the night will move to a clean part of the bedding, they don't just lie in a wet spot. If you give her a nice comforter or blankets or bath towels for bedding, especially as small as she is, she'll have the whole playpen to move around in and snuggle into clean bedding all night. This means you are washing doggy laundry every two or three days but to me it is worth it. (My dog's bedding consists of a fleece pad, a quilted bottom sheet, and a fluffy comforter. Three sets of these are roughly one load of laundry, or one load of laundry every 3 days.) My one dog who is in diapers can't wait to get her diaper on in the morning so she can start playing. By about 9 or 10PM she is ready to be out of diapers and put in her own clean playpen bed. We call it "Diaper freedom"! :D

Let me see if I can find the photo of the dog resting on a cushion. If I do, I'll post it separately.
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Re: New spinal injury

Postby CarolC » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:22 pm

OK, here are a couple of pics Bobbie posted, showing dogs lying down in a wheelchair. Including the links where the originals are found, as she gives some explanation to go with them. :smart:

Bobbie_pic1.jpg
Bobbie_pic1.jpg (50.55 KiB) Viewed 125 times
http://handicappedpet.net/helppets/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=18565&p=95734&hilit=pillow#p95734

Bobbie_pic1.PNG
click to enlarge
http://handicappedpet.net/helppets/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=14550&p=77143&hilit=pillow#p77143
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Re: New spinal injury

Postby critters » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:20 am

:whale: My Baby, who was a severely brain damaged cat and who was 5 pounds soaking wet, was able to swim in almost any kind of pan or tub. She was long and skinny, so it took 1 floatation vest to fit her girth and another, on top of it, to fit her length. She was able to get some independent movement that way. Similarly, your baby may be able to do hydrotherapy in a cement pan or the like, if you wish.
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Re: New spinal injury

Postby wheeliepom » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:16 am

Thanks for all your responses.

1 week post injury and surgery and my girl is showing a lot of progress! Immediately after the surgery things didn't look promising but as of now she is regaining sensation in her hind legs/paws and can move her tail a little bit. I gave her paw a good squeeze and she looked at me like "Hey!!" so definitely seems we have that deep pain sensation.

My closest hydrotherapy facility with a treadmill is about a 5 hour drive from me (assuming I don't use my lead foot at all lol). Is it insane for me to consider making that trek weekly? I know how amazing the results can be and quite frankly I do have the time and funds to go and spend a night before coming back. Anyone else ever moved mountains to get their pups to facilities? Would love some encouragement. I know I can do basic swimming in a kiddie pool but I keep watching those treadmill videos and feel convinced it will be a big key in recovery. My pup is only a baby so I feel like we need to take on this crazy adventure because I can still potentially give her 10+ years of walking/continence if I put the time in now.
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Re: New spinal injury

Postby CarolC » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:48 pm

OK, I'm trying to think about this, and here's what I'm thinking so far. First, it's wonderful of you to be willing to do that (and fortunate you are able). Yes...I think it would probably help. I agree, I think the treadmill is absolutely great. That being said, many really well known dogs here have rehabbed only through swimming in a pool, pond, lake, etc., and walked again.

If you are driving 5 hours each way, it does sound like a good idea to stay overnight. :snooze: :sleepingdog: Here is my thought, and you could ask the facility about this. They are probably going to want to introduce your dog to the treadmill gradually, at least that is my experience. They may put her in for 5 min the first session, 10 min the second session, seeing how she does, and build up. You don't want her to be scared, she needs to learn what is going on. You can read about my dog's experience with the treadmill on this page: http://www.fourfurfeet.com/2004.html

So anyway, it might be an idea to ask them if she could have at least 2 and maybe 3 sessions while you are there initially. What I mean is, let's say you leave home at 6 and arrive at 11, she gets her first session. They take her out, dry her off, and a few hours later before they close, she gets a second session. Then ideally, before you leave to drive back home the next morning, you could take her back for another morning session. This would be during the introduction and getting used to it phase. The next week possibly the same. After that, maybe just one on the day you arrive and one on the day you go home. I am NOT saying this because I believe packing in a lot of sessions in quick succession is helpful. I don't think it is. But I am suggesting this for the early sessions when she may only be in the water a few minutes, and is really just there to get the idea. Once she is used to it and able to do 20-30 min sessions, two per trip would probably be effective, like one on the day you arrive and one before you go home the next day.

What I'm trying to avoid is a situation where you make a 5 hour drive, discover they do a few exercises and put her in the treadmill for 5 min where she may not even move her hind legs very much the first time, then they hand your wet dog back to you, and you have a PT bill, a hotel bill, and 10 hours of total driving, and you're asking yourself, was this worth it? You want to kind of understand what to expect at first. So maybe you can talk to the actual therapist who will be doing the therapy, explain the situation, and see how they can work with you.

Again, I am not suggesting intensive PT in the beginning for a couple of months, spending a small fortune and wearing out you and your dog, then quitting because results are not as expected. The nerves cannot do more than they are ready for, no matter the amount of PT, it takes time. You'll get a feel for it as you go along. Remember the most important thing to know is, the nerves are healing a tiny little bit in the background where you cannot see it, every day, even though she looks much the same. And healing does not continue for weeks or months, it continues for years. Since you are starting out with some function already, it may not take that long, but I would try to be prepared thinking "this may be a long haul", and if it turns out she improves more quickly, that's great. But steady PT over time to support her recovery will be very helpful. You're probably looking at months rather than weeks, but each little sign of improvement is so exciting, it keeps you going! :wink:

If you will be driving 10 hours every time (hope it isn't lead foot lol!) I'll tell you what I decided on, because I drove 45 min each way, which is considerably less, but it was the expressway and I wanted to be safe. I felt it was safer to have the dog crate placed sideways in the front seat (seat belted through the handle) so the dog is facing you and riding sideways. That way if you have a sudden stop (Heaven forbid), then she is only thrown sideways against the crate hitting her shoulder and ribs, whereas if the crate was facing forward, she might hit her face and really be injured and you don't want that.

I got a blanket for the crate especially for PT sessions. You can see the set-up here, where the photo is taken from the driver's seat looking sideways at the passenger seat: http://www.fourfurfeet.com/2005.html You can see there is a towel in the bottom to prevent sliding around, and the blanket if needed for when the weather is cool. You can also pack a little travel hairdryer if your weather isn't warm.

I hope this made sense. I am excited that you are thinking about doing this. Some of the PT facilities will have packages, in other words a certain number of sessions including a certain number of modalities for a set price. Or in some cases you can just pay per session. They will have to see how they can schedule her, to fit her in with their other clients, and then you'll be all set.

Please post back if you actually do give this a try. That is a long way to drive, but if you can do it safely and can afford it... :angel:
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Re: New spinal injury

Postby wheeliepom » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:53 pm

Yes well I am definitely a good 4-6 weeks out from her being well enough to be cleared for any sort of therapy so I have some time to mull my options over. I'll check with the PT of course to see what they recommend. I work remotely so I could even go spend a week or two there while she is getting acquainted with the treadmill. Perhaps even going out twice a month would be sufficient along with regular swimming at home in between. I also would be interested in doing laser treatments and any other alternative therapies they have in a massive city versus my tiny beach town, so the trip wouldn't be just for one hour of therapy. :D

I'm well aware it will be a long recovery. I am sincerely considering doing this for 6 months to a year to see what it yields. I know if I had a child in this situation I'd make the drive without hesitation, and while she might not be a human she is my baby. I'm just a crazy dog lady, what can I say?

Awesome safety tips! It will be a long drive along a nice, safe and well maintained highway so I definitely want to make sure she's secure god forbid something somehow happens.
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