This is part 2 of our story with Dexter who was diagnosed with IVDD ( a disorder that can leave a dog paralyzed due to a slipped or herniated disk in their back) last Sunday night. If you missed part 1 you can read it here.
To recap: Dexter was dragging his hind legs and we drove 2 hours in a snow storm to get to a 24/7 vet. They were optimistic about our options, but their x-ray machine was broken. So we headed to another 24/7 vet who said we had to put Dexter down if we couldn’t afford the surgery. Somehow we got the vet to agree to let us try crate rest with steroids.
We got home after midnight, exhausted and overwhelmed. Hubby went right to bed and I sat up with Dexter trying to get him to sleep. He couldn’t get comfortable and cried a lot. He wasn’t in pain as the second vet had given him a shot of morphine, he just couldn’t seem to figure out what was going on. Finally at 6 am he laid down and I was able to sleep for 2 hours. At 8 I desperately had to get the goats and chickens out and fed. Goat’s don’t care if you’ve been up all night, they want their hay!
Monday was the start of crate rest. I took him out only for potty breaks. I would hold his hips and help him walk around the yard until he found “the spot” to go. I would spread his legs apart and get him in position. His back legs were completely limp, so I was his legs.
I made arrangements with my manager at work to work shorter shifts so I could be home to give him his medication, rearrange him (he needed to be turned every 3-4 hours to prevent bed sores) and take him outside. He knew when he had to go, but it was very short notice. When he whined to go out, I had to get him there right that moment or else. I didn’t know this the first time and he got very upset when he peed all over himself.
When I got home from work Tuesday he stood up to greet me. I thought my heart would burst from happiness. It was extremely wobbly and only lasted for about 5 seconds and he fell back down again, but he was standing.
By Wednesday I was getting worried because he wasn’t pooping. I found an awesome group on Facebook for dogs with IVDD and starting reading. I read everything I could. I started gaining hope because Dexter could stand for brief moments and his tail wagged. I learned about “expressing” a dogs bladder and his bowels, and tried to get him to poop. I put plain canned pumpkin in his food in case he was constipated. Finally I got the best piece of advice from a lady on the dog group. Just let him go. So I took him outside and I backed away. He stumbled and hobbled a couple of steps away from me and went. Never has anyone been so happy about a dog turd as I was in that moment. Apparently he didn’t like me hovering so close. I carried him back inside and back in the crate he went.
By Thursday he was walking. He sort of looked like he was drunk, because he stumbled and swayed a lot, but it was huge progress. By Thursday night he was convinced he could do anything and I had to keep yelling at him to stop him from running. On Sunday the vet told me he would never walk again, and here he was 4 days later ready to run. You can’t hold a good dog down.
He seemed stiff Friday and Saturday he was whining a bit. His legs are still working well and seem to be getting stronger everyday, so it is possible that there is more feeling in the nerves and he’s starting to feel pain again. He’s on pain killers as well as steroids for the swelling. I wrap them well in peanut butter and he takes them without problem.
We are hoping for a full recovery. Dexter is hoping to get out of crate rest. He hates it. I have to make sure the crate door is properly closed because he has become a master at escaping. One time I found the cat in the crate like some sort of decoy, and the dog was missing. I eventually found him hiding in the closet. He still has 3 weeks to go on full crate rest. After that we’ll start going for short walks to build his legs back up with crate rest in between. A total of 6 weeks is what we’re hoping for.
To help with boredom we’re been giving him uncooked soup bones to chew on. When I’m home and able to watch him he gets to lay on the couch and look out the window. He loves watching for the older lady that lives down the street from us. She walks by 3 times a day with her dog and Dexter loves to bark at her. Thankfully the pain killers make him sleepy so there are a lot of long naps in between.
I continue to pray over him daily. We have awesome friends and family who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers as well. We’re just taking it day by day, but we’re pretty sure he will make a full recovery.
Thank you Lord.
(This is my favourite picture of Hubby and Dex. Taken on an old flip cell phone. Hubby was so baby faced!)
2 thoughts on “Dexter. Part 2.”
Sounds like you are doing all the right things! Our neighbors 5 dogs stay at our house a lot, they had sort of adopted us. One day as I was leaving the house, right after turning out of the drive way one of the little boys named wags ( we call him obbey one) ran under my back tire. I heard him scream and heard the crunch:( He ran off from the shock and because of how our road is I had to go turn around to come back and look for him. It was raining and I spent hours praying and looking even got my neighbor to help. Long story short he made it back to our house that night on three legs( up hill through woods) one leg was badly injured, I took him to the vet, they gave him fluids and said he needed X ray, surgery most likely talking over 2 grand. You know initially when these things happen it’s the fear that gets you but when you slow down and lisen to your true feelings on the matter It more often than not is right on. So me myself avoiding doctors Like the plague( for good reason) I said we will take him home and care for him. The vet acted like I was horrible telling me the worst case scenario and such. They gave me some pain meds said he would need it. (The neighbor actually paid for those).. Did I say long story short? Well we kept him at our house, I got him a little bed and his diet was raw beef, sardines plain yogurt and I gave him parvaid to settle his stomach and boost his immune system then I used some homeopathic remedies which I don’t get all into that stuff like some folks just get weird but I had read about st.John’s wort for nerve pain and arnica for pain also. I just put the little pellets in his yogurt. He was a trooper. The first few days he just rested but within a couple of days he seemed so much better then within a couple of weeks he was putting wait on the leg and even running with it once in a while. I felt like taking him back to the vet just to show them but I didn’t and my experience over time has taught me I can’t be bothered with the worry of what others think so long as I am truly doing what I am fully convinced in my heart to be right as the Good Lord leads us and tells us to. Obbey doesn’t chase cars anymore and he is pretty much our dog now he doesn’t leave.. So take heart there is a better way then the allopathic way and more folks are waking up to that. To nuture the whole person( or creature) mind body and spirit pray, pray,pray!!
Oh my goodness! Poor Obbey, but I’m so glad you were able to care for him and that he healed. What a lucky boy to have you! The vet always goes to the worst case (and most expensive) senerio. It gets tiresome! We also avoid doctors and vets and tend to do things more natural – in this case though I felt a little out of my league, and felt I needed to have a diagnosis. Oh how I prayed it was just a pulled muscle! Prayer, rest, and good nutrition can heal the worst of things, if it’s God’s will. I would LOVE to take him back to that second vet and parade him around, but that’s just for my own pride so I guess I shouldn’t 😉