(Excerpts from Jake’s original diary starting the summer of 2008. We began this diary to let folks know that there is life after a diagnosis of IVDD. And it can be a very long and happy life)
Jake is a 5 year old red smooth neutered male. Jake got lucky and got adopted a couple of months ago but then fate took a nasty turn. Jake did something to rupture a disk in his back and has completely lost the use of his rear legs. This is called IVDD and effects many dachshunds often with no warning at all. He came back to DachsieHaven because we have much more experience in caring for disabled dogs than his new family did.
(07/15/08) Due to financial constraints and the $3k plus cost of surgery and $1800 for just an MRI we are having to care for Jake medically rather than surgically. We are hoping to put together enough funds in the next few weeks to afford a trip to an excellent neurologist. In the mean time Jake is on crate rest and taking his medication. If all goes well in a couple of weeks Jake will also start acupuncture treatments and when his 8 weeks of crate rest is up we will look into chiropractic treatments.
Jake is not the first disabled dachshund here at DachsieHaven but he is by far the most serious case. Both my Angel and her Grandpa Taz have had more minor bouts with IVDD and are walking again. Angel was unable to walk for almost a month before she started showing improvement. Her bout of IVDD came at age 3 and now at age 7.5 no one would ever imagine she couldn’t walk.
Angel and Taz’s full recovery and Jake’s therapy are being assisted with great information and emotional support by the folks on Dodger’s List a website and yahoo group for people who have dachsies (and other dogs) with back injuries. The lesson that they stress is that paralysis is not the end of the road for these wonderful pups its just the beginning of a new chapter. If Jake doesn’t recover the use of his legs he will be fitted for a cart so he can run and play like he always has. For now he is in his kennel in the living room and borrowing a special doggie stroller so he can go on walks and camping with the rest of the family.
Our hope for Jake is that even if he ends up disabled he will be able to find a forever family to love and care for him. Anyone who is interested in possibly adopting Jake should contact us at any time.
(update 08/10/08) Jake is making great progress and is showing signs that signals are making their way to his legs. He can wiggle his legs and wag his tail and doesn’t like to get his paws tickled. He no longer has to wear a belly band and is taking care of “business” with only a little help when he goes outside.
(update 08/18/08) Today Jake got wheels. He can’t use them a lot yet because he’s still doing mostly crate rest and its not totally finished but he liked it … safety pins and all.
(update 12/7/08) In the last couple of weeks Jake has made great strides. He actually held himself up and took a step before falling over more than once. This is a major breakthrough because we now know for sure that the information is getting to the legs. Now we just have to work harder on PT to build up his strength so he can hold himself up.
(update 2/2/09) Last Friday Jake walked on his own. Well actually ran like a drunken sailor but he did it on all fours. I took him camping with us for the weekend. When I took Taz out from the trailer for an evening walk I decided I would put Jake down on the grass for a bit of fresh air. The next thing I know he is running along the fence line in the grass. I didn’t know whether to shout encouragement or admonishment for running off without his leash.
(Update 2/12/09) Yup that is a picture of Jake standing at the water dish all by himself. He can walk just a bit and stand just a bit but by golly the boy will walk again.
(Update 7/3/09) Jake has been working very hard on his physical therapy routine. He walks with his legs in his weenie wagon and he swims in the tub and his new puppy pool. He has been doing just great and his walking is starting to improve.
(Update 7/24/10) Jake got his Eddie’s Wheels cart earlier this spring and has been tearing around in it like his tail was on fire. He loves his new cart and it is so much sturdier and more comfortable than his old home made one. (Quieter too).
Current Update – Jake has become a permanent resident at DachsieHaven. He has taken up a special roll as Rescue Mascot and Spokespuppy for Life with IVDD. Jake joins me at a number of events each year including the Oktoberfest Dachshund Races to help educate people about dachshunds and IVDD. He is a rolling example of how great life can be living with IVDD. Since there are still vets out there that tell their patients that the only options are trying to fix the injury surgically or euthanasia we are out there to be a visual reminder that there is another very viable and livable alternative. While back in 2008 we had hoped that Jake’s walking was a sign of healing it turns out the kind of walking he does is purely reflexive. It is called spinal walking and while he is still technically paralyzed he does a pretty good job of getting around the house and yard without his wheels. He still has no pain sensation, or any other feeling, in his lower back and rear legs so we have to be very careful that he does not hurt himself when he goes adventuring in the yard without his chair.