Dodgerslist Successes page 7

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PHOENIX
Yolanda McIntyre

Phoenix was found as a stray in North Carolina so skinny you could count every rib. He was dragging himself around covered with cuts and bruises and with no bladder control. Thankfully the person who found him knew of a dachshund rescuer in North Carolina, who took him in and had was able to stabilize him enough to be transported to another foster home for care. The vets estimated some of his cuts, bruises and scars could be 5 weeks old. It seems like Phoenix luck was going to turn again while on the transport. A Virginia rescuer did not like the look of his cuts and bruises, they looked infected, and wanted her vet to look at them. The wonderful vet she saw mentioned that Phoenix still had some deep pain and might still be a candidate for surgery even after 5-6 weeks. Well, guess what, he had surgery the next day and within 4 days Phoenix was up and wobbling.

At the suggestion of the vet he was given water therapy, 3 times a week and 6 electric acupuncture treatments. Three months later, he is totally back on his feet, with bladder control and running and playing take the toy with his Moms others puppers. After this there was no way Phoenix could leave his Virginia home and he was adopted by his foster family.
Dodgerslist would like to thank Drs. Bryon & Hartigan, Ferry Farm Animal Clinic in Fredericksburg, VA in helping Phoenix recover.

MOLLY
Maura Crispi

Molly never went down completely, but her pain was evident as her condition worsened, she was not diagnosed properly and was allowed as much activity as she wanted, until muscle spasm's started in her neck area and her vet did an xray of her cervical area and it did show shadowing but nothing evident he sent us home with dexamethasone and robaxin and told me to keep her quiet.. Molly is not crateable so I kept her in a small area of the house, she did start to improve but as we started to wean her off the steroids her pain was once again back and she would hold her neck in like a turtle, her vet sent us off to get a CT Scan which showed moderate disc extrusion at the C2-C3 intervertebral space. Slice 11 showed compression of the thecal shadow with loss of normal parathecal fat. At the C4-C5 intervertebral space there was some indication of a left sided bulging annulus in slice 20.. This vet then referred us to Molly's surgeon and she had surgery that next day 9/17/03..
Her recovery has been slow, but I would not change anything, she deserved a second chance at life and I was willing to do what it took to give her that chance. Yes, our lives have changed especially hers; no more furniture, no stairs, no roughhousing with her brother but she is a very happy dog and today March 10 2004 she spent a good portion of it chasing her favorite purple ball and laying in the sun, now that's LIFE...
Dodgerslist would like to thank Dr. Paul McNamara of Hopewell Junction, NY for helping Molly recover.

FRANKIE
AnnaMarie Haden

Frankie is a 3 year old 11.5 pound mini-dachshund who lives with us and our 2 other dachshunds in Northern Illinois. Frankie has always been an active and very healthy dog.
Frankie had his first symptoms on January 14, 2004. First thing in the morning, I picked him up, and he yelped. A little later, Daddy picked him up and he yelped again. We knew..... Frankie was crated and was seen by our regular vet that afternoon. His neurological exam was unremarkable and he walked and ran well, but his x-rays showed another picture.
Frankie's x-rays showed major calcifications in many of the lower thoracic and most of the lumbar discs. The vet gave Frank a shot of Adequan with instructions for crate rest. He felt that with no other symptoms, this could be managed medically for now. He gave us instructions to call the neurosurgeon if things did not improve or if they got worse.
After a week of crate rest, Frankie still yelped when we lifted him up.
I decided to call a surgeon for a second opinion.
We soon took Frankie to a specialty medical center in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
When the DR saw Frank's x-rays, he recommended immediate surgery. He said the x-rays did indeed show major calcifications in the lower thoracic and lumbar discs as well as what was most likely a rupture in lumbar 2-3. Needless to say, I was shocked and not prepared for surgery. The doctor convinced us that doing surgery now would prevent the other discs from major rupture, probably paralyzing Frankie. The surgery was done in the afternoon on January 30, 2004.
At
9PM that evening, the vet called us and told us the operation was over and Frankie was walking and doing very well, he said the operation was a success. He had done a myelogram and indeed found one disc to be herniated. He preformed a hemilaminectomy on lumbar 2-3 and did fenestrations on the thoracic 11 to lumbar 5! A lot of disc material was removed from the spinal canal. Surgery and anesthetic recovery were without incident. Frank was coming home in 48 hours.
We picked up Frankie.
I was not sure what to expect, but I got a pleasant surprise! Frankie was very alert, and seemed to have little surgical pain. Upon arriving home, we set him very carefully down to potty outside and much to our surprise, he bolted towards the nearest squirrel!
Frankie remained in his 'recovery suite' for the next six weeks.
Frankie remains in excellent condition. Frankie had his 6 week post-op checkup on March 15, 2004, just 2 months after his first symptoms. He has been given a clean bill of health.
Dodgerslist would like to thank Dr. Claude Gendreau of The Vet Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, IL for helping Frankie recover.

BUSTER
Lynn Sciaraffa

On July 24th, 2003, my five year old, red piebald dachshund, Buster became paralyzed. My first thought was that I was going to lose my baby. My second thought was to rush him to the emergency vet. When I got to the emergency vets office I was turned away because I did not have the $500 necessary to begin his treatment. At that point I brought him to my mom's vet. Upon our arrival the doctor immediately examined Buster and took him for x-rays. When the doctor came back from doing Busters x-rays he informed me that Buster had calcification in the thoracic area of his spine. He informed me that I could bring Buster to a surgeon, and that it would probably cost between $2,000-$3,000 with a very slim chance of recovery. At that point I broke down into tears because there was no way I could afford the surgery. The doctor suggested that we try steroids, crate rest and that Buster stay at the clinic to be monitored. I agreed and gave my baby a kiss goodbye.
On the way home from the vet's office I prayed like a maniac and started to calm down a bit. Buster had overcome so much in his 5 years that I thought there had to be a way for him to overcome this. When I arrived at home I immediately went on the Internet to research dachshund back problems. That is when I found Dodger's List. I read everything I could at the Dodger's List web site and realized that there were many alternative treatments that would help Buster. Also, I began to post messages and learned the most important lesson of all. Never give up!! By the time I brought Buster home 4 days later, I had a plan of action formulated to help him. The main thing I wanted was for Buster to remain a happy doggie. I decided to buy a cart for him and to take him for acupuncture.
About 1 month after Buster became paralyzed he started acupuncture treatments. He has an excellent acupuncture vet who he adores and who adores him. Not only did she examine him and give him acupuncture on his first visit, she let me borrow a magnetic therapy wand to massage him with daily and taught me a few acupuncture tips to do at home. These include pinching Buster's tail and massaging the inside of his back paws. I noticed improvement in his energy level the very next day after his first treatment. Also, during this time Buster's cart arrived. My niece and the all of the neighborhood kids were thrilled to see Buster tooling around in his new set of wheels. He took to them like a fish in water. He especially loves all of the attention he gets on his walks!!
It has been 3 months since Buster became paralyzed and I see improvements in him every day. The vet told me that Buster would never walk again, but Buster has proved him wrong. He can stand and walk on his own now. He is very wobbly, but he seems to be improving his quality of standing and walking every day. He has regained some bladder control and that also seems to improve on a daily basis, too. He is still going for acupuncture every other week, as well as seeing a chiropractor. I give him daily massages with the magnetic wand and do some exercises with him. The thing that amazes me most is that Buster is such a happy, spunky little guy. He still wants to play with his toy alligator every day and loves going for walks with his brother and sister, Kipper and Angel. As I write this he is staring at a box of doggie treats and making some noise so I'll get up and give him one! During all of this I received a lot of support and encouragement from my family, Buster's vets, all of their staff, as well as Dodger's List. I realize that there are many kind and wonderful people out there willing to help a little doxie and his mom. I look forward to many years with Buster, as well as my two other doxies, Kipper and Angel. My advice to anyone going through this with a pet, is to never give up!!

ALFIE
Michelle Wobrak

On the evening of Monday, January 26, 2004, our 3-1/2 year old miniature dachshund, Alfie, began limping and acting out of sorts. We thought he may have pulled a leg muscle, as he likes to chase the cat through the house. When he awoke Tuesday morning, he was screaming in pain when he tried to move and was dragging his rear legs, with his back arched and quivering in pain. We immediately called our vet, who told us to bring him right in. After 2 days of steroid treatment and crate rest, with little to no improvement, she recommended a referral to vet surgeons who specialize in this surgery. We drove the 1-1/2 hours to have him admitted through the Vet E.R. where he was evaluated for admission, placed on pain meds and nothing by mouth, in case the surgeon opted for surgery the next day.

After a very restless night's sleep, we heard from the surgeon the next morning, who said Alfie had no deep pain sensation, but was in severe pain. He recommended surgery, but gave Alfie a less than 25% chance of ever walking again. The myelogram confirmed that Alfie had ruptured a disc, with much inner disc material splattered onto his spinal cord. We opted for surgery, with little understanding of the recovery process, but loving our Alfie-boy so much, that we wanted to give him every chance we could possibly afford.
He was paralyzed and incontinent upon his return home on Friday, January 30, 1 day post-op. Even though we were very properly instructed as to his care, nothing could have prepared us for the huge difference in our loving, active young dog. He was on crate rest for 4-6 weeks, and he seemed quite happy to be in there. Just looking into his eyes you could see the confusion, pain and discontent he was suffering.
Twelve days after surgery, we returned to the surgeon's for his staple removal and an evaluation. The surgeon quite bluntly told us that Alfie would never walk again. He suggested a cart, but strongly recommended euthanizing our dear pup because it would be so difficult for our busy schedules to care for him properly, and paralyzed dogs suffer from so many health concerns - bed sores, Gastro-intestinal upsets, etc.
My husband drove the 1-1/2 hour trip home, while I cradled Alfie in my arms, sobbing into his neck, with lots of puppy kisses to comfort me. We just couldn't give up that easily. We decided to investigate acupuncture, even as difficult as it was to continue with the incontinence and drastic temperament change in our dog (he became quite snappish, biting us if he perceived any movement on our part that might bring him pain).
Alfie began acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments (liquidambar & Jujube powder) on February 16, 2004, 2 weeks post op. That evening, after his first treatment, which he accepted with snarling, snapping and voicing his great disapproval of being touched in that way, Alfie curled into a ball for the first time since the night of his injury. After the second treatment, he began to voluntarily move his leg into a different position. We continued his physical therapy and hydrotherapy in the bath tub, as well as massaging his thighs & legs. By the end of February, Alfie could walk with the assistance of "tail-walking." By the beginning of March, he was stumbling along on his own in the grass, as he continued to gain strength. Inside, on the carpet, proved to be much more difficult, as the carpeting is a much smoother surface than the grass. By the end of March he was able to maneuver the carpeted floors inside, and by the ! end of April was "running." He doesn't exactly run the way he used to, but he can really get somewhere fast by "bunny hopping" and other awkward running movements - but the point is that he is up on all four feet 90% or more of the time. By the end of May, Alfie was able to manage the linoleum floor of our kitchen.
Alfie's mood has been one of our biggest obstacles. As a dog he cannot reason, but he certainly knew that things were different and between the confusion and frustration of that, coupled with the pain he was experiencing, he was quite a "little alligator." Acupuncture & the Chinese herbs have not only helped his mobility, but also his mood and playfulness. We have our old puppy back, even though his mobility is not 100%. Alfie may never physically be the same dog as he was, but at 5 months post-op, we believe that his healing process is not complete. Everything we have read, spoken with our vet-acupuncturist and the wonderful support of Dodgers, we have every reason to believe that it takes at least a year for full recovery of an injury of the severity that Alfie suffered. We hope and pray he continues to improve and without a doubt we continue to love him madly.
Please give your dog every chance that you can, and even though there will be people who scoff at acupuncture, read Alfie's story and all of the success stories posted here to see that it has tremendous healing properties. It is our hope that Alfie's story gives you hope.
Dodgerslist would like to thank Dr.Tricia Mucci in LaTrobe, PA for helping Alfie recover.

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