I found this forum when looking for information and saw the thread about success stories, which was reassuring. But. . .
My dog was diagnosed with hip laxity/dysplasia when he was about 8 months old (also the left side). For various reasons it took a while to get a diagnosis and get pain relief sorted and in the meantime we kept forcing him out for walks (because dogs need walks right) and so he developed behavioural issues and would nip us when he wasn't happy about being handled. We pretty much got the hip thing under control. A period of medication, hydrotherapy and respecting his boundaries all worked out great. But this also left him with a low tolerance for being handled around uncomfortable things. He's an affectionate dog and will let me touch any part of him, but I also know when to back off.
But now I do need to handle him alot. He can't go to his 'place' to opt out. He's muzzle trained, but I am having to put the muzzle on him alot, so I'm worried it'll lose it's association with positive things and he won't want to let me (he nipped me when I tried to put it on him in the night when he was whining as he needed the toilet).
We never properly cracked co-operative care or the bucket game and I am gutted I didn't make that training a priority, but everything was working and here we are now.
I don't know how long it'll take before he can get up by himself. The reassurances in other posts give me hope my dog will recover, but if it takes months or years to walk I am worried about how he'll cope behaviourally and we'll cope emotionally. I have two kids (10 and 13) and they're both upset about our dog's condition and worried that his care will take over. As a result they're being stroppy, which isn't great. I also work full time and can work from home a bit. We have a brilliant dog walker who will do home visits, but what if he bites her!
I'm looking for advice and reassurance on how to cope with a dog's behaviour during recovery and how we can cope emotionally. Thanks x
If you've been reading posts, I hope you got a chance to read the stats on recovery for ANNPE. They're so good.
I'd be inclined to think if his right leg already came back, his left leg won't take too long either, but it's possible the damage occurred more on one side of the spinal cord. If your vet did imaging they may know if that is the case.https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/181/11/293 wrote:Abstract
Presumptive ANNPE and FCEM were diagnosed in 157 and 44 dogs , respectively. Ambulatory function was regained in 99 per cent of cases, with persistent motor deficits in 83.6 per cent and 92.5 per cent of dogs with presumptive ANNPE and FCEM, respectively. The presumptive diagnosis was not associated with motor function recovery, recovery times or urinary continence.
Does your dog normally lie on his right side? If so, that may be making it a bit trickier for him to get up on 3 legs, as the supporting hind leg is underneath him. I think he will figure it out, though. Possibly he's still a little weak in that right leg. The event has only been a couple of days ago. As you continue to help him up and get him moving with the sling, that will also help him improve.
This is a total guess on my part and I could be wrong, but I'm only guessing he'll be walking on 3 legs sooner than you think, and you'll mainly be dealing with his left foot getting scraped up and needing a boot for protection for a while. But time will tell.
The nipping does sound like a bit of a worry, especially with your dog walker. You don't want anyone getting hurt. Have you considered using a cone collar on him (Elizabethan, lampshade). You don't have to get your hands quite so close to get one on, compared to a muzzle.
I have seen my dog's physical therapist gently lay a bath towel over the face of a grumpy pitbull she needed to exercise. I don't know if treats would make him like it better?
There was a discussion here once about a defensive dog, and someone figured out that their dog felt vulnerable when people stood up over him. If I recall, there was also another dog in the house, which made him feel doubly defensive. I think they ended up putting him on a sofa or something, and he felt more at ease. I might be able to find that discussion if it would help.
The only other thing I might suggest is medication, since you absolutely have to be able to work with him. The vet may be able to suggest something to mellow him out a little, take the edge off, so to speak. I think it would be worth a try. I don't know what would be best for his case, but my dog takes diazepam (generic Valium) when her neck problem is acting up. It helps her relax in a way all the other meds fail to do.
I hope you will update on your dog's progress. It will be helpful for others who are dealing with the same thing and want to have a better idea of what to expect. Hang in there, better days are coming!
I posted my message early this morning and had only got him back the afternoon before, so I should remember it's early days. I've seen him push himself up today and turn some circles (you know the way dogs do before they settle). He tries to run if he can, so the sling at the back helps slow him down.
He sleeps on both sides, but he can't seem to roll on his back yet for a belly rub (I'm guessing he's sore too).
He has a cone, but hates it. The advantage of the muzzle is that he's muzzle trained and associates it with good stuff (associations he may lose a bit now, but it does mean garden for the time being and he loves that). I have some trazadone. The vet said only give it to him if he's very agitated. I consulted the vet behaviourist we worked with before and she said it's worth giving it to him for now.
It's been a tough day. His first full day home and me on my own with him (this morning was very hard), but he does seem to be improving. He wagged his tail pretty hard when my partner came home and wanted to run to the door (we slunk along with the sling instead). It is really helpful to hear recovery rates are good. I've ordered some rubber boots for his left paw, as at the moment he just has a sock and it keeps coming off.
We've had a pretty good day today. I think we're getting the hang of this. His bladder and bowels seem to be in full control (he was always very good at holding on and that's now my worry that he'll hold on too long and get a UTI). He's been wagging his tail when people come in or when I pop into his pen to stroke him and can almost roll onto his back for a belly rub.
I am relearning to take my time and go with his cues. It can be done! I contacted the physio and asked to do online instead of face to face and she's going to call me. If she can give me the exercises then I can do them when my dog is ready.
I guess recovery is also about adjustment. .
I'm guessing he's a large dog, maybe very large? When you say pen, I'm not sure if he's in a normal crate or in something more like an x-pen. If you are having to assist him with a sling, it would be much easier to do so by housing him in an x-pen for now. It is very hard to get a human inside a large dog crate and get a sling on a dog and maneuver him out (hard on your back). I had that problem with Merlin and he was only 63 lbs / 28 kg. With an x-pen, you can just open one side and walk in and out, and you are standing up instead of bent over when you help him to his feet. Here are examples.
At home PT is great if you can do it. I know you said you work full time but have some flexibility. Even if you just get him on his feet and walk him up and down the hall a few times a day, it will help. I don't know what you are dealing with in terms of stairs/steps to go outside to the grass. And I don't know if it is diffcult to get him into the car. One thing that helped me with Merlin was I took out the back seat of the car so I could load him onto a level floor inside the car. And I parked the car next to the curb, so he had a height advantage stepping into the car, versus having to step up from driveway level. Pictures here.
If you decide to take him to face to face PT, you will have to load him in the car at home, but when you get there you can probably ask for help to get him from the car into the therapy room. And again to get him from the therapy room back into the car. Do ask for help if he's too big for you. The same is true at the vet. When you arrive, if you leave him in the car, you can go ask them to send out one of their kennel staff to help you get him into the building, and back into the car when it's time to leave.
I learned a trick regarding how to think about slinging a dog. Dogs carry about 60% of their weight on their front legs and 40% on their hind legs. So if I have a 50 lb dog, it is easy to think, "Ugh, I'm slinging a 50lb dog all day". No, actually I am slinging about 20lbs (the weight his his hind half). It doesn't make him an ounce lighter, but somehow it makes it easier mentally. If he's 25kg, then you are slinging 10 kg. Or whatever, depending on the size you are dealing with. I always feel the actual lift can be a little more than that if he does what my dog always did, and try to power forward with his front legs as soon as I lifted his hindquarters with the sling, hauling me along like a sled dog! That extra forward motion puts a little more strain on your arm!
That is wonderful news about bladder and bowel control, and tail wagging. Hopefully he won't get a UTI as long as he is getting adequate fluids and emptying fully when he urinates. Don't panic if he does get one, though. They usually clear up pretty easily with common antibiotics, but hopefully that won't be needed.
Our hoyse is on a slope, so we have to carry him up steps to get to the grass in the garden or down steps to get to the road/car, but we have a drive, so I can park close to the steps and put him straight in the boot, which is where he's always travelled and is nice and flat.
He is heavy, but we don't have to carry him far and actually he's pretty good at getting up himself now. He can walk without a sling, athough we use one to help him steady, so he's not putting too much weight on it.
He would qalk loose lead before, after the initial excitement of being out had warn off, but would pull like a train when excited or neevous, so we developed strong arms then and although he's trying to scoot along fast now, he's not quite fast enough to pull yet. I never thought pulling as strength training for us would have been so helpful
I work from home part time, so that's helpful. I'm just a bit worried about the times I can't be at home, but he's getting stronger and hopefully our dog walker can help via home visits.
I'm going to have a virtual consultation with the physio as he doesn't like going to the vets and can be intolerant of vets handling him (he's never minded the hydrotherapist but she's all positive associations), but I am sure as long as she tells me what to do we'll be fine. I worked with the same physio for his hip issue and we really managed that well.
He made some good progress yesterday, he could roll onto his back foe a belly rub and was running in his sleep, even moving his bad leg. He was still knuckling his paw, but he did get up and have it flat on the floor at times too.
My main concerns are, that he's a very highly driven BC, but I have meds to calm him if needed and that he's snappy/nippy as a strategy when he wants someone to leave him alone. I'm learning new ways to work with him and ensure I'm not pushing through his boundaires. He doesn't have any problems with me touching him anywhere on his body (unless I am trying to force him to move where he doesn't want to), so that helps.
All the support and advice on here has been like a lifeline.
Fortunately it doesn't sound like you will be doing this much longer! That is really cool that he can roll onto his back now. Woohoo!
Some people use a doggie ramp
or doggie steps with a rear harness to get into the car.
(old link, search "folding pet steps for car" online)
Here is an example where the back seat was removed from the car, the car was parked next to the curb, and the dog was walked into the car with the help of a rear harness.
Here is an example where the owner parked their vehicle so they could use a sloped lawn as a loading dock.
Here is the use of a medical patient hoist to load a 169 lb / 76 kg dog into a van.