Wendell is a 6 year old red mini short haired dachshund who came to our home at age 18 months. When he arrived he was extremely overweight, with rub marks under his forelegs as he hadn’t been exercised or socialised well. He had anxiety and aggression issues, but has settled in well with our first dog Norbert who he adores.
We worried about Wendell’s back from the beginning because of his weight, but we got him gradually fitter and healthier and he always seemed to be doing ok.
This all changed in May 2016 when he began giving a little cry when we picked him up or when he went over a door threshold, or he would refuse to walk. One day he stood and shook and cried if we touched him, and knowing this was a bad sign we rushed him to the vet.
He had painkillers, and the vet assessed him as Grade 1, so we rested him for eight weeks, gave him anti-inflammatories and tramadol and waited to see if he improved. Because of the low grade injury we felt we had time to see how he would go, and it gave us the opportunity to talk about what would be best for our dog.
As a highly anxious and reactive dog, we decided that surgery was not a good option. He shakes and pants with the stress of a regular visit to the vets, has tried to bite vets in the past, and we felt that leaving him there for surgery and recovery would be extremely stressful for him.
He recuperated well, and over two months we gradually increased his walking, built him a ramp for the doggy door, and returned to normal life.
Then in September he suddenly got worse again. There was no particular incident that we saw but he went out one night to the toilet and lost the use of his hind legs. We immediately restarted the anti-inflammatories and took him to the vet the next day.
Because the decision not to operate had been made calmly and not under fear and stress, we knew we needed to trust our decision, so we stuck with that, and the vets and vet nurses were very supportive. They taught us to express Wendell’s bladder and advised us on some basic massage and movement exercises to help him.
We re-crated Wendell and it is now eight weeks, he has use of his legs and bladder, although he is very wobbly so needs a sling for support still to walk.
The hardest aspect is keeping him busy without him gaining weight. We use slow feeding toys, long chew toys and he gets moved around the house and yard in his ‘mobile crate’ which is a pet stroller.
He is happiest when he is near us and feels he is a part of what’s going on in the house. Sometimes he shares the garden with his IVDD buddy Milo.
He has wheels which he is in the process of learning how to use, he is having hydrotherapy rehab and Scenar treatment and he remains a content dog with great quality of life and is a central member of our family.