Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Orthopedic/Arthritis: Problems associated with joints, bone, and connective tissue, and CH (cerebellar hypoplasia), or brain damage.
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Courtneycp
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Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Post by Courtneycp » Tue May 14, 2019 3:30 am

Hi! I just picked up a foster that came over from Greece. She was previously hit by a car so had no use of her back legs. It’s only been 5 hours and I’m completely overwhelmed. Because her previous foster only spoke Greek I know very little about the dogs experience w care. Can anyone help on a couple things below??

Diapers fall off almost immediately.

She can’t seem to drag herself around as her back is rounded and her legs are stuck straight out. Anyone else have this problem? Is it safe to let her move about? I have a full time job so she’ll be unsupervised a couple hours at a time. I don’t feel safe leaving her alone in her wheelchair. It’s tippy.

Extreme separation anxiety. She will not sleep unless I’m holding her. But I don’t want her in the bed in case she falls and gets injured. I also don’t want to sleep on the floor every night lol. Any ideas? I know it’s the first night but this was one thing they did inform me about. Would she feel safer in a crate?

Any help is really appreciated. I’m kind of freaking out over here.

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critters
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Re: Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Post by critters » Tue May 14, 2019 8:47 am

:whale: You'll find MANY similar situations on the neurology board, which is where spinal cord injuries go, which appears to be what she's sustained. If you've also posted there, I haven't looked there yet.

Yes, diapers usually need suspenders, a turtleneck Onesie, or the like to keep them on.

I wonder if she'd like a hammock to sleep in. I don't know how big she is, but ferrets use hammocks a lot. Maybe it would feel like a hug? A crate might also help her to feel cozy.

Do you know how to express poop and pee? That's usually very important with spinal cord injuries.

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CarolC
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Re: Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Post by CarolC » Tue May 14, 2019 1:21 pm

Courtneycp wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 3:30 am
Hi! I just picked up a foster that came over from Greece.

How much does she weigh? Any idea of her breed/mix? This affects what the answers are.

She was previously hit by a car so had no use of her back legs. It’s only been 5 hours and I’m completely overwhelmed. Because her previous foster only spoke Greek I know very little about the dogs experience w care. Can anyone help on a couple things below??

Diapers fall off almost immediately.

What kind of diapers do you have, disposable? It sounds like the ones they gave you are too loose in the waist? My dog who is always in the "L" shaped sitting position almost never gets her diaper off because it's harder to drag a diaper off in the seated position. You may need some that are tighter in the waist or simply fasten the ones you have tighter. (I assume you already tried that.) I sometimes tell Dolly, "Hold your breath" when I am fastening it. I have not tried disposables on her, but I know the denim kind (see video below) stay on her without suspenders or anything. She might get out of one in the yard a couple of times a year, and in that case it was my fault for the way I did the velcro. :roll: If she was a dog who dragged along the floor with her legs straight back, then there might be more problem with her simply dragging herself out of it through friction with the carpet or grass, but fortunately not in a seated position.

If you are using disposables and think you have the right size, try putting them on backward with the tapes to the back, unlike we do with human babies, and see if they fit better.

Whatever kind of diapers you use, there needs to be an adequate tail hole for any solid waste to fall out. Otherwise it will collect inside the diaper near her female area and fecal germs could cause an urinary tract infection.


She can’t seem to drag herself around as her back is rounded and her legs are stuck straight out. Anyone else have this problem?

Yes, this a normal position, sitting like a babydoll. Someone here calls it a 'neuro sit'. Usually they will figure out how to drag on their hip. I have a dog who learned to bounce along on her bottom.



Is it safe to let her move about?

It depends on when the injury was. Do you know when the injury was? Could she still be in pain? If the injury was over 2 months ago and she is not in pain, she could be allowed to move around as much as she wants, as long as you monitor her skin for scrapes or carpet burns. If you notice abrasions like that, you will know to protect the area by wrapping it or covering it with some kind of clothing. If the injury was less than 2 months ago or you are not sure when it was but she is in pain, I would crate her until you can have her checked by your vet and get advice, especially since she came with so little background information and the language problem.

I have a full time job so she’ll be unsupervised a couple hours at a time. I don’t feel safe leaving her alone in her wheelchair. It’s tippy.

You're right. You cannot leave a dog in any wheelchair unattended, all of the manufacturers say that. They can tip over, get stuck on furniture, and the dog needs to be removed periodically to restore circulation from being in the "saddle". In addition, most dogs cannot lie down. If your dog has short legs and a long body it would be easier to lie down in a wheelchair, but if not then the dog is basically forced to stand up for as long as she is in the cart. For now, I think I would crate her when you are not home. When you have a better idea of whether she is going to get scrapes, etc., you will know if you can leave her out while you are at work. Dolly (in the video) does not need to be crated when I'm not home, she has a regular stuffed dog bed and mostly sleeps there during the day.

Extreme separation anxiety. She will not sleep unless I’m holding her. But I don’t want her in the bed in case she falls and gets injured. I also don’t want to sleep on the floor every night lol. Any ideas? I know it’s the first night but this was one thing they did inform me about. Would she feel safer in a crate?

One possibility is to dismantle the bed frame and put the mattress directly on the floor, kind of like a futon. If she is small enough another idea is a baby playpen (playard). They are safe, comfortable, and easy to clean. You can put it next to your bed with a tip-proof water bowl and some towels or blankets and sleep a few feet apart.
playpen.JPG

If she is too big for a playpen (you have to bend over to put her in and out, so consider your back) then a crate sounds like a good idea. Be careful about the entrance to the crate if it's a wire crate. They usually have a 2" wire threshold that a non-paralyzed dog steps over, but it can get in the way for a paralyzed dog, especially with feet forward. You do not want her to trap her feet in the wires trying to get in or out of the wire crate. I took clear 2" wide packing tape and taped the area below the door on my dog's crate so I would not have to worry she would get her feet accidentally stuck in the wires trying to enter or exit. See areas circled in blue.
crate_threshold.jpg
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If you put a thick crate pad in the bottom of the crate, it may raise the floor enough that she will not contact the wire threshold under the door when she goes in. Here is Katie's crate with the floor raised by a thickly folded blanket, and also clear tape on the threshold, (look above the blue arrows, you can just barely see little white spots which are light shining off the tape).
crate 0146_entry.JPG
Any help is really appreciated. I’m kind of freaking out over here.

Will be looking for your response or further questions/clarification. SO NICE of you to foster this dog!

:grouph:
:group:

Courtneycp
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Re: Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Post by Courtneycp » Tue May 21, 2019 9:50 am

Thank you both so much for your help! We're a week in now and doing better.

I should have posted to the neurology board - sorry about that!

She weighs 14 lbs and they estimate she is between 2-4 years old.

Diapers
Turning the diaper backwards was a LIFESAVER. Fits so much better. We've been using baby onesies to keep her diapers on. They work well except for on the rare occasion that they slide down a little and they leak. We tried diaper covers and she really dislikes them because they itch her. I also just purchased the Surgi Snuggly on Amazon so hoping that will be a good solution (although a little pricey). I do think the diapers are a little too big, but we bought 190 of them, so since they're staying on pretty well, we'll size down after we go through these.
Tail holes - do you cut a hole large enough so the poop falls out of the diaper? If so, how do you keep it from getting all over the house?

Expressing
We know how to express her pee but it is seeming like she can push out all of her pee on her own as long as we hold her in the right position. My vet told me there isn't a way to express poo? I'm wondering if she has more control / hope for some recovery if I bring her to a neurologist. She just came over from Greece and had seen a neurologist there, but maybe there are more advancements here?

Moving About
She is used to scooting around now and the vet said she is not in pain! Her injury was well over a year ago. We baby-gated off a safer area of the house for her to stay in while we're out. She doesn't like it yet, but hoping she will get used to it. We don't leave her for long.

Separation Anxiety
We're slowly getting through this. She was passed from house to house for about a year, so I think the unknown is making her anxious. She seems to always check to make sure I'm there, but the having to hold her 247 thing has been getting better. She knows and loves her dog bed now. And I finally just found a toy she likes that distracts her from checking on me every 5 seconds. All in due time!


Thank you both again for your help. I was struggling those first couple of days and your posts were monumental in helping me realize it's all do-able!

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Re: Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Post by CarolC » Tue May 21, 2019 11:48 am

Courtneycp wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 9:50 am
Thank you both so much for your help! We're a week in now and doing better.

I should have posted to the neurology board - sorry about that!

A lot of these topics could go in neurology, mobility, or incontinence equally well, or even someplace else. There often is no single right or best place, so it's kind of wherever you want to put it, so you're fine! I think critters just wanted you to know you might find interesting reading in other locations as well. :wink:

She weighs 14 lbs and they estimate she is between 2-4 years old.

That's a good size.

Diapers
Turning the diaper backwards was a LIFESAVER. Fits so much better. We've been using baby onesies to keep her diapers on. They work well except for on the rare occasion that they slide down a little and they leak. We tried diaper covers and she really dislikes them because they itch her. I also just purchased the Surgi Snuggly on Amazon so hoping that will be a good solution (although a little pricey). I do think the diapers are a little too big, but we bought 190 of them, so since they're staying on pretty well, we'll size down after we go through these.

Interesting that the diaper covers itch. Not a problem you would have with complete paralysis, right?

Tail holes - do you cut a hole large enough so the poop falls out of the diaper? If so, how do you keep it from getting all over the house?

Yes, for a female you do want to have the tail hole large enough for the poop to fall out. If it collects inside the diaper, it will be mooshed and smeared (sorry :blush:) on her female area where the urinary tract is, and you have a potential for a Urinary Tract Infection caused by fecal bacteria contacting the female area. Basically, she probably will leave some randomly here and there in the house. The secret to being able to live with that is to have very good quality stools, or as someone here called it, "outstanding poop texture". If the stools are firm, non-sticky, low odor, and well formed, then they will not stain the carpet or floor, and your house will not smell bad. You just pick them up with a kleenex and toss them in the trash when you fine one. You should not need carpet cleaner or spot remover or anything like that. Once in a while I manage to step on one :roll: but mostly there is no problem. :lol:

If you or the adopter finds this totally unacceptable, there is a way to both protect the female area and contain the waste inside the diaper. It involves double diapering. You put a snug fitting diaper on her for urine, with a good sized tail hole. Then over that you put a second, looser fitting diaper, with a tight tail hole. The idea is the waste should collect inside the looser outer diaper.

There are even diapers that have a cord-lock tail, or a tie around the tail, to keep them snug around the tail. I got one for my dog, which she wears on the grooming table, because a couple of times I've expressed her bowel, put a fresh diaper on her, and handed her to the groomer, and within minutes she has doodled again. I don't mind if she doodles in the house, but I'd rather not have that happen with the groomer. In her case I think it has something to do with stress (she's kind of scared of getting her nails trimmed) and the fact that the groomer puts her in a lying down position on her side, which I have noticed with my dog can result in passing stools. Anyway...here are some examples of tail-lock diapers. I got her the grey one with butterflies and it is good quality.

:arrow: :arrow: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=20196&p=103263#p103281


Expressing
We know how to express her pee but it is seeming like she can push out all of her pee on her own as long as we hold her in the right position. My vet told me there isn't a way to express poo? I'm wondering if she has more control / hope for some recovery if I bring her to a neurologist. She just came over from Greece and had seen a neurologist there, but maybe there are more advancements here?

I'm not really aware of advancements that would apply very well to a dog that is a year post-injury. What might be useful is some rehab/physical therapy? They have treatments like e-stim and acupuncture, as well as swimming and physical therapy. With her ability to pee by herself (Wow! and double Wow!!) if you hold her in position, it makes me wonder if she could maybe learn to stand or walk with some physical therapy. I don't know, but perhaps if you could get her evaluated, a professional physical therapist could give you a better idea of her status. I don't think the rehab folks ever really know how much a dog can accomplish either, it's just something you kind of try and see if there is any more progress. Healing from spinal injury does continue for literally years, and PT helps the dog make the most of recovery. If your rescue organization is short on funds, as most rescues are, perhaps the therapist could suggest exercises that could be done at home. With a 14-lb dog, you could probably also swim her in a backyard pool. I think one of the 18" high pools might be tall enough, and they don't cost much. It's just a thought for later when the weather is warm enough. Hydrotherapy is great for paralyzed dogs.

In addition, your vet may not have been aware of it, but there is a way to express the bowel. There is an evacuation reflex you can trigger in some dogs, or you can also "pop out" stools that are close to the exit manually. In my experience, you may still have some random stools falling out during the day, or in her bed at night, but you reduce the amount by expressing. Here is an article that gives various ways to stimulate the reflex. It also talks about feeding your dog a diet that produces good quality stools. There is a huge difference in what comes out of a dog depending on what you feed them. I have used Science Diet w/d dry kibble with several disabled dogs and it produces great stools. Other people have found other types of food that also work well for their dog. You just need to find something that works well with your dog's system.

:arrow: :arrow: https://www.handicappedpets.com/mediawi ... inent_pets

Here is a video I did which demonstrates a method of expressing the bowel. The real purpose of the video was I wanted to show the stool quality. You will see when the fresh stools fall on the clean potty pad, they do not even leave a mark. That is what I mean by firm, non-sticky, well-formed, etc. When stools like this fall on your floor or rug, or in your dog's bed, you just pick them up and throw them away and it's like it never happened.




Moving About
She is used to scooting around now and the vet said she is not in pain! Her injury was well over a year ago. We baby-gated off a safer area of the house for her to stay in while we're out. She doesn't like it yet, but hoping she will get used to it. We don't leave her for long.

Good deal! :D

Separation Anxiety
We're slowly getting through this. She was passed from house to house for about a year, so I think the unknown is making her anxious. She seems to always check to make sure I'm there, but the having to hold her 247 thing has been getting better. She knows and loves her dog bed now. And I finally just found a toy she likes that distracts her from checking on me every 5 seconds. All in due time!

Thank you both again for your help. I was struggling those first couple of days and your posts were monumental in helping me realize it's all do-able!

Sounds like you guys are off to a very good start! :trophy: I would love to know what you think of the Surgi Snuggly when it comes. People are always looking for ideas like that, I don't think I've seen it mentioned here before.

Courtneycp
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Re: Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Post by Courtneycp » Wed May 22, 2019 11:05 am

Thank you so much for sharing that video! I did that with her this morning and its worked great. No poops in her diaper so far today. How many times a day do you do it?

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Re: Foster w back leg paralysis - need advice!

Post by CarolC » Wed May 22, 2019 3:10 pm

Yay!! :D :D :D

We do it 3x a day. We still have some droppings on the floor or in bed, but it reduces the amount. My diaper dog gets her bottom expressed in the morning before we put on her first diaper, in the afternoon when we change to her fresh diaper, then at bedtime before I put her in bed without a diaper. She sleeps "bare bottom" in a playpen at night, with absorbent bedding. That gives her skin part of the day to breathe, which is good for her skin. And it gives her a chance for grooming. I imagine it is more comfortable to sleep without a diaper, too.

My diaper dog is 8.5 lbs, but she is missing one leg. I think she would be 10-ish if she'd never lost her leg. I have not tried putting a 14-lb dog in a playpen. You could probably do it, you'd have to try it and see. She would obviously fit, it's just a matter of what condition her bedding will be in in the morning. As people here have said, when they wet the bedding they are usually smart enough to move to another spot. That can mean the bedding has several wet spots in the morning, but your dog is still fresh. There are usually maybe 2 to 4 doodles rolling around in her bedding, too, but not leaving a mark, and the bedding does not require pre-treating before putting in the wash, just shake it out into the waste bin. Most mornings before I serve everyone breakfast, I strip off the top 2 layers of bedding because she has wet spots and I think breakfast is nicer in a dry playpen.

The way I do her playpen is she gets a waterproof fleece pad lying flat in the bottom. Over that is a fitted quilted bottom sheet with some absorbency. Then she has a puffy baby quilt/comforter, also absorbent. So in the morning, I strip off the quilted bottom sheet and remove the quilt/comforter. The fleece underpad is usually dry all over or very nearly so. Then she has breakfast.

If you think a playpen is too small for her, another idea is a baby crib. They are a few extra square feet, and equally easy to clean. In addition, they are higher up, which would save your back putting her in and getting her out. You just have to be sure she can't get out of it. There was a beagle here named Tinker who managed to climb out of a baby crib a few days after surgery (!)

Your dog sounds cute with her colors. :wub:

I posted this picture previously, but it only shows the 2 top layers, below is a picture of what the bottom layer is like
playpen-pink.png
pads.jpg
pads.jpg (29.11 KiB) Viewed 361 times

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