If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
Thanks for the encouraging words. It's been five days and Nathan is home now. He has done some things that give us hope.
He seems to have some bowel control but not his bladder. He even held out his tail when he went and supported his weight on his back legs. (barely)
He hasn't done that since, but maybe it's a good sign.
Today I put his crate up so he can see out the front window and that seemed to make him happy. One day at a time, we're staying positive.
We have 5 spinal injured pugs, all resuces. We don't know the cause in most, but all were diagnosed with severely injured and/or torn/severed spinal cord. My belief is never trust a vet's diagnosis, especially a neurologist. You are your dogs only advocate! You know your friend better than anyone. Go with your gut, while all 5 of our pugs were never supposed to so much as lift their tails:
Louie used a cart for 2 years, and now can run faster than I. It is sometimes awkward and lopsided, but you should see him go!
Casper regained his walking after only a year, and still marches around, no slopes or stairs, but great on the level.
Solomon, our first spinal rescue, uses a cart to wander merrily around the yard, and thinks he is completely independent. He has outlived everyone's expectations, we have been owned by him for 4 years now, the best four years of my life.
Sarah, hit by a car and has a severed cord, trundles around in her cart, and so far does not seem to have improved in the year we have had her, but time will tell.
Peanut, is walking to some extent, and other times runs for the joy of the breeze in her face with her cart. She is improving every day, and that is only 9 months since she was found abandoned and had so many vertebra damaged, that it looked like she had been used as a football.
With all of these I express their bladders 4-5 times daily, so they never have to wear diapers, and they NEVER have pee accidents in the house if they are kept empty.
I also express the bowels twice daily, and while that system is not perfect, it eliminates 80% of the accidents. I give them extra fiber with every meal to make them more comfortable.
So in summary, never give up!!! Dogs are such special, irreplacable friends, they are worth the bit of extra effort when they need you the most.
This is all so helpful. I have just a few things to add that I've learned by experience.
I've always pushed the bladder to the back (tail) when expressing. My son is almost done with a degree in vet tech (going on to be a vet), he said the bladder empties into the uretha forward. Push toward the head and it will empty easier and more fully. He was right.
Schatzie drags her back feet. I've tried everything to pad the tops of her feet - which drag on the ground, so they don't get torn up. Booties don't work because she is dragging and dachshunds have such short legs. I use sports tape. It's sticky enough to stay, but not too sticky. Even that rips up quickly, especially when she is in her cart on pavement. So, I get a small rectangular piece of leather and place that on top of her foot, then tape around it with the sports tape. The leather has to cover the tops of her nails because that's what gets torn open first. The leather gets worn, but has never worn through. I change the leather and tape at least every other day and if it gets wet. I don't want her to get sores from always having her feet covered.
Schatzie is almost seven years old and was diagnosed two years ago with 5 herniated discs when she lost control of her back legs. She was not a candidate for surgery. She is still showing slow improvement. I wouldn't trade her for the world.
Thanks to everyone here that made the learning process easier while I was figuring out how to take care of my girl.
My Dixie a blue heeler has recently become paralyzed. These comments are most helpful. This happened at the end of January and we are trying everything possible to help her. The Vet says there is no guarentee surgery will correct the issue. It is very difficult to see her in this condition. But, like I have read, she just wants to me to love her. Thank you so much for posting it encourages me so much. All hope is not lost, I pray for a healing however I will continue to take care of her as long as she needs me to.
My dog (a mixed breed) just suffered a ruptured disk from a seemingly harmless accident on May 29th. She had surgery to relive pressure on her spine and remove a piece of the disk that had broken off. She has been put on crate rest for 6 weeks with meds to manage pain and a muscle relaxer. Our biggest hurdles have been expressing her bladder and getting her to stay still. She is only 2 years old and very playful. She does feel deep pain, has a lot of feeling in her back legs, normal movement in her tail, and the ability to move her legs. The vet gives her an 80% chance of walking again so we are hopeful. She doesn't understand why she can't get up and move around, even if she can't use her back legs! For those of you contemplating surgery or outcomes, she is not recovered yet, but very happy. She eats well and is happy to be home after staying at the vet for 5 days after surgery. I can only imagine she will be happier as time goes on and she continues to heal. I think we made the right decision by giving her a chance to recover and have high quality of life.
Our main frustration right now is emptying her bladder. The first few days were quite easy, but now I think she tenses up when we try to express. My vet did show me how when I picked her up, but her bladder was empty then so he couldn't actually do a demonstration on her. We have also been given literature and Internet sights (such as this one) to look at. We try to express her every 8 hours before and after she eats and takes meds. We've tried all different tactics, but sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Yesterday, we were only able to express once at 9pm before bed. She did have an accident around 2:30pm when her bladder overflowed, but we had been trying to express her bladder from 5:30am on and nothing would come out! I don't know if we're doing it wrong and/or she is difficult to express. I have to go back to the vet on Mon 6/18 for her to get her stitches out. I plan to talk to them about this if it doesn't get better, I'm really afraid she will get an infection if we can't get her bladder emptied more regularly...does this really get easier over time as some of you are saying? Right now, this aspect of her recovery seems really difficult.
THANK YOU! This was great to read. We are only at day 10 right now for our dog, Skipper, and her paralysis. It was an incredibly quick decline and we got more information just googling her condition and me joining this community. Your post made me feel better about what we're doing. Also, I agree about finding humor in the situation. My poor husband got SO frustrated at how difficult expressing her bladder can be. He finally got a system down (still hit or miss, but at least there is a 'hit' every now and again!). I'm going to go get her diapers, (thanks for the tip of people diapers) since Skipper has turned into a sprinkler version of happy feet when we come home from work.
I feel like a complete jerk when I get annoyed I have to leave work to express her bladder mid-day, but when I see her little tap dance of excitement that I'm home, I wash those thoughts away. She has gotten her personality back and that was my biggest concern. Thanks for your post, it makes everything seem more manageable. People keep treating my husband and I like either completely crazy or saints...I just can't imagine life without my furry baby and damaged goods or not, I've got to have her around.
Your post gave me hope, and I thank you
1) Our German Shepherd has is slowly losing bowel and bladder control. We have been using CVS women's adjustable diapers.We cut and hole in the diapers for her tail right below the stretchy waist in the padded lining. We make sure the adjustable tabs are positioned so that we can adjust the velcro under her belly.
2)For indoor wear we bought baby socks and put puffy fabric paint on the soles for traction. We secure them right above her foot with velcro. Be sure it is tight enough to keep socks on, but not too tight to cut off circulation.
3) To get better wear out of her outdoor boots we cover the tops with SHOE GOO. It works wonders in preserving the shoe when the dog is a foot dragger but not ready for stirrups.
Hope this helps someone. We are still trying to adjust to having a special needs dog.
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