Lumbar Cervical Injury
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    This past Saturday night during the last evening outing in the yard my 2 year old Rudy suddenly screamed out in pain and I ran over to find him lying on the ground. He was quickly going into to shock and panicking and I realized he had no movement in his hindquarters. So, I wrapped in a blanket and called our vet, who woke up and met us at his clinic. Rudy showed no external trauma but did not have positive responses to touch or pain in his back legs and lower back. His tail was droopy. He administered anti-inflammatory and pain medication andwe went home. He came by our farm early on Sunday morning and called for me to take him to the regional veterinary hospital for tests. We met with the neurosurgeon who went through all of the "what ifs" and went ahead with the MRI and prepared for possible surgery directly after. Luckily, we did not have the worst outcome. He has a traumatic injury to one of his cervical disks. He stayed at the hospital for a few days while they administered pain medication and we waited for him to spontaneously go by himself. Tuesday, I went to pick him up and take him to a specialised physio therapy clinic. He is receiving intensive hydrotherapy twice a day and massage therapy and PROM movement exercise.

    The surgeon predicts, with therapy, he could have a full recovery. There is already very positive improvement in his right leg. He is bearing weight and getting around like a little seal with his left leg dragging behind. His left leg and paw are still not moving spontaneously but do show reflex and pain response.

    He does not like it at the clinic, hates the water therapy and can't seem to relax with strangers. I know physio should be a positive experience to facilitate the best outcomes possible and I hope he can get the most out of the several days he will be there before I bring him home and begin the process here with out-patient visits.

    The vet said that this type of injury can be caused by anything?a tumble, turn, falling off the couch, playing rough, etc. It has breen a very worrying situation but we are glad that he is showing improvement. We really hope he makes that full recovery. A big challenge here is going to keeping him quiet with his brother in the house too.

    Has anyone else experienced this type of injury with their B?

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  • I have not had this kind of injury, but there are some treatments that I know about that may help. My Digital did do hydrotherapy for muscle atrophy. He did not enjoy it, but did learn to tolerate it. For your dog, I would also look into a Back on Track jacket. You can read about their products here:

    http://www.backontrackproducts.com/Dog-Products-c12/

    They are thought very highly of in the agility community and I've used a hock brace with my malinois who tore her CCL. I don't know why a hock brace helps a torn CCL, but hubby and I both noticed she did almost immediately better when she started wearing it. (We've opted for nonsurgical methods with her.) I got my brace through amazon.com

    I would also start working on strengthening your dog's core. I have a fitpaws disc that is good for that. I believe it is the starting point for these exercises and will help with balance as well as building up the core (body) muscles.

    http://www.fitpawsusa.com/FitPAWS-Balance-Disc-Canine-Fitness-Equipment/productinfo/FPAWSBD/#.UvOe4BBdVu4

    I have one large disc and it works quite well for a basenji-sized dog. There are other pieces of equipment on their website that you can look at. I am not sure about overseas shipping.

    In the US there is also something called laser or light therapy. http://www.lasertherapyfordogs.com/
    I have heard good things, but have not used it myself.

    also, look into fish oil supplements and something with Arnica in it. (I use Zeel or Traumeel - i use it regularly on myself and my dogs - the malinois and the 16 year old basenji)
    http://www.heel.ca/Heel-ca-Zeel.html?ActiveID=10007122

    good luck and please keep us informed.

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    Thank you for the advice. It is greatly appreciated. I just got back from visiting and helped with the hydrotherapy session. I don't think he will ever like it. Same with baths at home. But, he does LOVE the blowdryer so that makes up for it. The neurosurgeon did tell me that these types of injuries have no pain past the 2 day post injury so that is good. I am going to bring him home for the weekend and he will go back again on Monday. The vet therapist recommended a quiet weekend with just massage and they will show me more tomorrow when I go to pick him up. She also said his back is quite blocked.
    Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the cost of this therapy! Of course there is no question about continuing but ouch!

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  • well, hopefully you can do stuff at home and that will decrease the cost.

    Also, you may want to look into Ttellington touch. There are books and dvd's out there. you mentioning massage made me think of it. the back on track stuff is a little pricey, but i've been so impressed. and i should clarify that the malinois was not immediately healed, she was just moving better than before the brace. (my earlier post could have sounded like it was a miracle cure. it's not, it is part of the solution/treatment.)

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    Well Rudy is on his road to recovery. He spent 2 weeks at an animal physiotherapy clinic. I am continuing his therapy at home which consists of 3 times daily massage and manipulation and 4 walks of 20-30 minutes each on leash and a few nice runs off leash. He is not dragging his paw anymore and is rebuilding his lost muscle and coordination. When he is a bit tired he will have some hindquarter ataxia. He can climb 2 stairs now too. It is such a vast improvement from his paralysis. I have to be quite careful as our other B, Jenga, loves endless play and can be too energetic. But, all-in-all, he is really doing well and the hardwork will continue.

    Agile, thanks for the heads up on Ttouch. I happen to be enrolled in a course for horses. The instructor also has a companion animal course later in the year. Having to do the massage for my Rudy has opened up my eyes to the benefits of massage. Certainly not only for the physical aspect but the mental and behavioral as well. Not just for the dog but for me too. I find I really like doing it!

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  • i'm so glad to hear Rudy is doing so well on the recovery road. Hopefully you won't have too many set backs, but a few along the road is normal I think. Let me know about the Ttouch. I haven't done much of it, but I know some people have had some great results with it.

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    I'm happy to hear that Rudy is recuperating. That sounds so scary!

    I haven't tried hydrotherapy, but I've had two dogs that experienced positive results with massage and acupuncture. I'm glad you've found a regime that's working.

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  • I am so sorry that you and poor Rudy have gone through this but that he is improving is wonderful. I have only had one dog with spine injury, in her neck. Fortunately with anti-inflammatory injections, a few chiropractor/vet appts and lifetime use of bromelain, she recovered and rarely had issues. Your dog's injury however is heart stopping. Thank goodness you and your vet acted so quickly before irreversible damage was done.

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