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Kat needs board mojo

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Harley had had one other episode of back issues about a year earlier, his Papillon squirrel-tail was drooping. Vet said at the time he had some arthritic changes and some narrowing in his spine (he was 10 at the time) but he should be ok, we should just watch him and limit jumping.

 

Then, one Saturday night at 11 pm, Harley ran through the living room into the kitchen with a toy, 3 minutes later he returned dragging his rear legs. ER vet suggested the FCE which I had never heard of. Xrays looked OK and 30 minutes later the R leg had some return while the L leg was basically flaccid and no feeling or proprioception. She sent us home with steroids and an order for crate rest and see our regular vet on Monday.

 

Monday, my regular vet at the practice was out, strange vet gave me the gloom-and-doom that he likely would never walk again, and poo-pooed the idea of an FCE. I waited for the regular vet to return, and he agreed it could be and since at this point Harley could poop and pee and even though he was struggling could get around, we had no reason to rush into something drastic. We did the steroids for 2 weeks and I made a sling and we walked. My research at this point was pointing directly at FCE, so we decided to treat him like it was (meaning P.T.).

 

Over 6 weeks or so he got a LOT of return. Eventually, he recovered fully. If you see him run you can see his gait is weird, but he can walk, run and get anywhere he wants at any speed. He can even hike his leg again. He still has a weak back and is prone to back spasms, but we try to watch and we are starting to swim in a heated pool.

 

Harley was completely freaked out when it happened: he shook, he stood frozen in fear, you could tell he had no idea what happened. Within 48 hrs he very pragmatically got over it and was happy to drag himself around and found creative ways to mark when he peed. I think it was far more stressful on me than him.

 

I am aware he could blow a disc at any time, so we try hard to limit jumping and other activities that would result in a hard bounce. Other than that, we let him be Harley.

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Hopefully Kat has something less serious but Sara was unable to move her back legs and then just her left back leg due to pressure on her spine from abdominal bleeding from hemangiosarcoma. Steroids got her back on her feet for the limited time she had remaining.

 

Sending mojo, prayers and good vibes for Kat - and for you.

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Peggy had a similar thing happen when she was about 7 or 8 years old; out running, suddenly dead lame in the hind. High-dose steroids with a rapid taper, vet ortho consult (x-rays only which showed some arthritic changes and no fracture), crate rest was the initial management. Looking back, it probably was an FCE, but we'll never know. She did not do well with conservative therapy and became quite depressed. We then went the chiropractic route which saved her life; after two adjustments her gait was nearly normal and she was able to go back to work. We continued her adjustments for years. She went on to return to trialing and lived to be 15 1/2. You could tell there was something a little funny in her gait. As she got really old, her gait got weirder but she was mobile up until very close to the end.

 

Good luck with Kat. I hope her outcome is as positive as Peggy's was.

 

Amy

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Gosh, good thoughts coming from Canada. Poor Kat, and poor you. One of my adopters' dogs developed an FCE - he was out with his walkers and collapsed. Steroid therapy and underwater treadmill work and physical rehab were the answer. He walks today! He was older at the time, and not in the best shape, so he wears a harness with a handle so his owner can support him across slippery floors and into the car and such, but he otherwise is still playing ball etc., just a little more slowly. Hope Kat recovers quickly!

 

RDM

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Oh no..I just saw this.:(

 

Lots of good northern mojo coming to Kat and you! Zach has some leftover board mojo that he's sharing too.

 

I hope she responds well to the acupucture treatment.

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Lots of mojo coming your way!! Sorry to hear about poor Kat, that's awful.

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What a scary thing to have happen. We will be keeping all our fingers and paws crossed. After the last three weeks you have my full sympathy with the cost of expensive procedures and trying to persuade vets to look at other angles.

All the Best Karen

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If anyone has had experience with something like this, please share your stories. Regarding what might be the cause, basically my vet said that unless I opted for back surgery or expensive diagnostics (MRI, etc.), then the treatment protocol was standard--steroids.

 

She's got an appointment with an acupuncturist at 11.

 

J.

We've not had this experience with a dog, but with a Manx cat who had a hard landing off the fireplace mantle and twisted her back resulting in damage to both back legs. She drug both back legs for a short time, then one leg started working, but not the other. She was am extremely difficult cat for strangers to handle to put it mildly. Our regular vet was on vacation and a very young vet was taking calls for him. We tried to warn "the kid" that the only reason she was sitting quietly was because she was injured, in pain, and she had a Moray eel-like personality to begin with -- she lurked, waiting for people to get within range. He wouldn't listen and attempted to handle Henrietta without sedation and she just exploded into a devilish ball of fur, teeth, and claws, probably wrenching her back further in the process. Dripping blood, the poor kid fled the examining room, tossed us a packet of steroid medication and suggested that for further treatment, Henrietta's problem were best pursued at Cornell.

 

We didn't want to put the cat through an hour and a half car ride (one way) and the stress of an examination, sedation, etc. Based on my own experience with back injuries, if you can keep comfortable and give the soft tissues some time to heal, that can make a big difference, so we decided to wait for our regular vet to return from vacation, and we opted for the crate rest, the steroids, etc. for a week to see if there was any improvement as Henrietta wasn't in pain when she was at rest. By the end of the week, there was some improvement and we continued the protocol and within a month, she was doing well, regaining the use of both of her back legs - but she was physically well (though no longer a high jumper) and lived at least another six years after that incident.

 

All our best thoughts for Kat

 

Liz

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I was just reading through the thread and thought I'd let you know that my agility instructor is currently dealing with an injury in one of her dogs, so she's taking him to PT, chiro, etc. If you need recommendations for practitioners, let me know and I'll be happy to see who she uses. She's in Statesville, but travels to W-S for PT/hydrotherapy, not sure where she has her chiro work done.

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Thanks for the encouraging posts. Kat's the same, but it's been just 48 hours. She is able to go to the bathroom, and I'm keeping her crated except for when I carry her outside to go potty. I do worry that she'll do more damage in the process of trying to drag one leg around, but hopefully that's not the case.

 

I'm hoping that Christmas or a day or two after will bring some improvement. The waiting and wondering is hard though. So far she seems in good spirits and a friend of mine gave me a tip sheet she made for her vet for dogs recovering from surgery so I can do some things to keep her at least mentally stimulate. And Becca stopped by and showed me some massage techniques as well, so I'm doing what I can and trying to stay positive.

 

Erin,

I will probably take you up on some recommendations once we see which way things are going with Kat. I don't care if she can't ever work again, but I sure would like her to be able to run around and have a happy doggy life. It's probably a bit soon for hydrotherapy, given that she has no use of that leg, but I am a great believer in the value of the treatment because it brought Jill back to being able to work again when all my vets said that was impossible. I will probably also want to find a chiropracter once/if she starts using that leg again, but I think that's another thing that should wait until after the swelling, etc., is under control.

 

J.

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I'm hoping that Christmas or a day or two after will bring some improvement. The waiting and wondering is hard though. So far she seems in good spirits and a friend of mine gave me a tip sheet she made for her vet for dogs recovering from surgery so I can do some things to keep her at least mentally stimulate. And Becca stopped by and showed me some massage techniques as well, so I'm doing what I can and trying to stay positive.

 

 

This might take a while...try not to get too down if she doesn't bounce back. She needs time to heal and if it is an FCE or something like it, that damaged part doesn't get fixed...she can just learn to go around it and that takes time and work.

 

I am always amazed at how the dogs take it in stride even when we don't.

 

I'm sorry this happened to you both, and I hope you experience the same good fortune that Harley and I did. I'm grateful every day he is here with me.

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My Yeats dog had a spinal cord infarction quite a while ago (> 5years ago). Like Kat, he was treated with high doses of steroids (followed by a course of oral steroids). I needed to help him get around by supporting his back end with a towel looped under his belly for at least a week. He never got his function completely back on the one side but has been a happy and active dog until recently (the decline due to age and unrelated problems). I don't remember how long it took for him to plateau in improving but, if I recall correctly, it took quite a while (maybe a month or more).

 

Good luck with Kat! I've never regretted rehabbing Yeats.

 

Kim

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The sooner you start PT the better her chances are of a full recovery. Actually, most therapists think the average vet waits too long to refer for treatment. It makes their jobs much harder and reduces the odds of recovery.

 

I started massage, range of motion and hydrotherapy the day after my dog's FCE. If I had known someone who could have done acupuncture I would have included that in his treatment protocol. He recovered well enough to work stock and fool most people into thinking that he is totally sound. Actually, his neurologist says he is amazed how well he did considering the extent of his injuries (he also had a broken leg) and credits a mix of diet and PT with his success.

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The thing is that the vets I've talked to so far regarding Kat (the vet who saw her intially, the acupuncture vet, my holistic vet) all seem to think it's a disc rupture problem (or similar)--at least that's the apparent assumption upon which her current treatment regimen is based. The holistic vet did recommend starting PT ASAP (of course we have to take into account the holidays), and I plan to do that, even if it's just me keeping that leg massaged and moving. So far there has been no change.

 

Without a true diagnosis, I guess we're just flying blind and hoping for the best. Given what I've been told so far, I assume that if after a month to six weeks there's no improvement, then we move on to the option of amputation.

 

J.

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