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Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

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Debbie

Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

Post by Debbie » Tue Jun 07, 2005 12:16 pm

Our beautiful dog, Coty, nearing 14,lost the use of his back legs last Tuesdsay. He woke up like that and needless to say, we were (and are) desperate. What we thought was arthritis may have been back pain (although he has been tot he chiropractor before). We have a very well known vet/chiropractor who works miracles with these conditions. He was out of town for 4 days and in the interim - we took Coty to a vet who did acupunture. We then transferred him to the miracle doc when he returned. Coty has no (or very, very, very little) deep pain sensation. He is happy, eating, pooping/pee, wagging his tail. But both his legs are dragging, paws backwards. The doc said he wouldn't give up on him yet and we are taking him for treatments. Only 2 so far - with no progress and no increase to deep pain sensation. Strangely, the xrays didn't show what either doc expected to see. It's been a very tough week for us adjusting to having to carry him (cocker spaniel, 40 lbs) room to room and outside. I'm looking for any stories of encouragement out there? It seems hard to believe he will ever walk again.

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GabrielDeafBlindPupFamily
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Re: Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

Post by GabrielDeafBlindPupFamily » Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:20 pm

Debbie, I've never had that happen to mine, but plenty have. So do not give up hope, you don't have a proper diagnosis yet, so you can't know the prognosis... If puppers is eating, peeing & pooping, you are ahead of the game. I know someone will jump in here with technical advice, which I cant help you with, but I did want to say you have come to the right place, and these folks can and WILL help you. Let us know if you find out what in the world happened?

Debbie

Re: Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

Post by Debbie » Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:30 pm

Thanks so much. At this point - I don't think we're going to get any more in the way of a diagnosis. Unless we decide to do an MRI. I know it's very early on - - and we shoudl be thankful that he's able to pee/poop.
I ordered him the rear leg sling from this site - hoepfully that will help us walk him outside.
Hardest part is that he wants to be with us all the time - and barks and whines when we walk away. So we've been carrying him around from room to room. But he's trying to drag himself now - and I don't want him to do that. So I'm thinking of buying a cage - but I know he won't like that much. As the 1st vet said "he's not in pain. That's the problem - he feels nothing". So he doesn't realize he's down and wants to carry on!
Thanks so much for responding - it breaks my heart to see him like this ..

Bobbie
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Re: Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

Post by Bobbie » Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:51 pm

Has he had Xrays? If it is a disk injury he needs immediate treatment. Surgery may be indicated; not everyone can afford it, and the other way to treat is to use steroids and complete rest. But you have to have an Xray or other means of determining the cause of the paralysis (sounds like a disk or other spinal cord injury.)

If he doesn't walk again, there are carts, and a paralyzed dog can do very well, especially if he can pee and poop on his own. So don't give up on him either way.

Bobbie

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critters
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Re: Dogs: Any encouragement welcome *LINK*

Post by critters » Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:55 pm

Did anybody suggest crate rest and steroids (prednisone)? That is typical treatment for such events because they help decrease swelling and inflammation in the spinal cord. If he wants to be near you all the time, perhaps you could arrange a wheeled bassinet or other mobile apparatus you can easily move from room to room, as you do. You also don't want him dragging around because he can very easily get wounds and rug burns, which aren't always easy to heal.

Pooping and peeing is DEFINITELY ahead of the game! Still, you don't want to push things.

A walking aid should make life a lot better. Until the official one comes you might try a homemade version, such as:
http://www.handicappedpets.com/cgi-bin/ ... ?read=1166
http://www.freewebs.com/dmroster/lyonpuff.html

http://www.handicappedpets.com/cgi-bin/ ... ?read=1166

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Dianne
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Hi Debbie

Post by Dianne » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:05 pm

Hi Debbie,

I'm so sorry to hear that your dog is not feeling well. It would be interesting to know that the vet saw in the xrays. Did he give a name to the problem?

I can understand if you are unable to have an MRI on your pet. My vet told me it would be about $1,200, and we were unable to afford it. Surgery for a back injury is usually done within the first 24 hours, (but can sometimes be done later) inorder to have the best prognosis, and costs even more. Surgery alone does not guarantee a walking outcome.

My dog is paralyzed and unable to walk since February due to invertebrate disc disease (IVDD).Dogs can continue to lead a very happy life, despite paralysis. It might sound hard to believe but my dog really doesn't know that he is paralyzed.

The fact that your pet is not incontinent (can still poop and pee on his own) and can wag his tail may mean his injury is not as severe.

When you pinch the pads between his toes, does he indicate that he can feel it? When you scratch his back above his tail, does he know that you are touching him?

Until you know a more accurate diagnosis of his problem, I would kennel/crate rest him where he cannot drag himself around the house and possibly further injure himself. Try to overlook some of the whining and provide him with toys, or a bone.

I am NOT a vet, just a pet owner of a paralyzed dog. DO NOT allow someone to tell you that your pet needs to be put to sleep because he is paralyzed. If he has a good appetite, enjoys your companionship, is interested in life, and still grooms himself, his quality of life is still good. Many of us on this board have paralyzed pets.

Dianne

Debbie

Re: Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

Post by Debbie » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:06 pm

Thanks to all. Oh yes - we had x-rays immediately. But apparently they are puzzling to both vets (accupunturist and chiropractor) who don't see much on the x-ray. He received 5 accupuncture treatments and was taking prednisone (along with meds to protect his stomach from the prednisone). He was also taking a chinese herb remedy to go along with the accupuncture. But the accumpuncurist didn't see any results after 4 days - and then my chiropractic vet returned, so we brought Coty to him. He seems more hopeful than the 1st doc. And he is on crate rest (mostly because he hasn't been able to move). He's actually not in a crate, but in a very small area of our house with his pad, towels, blankets ... with a baby gate so he can't get out.
It's the "no deep pain sensation" that worries me... does anyone know if it can be re-gained?
You can feel a hot spot on his back and my vet told me to ice it down... we started doing that yesterday.
I really appreciate all the encouragement - it means a lot! thanks.

Bobbie
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Re: Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

Post by Bobbie » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:25 pm

I would get an opinion on the Xrays or more xrays from specialist (neurology or orthopedics.) You miss the small window for surgery if you wait too long.

Bobbie

Debbie

Re: Hi Debbie

Post by Debbie » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:49 pm

I'm not sure what the vet didn't see in the xrays -- what they saw were 2 vertebrae which appeared close together... and the others were normally spaced. The "hot spot" which my chiropractor identified was not correlating to the area on the xray.. which is what made the docs say they were puzzled. I would have opted for surgery on the day it happend, but was told he wasn't a good candidate. When you squeeze his paws, his toes inbetween his pads.. at some point he pulls his leg back. That is what gives us hope. He also lifts his leg (a very slight bit) to pee outside.. also gives me hope. I supopse it's a wait and see at this point. The doc says it will be a slow process adn he cannot predict how much, if any, mobility he will regain. How do you deal with your dog wanting to be with you in the house? Do you carry him around? We've talked about getting a cart for him for outside- but I'm hoping that eventually he'll be able to move on his own. I know he's happy and he's not in pain. I'm trying to get in a routine.. but (and excuse the whining)... we have another senior dog, a 5 year old child and we both work full time. So - it's been difficult to get into a new routine - although we are trying. Any suggestions welcome!

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Dianne
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Back Injury

Post by Dianne » Tue Jun 07, 2005 5:25 pm

You have a lot of positive signs with the "lifting of the leg", and ability to go to the bathroom outside. BUT, I would definitely crate rest him now.

Until you get a definitive diagnosis, I would not put him into a wheel chair for mobility. Rest is in order.

I have a 25 lb. doxie that is paralyzed. He has a box on the first floor of the house, one on the second floor in the bedroom, and one in the basement near my husband's workshop. We carry him *oh my aching back* so he can be with us.

Your idea of confining in a small area with a kitty gate sounds good, as long as he can't move around too much. Crating/kenneling is confinement inorder to give the back a rest and prevent further injury. If you don't have a small kennel, then use what you have. Toys or chewies will help with the boredom of confinement.

Is your pet overweight? If so, you will need to cut the calories of his diet to reduce his weight plus further reduce the caloric intake because he is less active. Cut carrots and unsalted cooked green beans make good treats.

It took us about 3 weeks to adjust to the needs of a disabled pet. Try to keep the household happy. Your pet will know that he is loved and that all is well.

Dianne

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CarolC
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Crate rest and time *LINK*

Post by CarolC » Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:15 pm

Hi Debbie,

I have a dog who got rear end paralysis from a spinal fracture (complete break) in September 2003. The two parts of her spine separated and one tried to leapfrog over the other, pinching the spinal cord in between. She had no deep pain sensation. She is walking again. Yes, deep pain sensation can return. It was several months before her deep pain sensation returned, but your dog is not that bad. Your dog has bowel and bladder control and can lift his leg--you're in really good shape. It could be a whole, whole lot worse! I am hoping that with the use of steroids and icing down that spot, and keeping him immobilized, you will see deep pain sensation return fairly quickly.

I certainly agree with what everyone has said about the importance of crate rest. Crate rest is serious business, no cheating!! Please click the link at the end of this message to read expert guidance on crate rest. You can't cut corners with it. It's going to take time. This isn't microwave cooking, think crock pot. Damaged nerves heal more slowly that broken bones, but they do heal with rest and care if you're patient. Healing is occuring right now, so you need to keep him quiet. If you let him scoot around now, Dianne is right, there could be further injury. And if you think he's a job now, I can tell you loss of bladder control is an even bigger complication. So I would surely keep him quiet.

Do you still have your 5-year old's crib around? If it is the kind with the side that comes down, that might be a good place to put your dog. He would be up at your waist level and taking him out would be much easier on your back. (He couldn't get his head caught, could he?) A playpen would work, too, if it's the kind where you can raise the floor--otherwise it is too low for bending over and lifting a 40-lb. dog. (Good to hear you ordered a walking harness.) Like Dianne, my dog needed two pens, one in the kitchen where she could be in the center of activity during the day, and a playpen by the bed so she could sleep next to me at night. I agree about the toys and chews. When my dog was on crate rest, we went through a lot of rawhide twists.

The dog with the spinal fracture actually didn't cry while on crate rest, partly because of so much medication. However, my golden retriever fell jumping into the car this year and had to be put on crate rest and prednisone, and he whined. I felt sorry for him because he didn't understand why he was in a cage, but I couldn't help that, and his whining began to wear on my nerves. I went to Wal-Mart and got a set of hearing protector ear muffs in the weedeater department and put them on when he was whining. They were a big help, and after a few days he whined less and I used them less. They helped me to be firm.

There are exercises you can be doing while your dog is recovering and is on crate rest. These exercises help him redevelop proprioception, which is the ability to feel his feet and know where they are in space. While he is lying quietly in bed, you can massage his legs, rub his feet, dig your fingers in between his paw pads and see if he'll kick. I did "This Little Piggy" with my dog and she thought it was funny. :) Stimulate his feet as often as you can during the day. Just reach in there and give them a little rub when you go by. His body needs to remap the pathway from his brain to his toes, and you are giving it more to work with. The other exercise you can do is also while he is lying quietly in bed. Gently bicycle each hind leg through the full range of motion. Do a number of reps on each leg, and do this twice a day. It will take about 5 minutes each time. This is good for circulation and it keeps his legs flexible.

Please do not hesitate to bring up any questions or problems. There are several people here with paralyzed dogs who have been there done that, whether it is toileting, hygeine, bedding, medication, whining, boredom, or whatever. Please be sure to post an update on how he is doing.



CLICK HERE for guidance on crate rest

Debbie

Re: Crate rest and time

Post by Debbie » Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:38 am

Thanks for the great information. I feel encouraged by much of what you said. RIght now he is cordoned off in a little area with a baby gate - but I think i'm going to buy a crate today. At night, he sleeps in our room in his bed surrounded by towels and blankets - and he so far has not tried to move during the night. He does cry and pant however, but I get up and give him water. He's always been a very thirsty dog who doesn't like the warm weather very much. I have been massaging his legs and pinching his feet - he pulls back eventually... but I'm told this is more of the reflex action. Yesterday, though, I thought he might have turned to look at me - but whether he looked because I was pinching his toe I can't be sure. He has his next vet appointment on Friday. Since this happened, we've been on a roller coaster and things are just beginning to settle down hopefully into a routine. I will post after that visit... thanks again.

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CarolC
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Re: Crate rest and time *LINK*

Post by CarolC » Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:44 am

Hi Debbie,

The prednisone is going to make him extra thirsty (click link below for info) and he'll have to urinate more. The reason I didn't suggest a crate is because of his weight. Yes, a crate is the ideal thing, but with a heavy dog you don't want to be straining your back leaning into the crate trying to slide him out or change his bed. I guess you can determine whether 40 lbs. is something you can handle. When you look at crates, try to imagine yourself getting him out and see what you think. Good luck!


CLICK HERE info on prednisone

Sheri
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Re: Crate rest and time

Post by Sheri » Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:36 am

Pete had no deep pain for almost 15 months before it slowly started to return. It has been 2 years since his accident and he is just now learning to walk again. Pete can now walk about 15 feet if he is following his food bowl (have a string tied on it and slowly pull it along as he is eating)but has learned that he can go faster on 2 legs than 4. Never give up hope. We still hope that Pete will walk. I wish I had known of this web site when the accident happened because no one told us Pete should have crate rest, steriods or not have a cart 2 weeks after his accident.

David

Re: Dogs: Any encouragement welcome

Post by David » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:38 am

stories like that just tear at your heart. My 2 and 1/2 yr old lab just had hip surgery and is in the recovery stages so he lost use of his legs for a while so I can relate a little bit but you must be going thru a lot. Pls keep us posted on how this turns out...Hang in there..David

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