If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
My beloved 9 year old French Bulldog underwent spinal surgery on 9/11 for disc compression stemming from kyphosis of the spine. He went into the surgery walking (dragging his back leg) with deep pain sensation. 3 days after surgery he lost all pain sensation in his back legs and is now paralyzed. My world came crashing down. I have never cried so much in my life. He has been home with me since 9/17. Even though I am happy to have him home, it feels like an eternity. They said he has maybe a 50% chance of recovery.
I am 5.5 months pregnant with a human baby due in January.
I am feeling incredibly overwhelmed and exhausted to the point where I am starting to get sick.
My main causes of concern/problems is that Elvis has no control of pee and poop and I have to express his bladder.
I am not sure if I am getting it all, and it gets all over him every time I do it so need to bathe his bottom and legs 5 times a day. He is also leaking in between so I am constantly cleaning him and everything in my apt.
I want to be optimsitic but am feeling so overwhelmed esp being pregnant knowing I am going to also have a newborn to take care of.
Any tips or anything? I am totally crashing and starting to feel like I can't do this.
I'm sorry he got nothing back.. he still might but it is probably not too likely.
Pee- get belly bands onto him so he isn't leaking when you aren't expressing him. That will help.
Poop- is it solid and fairly firm? If not, try some diet changes as that's what you need. You can learn to express it so it comes when you want.
Having said that... I feel for you. While I think it might be fairly do-able to manage a disabled dog and a new baby if doing the former was easy (as it would be in time) you may not be there in time for the baby. Is there anyone who could take your dog for a period of time (or permanently?) This may be one of those times when rehoming would be better for both of you. I wouldn't do it yet- I'd try to get the kinks worked out of caring for him and see how things are going in another month or two- but I'd be thinking about it.
I know most people do not advise getting a cart this soon but I would, because it makes the process of expressing much cleaner, you can do it outside, and it is easier. And it would be easier for you, and in my opinion and experience they help with rehab. I wouldn't have a dog in a cart full time at this stage, he's still recovering from surgery, but I'd take him in and out in one and do some slow walks around the yard or block. It's not any harder on his back than a sling is and its easier on yours.
Normally a dog that just had spinal surgery for a disk problem would be on crate rest for several weeks. The surgery needs time to heal before he is allowed to be active, so right now he does not need to be scooting all over the apartment, he just needs to be resting. Which is great, because it solves the problem of keeping your apartment tidy, as well.
You are probably going to be doing extra laundry for him, because he will need towels in his crate and they will have to be changed. I hope you have a washer/dryer in the apartment or at least nearby in the complex.
Here is some information on crate rest after disk surgery. The article gives idea of places to confine your dog during crate rest.
I am thinking of you and your health, you need someplace where it is easy to reach him and where you can change his bedding with as little effort as possible. I hope what I am about to say does not sound too strange. I have said this many times to people who need to crate rest a dog, but never to someone in your stage of pregnancy. A really good place to confine him right now would be a baby crib, and I don't mean the nice new one for your baby. Any secondhand functional baby crib might work. The advantages are, he would be up high so you do not have to bend. The baby crib mattress is very washable. Playpens are excellent, too, but that would be more bending and probably not a good idea for you right now. Please use your judgment on this, because there was a beagle here who managed to climb out of a crib after surgery, so if he might do that then it would not work.
I totally agree with Bobbie about the belly bands (male wraps). They are a godsend. It will keep his bedding and legs and everything much dryer and cleaner. Here is where I got the wraps for my dog and loved them. http://www.indogneeto.com/index2.asp?id=3&cid=68 You could also have the wrap on him when you express if you can position your hands with it on. In that way, the urine you express will go into the absorbent pad and not all over him, and save all that bathing. I would get at least 2, one to wash and one to wear, or 3 if you can. The pads you want should be real incontinent pads like generic Poise, because kotex will not be absorbent enough. If you are expressing his successfully (obviously you are or he wouldn't be getting his feet wet) that is fantastic! You have no idea how many people come here a few days after surgery still having problems expressing. Yay! Good for you!
Here is a link showing ways to handle the bowel issue for a clean house.
http://www.handicappedpets.com/mediawik ... inent_pets
If you are truly feeling ill, it might be a good idea to call your doctor and tell them about it. I agree with Bobbie that it would be wonderful if you could rehome him, but not sure how easy that would be to do. If not, you probably need a plan of who can care for him for a while after you give birth. That means someone else needs to come see him and you can show them how to express him. Possibly he may not still need it by then, but you will feel more relaxed when you know you have someone lined up.
Thank you both so much for the tips and references. Which of the bowel expressing techniques have you found to be the most successful?
My parents said they would help with him, but I feel badly burdening them. Also, right now my mother is a few weeks out of shoulder surgery so can't lift him, and my father needs to have a valve replaced in October so even if my mother's shoulder is better she will be taking care of my father. Yes, when it rains it pours!
It's hard because some days he seems to have some small improvements which gives me a glimpse of hope, and other days I am just so tired I am not sure I can do it anymore. I know I need to because I love him so much and need to give him a chance.
I had ordered some leak wraps from foster and smith. They came last night. I am hoping this helps with a lot of our problems. Something also happened last night which I am not sure if I should read too into. The sling I ordered came in, and I put it on him and went out with him and my husband. We are in a NYC apt with a lot of dogs in the neighborhood. Outside there is a planter. He sniffed it and leaned down and peed outside! It also wasn't a full release but 100% he sniffed and knew he was peeing. I also expressed him a little afterwards. He did it again this morning. He doesn't have full control over his bladder by any means. There were times we were walking him on the sling and pee was just coming out, and this am when we woke up his leak wrap was soaking wet, but could this be a positive sign that things are starting to connect?
What does everyone think of this??
The peeing might or might not be improvement. He probably has no ability to control it but the sling is inadvertantly expressing him when he is full. At night, he eventually fills up and leaks. (By the way, Poise pads work great for absorbing urine and you can cut them in half to save on use, they fit in the belly band.)
Or he could be getting a little control back, but my experience is that it is more likely he just is ready to go when the sling starts putting pressure on his bladder. Leave the belly band on until you are outside. (You should see me do this... Oliver into cart, open door, then as he wheels out the door at a run, I grab the belly band and pull it off (to save the Poise pad if it isn't already soaked.) He likes to race out and chase rabbits.
Probably try the ice cube method first. That is neat about the pottying, it does sound like partial control from your description, since he did it twice. If he even has partial control this early, that's very encouraging. My dog's physical therapist said you need to give it at least 3 months to see if bladder control will return, and 6 months to be sure. Very good that you are expressing afterwards though, if he is not fully emptying yet. Is he still on steroids, like prednisone or anything?
Thanks Carol. It is encouraging. I just don't want to read to into anything and have a false sense of hope.
This morning he was crying at 4:45 and so I took him out with his sling and he peed while walking (which I call drawing lines) and than another time where he paused and let out a stream. He also pooped. I am not sure about the drawing lines but I do know I walk with him from our apt, elevator, lobby to get outside and he waits till we are outside to start it. I don't think the peeing outside is because of the sling, because his bladder is right under the ribs (as I now know from expressing him) which doesn't come anywhere near contact with the sling.
He also seem to be able to control the bladder a little. His leak wrap was dry at 4:45 this am and he wasn't leaking yesterday. I am sure starting to wean off the prednisone is also helping.
He started doing this other thing. I know he is supposed to be crate resting but if I look a way for a second when he is eating etc he is off. So before he was just scooching on his tush, but now he looks like he is crawling on his needs.
I bring him back to dr today to have his stitches taken out so will see what he says.
Elvis' Appt with dr today went far better than I could every imagine.
I am very excited to report Elvis' deep pain sensation has RETURNED!!!!!!!!!!
This is really one of the happiest days of my life.
I know he isn't walking and this doesn't mean he will 100% walk again, but this in itself is truly a miracle and a huge step in the right direction.
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