If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
My dog suffered a spinal embolism one week ago. She was paralyzed in both rear legs. The vet did a mylogram and told me she suffered a FCE injury. She is a weimeriener 5 years old. We have her home now and are trying to keep her happy and comfortable. She had no deep pain perception and the vet told us she wouldnt get that back. I have noticed in the last two days when i pinch her paws she pulls her leg back a little. She is eating and drinking but we have to express her bladder. We love her so much and wont give up but we just want to know there is a chance for her to lead a normal life.
Good morning...I am so glad you found us. We have many stories of recovery from FCE - there are things you can do and there is hope. So glad to hear that you are expressing her bladder and understand the importance of that. Here is a thread with a lot of good information, a video and inspiration to get you started. You might want to get the book mentioned in this thread as well. We are here to share this journey..ask questions, come back and research. We'd love to see a picture of your girl.
Christine... and Bailey, playing at the Bridge
?/1999 - 10/25/08
Found some more links for you to look at a little at a time and when you need some inspiration.
http://www.handicappedpet.net/helppets/ ... =4&t=10626
Helpful Links and more inspiration from other owners
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... arch_type=
Videos of recovery results
Karen and Bully
http://www.handicappedpet.net/helppets/ ... =4&t=15992
Ricky and Tallula
Christine... and Bailey, playing at the Bridge
?/1999 - 10/25/08
Hi. My Bully, a 100-plus bullmastiff, was diagnosed with an FCE (fibrocartilaginous embolus) -- or a stroke -- in 2006. He was paralyzed head to toe and was given a very poor prognosis. My own vet suggested euthanasia. But thank God, I could see the light in his eyes and that wasn't a consideration. It was hard work, but after about six months Bully was able to walk again. He was definitely left with a handicap -- basically some paralysis on one side -- but he was very mobile and very happy. After the FCE, he had emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer, as well as surgery for bloat. Sadly, several years later he developed cancer. He was treated with chemotherapy and we bought him almost two years more. But in April of last year, five years after the stroke, my Bully died -- 13 years old. If I had it all to do over, I would do the exact same thing. Your dog's recovery will depend on you -- keep a good attitude, there is much more hope than most vets will tell you. The only reason dogs die after an FCE is because their owners aren't willing to put in the time, work -- and yes, money -- to save them. Please continue to post and let us know how it's going. Karen
Help me be the person my dog thinks I am!
My 9 year old lab Sasha had an FCE on 2/28 this year. The symptoms were exactly the same as yours (rear paralysis and zero deep pain tolerance). My thread that I am keeping a journal on is below. She has so far gone from zero movement to being able to walk and keep herself up in 4 weeks (trust me, not in any way pretty yet ).
Keep the legs moving to prevent atrophy, be patient with the bowel and urine movements and above all keep positive. You will be surprised the will dogs have.
I want to thank you all for the positive support. I cant tell you how much it means to have other people understaning what it is like going through this. She seems to be making inches of progress each day and ill take it. Its encouraging to know that there is a chance she will walk again. We love our dog so much. And yes it has been at a cost..about 2000$ but it is worth every penny. Thank you all again and we will take any advice you can offer.
This forum was a God-send for me during Bully's recovery period. You just need to know that an FCE is not a fatal condition, nor is it a permanent one! My dog was paralyzed completely, in all four legs, including his tail and neck -- I had to handfeed him, catheterize him, take him out on a cart and roll him onto the grass to do his business laying down -- and he recovered. And Bully weighed 110 pounds at the time of the FCE. (He got down to 75 pounds during the healing process.) Slowly but surely he got movement back. It started in his left leg and gradually worked its way around his body. I know you can see your pup through this. Bully got acupuncture and electric stimulation while he was recovering, and he also went to physical therapy where they used the pool. I don't know if any of that made a difference though. I think he probably would have recovered with or without it but it helped me to think I was helping him. After he recovered I still took him for acupuncture from time to time. He really loved it too.
Anyway, it was one of the hardest times of my life because I loved my dog so much and it hurt me to see him unhappy. But he always hung in there for me. Try not to let your pup see your anguish and keep a positive attitude. Keep us up to date. Karen
Help me be the person my dog thinks I am!
I don't know why the vet said that. Improvement is the norm with FCE. My dog's physical therapist said 85% of dogs with FCE will recover. The lowest figure I've read is 69%. Aggressive physical therapy is recommended for FCE. Massage her legs, squeeze and tickle her feet, stimulate her feet and legs every chance you get, every time you walk by her give her a little squeeze or tickle, bicycle her legs through the full range of motion (do a number of reps and do it 2 or 3 times a day) to keep her flexible and avoid contractures. Get her up and help her simply stand in a normal position even if she can't bear much weight. You may need to get a harness for her hind end to help hold her up. While she is lying down, push up on the bottoms of her feet and see if she will push back. Keep in mind that even though she looks much the same every day, little bit by tiny little bit the nerves are recovering. Nerves do recover but they do it very slowly. Therefore it is best to keep doing the physical therapy even if you don't seem to be seeing any change. If you have professional physical therapy available where you live, getting her into swimming or workouts on the underwater treadmill can be a big help.
Is she dribbling urine at all, or does she simply just not urinate at all if you don't express?
Thank you all for the positive response. I have been doing all the therapy i can do at home. She is starting to flinch when i pinch her paws! That is such a good feeling. She also seems to be moving her tail more when she gets excited. It has gotten harder to express her bladder since she got movement in her tail, but she doesnt seem to hold it cause she is peeing on the training pads. Any help on that would be great. My wife and i both work long hours but my wife checks on her at lunch and she seems to be fine, just resting. We give her full attention at night. We will never give up and it is amazing when the vet gave us such a poor prognosis to see some results.
Thanks. I started to post a long reply last night, but then all of a sudden wasn't sure I was reading it right. That was what I thought you meant when I read it originally.
It is hard to be sure without feeling her, there could be more than one reason for the combination of wetting the pad but seeming difficult to express. The best thing to do would be to have the vet check her. If your vet (the one who said she would not regain deep pain sensation) is not helpful in this, then I would look for another vet. The likeliest thing is that she is wetting the pad because of bladder overflow. The bladder fills to a certain point, then when it is too full it releases part of the urine. When I first brought my paralyzed dog home, I was expressing very conscientiously, but I did not realize I wasn't getting it all. I found out when I took her to a new vet, and I had just expressed her, and he put her on the table and expressed her after me and got a flood. It is definitely something you get better at with practice. If she continues to be difficult to express, there are medications that will either relax the urinary sphincter or improve tone. I'd recommend keeping an eye on her for any signs of bladder infection. My dog got one about 10 days after her injury. It's easy to have that happen when you're still learning to express and aren't getting the bladder empty every time. They put my dog on an antibiotic and it cleared right up, and by the time she was off her antibiotic I was better at expressing.
The fact that she is wetting her pad is something that needs to be addressed right away, it seems minor but can quickly turn into a bigger problem. Right now, believe it or not, I would see this as a top issue that needs attention. It is easy for them to get a urine burn, and that is hard to heal one when the dog has to keep lying down. They can't lie on one side all the time, they need to be turned every few hours to keep the skin healthy, which means if she gets a urine burn she is going to be lying on that side part of the time, it's much better to avoid it. In addition to expressing as well as possible, you might consider getting her some diaper covers (like those denim dog pants that stay on with velcro) and put an extra absorbent pad (like a maximum absorbency Poise pad) in it. That way you can catch a lot (or hopefully all) of the urine when she leaks, and it won't end up soaking her bedding and putting her at high risk for urine burns. I think if it was my dog, I would make that a priority. Unfortunately, those underpads or puppytraining pads are not very absorbent. They work to keep the bedding dry but do not keep the patient dry. They are mainly a layer of plastic with a very thin layer of absorbent padding on top, nowhere absorbent enough for the amount of urine a large dog would void. In my experience, when I put an underpad over the bed and put my dog on the pad, his hip sank down into the soft bed and if he wet the pad, gravity carried the urine to the lowest point, which was usually under his hip. It is a risky situation to have a dog lying on a wet spot for several hours, you really risk a burn. If she is getting herself wet, she'll need to be cleaned on that area. I'm sorry to go on and on about this, it's just so much easier to avoid a urine burn than to get one healed up. Another possibility is to use human diapers (either large kids diapers or adult size, just cut a hole for the tai).
I don't know of you or your wife have had a chance to look though the expressing article, but there are a lot of different ways to express the bladder, you might find a technique that works better for you with your large dog. There are videos at the end, as well.
http://www.handicappedpets.com/mediawik ... dog_or_cat
Thank you all so much again. This has been so helpfull finding people that understand what we are going through. I followed the links and expressed our dogs bladder and it was like a waterfall. My vet obviously didnt show us the right way. Our dog "mojo"..thats her name, seems awfully happy. I did it twice today and now she is not leaking any urine. This forum has been so helpfull. Mojo is happily chewing on a bone right now and i know she thanks you all. Its been ten days now since her FCE. She still is flinching her legs when i pinch them but not for sure if its changing much. I guess maybe im expecting. To much to fast. I do know that she seems more comfortable and happy. I wish we could afford to take her to PT, but money is tight after all the vet bills. We will take any advice on more home therapy tips. Thanks again
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