Amber is a 6 yo miniature red dachshund who has just gone through her first and hopefully only episode of IVDD. Some pawrents of their dogs, for a few differing reasons, opt for conservative care for an ivdd episode rather than the surgery route. The route we chose was conservative, which meant that we crate rested Amber for 8 weeks, using conservative treatment protocols.
When you first see your beloved friend go down with IVDD, it is understandably a shock, followed by more disbelief, fear, helplessness, heartbreak, confusion and of course many tears.
The one thing that pulled me through was learning that it doesn’t mean my best friend’s life is over. She can still live a happy and fulfilled life, she may even walk again; but if not there are other ways she will be able to get around. This is not the end!
They are still the same dog, have the same mannerisms, do the same cute things like digging in their bed to get comfy, will still want to give you kisses and still get excited to see you! They are just so happy to be loved, cared for, of course fed and to still be with their family.
One thing I found really hopeful in adjusting to crate rest, was to keep a diary to log information so I didn’t forget. I took note of the times and things such as how often my dachshund went to the toilet, or ate, or had medication, or even to log improvements.
I had to learn how to express Amber’s bladder as the messages from her brain weren’t reaching her bladder to tell her it’s time to go to the toilet. Our vet showed me how to do it, but even so, I still struggled and couldn’t work it out once at home. However i remembered reading that not everyone does get it straight away and to just remain calm, have patience and use as many learning resources as I could find.
Some useful ways to help your dachshund adjust to 8 weeks conservative crate rest:
- If you are able to lift your crate, or make a trolley to move your crate, try and have your dachshund where you are as much as possible. If you are sitting outside in the sun, or inside on the lounge, or cooking in the kitchen, remember when they could use their legs, they would always be there too? So I like to move Amber around as much as possible so she is still a part of everything.
- When she has found it difficult to settle, i put a sheet over the crate, something that still lets the air flow through, but gives her that cosy cave feeling. Most of the day she will have half her cage covered and half uncovered.
- We have laid on the floor with our heads resting on the pillow/mattress just inside her crate so she still feels like she has her cuddles and lying down with us time.
- Don’t give in to any crying/howling/barking behaviour by getting them out of the crate. Ignore that behaviour, reward/show attention for good quiet behaviour.
- Stay positive, don’t give up hope, be patient and read as much as you can on ivdd.
At the 6 week stage of the conservative crate rest, Amber was her usual self, personality wise and has been the whole time which is fantastic. I was fortunate that she adjusted straight away to being in the crate and always wants to get back inside quickly after going toilet, which has made things a lot easier.
Following conservative care, Amber has finished her 8 weeks of strict crate rest, we will be looking into rehabilitation care for her along the lines of acupuncture and physio and will continue with her crate rest.
You won’t hear their paws constantly tapping behind you during crate rest, but I can guarantee their eyes will be following you wherever you go!