Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What You Might Not Know About IVDD

Gray Dress Day to Night

Gray Dress Day to Night by bunni711 featuring an enamel bangle

Sorry again for the delay in posting.  We've had a bit of drama because our dog has hurt himself again, pretty badly this time.  It started on Saturday when we went to my cousin's birthday party.  He was walking kind of slow that day and when we let him off the leash to run in the baseball field (fenced in), he wouldn't run at all, which was strange.  He is usually very active and loves to play and run around.  He also didn't want to play with his puppy friend Delgado and wasn't barking at anyone (with one exception).  When we were leaving, he tried to jump to the front of the car (on the console/arm rest), and missed.  The he turned around and tried to jump back and we could tell he was hurt.  He had spasms on the ride home and was crying a bunch.  It broke my heart and it didn't even seem like a serious fall since it was just in the car.  

After that, he seemed alright but his back was hurting him, so we gave him some medicine for the pain and inflammation and tried to keep him on bed rest.  Apparently he jumped off the couch again at some point and just let his hind legs fall.  Since around that time (maybe before), he has been dragging his back legs, especially the left one.  Sunday, he only went to the bathroom once at about 7am and didn't go again (despite being taken out several times) for over 24 hours.  We were worried and took him up to the emergency vet on Monday morning since it was Memorial Day and our vet's office was closed.

The emergency vet asked if we wanted to have back surgery for him, but it was going to be expensive and they don't accept any kind of payment plan.  We just don't have thousands of dollars laying around.  Plus, he was doing well on meds before.  They gave us some new, stronger medicine for the pain and inflammation, gave him some shots, and did some tests to see if he had deep pain sensation.  They weren't very open about what they thought was happening (that is so annoying, ugh!)  It was a worrying day and I think the vet made it worse.  She told us that if he wasn't able to use the bathroom on his own (because of possible nerve damage), we might have to put him down. 

Needless to say, I was beyond upset and I felt like the way she told us this made it ten times more upsetting.  I understand that she probably has to do that everyday, but she doesn't have to speak to us like she does - like it was just a fact.  Everyone was freaking out because he was still having trouble going and we were afraid he was paralyzed because he was still dragging his legs.  He didn't go to the bathroom all of Monday either, and everyone was crying a lot and really afraid about what was going to happen.  I was supposed to go to James' house yesterday, but decided I needed to stay with Teddy.  James was really upset, too, because he's pretty much Jamie's dog, too.

Thankfully, early Monday morning (about 2am when he had to take some meds), my mom woke Meghan and I up and told us that he had gone to the bathroom!  I was so happy and relieved - I really can't express how great it was to hear!  We took him in to his regular vet this morning, and he had a lot more hopeful things to say.  He told us that he has IVDD, which is a disc disease in his spine that dogs like him are very prone to.  Dachshunds and other dogs with short legs often develop the disease and many of them eventually have paralysis.  I had no idea it was so common - I remember hearing a lot that dachshunds have back problems, but I had no idea that (according to one website) 1 in 4 of them develop IVDD and that the back problems are so serious!  Dachshunds are probably my favorite breed, but I don't think I'll be adopting any more of them because this is really that serious.  I'm afraid of losing my baby and I don't want to live through anything like this again.  The vet said medium-sized mix-breed dogs are the healthiest, like labradoodles and other poodles and poodle mixes.

The vet said that he is able to put pressure on his back legs, which is a good sign.  He said that Teddy has a 50/50 chance of getting better or worse, but that if he does have paralysis in his legs, he will probably not be able to use the restroom without help.  That's why we've been so happy whenever he goes to the bathroom!  He's doing really well with that today - he been able to go on his own and has been trying to walk around a bit, but we're trying to discourage that since he could so easily hurt himself again.  He's on strict bed rest and someone is always by his side to make sure he doesn't try to jump off the couch again.

The vet also said that he should be on carpet or grass (no tile or wood) so that he can get traction, so we are going to buy an area rug for the living room (there are wood floors in here) and a runner for the hall (tile).  He's going to be sleeping on the floor from now on so that he can't jump off of any beds.  I'm so thankful that he is doing better, but there is still a chance that he could hurt himself again or things could take a turn.  I'm worried, but the vet didn't say anything like the emergency vet did.  Maybe he thinks that there isn't anything we can do if he can't use the bathroom himself, but I'm hopeful that he believes there are other options, based on what he said at our appointment.

We got more pills for Teddy at the vet and he changed the schedule some so that he's taking the steroids longer.  We have to get him off the steroids slowly.  He has also been drinking and eating more and he's alert and up on his front paws sometimes.  He has been putting some weight on his back legs, but he still has a long way to go, I think.  We were all devastated yesterday, thinking that his chances were not good, but I think that since he has been going on his own he still has a good chance of recovering.  I can't describe how I feel, really, I just can't lose my baby.  I am going to do whatever it takes, though, to make sure he has the best chances of getting better.  

Our vet said that he wouldn't personally own a dachshund since IVDD is such a big issue and it can take them away from you too soon.  He said his mom had four of them and they all ended up paralyzed.  I wish I had known this before, because I would have definitely taken his jumping much more seriously.  Everywhere I had read about "back problems" in doxies before made it seem more like arthritis or just trouble moving around and it didn't seem like a problem that most doxies had.  I wish someone had talked about how serious IVDD is and how common it is.  I would have taken every precaution to keep my baby from suffering from this.  I just want anyone reading this to know that he is doing well and not in pain.  We're taking the best care of him possible and doing everything we can to ensure he will get better.

But if you have a dachshund, never let them jump on or off of anything - not even the couch.  It may seem alright when they're young and they may bounce back from an injury quickly, but it could be getting worse and worse without you knowing.  And when they're older they just can't take that stress on their backs.  Train them from a young age to stay off the furniture or wait for you to put them on the floor or pick them up.  Don't let them on high furniture like beds.  Please just keep your doxies from having to go through this, whatever you do!