Dodgerslist Successes page 3
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As he had on many another day, Cocoa started to jump the few inches to the lowered recliner his human Dad was sitting in. But he didn't complete the jump. He didn't make a sound; he just looked over at me with confusion and pain in his eyes. That frightened, sick feeling enveloped me because I knew exactly what had happened, even though I had never seen it happen before. We rushed Cocoa to the vet where he stayed for a day or two on crate rest and steroids. But on the third day, our vet called to say that Cocoa was worse rather than better; he was totally unable to use his back legs. The vet arranged for us to rush him to Purdue University Teaching Hospital where Cocoa was operated on the next day for a ruptured disc at L4-5. I will forget neither the tone in the surgeon's voice when he told us he hoped he "had not caused more harm than good" nor the icy cold feeling and hot tears we experience upon hearing them. We are elated to report that Cocoa recovered full use of his back legs. Unfortunately, not all of the floating disc material could be removed so we closely watch Cocoa for any further signs of trouble.
day before our Cocoa came home from successful back surgery, Norman began
shaking and whimpering. His tummy seemed swollen. The vet kept him
overnight, performing blood work and x-rays. Every test was normal so
Norman was sent home. But the symptoms persisted, with the episodes
lasting from 30 minutes to several hours. Back to the vet he went. I
requested back x-rays and sure enough, two spots on his back were
revealed. We took Norman to Purdue with us when we took Cocoa for
his post surgery check-up. New neurological tests and x-rays were
taken but it was decided Norman's condition did not warrant surgery.
We brought him home to crate rest. After a couple of days of
Norman being in obvious pain, I insisted that he be put on a pain med,
which our vet was more than happy to do. But Norman did not
improve. We were now 5 weeks into the problem and I was not going to
wait any longer. I called the University of Illinois (where my
friend Linda Stowe works!) and described the symptoms to a vet tech.
He asked me to bring Norman over immediately. The myelogram showed
severe disc compression in T11-T12 and L2-L3; U of I operated on him
within a few hours. Norman returned home 2 days later to crate rest.
Within four weeks he was his happy
Disney came to us to foster in August, 2002. The moment he hugged me and licked my cheek, I knew that his home was with us. He always walked a little stiff legged, but we really didn't think anything about it until early December. Disney's right back leg didn't seem to be supporting him properly although he could still walk. Once again we felt that dread that the obvious signs of IVDD caused us to feel with Cocoa and Norman. The x-rays showed a dark spot on Disney's back. I called Linda Stowe, called U of I, described the symptoms, and off we went. By this time, Disney was dragging his right back leg. Disney was very stoic but in obvious pain. The myelogram confirmed a disc problem: compression between T12-T13. Disney underwent successful surgery which included a fenestration. It would appear that he had had one or more back episodes which were untreated prior to his being adopted by us. To this day, I am convinced that Disney came into our lives so that we would get much needed medical attention for him. Today, although he still walks rather stiff legged, he is fully recovered.
Nicky was born on St. Nicholas night (hence his name!) six years ago. The week before Thanksgiving 2002, he very suddenly and unexpectedly yelped in pain while just sitting in his bed and immediately began having trouble walking. The lameness and incoordination progressively got worse over the next five hours when we had our first vet appointment. After an x-ray, Nicky was diagnosed with a disk herniation at the T11-T12 location. He was given Prednisone and put on crate rest for 2 weeks at which time we were supposed to return for a re-check. Over the next 24 hours, he got substantially better and was able to bear his weight and walk a few steps when taken out for bathroom breaks. However, he quickly reinjured himself literally banging against the sides of his crate in a high state of agitation from being confined. Within the next 24 hours he was completely paralyzed with no bladder or bowel control. I called my regular vet who told me just to wait over the weekend and see what happened. I waited for five hours before going with my gut and deciding that waiting was not an option. Based on what I had read on Dodgerslist, I knew that time was of the essence. I took Nicky to a 24 hour emergency clinic and received a referral to a veterinary teaching hospital an hour away. I drove Nicky there at midnight on a Saturday night and he was in surgery by 6:00 a.m. the Sunday morning. He made a fairly quick recovery for which I am grateful. He had bladder and bowel control within three days, was standing within a week and was walking within two weeks. Over the next eight weeks, he slowly but surely progressed from walking just a few wobbly steps, to walking like he was drunk, to regular walking, to bunny-hop running, to regular running. It has now been four months, and he is at about 95% of his old self. The only lingering problem is that he doesn't walk completely flat-footed and on his pads; his back feet are tipped forward just slightly, causing him to wear down his nails to the quick. He has also adapted extremely well to the new "no furniture" rule to prevent any future injury from jumping. He's happy being a "floor dog," probably because I bought him a dog bed for every room in the house!
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
Dodgerslist would like to thank Dr. Brian Beale and Dr. Cory Stiles of Houston, TX in helping Kobe recover.
SugarLump was a back yard breeder dog for 6 years before she came to her forever home through rescue, so we don't have much history. When I got her she had some stomach problems so after a bit the vet took x-rays. He found she had 2 calcified discs (T11-T13) one which was already ruptured. This was an old injury and since she didn't seem to be in pain. I was told to leave it alone, even though the vet thought she was a "good candidate for paralysis". I kept a very close eye on her ...A few weeks after the vet diagnosed her Sugar did in fact start to show signs of disc disease. She would stiffen herself up or cower when I went to pick her up. She started to yelp when I picked her up or put her down. Her gait changed, her back became very hunched and she made little grunting noises if I touched her back or held her. A friend told me of Dodgerslist where we found the advise, support & help we needed. DL helped us find a surgeon, not to far from us, that specialized in back disease. He saw her problem immediately and put her on steroids and muscle relaxants. Her activity level was so low that he didn't feel crate rest was mandatory, but again I followed the advice of DL and confined her. She was progressing slowly, but did seem to be feeling better. However, a few days before she finished her meds she seemed to take a turn for the worse. She had thrown up (surgeon thinks that she may have wrenched her back while vomiting) and I couldn't touch her. She screamed if I even came near her and pushed my hands away if I tried to touch her. An emergency call to the surgeon and he suggested that we start acupuncture. Unfortunately after her very first acupuncture treatment she started having neck spasms. She could not lift or turn her head and just sat and whimpered. The holistic vet gave us some herbs for her neck, as well as the back and started neck treatments as well. Well acupuncture has been a life saver for SugarLump. After the 2nd visit her back was straighter then I had ever seen it. Her tail was wagging and she held her head up high when she walked. She went for acupuncture weekly for about 6 weeks. Currently she goes for monthly "tune ups". Now on her monthly visit, instead of acupuncture treatments the vet injects B12 into each acupuncture point. Sug does not seem to mind and is doing exceptionally well. She runs (not as fast as the others but she does run),& plays with the other dogs. (not for long she seems to know her limits). When I come home now she no longer cries, but runs to get a plushie to shake around and drop at my feet. She no longer tries to jump on the furniture and has become quite content hanging out in her crate. At this point the other 2 join her in there. Sugar know she wouldn't be feeling so good if it weren't for all the wonderful advice she received from her friends on Dodgerslist. We are very thankful.
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