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--Success Story--    

Tyler Reed


by Paula Applegate

On a cool day on January 26, 2013  Tyler was plainly upset with a visitor that came over to look at the kittens we had up for adoption. He is normally very friendly but he had bad vibes about this person and the more they came near "his" kittens the more upset he got, so unlike him!  I asked them to please leave so I could calm him down.  Felt he had good instincts so she left without the kittens.  Tried to calm him, but at the same time Neil came home. Tyler adores his "daddy" so he went into a frenzy wanting to dash out and greet Neil.  He greeted him in his usual very excited fashion and then settled down to nap. By Sunday  the 27th he stayed in his crate bed (his choice) coming out only to eat breakfast and to be carried outside to potty.  He never cried, but would look at us with a confused expression.  We decided to close the door to his crate and let him rest and hand fed him his dinner. He walked fine during his evening potty breaks but just wanted to rest once he was carried back into the house.  We realized later that he was showing pain signals but being his usual stoic self he never yelped or cried but showed he was in pain by lack of activity.  You know what they say about hindsight being 20/20!

Monday morning after we got up, we saw his condition had deteriorated. He couldn't come out of the crate on his own so Neil gently took him out and set him on the floor.  It was then we saw he had no use of his back legs and he couldn't urinate when we took him outside.  Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital is a half hour away from here. They are his regular vet as well as being the emergency vet in our area, so I called them and told them we were coming in with Tyler and that he had lost the use of his back legs. They said they would have their Neurology team waiting for us.  We got dressed, got his car crate ready and padded and put Tyler in it and rushed to Purdue.

We walked in the door and they ushered us into an exam room right away.  Their Vet tech examined him first and said she was certain he had a disc herniation and gave us information about IVDD.  A  few minutes later an Orthopedic Resident, Dr. Carr came in to examine him. She put us at ease right away, and explained what was happening. She gave me a hug and told me to dry my tears that he was going to be ok!    She told us that he had a 95% chance of  having a complete  recovery if she operated right now.  She said they would do a CT scan first and then take him right into surgery.  Neil and I both wanted to give him this chance so we agreed.  She again hugged me and gave us a few minutes to comfort Tyler and then she took him saying she would call as soon as he was out of surgery.

Both of us are retired from Purdue and the cost of the surgery was a major concern.  We applied for Care Credit and were accepted. Purdue kept the cost down to our approval which was $2000.

We drove home, knowing they would be keeping him for several days as he recovered from surgery.  Late in the afternoon we jumped when we heard the phone ring. It was Dr Carr telling us that Tyler's surgery was successful. He had a herniated disc at L2-3 and he had a Hemilaminectomy to decompress the spinal cord.  She said Tyler would never be alone and would have a senior student with him at all times to monitor him and that his student would call us later that evening with an update on his condition. We were so excited with the good news but I got on the internet to find out more information on IVDD and found Dodgerslist.  I was happy to see that Dr. Carr had given us the same information consistent with what Dodgerslist had on their website.  I then signed up to their support group http://dodgerslist.boards.net and shared our story about Tyler. The wonderful moderators helped me so much in the early days.

The best news came later in the evening. Tyler's student called to tell us that he was moving his legs.  We were thrilled. The next morning Tuesday, Jan 29, Dr. Carr called and said he was walking and also urinating on his own and they would be releasing him to us Wednesday the 30th.  When we picked him up, they told us about 6 weeks of strict crate rest 24/7 with four  2-3 minute potty walks for PT per day. They sent him home with Tramadol 50mg 1/2 tablet every 8 hours,. Gabapentin (can't find the dosage on the paperwork) every 8 hours and Pepcid AC  5mg every 12 hours.

Since he was doing well when we took him in to have his sutures removed twelve days later, they said he could increase his short potty walks to 3- 4 minutes 4 times per day as PT but to continue with strict crate rest. They were pleased to say his condition was much improved. They didn't believe he needed to continue his pain medications.  He continued to recover with no further issues and he graduated crate rest on March 11th, 2013.  It is now May 1st and you couldn't tell by watching him that he ever had disc surgery. He is active and full of vim, vigor and vitality.  We take no chances with him. He isn't allowed to use stairs and we still carry him outside.  He never jumps on furniture but we have pillows in place just in case. He seems to know he needs to be a floor dweller. Thank you Dodgerslist for helping us along the way!