Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dudley's Story

Dudley is our second born. A puppy for life. We got him from a rescue and often joke that we rescued him from the rescue. I didn't really like that we "supported" the rescue we got him from and I know that rescues aren't out there to make money or anything, but this place left something to be desired. He was pretty sick when we got him and so, so skinny. My vet, whom I adore, estimated him to be about 8 to 10 weeks old. He had already been neutered (way early) and was promptly put on medication for worms. But, as anyone who has met our Dudley can attest to, he won us over immediately.

{Love at first sight}

Oliver didn't like him at first. It was a solid 6 months before he would even tolerate being within 5 feet of him. And God forbid they share my lap. Eventually though, they became the best buds. Two peas in a pod. Inseparable. He's always been a little "slow." Never really catching on to things quickly, never as fast or strong as his brother. It's like he would be a puppy forever. Even his face looks a lot the same.

{Brothers}

He goes by many nicknames: Dudley, Dudders, Duddykins, Duddy Buddy, Tooters, Squeakers, the list goes on. Which is pretty funny, because Oliver is just Oliver. Not Ollie. Oliver. They are my kids and they have successfully turned my husband into a head-over-heels dog lover. They sleep in the bed with us, under the covers of course, and are always found in someone's lap if it's available. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

{Life with a Dachshund}

{I think he likes her!}

Then, in August, I came home to find Dudley acting funny. He was in pain. I thought maybe he jumped off the couch wrong or stepped on something. It's not the first time one of the boys has gotten hurt doing something. We just thought we'd watch him. The next day he seemed fine. Then I noticed something. It was like he didn't want to put weight on his back right leg. I thought again, he hurt it. But it was evening and the vet was closed. I didn't think it was serious enough for an emergency trip so we waited again. The next day it was worse. He was walking like he was drunk. Wobbly. Unable to control his back legs well. I immediately took him in and that was my introduction to IVDD - Intervertabral Disc Disease.

{Crate rest}

Long story short, Dudley had a herniated disc in his back. This is every dachshund-owner's worst nightmare. A back problem. We were sent home for the weekend with instructions for strict crate rest, prednisone, and  a pain killer. We had to be diligent with his crate rest. No real movement for at least 4 weeks except for a few steps outside to go potty. We obeyed to a tee. Then Monday, the worst happened - he went completely lame.

He couldn't walk. The couldn't wag his tail. He couldn't even go to the bathroom. He was completely paralyzed. I called the vet because I thought she said that he could possibly get worse before he got better and wanted to know how I might help him go to the bathroom. She told me I needed to immediately take him to an emergency clinic because he had worsened more than he should have.

That night was awful.

The emergency clinic we took him to was terrible. Not that they didn't give him care or take our issue seriously, they did. But their approach to our situation and our options was not kind or friendly. We arrived and they immediately took us back to a room and we explained the situation (this was about 7pm). She took some basic vitals and then said she was going to get the ER doc. Well, much to my dismay, instead of coming into the room and doing everything with me there, they took him away. Maybe that is standard procedure, I don't know, but I didn't like it. After some time, they came back and said that he was pretty far gone in terms of IVDD. He had lost most deep pain sensation in his back legs and he was facing surgery.

We had done some research over the weekend and knew this was a possibility. But we didn't want to put him through the surgery for nothing. Would it even work? We were willing to put him in a cart or something if he was able to be live a somewhat normal, pain-free life. There are many success stories. But she said it wasn't an option. Our only options were to take him to Mizzou immediately and have them do surgery for around $5k, or to have him put to sleep. I was devastated. We were told the decision had to basic be made immediately. She also said that the chances of the surgery working were less than 50%. We talked about it and I decided to take him home and we would bring him to our vet the next day to have him put to sleep. I couldn't have him spending his last night there.

That evening while giving Dudley super snuggles and breaking crate rest rules, we talked about it. We decided to get a second opinion. So, I called another specialists clinic in the morning and we brought him in for a consultation. The news was so much better. He was pretty far gone, but not to the point where he couldn't be saved. She said with surgery he had a 75% chance of recovery and the surgery would be half the cost. We decided to go ahead.

{Post-Surgery incision and pain patch}

3 days later, I walked in to the office to see my Duddy Buddy wagging his tail! So happy to see me. We were still in for another several weeks of crate rest, but he was already improving!

{Walking again!}

After 3 weeks, he was released and had made about a 95% recovery. He could walk, run, play. Everything he did before. Maybe he wasn't as fast and his legs didn't respond as well, but he was back. Our puppy was himself! It was so worth it.

This past weekend though, we had a bit of a scare. He seemed to for some reason be in a lot of pain on Saturday night. We brought him back to the vet on Sunday morning and they didn't diagnose another herniated disc (we didn't know what we'd do then) but sent him home to be treated medically for it regardless. I think he's okay though. Maybe he tweaked it while playing. But, we're being careful.

So, that's Dudley's story. Our little fighter/lover/licker/puppy-at-heart. Our family wouldn't be complete without him!

{Our boys}