Monday, May 11, 2009

Smokey's Intervertebral Disk Disease

Last Wednesday night my little baby Smokey was acting very funny after a walk outside. He would not walk or let me pick him up and he was all tensed up. I was scared that he might have pulled a muscle (that afternoon he had tripped on a stepping stone while walking.) We debated on taking him to the emergency clinic that night....I wish we had. We decided not to because we didn't want to spend a bunch of money to have someone tell us that he had a pulled muscle or strained his him or something simple like that. So, we went to bed with him on Wednesday night and just decided to wait until morning to make a decision.

Thursday morning, he wouldn't walk far and when he did it was painful. Brent was scheduled to go in at 11:00, so he called the vet around 8:30. He told them that Smokey was having trouble using his back legs. They said we couldn't come until 4:30. (later on we found out that they should have told Brent to bring him in right away. The vet was mad that this didn't happen...we were too.) By the time I got home on Thursday Smokey wasn't using his back legs at all. I was very scared at this point.

The vet told us that this condition (intervertebral disk disease) is common in Pekingese and other small, short legged dogs. I have never heard of it before...and I researched this bread long before I got Smokey. She told us that there were two options: neurological surgery (which is $4,000 1/2 of which has to be paid upfront!) or steroid treatment. We asked lots of questions and found out that neither of these options were 100% going to work. This is when I broke the thought of my baby being paralyzed for the rest of his life. And then the thought of what would happen if he didn't get better....we would have to put him down. I wouldn't want him to live without control of his legs. I cried in front of the vet and felt like an idiot...but this is my little Smokey. ( I am even getting teary now..)

We decided to try the steroid treatment. Smokey stayed the night at the vet on Thursday. I cried all the way home and most of the night. Friday was a tough day....I worried about him all day. I went after school and picked him up. He has since been home and it is so sad to watch helpless. He has peed and pooped on himself several times and has to stay in a crate. He won't eat much either. It breaks my heart. I slept beside him on the couch (while he was on the floor) all weekend. We get up every couple hours to go out. I have seen a tiny bit of improvement...he has some muscle movement in his upper hips and thighs. When I stretch his leg out, he pulls it back in. It doesn't sound like much, but it is progress to me.

I really hope that this treatment works. It will be at least 2 to 3 weeks before we can see real improvement. In about 10 days, we will start swimming therapy...supposed to be great for this condition.

Keep praying for my little Smokey. He appreciates it, and so do Brent and I.