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Hi,

I wasn't sure where to post this- so I thought I would start here.

We haven't been on the board for a very long time. Sadly, I wish I was here for a better reason this time. Just this passed Sunday we came home from vacation to find that Ruby was unable to move her back legs. She was boarding at a daycare that has an excellent staff. They all are great with the dogs I don't suspect anything really happened to her other then just too much hard playing for her. She has a twing in her back befoer that required muscle relaxers 2 years ago. This time it's much worse. Teh vet gave her an injection for the inflammation and sent us home with pills to continue to try and get the inflammation down even more, as well as pills to protect her stomach from the meds.

There has already been some small response. She is able to feel me tickle her back toes now. On Sunday she couldn't feel anything. Unfortunately now that she can feel that she can also feel more pain. I picked up pain meds and they seem to be helping. She is able to rest and eat no problem.

We can't afford surgery.The vet said it is definitely a spinal issue and not dysplasia. We are attacking the inflammation. Our hope is that she will be mobile again. I'm very worried about her because I have to go back to work (took some time off to stay with her the last couple days). She will stay with the vet during the day, but we can only afford that for a couple days this week. Then she will need to be home alone.

For those of you are working through this and work full time, how are you managing this? What do you do with your dogs during the day? We have a very nice kennel for her- but frankly I'm worried about her dragging herself through urine and poop. I can put a diaper on her but I'm not sure how long this will last or if this is worse for her skin??

Any feedback is welcome. :confused:

I was just crushed when I saw her dragging. I spent all yesterday crying. I'm sleeping on the couch so I can stay beside her. She is eating and drinking and you can tell she wants to go outside and be normal. Or hind end just won't let her.

Thanks!
 

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Did the vet give you a diagnosis? The symptoms somewhat resemble those of a friend's GSD who was found to have a fibrocartilaginous embolism in the spine, in over-simplified terms a stroke in the spinal cord. Zack is young, had no previous issues but a couple of days after whacking the shins on his hind legs as he galloped up the stairs to the back deck, he was paralysed in the back legs. He was given anti-inflammatories and a few days later was sent home on crate rest. His owners both work full time so they are handling the toileting issues by taking him out with the help of a sling around his hind quarters right before leaving for work and immediately when coming home. He is quiet and crated during the day so he is managing to stay clean and dry. There are harnesses that you can use to help Ruby get around. Hopefully she will continue to regain use of the legs as treatment continues. If prednisone is one of her meds, it will make her need to urinate more often. Can anyone come in during the day to take her out to potty? If not, diapers or pee pads in a confined area, maybe an x-pen over tile, might be an option. Do ask your vet about payment plans or Care Credit if more expensive treatment is necessary. Fingers crossed for Ruby to continue to improve and regain her mobility.
 

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I'm so sorry for you and Miss Ruby:(

Where is she normally when you work? Lose in the house? If so, maybe block off a room for her, crate her??

No I wouldnt want her dragging herself thru feces/urine, which can burn/irritate her skin..

When my male was going downhill, neuro issues from chronic anaplasmosis , he was 13 years old..he had always been allowed free roam in the house with two other dogs, He knew his limitatons, so didn't move around much , I got him a huge comfy bed, blocked off stairs just to be on the safe side, and all was ok with him..

I hope the meds kick in , big hugs to you and ruby
 

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I'm so sorry! That must be devastating. :( I strongly encourage that you find a vet who is certified in acupuncture and also does laser therapy. I have seen more than one dog who went from paralyzed to walking when treated with acupuncture and laser therapy. You need to get her in there quickly though so that she doesn't lose too much muscle mass.
 

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Thank you for the quick responses! Ruby does not have an official diagnoses because we have not had her x-rayed yet. We are on a limited budget until we get paid and rent is due. However, our vet is very caring and told us, that it's definitely a spine issue and he didn't want us to have to wait to get her started on anti-inflammatories. He said if we got the x-ray that day, or later when we got paid, he would still want to start the course of meds, so let's just do it now. She is on:

FAMOTADINE
DEXAMETHASONE
and TRAMADOL

When we are at work I normally have her outside in a large kennel 8' x 13', with a shade screen covering the top (her dog house is in it too). The kennel has brick pavers in it. I'm worried that will be hard if she has to drag herself across. Really, I don't want her dragging herself anywhere and doing more damage.

I think maybe keeping her in kitchen on the laminate floor might be better? But she is already getting stir crazy with all the "rest"- until she tries to move about with her front end and yelps, and then she sighs and lays down :(

I may be able to come home from lunch to help her go out. But I'm not sure, all depends on what's on the roster for that day at work. Maybe my husband and I can switch off days coming home for lunch.

The vet also said she would need 6 weeks of rest and at least 4 months before any ball or other fun she loves so much. Right now... we are just hoping for her to be able to bear her own weight and be able to potty on her own outside. She looks like she feels bad when she goes suddenly - ears back and the sheepish GS soulful eyes. I talk to her reassuringly as I clean her up with baby wipes and let her know it's "ok". She just sighs. Clean up take at least 20 mins with all the wipes and icky poo fur, and sheet changes. I'm considering shaving her rear just around her tail :/

I don't mind taking care of her, she is worth it to me, I just want to make sure we are doing what's best for her. And that we are using our noodle and making clean up and care easier, not harder. I worry I jostle her about too much. She is very patient as always and helps me as much as possible. She shifts her weight when I ask her, and moves over- she is so smart!

It's heartbreaking when she whimpers from pain. She is going to board during the day at the vet tomorrow and we will pick her up after work- they will evaluate her pain meds and maybe up the dosage or change the type. I'm cringing at the idea of lifting her into the car tomorrow- but it has to be done.

I researched the rear lifting harnesses and we are definitely going to get one of those. Right now we are using the towel/sheet method as a sling.

It's amazing how excited a person can get over a dog being able to feel you tickle their toes. :( I just hope the progress continues. I have no idea what we are looking at- 2 weeks? 2 months? etc...

Thanks!
 

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Acupuncture! Yes! I almost forgot about that- we are going to look at that as soon as we can manage her pain and get her moving without hurting as much. Even if she starts walking tomorrow I want to get her going on maintenance acupuncture to keep the disc of nerves or whatever from getting this bad again. I haven't heard of laser therapy, I'll have to look that up.

Originally I wanted to do chiropractic care but our vet discouraged it saying with the pain she is and the spine delicate it would be dangerous and hasty at this point. We would need to confirm the x-ray first and then MAYBE they could consider it, but right now to stay away from it.

Thanks!
 

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Ive seen two dogs with paralysis in the back legs. One was from jumping down a 6 foot wall as a pup the other was from contorting catching a ball or frisbee. The pup was eventually put down after exhaustive medical treatment. the poor girl couldnt control her bowels and the spine injury was to severe for any operation. The other was a disk issue that was 90% cleared up with some steroid shots in the afflicted area and lifelong medical. He ended up living a good life albeit slightly handicapped.
 

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FAMOTADINE is Pepcid - depending on how much you are being charged for it, the store brand may be cheaper
DEXAMETHASONE Dexamethasone for Veterinary Use make sure you do not give aspirin or other NSAIDs
and TRAMADOL Tramadol

Someone mentioned: Fibrocartilaginous Embolism

Dodgerslist: canine back problems home page and they have a forum too - yes, mostly Doxies, but they seem to welcome any long backed breed.

Handicapped Pets | Dog Wheelchairs Help Disabled Pets Live a Better & Healthy Life has a ton of stuff and Support for Caretakers has some good archives of info too.

Ask a rehab vet about this stuff: Canine Orthopedic Equipment Designed for Increased Mobility and Extra Support - Whole Dog Journal Article I think if you can find a vet rehab place, they may be able to give you a lot of good advice. Some links to help search: TheraVet - Related Links

Good luck! Thanks for taking good care of her.
 

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your taking wonderful care of her, what a good mom you are! Yes I think leaving her in the kitchen on a laminate floor would be better than outside in the kennel, clean up will probably be easier to.

and yes to shaving her up! and yes to the harness, helps alot, and definitely yes to the acupuncture!

Please keep us updated, will be keeping you all in prayers
 

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We had to put down my sister's Collie for rear paralysis almost 10 years ago. It is a heartbreaking thing to watch. At first he just lost the use of his hind end, in which we were more than willing to carry him and discussed getting him a wheelchair. If we didn't respond to his desire to walk around fast enough, he would drag his back legs and walk solely on his front legs, it was horrible to watch. Soon after, he lost control of his bowels and bladder. The day he lost control was the day we euthanized him. Unfortunately he had somehow suffered a spinal cord injury and there was nothing that could be done for him. X-rays help but the medical bills for rear paralysis add up quickly. If the anti-inflammatory seem to help then you hopefully have a different situation.

The kennel should be ok, but crating may be better. You want to leave her in a place where she can't hurt herself if she falls over. If she wants to move she will most likely drag her back legs. When you get home you will have to check for additional wounds. A crate may help prevent her from trying to move around. You will probably have to clean her up after she uses the bathroom as well.

I hope this is just a temporary injury and she improves quickly.
 

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My 13yo lost the use of his rear end recently, after a 4 year battle. Stem cell treatment brought us a 2.5 year improvement.
We are using diapers and they work great!!! He tries to hold it until I am back from work, but he is not always successful. I switched him to raw with decent bone content, so his poops are dry and not smelly, in case he has an accident. I walk him with the rear end harness. I am working on making his cart more comfortable for him. We are doing great considering the circumstances.
 

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Thank you all for your input and continued support. Today I feel somewhat dejected. I had visions of her standing to meet me when I went to pick her up- of course that was a leap I know, but one can hope. :( She whimpered a lot as we managed her into the car home. She seems exhausted and spacey- she barely ate her dinner, maybe at the most half of it. The vet gave her an injection to manage the pain around 11am. She just got her evening meds at 7:45pm. We are going to try taking her out to potty in about an hour, I'm sort of dreading it- only because she seems to really be distressed by it and we are so awkward with her.

It's strange, it seems like it's been 2 weeks and it's only been day 3 really. We brought her home Sunday late afternoon.

I'm on the couch for the night watching her sleep. Been up since 4:30am cuz that's when she suddenly did her business- after clean up just decided to stay up and get ready for work. I'm not sleeping much because I'm afraid to miss something.

I'm really hoping tomorrow is better. I tickled her feet more today - she definitely feels them, but her legs are still being held like wet paper and she folds them under to sit like Eeyore.
 
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