Poor puppy.

Posted: October 6, 2006 in pets

Last night as I opened the gate to the back yard to let the dogs in, I saw Gadget dragging his hind legs and yelping. I assumed he was having another seizure. He’s been having very mild seizures for the past few years, where he’ll stiffen completely, stick his tongue straight out of his mouth, and bulge out his eyes.

So I held him and calmed him, but he didn’t regain the use of his hind legs. He acted stressed, but he ate just fine and was completely alert, so we pampered him and held him while we watched TV, and he slept in his usual spot when we all went to bed.

This morning, however, he still hadn’t regained the use of his hind legs. So I called the vet and dropped him off for the day. The vet called back and told us that she didn’t think the lack of use of his legs was related to a seizure, but to a back injury. She did x-rays and blood work, and found a slipped disc in his back that was compressing his spinal cord and making him lose his motor functions. She said the swelling was severe and if she couldn’t get it to reverse through medication, Gadget would have to have surgery. Even surgery might not be successful. Best case scenario the swelling would reverse and he would regain the use of his legs. Worst case the paralysis was progressive and would continue to move to other areas of his body. At which point, we’d “have a choice to make”.

So. I freaked out, of course. The vet said she would continue to monitor him through the day – the most telling evidence of the severity of his condition would be whether or not he could urinate on his own. If yes, the paralysis hadn’t progressed past his legs. If no, the paralysis was moving through his body and taking away its functionality at the involuntary level.

We communicated throughout the day, and at 5:00 we went to pick him back up. He was moving his legs a bit, though he still couldn’t coordinate movement or support his weight. A telling sign of Gadget’s condition was when the vet deomonstrated that Gadget “didn’t know where is legs were”. She’d bed his paw forward so that the top of it rested on the floor and his pads were facing upward (like standing on the top of your foot instead of the bottom). Instead of instantly correcting it like a normal dog would, he just left it there.

She showed us how we could support his hind end with a towel while he stood up and tried to walk. She gave us some pain killers, swelling reducers, and muscle relaxers. Gadget absolutely can not be allowed to move around at all, so he has to stay in his crate unless we’re holding him or carrying him outside to support him (I found an ace bandage works better than a towel) while he does his business.

He never urinated while at the vet’s, but he went in his crate on the towels we lined it with, so at least we know that part works. He ate his dinner really well (the dogs know they’re getting pampered when I make them rice and scrambled eggs). He seems to be comfortable and relaxed, and took his muscle relaxer like a good little man. We’re supposed to take him back again tomorrow morning.

If he’s going to improve, it should show itself markedly in the next week. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll have to assess his quality of life and maybe make the hard decision.

I HATE this part of pet ownership. My poor little guy.

  1. […] he’s going. He hasn’t slowed down, not one little bit, even though he’s still gimpy and still has the occasional […]

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