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Rear legs paralysis - road accident

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seventeen
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Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by seventeen »

Hi,

Our terrier had an accident with a truck four days ago - no visible damage but she has no use of her back legs now. She's 11+ (a rescue so can't be accurate), previously in good shape.

Vet x-rayed her and found nothing wrong with her bones.
Vet confirmed she has deep pain sensation.
She has control of her urine and poop.

She's home for 24hrs now and she seems pretty relaxed. She holds her urine until we carry her out to the garden. Her poop has ended up in her bed so far but she does seem to be holding it up to then. We just need to get her at the right time in the garden I hope.

She will only eat tiny doses of proper food every now and again - but has yet to turn down a treat. Drinking plenty of water ('because she's on steroids' - vet)

Vet has advised to give her some time to see if she improves.


It's not nice seeing her like this (laying down all day, not able to move) so I'm just looking for any advice or help with it all. It's difficult not knowing what the future holds and if she'll improve enough to walk again.

Thanks


*Just to note I'm not in America, should it matter
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CarolC
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

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seventeen wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:57 pm Hi,

Hi seventeen,
:welcome:

Our terrier had an accident with a truck four days ago - no visible damage but she has no use of her back legs now. She's 11+ (a rescue so can't be accurate), previously in good shape.

Vet x-rayed her and found nothing wrong with her bones.

That's good. If there is an injury to a disk, it would not necessarily show on an x-ray. Sometimes they can see a change in the spacing between vertebrae if a disk is injured, but not always. Disks are seen better with advanced imaging like an MRI or CT.

Vet confirmed she has deep pain sensation.
She has control of her urine and poop.

If she has all that, then that is probably why the vet felt she was a candidate for conservative treatment (medication and rest, rather than surgery). If the injury is not too bad, many dogs will improve with medication and 6-8 weeks of *strict* crate rest. In the crate 24/7, only out to potty or change the bed. Carry her out to potty and back. No sleeping in bed with family, no lying on the sofa. It's boring but it's important to ensure the disk has a chance to heal properly.

She's home for 24hrs now and she seems pretty relaxed. She holds her urine until we carry her out to the garden. Her poop has ended up in her bed so far but she does seem to be holding it up to then. We just need to get her at the right time in the garden I hope.

There is a technique called expressing the bowel, where you can stimulate her to empty her bowel at a time and place of your choosing. Some people call it "poop on demand". Here is an article describing different ways to do it. Many people like the q-tip method, or the ice cube. I like the pinch method.
:arrow: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=18586


She will only eat tiny doses of proper food every now and again - but has yet to turn down a treat. Drinking plenty of water ('because she's on steroids' - vet)

Vet has advised to give her some time to see if she improves.

It's not nice seeing her like this (laying down all day, not able to move) so I'm just looking for any advice or help with it all. It's difficult not knowing what the future holds and if she'll improve enough to walk again.

Yes, it is stressful not knowing if your dog will improve, but it sounds like her signs are good. She still has deep pain sensation and bowel and bladder control, so that's great. You are lucky she is relaxed and resting well. My dog whined a lot the first week or so of crate rest, until he got used to being crated. That was stressful, too.

It sounds like you pretty much have everything under control. The main nursing need is being sure she is on soft bedding and she's staying dry. If she isn't wetting the bed, then you don't have to worry about that.

The hard thing about "conservative treatment" is that it can be hard to keep doing it for the required length of time. If your dog starts to feel better, it is going to be tempting to allow freedom, but they say not to do that. It takes a full 6 weeks for a disk to heal, and they say giving it a couple of extra weeks of rest helps a lot to avoid a relapse.

Here is some information on conservative treatment.

http://www.sturgisvet.com/smallanimalclinic/faqsaboutdiskdisease.html wrote:
12. How important is confinement to the success of conservative therapy for thoracolumbar IVDD?
Strict confinement is crucial and is considered the cornerstone of conservative therapy for IVDD (the dog is kept in the cage at all times and only taken outside to relieve him/herself). In order to accomplish the goals of preventing further extrusion of the nucleus of the disk and to promote healing of the outer layers (the annulus) of the disk, strict confinement is necessary. Activity can easily push more of the nucleus into the spinal canal and dramatically worsen the neurological status. It is not uncommon to see dogs that have “gone down” after a short course of pain relievers given without insuring that the owner would enforce strict cage rest. A typical IVDD case requires up to 6 weeks of confinement. This time frame is based on the time it takes the annulus to heal by scar formation. Fibrous scar tissue takes 3 weeks to begin to be laid down and scar formation reaches its peak at 6 weeks.
Thanks

*Just to note I'm not in America, should it matter
There are members from all over the world here.
:gang:
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critters
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by critters »

:rainbow: I agree that this all sounds promising, especially for such a recent accident. Maybe her spinal cord is just bruised? Steroids are good at this stage.
seventeen
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by seventeen »

Thanks a lot Carol.

She doesn't need a crate as she can't really move at all. Her front legs seem okay but she is holding them straight out a lot. She will walk with them if we carry her rear - though a bit clumsily. She is elderly but had no issues previously - she was running up and down the stairs only last week.

The vet mentioned the MRI or CT but advised that the treatment would unlikely to be any different (and it's cost here unfortunately).


She does sleep a lot during the day anyway so I suppose that's in her favour during this recovery. It's not easy though - she's not enjoying it.
seventeen
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by seventeen »

critters wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:04 am :rainbow: I agree that this all sounds promising, especially for such a recent accident. Maybe her spinal cord is just bruised? Steroids are good at this stage.
Thanks critters.

The vet mentioned it might be just bruising or swelling.
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critters
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by critters »

seventeen wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:17 am

The vet mentioned the MRI or CT but advised that the treatment would unlikely to be any different (and it's cost here unfortunately).
That's true almost everywhere, I expect!
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CarolC
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by CarolC »

seventeen wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:17 am Her front legs seem okay but she is holding them straight out a lot. She will walk with them if we carry her rear - though a bit clumsily.
This could be something called Schiff-Sherrington response (I am not a vet). It can be temporary and will hopefully go away on its own. I'm sure it's frustrating for her if she'd rather be up on her elbows while lying down. I don't know if she was doing that during the vet exam also. If not, you might want to call and just report it to the vet to keep him up to date. It does not necessarily mean there would be any change of treatment.

https://animals.mom.com/schiff-sherring ... 19438.html

https://www.vettimes.co.uk/app/uploads/ ... ndrome.pdf

I would try to support her evenly in her body if you can when you go outside (and still get the job done). Carry her out. Support her for toileting. Carry her in. Try not to twist when laying her back down, and I'm sure this is trickier with her front legs straight. We just do the best we can in these situations.

Not sure of how big of a terrier she is, but something like this (or even wider) can give even support along the body, supporting both hindquarters and midsection, not just putting lift on the extreme rear.

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=21302
seventeen
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by seventeen »

CarolC wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:14 am
seventeen wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:17 am Her front legs seem okay but she is holding them straight out a lot. She will walk with them if we carry her rear - though a bit clumsily.
This could be something called Schiff-Sherrington response (I am not a vet). It can be temporary and will hopefully go away on its own. I'm sure it's frustrating for her if she'd rather be up on her elbows while lying down. I don't know if she was doing that during the vet exam also. If not, you might want to call and just report it to the vet to keep him up to date. It does not necessarily mean there would be any change of treatment.

https://animals.mom.com/schiff-sherring ... 19438.html

https://www.vettimes.co.uk/app/uploads/ ... ndrome.pdf

I would try to support her evenly in her body if you can when you go outside (and still get the job done). Carry her out. Support her for toileting. Carry her in. Try not to twist when laying her back down, and I'm sure this is trickier with her front legs straight. We just do the best we can in these situations.

Not sure of how big of a terrier she is, but something like this (or even wider) can give even support along the body, supporting both hindquarters and midsection, not just putting lift on the extreme rear.

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=21302
Thanks again CarolC. Her front legs certainly are rigid like that described in Schiff-Sherrington symptoms. She was with the vet today who was slightly concerned that the front legs had stiffened up. The vet prescribed painkillers as she feels there may be some pain there causing it. Her front legs were not stiff when she was with the vet. I'll ask the vet about S-S when we're there next.

The vet reported a slight improvement in her hind legs which is something positive at least. And she is eating a bit more today.


And that bag support is a great idea, thanks!
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CarolC
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by CarolC »

That's great news about the improvement in the hind legs. Recovery from spinal injury is by tiny little improvements, one little bit at a time. That's why it takes time. I know it's hard to see them lying down during recovery, but hopefully with better pain medication she'll be more comfortable now.

This has reminded me a little of a dog that was here many years ago, Winni the Lemon Beagle. She was 30 lbs/13kg. When Winni was 3 she was run over by a moped but survived, and when she was 5 her neck went out and she had neck surgery. Then when she was 21 years old, she was attacked by a 90 lb/40 kg dog and thrown around like a rag doll. She could not get up at all, all she could do was lie on her side. That was when Nancy posted about her. She cared for Winni at home as you have been doing, and kept caring for her, and gave her time.

I'm not sure the exact date she was attacked, but the first post was Feb 17 so it was before that. Nancy posted that Winni had sat up for the first time on March 5. On March 14 she stood up and walked. On March 18 she was trying to climb the stairs.

It isn't possible to use the recovery timeline of one dog and apply it to another dog because every case is different. But she was a 21-year old dog, completely down for weeks, and she recovered. I think it shows you just don't know what they can do until you give them a chance and give it time.
seventeen
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by seventeen »

CarolC wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:18 pm That's great news about the improvement in the hind legs. Recovery from spinal injury is by tiny little improvements, one little bit at a time. That's why it takes time. I know it's hard to see them lying down during recovery, but hopefully with better pain medication she'll be more comfortable now.

This has reminded me a little of a dog that was here many years ago, Winni the Lemon Beagle. She was 30 lbs/13kg. When Winni was 3 she was run over by a moped but survived, and when she was 5 her neck went out and she had neck surgery. Then when she was 21 years old, she was attacked by a 90 lb/40 kg dog and thrown around like a rag doll. She could not get up at all, all she could do was lie on her side. That was when Nancy posted about her. She cared for Winni at home as you have been doing, and kept caring for her, and gave her time.

I'm not sure the exact date she was attacked, but the first post was Feb 17 so it was before that. Nancy posted that Winni had sat up for the first time on March 5. On March 14 she stood up and walked. On March 18 she was trying to climb the stairs.

It isn't possible to use the recovery timeline of one dog and apply it to another dog because every case is different. But she was a 21-year old dog, completely down for weeks, and she recovered. I think it shows you just don't know what they can do until you give them a chance and give it time.
Wow that's a great story CarolC.

As long as we're doing the best thing for the dog then I okay with it all. Hopefully some more (even small) improvement over the next few days.
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critters
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by critters »

Recovery is seldom linear, either. She may, say, wag her tail today, then not again for a week--that kind of thing. Stuff slowly becomes more frequent until it's there all the time (or most of the time).
seventeen
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by seventeen »

Our little friend developed complications today and we had to say our goodbyes. We knew there wasn't a 100% success rate with this but we were happy to give it a try, especially given some of the great stories on here (and our vets advice of course). The dog made the decision very easy because she was so comfortable over the last few days.

But tonight she was having difficulty breathing - it came on quite suddenly. We called the emergency vet to have her checked and they confirmed that the injury had worsened and the breathing difficulties were because of pain. They advised hopes of recovery were now very slim and that we'd have to consider euthanasia, the only other option being the strongest painkiller they had which would only dull the pain and really only put things on hold for 12hrs. We made what I feel was the right decision to let her go - it was horrible to see her in pain and we certainly didn't want to put her through that for an extended period if recovery hopes were so slim.

We're happy we gave her a chance and we're happy to have had her here for the last few days with us. She was comfortable and still liked her treats and her rubs. It was our (and her) goodbye I suppose which we have to be grateful for because a lot of people don't get that when their dog has an accident.

She was a great pal and will always be remembered.

Thanks a lot for all your help. It's a great forum and your comments were massively appreciated. It's a scary time when this happens to your little friend so to have the support and knowledge here was a blessing.
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CarolC
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

Post by CarolC »

I'm so sorry it turned out that way. Even when we are willing to do everything to help our pet, sometimes it is just out of our hands. She knew you were there for her, and it is good you got to have time together. She was a lucky dog to have such a caring family. I hope you will take comfort in knowing you did everything you could. I'm so sorry for your loss.
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critters
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Re: Rear legs paralysis - road accident

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Aww, I'm sorry for your loss. :(
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