If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
I have a 5 yr old 65 .lb Pitbull who became paralyzed 2 weeks in his rear legs due to a herniated disc. Surgery so far has not helped though the surgeon feels he may have some feeling in his left leg but said the chances are slim of him walking but not impossible. Now, he has chewed his back right foot so bad the leg will need to be amputated to avoid gangrene setting in.
(He had the habit of biting his own nails and I guess without any feeling there now he just kept chewing his paw during the night).
I need to express his bladder for him to urinate and he is not happy about me touching him down there so I have to use a muzzle. I currently use a sling to hold him up while doing so, but with his weight and when I'm holding him up he also wants to walk which makes this all very difficult as I have to be sure the muzzle also remains on.
Can I express him while he's in the wheelchair? Is there room for me to reach his bladder? Can a dog with a paralyzed left leg and missing right leg even use the wheelchair? He's not the greatest of patients in that he does not like being handled in certain areas and he may be a problem for me to get him in the chair. The video shows 2 people with a very calm dog.
I need to make a decision shortly about removing the leg or gangrene will set it. I'm now wondering if this will be too much for both of us and whether it best to let him go over the bridge.
He has handled his paralysis well and has energy to drag himself around and is not in any pain but for a dog who loved going for long walks I wonder about his quality of life and future issues that might arise like UTI if I cannot express the bladder enough.
Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.
Thanks for the informative reply. I wrote a lengthy reply back about today's events but didn't know there was a timeout on this site and the whole text was lost so will try one more time to provide an update.
Last night after speaking with my vet and the surgeon they felt it best not to put him through an amputation and felt his quality of life would not be great due to the paralysis, bowel issues, pressure sores (he has a bony rear-end which will be prone to sores) and his size and tendency to bite when being handled in certain ways, so I decided to put him to sleep. Also, My other dogs were so traumatized the week he was home they drooled all the time and I need to think of them as well.
This morning the surgeon said after her exam that she believes he does have some feeling in the leg and mentioned the pins and needles feeling and that the feeling comes back top-down. He had spinal surgery 2 weeks ago. Also the orthopedic surgeon felt, though he chewed it very bad, the foot could be saved. So, the money I originally was going to spend for the amputation went for the paw surgery and they will then medically board him for a few weeks to observe and treat him.
The paw surgery this afternoon went well with one toe needing amputation. There was ligament damage but the dr. said it wasn't as bad as originally thought.
The cost with the MRI, two surgeries, meds and hospitalization is nearing $12k so I want to give him more time. I think of the many dogs and cats that I could've helped with $12k but what can I do, he's my dog. It was my own fault the other night for just putting a sock and bandage on his foot and totally forgetting I had the e-collar he had come home with. That could have prevented a lot but I guess at some point this could have happened since I can't watch him 24 hrs a day. He's downstairs and I'm upstairs at night so have no idea what he's doing during the night and cannot leave the e-collar on forever.
I cannot afford another surgery so I hope he doesn't try to chew either foot again, and it is a legitimate fear. I know that's why they want to monitor him a few weeks.
I'm certain his wanting to bite is not due to pain, he just doesn't like being touched underneath. He is stubborn.
Hopefully while at the hospital a few weeks the vet techs will get him accustomed to being expressed and make it easier for me when home.
Otherwise I'd have to muzzle him and at 3x a day for life there's always that chance he will get the muzzle off when I'm not looking and bite me, and he would do serious damage. He'll I'm sure start snapping at some point whenever he see's the muzzle which will make it even more difficult. Hopefully he'll re-gain bowel control because otherwise he'll have to stay gated off the kitchen area on the tile floor. Not much of a life for him when he's used to being on the loveseat in the FR all day and in my bed with the other dogs at night.
As for the cart, I will hold off for now though think I would be able to express him in it. The problem is even the video on this site shows two people putting a standing, calm dog into the cart. For only me trying to put a 65 .lb Pit who doesn't like being handled into it and attaching all the harnesses would be a huge effort. Right now I'll just use a rear harness to walk him in the yard a little and try to express him. I was worried that if the leg was amputated no rear harness would stay on without the leg in place so saving the foot was important. I hope no infection set in. He was happy earlier in the week just relaxing on the lounge chair for a few hours. I can see him miserable during the the winter as he cannot remain outside and spending the entire time on a bed in the kitchen.
I'm certain the cart will freak out my other dogs and don't want their wonderful personalities to change. These two days that he's been in the hospital they've been fine again. I had used the sling the hospital gave me to take him into the yard and use it to try and 'hit the spot' to make him pee. It hasn't worked that great even with me jiggling him. I just pray that he re-gains bladder control. It would make things a lot easier.
I'm glad they could save his foot/leg, that is wonderful! If the vet will just put him on gabapentin (Neurontin), I think your worries about chewing will be over. I have never heard anyone say their dog chewed while on gabapentin.
I don't know what to suggest on the snapping. I hope, like you say, that he will become accustomed to expressing while at the vet and tolerate it better. If he doesn't, you at least know you tried but that is such a lot of money. It will all be worth it if he improves. I have seen my dog's physical therapist gently lay a bath towel over the face of a grumpy pitbull she needed to exercise. I don't know if treats would make him like it better?
Possibly a different expressing technique would be more agreeable to him. I am no dog psychologist, but maybe he sees it as dominance if you stand over him to express? The expressing article has a bunch of video links at the end showing different techniques, including expressing a large male dog lying down.
The bowel problem is easier to deal with. You actually do not need to gate him off if you adjust his diet to produce quality stools. What you feed makes a total difference in what comes out. I have used Science Diet w/d dry kibble (original flavor) with 3 incontinent dogs. The stools are well formed, non sticky, low or virtually no odor, and they leave no trace on your carpet. They are about the consistency of slice and bake cookie dough. You come home from work, pick them up with a kleenex, and toss them in the trash, no spot remover ever needed. If your dog doodles in bed and one rolls under his hip, he will not be a mess. I did a video showing my dog dropping fresh stools on a clean white puppytraining pad, and then I rolled them around on the pad and there was no trace whatsoever. I could upload it to Youtube if you want to see it, just let me know. You may be able to get similar results with other high quality foods, I just know the w/d has worked for us at this house. I have an oatmeal colored carpet and all my dogs have been allowed on it. I get it steam cleaned about every 6-9 months due to regular foot traffic, not because of the dogs.
It looks like they were able to save the foot. He will be medically boarded for awhile to they can watch him 24 hrs.
I'd hate to think I'd bring him home and he would do it again.
Home Depot has been running a special of $397 whole house installation of laminate flooring. Thinking of just taking up all the carpeting or maybe just put-down tile because laminate may not do well with urine and that would be more of a problem of the bladder expressing issue.
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