Growing up with dachshunds as a young girl, they always had a special place in my heart and Madeline was my first very own sausage. I remember driving hours one weekend to pick her up. We had the pick of the litter. Eight little tan short haired dachshunds greeted us at the door. Maddie come running up and did a little piddle on my foot, I said to dad, I want her!!!! The most spoilt little girl of the house hold and that started off my obsession with dachshunds, now owning 5!!!!

Early one morning I was out walking the snags before work, a morning ritual. Maddie chased after a pine cone I had thrown for her, when suddenly she made a yelp. I ran over to see what was wrong as she was limping on her right back leg, I thought maybe she had stepped on something. Checked her from head to toe, couldn’t see anything and she wasn’t yelping from any pain. She just trotted off, like normal, back home.

I headed off to work and returned home later on that afternoon, everyone greeted me at the front door, but Maddie. She is always the first to greet me, so I knew straight away something was wrong!  As I walked inside I noticed her dragging her right leg.  Straight away I knew the signs where not great, and she needed to see a vet as soon as possible. I contacted my local vet, explained the situation and he said take her straight to emergency in Werribee.

Of course, being a Friday night at 5pm, I had a feeling they would be busy, and thought it may be difficult for me to see a vet straight away, so my local vet phoned them while I was on my way to Werribee.

Thankfully we were able to go straight though when we arrived and be seen by two wonderful vets, who each dealt with dachshunds going down with IVDD on a daily basis.

I was so emotional, expecting the worse outcome, as I knew many stories about dachshunds going down with IVDD. Thankfully my dad was there with me, and I also had the whole dachshund community with me every step of the way!

Maddie underwent examinations and tests, resulting in a diagnoses of level 3, of which the vets said, she was closer to a level 4. They explained everything with much detail, and also gave us a couple of options. One being for Maddie to have an MRI the next morning, and she was to stay at the vets during the night. Due to her deteriorating to level 4, we opted for her to have the MRI, and if surgery was needed, we would give the go ahead!

My snags are my babies, so I would give up my life to save their lives!

After a terrible sleepless night, we received that dreaded call the next morning, when we were informed that Maddie was now at a level 4. She was currently undergoing the MRI and if we could give consent about the go ahead of surgery if needed.  Of course, whatever was required, we gave the consent. After 6 long hours we received the call informing us Maddie was in recovery. The operation took longer than expected but all went well. She had damaged her T1 and T2, and a disc was applying pressure on her right hip which resulted in her being paralysed on her right side. They were very glad they had operated, as her spine wasn’t a healthy colour and she was deteriorating quickly.

The following day I went and visited Maddie and noted she was in a bit of pain, not eating and cried in my arms the whole time while I visited her in ICU. I cried with her and then cried the whole way home. It broke my heart. Due to her anxiety I opted not to visit for the next few days.  I wanted her to rest and the saying goodbye part was just too hard for me! I rang every morning and night to check on her.

Finally, three days later she was ready to come home.  So thankful to the wonderful Helga and the beautiful IVDD group, I was all ready for her to arrive home. I was given a wonderful and helpful IVDD pack, and a crate to hire. At times it was so much stress and worry, but having so many helpful people behind me, was an incredible help and I knew I would have everything I needed, ready for her to come home.

All the silly questions I asked the IVDD group were answered and I was given so many wonderful helpful tips to help Maddie during her recovery.  The first few days after Maddie arrived home I never thought she would walk again. She cried and cried, which was just heart-breaking!

Day 5 was amazing, she wagged her tail for the first time since surgery. Tears of joy filled my eyes, as I never thought she would wag her tail again.  Each day she improved more and more. She was sent home with some exercises and on day 14, visited her two surgeons at Werribee vets and they said her improvement was incredible. “Give her another week and we can slowing start rehabilitation with her”.

She had many sessions of acupuncture, warm bath swims, stretching exercises and the massages she received from us. She improved more and more every day, and also started using her right leg a lot more.

It has now been 4 months and Maddie is healthy and happy, fully mobile, with the occasional IVDD skip.

I am ever so grateful to the wonderful IVDD Facebook group. Their stories, constant support and helpful tips made the whole experience of Maddie going down with IVDD reassuring, and I’m truly thankful of being involved with such an incredible and wonderful group of people.  Thank you DISA.

Sharing my story of hope with other dachshund owners, I hope also gives others a glimpse of hope.  During such a horrible and heartbreaking time, seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, is something I went through myself with Maddie.  But I know one thing,  these beautiful dachshunds are strong and have a heart of gold, they will give their all and will surprise you during the most heartbreaking experiences.


Eryn and Madeline xx