Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 1885

Dot suffered a serious setback today. The day started normally enough. Both dogs went out in the back yard to pee right after they woke up. Everything was normal. Dot and Dash wandered around the house while we got dressed to take them on their regular morning walk. Then Dot decided to stretch. I'm sure that many of you have seen dogs stretch their legs out behind them after they've been sleeping. Dash does this every morning and Dot used to stretch this way as well when she was younger. I don't know what made her feel like stretching this way today. Maybe she was feeling good. Almost immediately something went wrong. After stretching, she couldn't stand normally again and began to stumble. Within minutes, her rear legs were completely paralyzed.

An emergency trip to the vet confirmed my worst fears. By stretching this way, Dot had managed to rupture or blow out a disc in her spine. This is serious. If we are really lucky, cortisone shots might be able to reduce the inflammation enough so she could regain some limited mobility. If we aren't so lucky, surgery is usually the only alternative. We are seeing one of the best veterinary neurologists in the area tomorrow morning and are hoping for the best. Dot will probably have an MRI or CAT scan tomorrow to see exactly what is going on in her spine. We can't even begin cortisone treatments yet because she still has Rimadyl in her system and the two drugs can't be administered at the same time. She has to wait a minimum of 48 hours to clear the remaining Rimadyl from her body.

Dot is totally confused. One minute she was feeling great and the next minute her rear legs are paralyzed. She is still alert and has a good appetite, but she can't move. We still had a special harness that helped our first Dalmatian get about when his legs began to fail. Unfortunately, this harness didn't fit Dot. During her exam, our vet was able to fit Dot for a new Help 'Em Up Harness which is much better than the old Walkabout Harness that Spot used to wear. The harness can only do so much though. Dot has no sensation in her rear legs and doesn't even attempt to move them.

One of the most difficult things with a paralyzed dog is getting them to pee and poop. Our vet was worried that the injury might have damaged the nerves that control her bladder. I was worried too. Luckily, Dot can still pee. It's messy and it's difficult to get her into a squatting position, but she was able to pee after dinner tonight. A little later, she pooped as well, so there's still hope.

I canceled all my appointments, including my dental surgery, for next week. I don't know what lies ahead at this point, but I'm sure it will involve constant care and attention. You can't really leave Dot alone in this condition because she could easily injure or even break one of her rear legs without even realizing it. I've cared for a dog with a spinal injury once before and it was extremely difficult. Spot did eventually recover though and I want to give Dot every possible opportunity to recover as well. I don't know if she's strong enough for surgery, especially since she had such a difficult time recovering from her cancer surgery last year. Hopefully, the neurologist will be able to give us some hopeful news tomorrow. I'm a strong person, but this has really got me down.

Lucy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day