If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
I am new to this forum, but have been reading it obsessively for the past week since my big black lab Daisy suffered an FCE on Jan. 13. Finding so many stories similar to hers has really helped me cope with all the overwhelming emotions I have been feeling. I have been particularly searching for pet owners of FCE patients who had no deep pain sensation early on. Daisy is paralyzed in both her hind legs after her trauma, which was more like a non-trauma since it simply "happened." My husband and I went out to dinner after work (both of our dogs Daisy and Oscar were totally normal and fine--happy to be fed dinner and had a long walk earlier that day) before we left the house. To our horror, we returned two hours later to find Daisy trying to sit up in the back yard with her two hind legs splayed out in front of her. We immediately took her to the vet, where they ran blood tests, took x-rays, examined her, and questioned us whether there could have been anything that could have happened to her.
They came to the conclusion she suffered an FCE in her lumbar spine and administered corticosteroids, pain meds and muscle relaxers because she was in so much shock--as were we! She showed early signs of Schiff-Sherignton, which tapered off and disappeared after the first 12 hours. A very good sign, the vets said. They also said she had some pain sensation at first, but we have seen that diminish over the past 12 days. We got to take her home after 24 hours and have seen quite a few positive signs over the first 12 days since--sharp isolated and cross reflexes in both legs and tail (which the vet says is "neither here nor there"), strong core muscles, she can bear her weight for quite some time on her right leg (the left is much weaker), has good bowel movements, and there was a day or so where she seemed to express her own bladder. Although, now we are back to dribbling and expressing on her own occasionally. She is undergoing electro-acupuncture and starts physical therapy this Friday, but the vet says it will not repair the signal from the hind end to the brain that is so crucial in her recovery. We have a friend who is a Naturopath and he has her started on fish oil, enzyme therapy (Bromelain and Wobenzym), fresh turmeric, and pulsatilla for digestion. We are definitely taking an East-meets-West approach--whatever we can do!
I am sick with worry that she will not show signs of deep pain before the vet gives up on her--she says we still have 10 more days before we have to start thinking about her condition in the long-run. I feel like it's a race against time for her to recover before that cut-off date, but everything I've read has said that these things take lots of time and patience. On the other hand, I've read that lack of deep pain sensation means a poor prognosis for her eventual recovery. I have been home with her full-time since the incident and cater to her every need diligently, desperately monitoring her for a sign of feeling in her back. I lie awake at night with anxiety about her progress and recovery, hoping the vets don't give up on her yet. We live in Flagstaff, Ariz., which is two hours from Phoenix and four from Tucson where there are aquatherapy facilities, but we have to focus on what our town provides and for now that is electro-acupuncture, physical therapy, and maybe chiropractic care (haven't looked into that yet...will it help?)
My husband and I are truly devastated this has happened to her. She is my very best friend and a sweet, loving girl. I am a trail runner and she loved to join me on runs and warm cuddles on the couch. I cry buckets of tears, but try to run in the other room when I feel sad. She has a strong will and spirit, but is 100 lbs--exactly the same size as me. She can be hard to support and keep up with in her sling when I'm home by myself during the day (one of us has to maintain our job!). I want to do everything I can for her, but I am dreading the day the vet is going to tell me she thinks it's time to give up. I am looking forward to her physio, as the PT sounded optimistic and I could sure use some of that these days. Does anyone have any experience or stories to share of dogs who showed signs like Daisy early on? Like all the wonderful, devoted pet owners and lovers on this site, I am just looking for support and comfort in this scary time.
Thank you for taking the time to read my loooong post! But, boy did it feel good to get that out ...
I'm Joanne and I am owned by Carl, my crazy, paralyzed, 4 yr old black Lab. First let me say don't give up on Daisy just yet (unless you want to/need to). Recovery from a spinal cord injury can take a long time and may, or may not be complete. I doubt that Daisy will give up - Carl certainly hasn't. I adopted him as a parlayzed dog 2 years ago (he had a spinal tumor) and there hasn't been a day when he's anything but a goofy crazy lab. His back legs may not work, but the rest of him is just fine
I'm sorry that your vet is thinking about giving up as well. Increasingly vets understand the bond that people have with their pets and the lengths they will go to to help them, but there are still some who don't "get it" or think that people can't, or wont want to live with a handicapped pet. Does it matter to you if Daisy can't walk - she could still have a great life in a cart if that is what you would want to do.
Here are links to some videos of Carl to show you how great life is for him (and yes, Carl has had 3 carts - he keeps breaking them he is so active).
(in the snow I put leggings on Carl and he "ski's" round the yard
(typical lab, loves the water)
Your videos made me laugh and cry (with joy) at the same time, thinking how much Carl reminds me of Daisy and how happy and adjusted he is. I have given a lot of thought to a cart, especially because Daisy has the same temperament and approach to life as Carl. You can't keep a good lab down, not even when they are paralyzed
I particularly love that you posted videos of him at home fetching in the house and "skiing" around the yard -- fabulous! Daisy and I already toss the ball back and forth, stationary for now. But, I can picture Daisy eventually going full speed like Carl. I certainly don't want to give up on her and your words and videos are a huge encouragement, no matter the outcome of her recovery!
I NEVER tire of watching Carl and your crew show the world that they are are not letting anything stop them. Watching them is pure joy!
Christine... and Bailey, playing at the Bridge
?/1999 - 10/25/08
If you read through the past posts you have seen where I too have a dog that suffered an FCE episode not once but twice last summer:(( After the second one Jack was on his belly and could not get on his feet for almost 2 weeks. He had sensation in all his feet but not the strength or coordination to get up. I did PT everyday many times a day with him laying in his bed. These were exercises I learned on the internet until we were able to get into see a PT. It's been close to 8 months now and Jack can walk very well although not normally, and he tries to run but really sort of paces. He is happy and secure with us and that's the main thing:) We started seeing an accupunturist that does the electro stym and that has made the most improvement with Jack by far. He is still weak in his front end, which makes sense as his FCE's were in his upper neck area.
I can imagine how difficult it is trying to manage such a large dog. Try to hang with her as long she shows a gusto for life. Vets do not get this disorder believe me. When they can't fix it they tend to let it go. Nerve damage can take a long time to repair. Follow YOUR instincts and don't let a vet put a timeline on your girls chances. I had a neuro vet tell me Jack would probably never get around at all when he saw him at 4 weeks out from the last FCE. I was so mad at him because it wasn't true! If I had listened and believed what he had said I might have let Jack go then, but I had been seeing enough other professionals by that time that I had real hope for him:)
Keep us updated on your girl and best wishes!
Please don't give up!! I have seen three cases of this my lab Mik being the worst case and all three have regained from their initial paralization. Mik couldn't urinate and we had to cathater twice daily. It was a really tough situation but now it was the best thing I ever did. The other two cases the dogs showed some movement within two weeks. My Mik did nothing for 6 weeks. The acupuncture was an amazing treatment. He loves the pool whenever I can get him to one. I don't regret every dollar I spent on him. The connection I have with him so strong now that he knows I didn't give up on him in his worst time of need. Keep asking questions. I also had chiropractor work on him. The chiro got him to move his back legs and tail by pressing on a certain spot on his spine. All three dogs are walking on 4 legs. Mik is peeing on his own and he doesn't have a perfect walk but he can walk and run. The other two have completely recovered.
Keep the faith.
Tayloe...You must watch this video of a dog that was down on all four legs who is now able to run. How are things going? We are here for you.
http://www.godvine.com/Dog-Barely-Able- ... -1222.html
Christine... and Bailey, playing at the Bridge
?/1999 - 10/25/08
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