Yesterday our little dog Elvis suddenly started dragging his hind legs. He was paralyzed from his waist down. The day before I'd noticed that he was walking very stiffly and figured he'd hurt himself somehow. I rushed him to our vet who advised me to take him to Ames immediately. Iowa State University's School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the best in the country and I knew that many people take their pets there for specialized care.
So when DH got back from court, we packed him up and drove the two hours to Ames. Everyone there was so helpful and friendly. The two women who examined Elvis we later learned were just weeks away from graduating and becoming interns. Dr. Parkes, the neurosurgeon, was very kind and thoroughly explained what was happening to Elvis.
Apparently certain breeds of dogs, like shitz tsuz and dacshunds, have a predisposition to having ruptured discs in their spines. She said the discs harden or calcify and then any movement can cause them to rupture. Even going to the bathroom! The shreds of the disc were pushing against Elvis' spine, causing the paralysis. The only solution was spinal surgery to remove the fragments. Or put him down.
I'm not going to lie to you, we really thought hard about putting him down. The surgery will cost us $2,500.00. But we couldn't look into those beautiful eyes and trusting face and actually say "go ahead - we don't want him anymore."
So Elvis had spinal surgery yesterday. The doctor called last night when she was finished and told us everything had gone well and he was in doggie intensive care. He'll be in the hospital for a week then home for recovery for the next several months. He has an 80% chance of a full recovery. And, yes, it's possible that this could happen again. If it does, then, well, we'll face that problem if and when it happens.
If you'd ever told me that I would spend that kind of money on a dog before yesterday, I'd have told you that you're nuts. But how can you look at this face and not want to keep him close to you for just a little longer.