Well, this year that was my story. We left for vacation on June 15 (Saturday) and everything was fine at my house when I left. I kissed the dogs goodbye and told them both to behave.
Well, by the 17th (that Monday), Reagan wasn't walking. At first we all thought he was depressed. Just being honest, the dog loves me and has a history of becoming depressed when I'm gone from home a few days. So when my parents' called and told me I didn't really think much of it. I just knew that was his problem and it was going to be a long week for him.
Then they called back on Tuesday and said every time they tried to stand him, his back half of his body would go limp and he was dragging himself when he tried to move anywhere. This is when panic set in for me. Reagan is a dachshund. That breed is prone to having back problems, so I knew this was always a possibility. However, after age two Reagan has been the calmest dog EVER. He doesn't like to jump on things or be very active at all. So I didn't think this would apply to him as much. I was wrong.
I waited one more day before calling the vet's office. We all thought he might have just hung a toenail (happens a lot with him) and his feet were sore. But after he still wouldn't do anything Wednesday morning, I was freaking out. My dad felt all of his toes, legs, stomach, and back and he said Reagan never flinched at all. I knew then something was really wrong.
The vet said to bring him in, so my dad took him. After I felt like they had enough time at the appointment, I called to see what the diagnosis was and what I ended up hearing sent me into a tailspin of tears. They thought he had slipped a disc in his back and needed surgery, ASAP. And that surgery was going to cost over $3,000.00. The emotions I felt were so heart-wrenching. I felt helpless. I was sitting there on a balcony looking out into the most beautiful thing in the world, and hours back at home my baby was facing a possibility of surgery WITHOUT me there.
I called back and talked to my dad about what to do. We both decided that since he wasn't hurting to pressure being put on him, that we were going to try steroids instead of jumping into surgery immediately. It was probably one of the hardest things to do. I was chancing my dog's ability to walk ever again by a decision left in my hands, hours away from him, without seeing him myself. But I did it. I called and let them know that I was going to try the steroids. They said okay, and Reagan was scheduled to stay at the vet for two nights for observation. That alone just sent me into another fit of crying. Reagan is very much a "homebody" dog. He doesn't like car rides and he's NEVER spent a night not at home before. I was hurting probably as much as him.
While he was at the vet, they did some X-rays, laser treatments, and constant baths (since he couldn't even get up to use the bathroom without doing it on himself). I called every day for a new update on my baby. The vet was seriously a life saver. He took time out of his (I'm sure) busy day to call and let me know exactly what was happening with Reagan since he knew I was on vacation and feeling very helpless.
On Friday, my parents' picked him up from the vet. Dad said he was so happy to see them, and so happy to see Roxie. However, his lifestyle had to be different. Instead of being able to walk freely in the house, Reagan has to be confined to a small area. Instead of using a crate, we have him confined in my small spare bathroom. Luckily, he is a lazy dog and doesn't want to get up much more than he has to anyway, so he is pretty much staying where ever you place him. We have moved his food and watering bowls to right next to his bed so it's easier on him. The vet instructed that he doesn't need to walk anymore than a few steps at all. He needs to stay still, get plenty of rest, and continue his meds. He also said that he needs to lay on flat surfaces. A pillow can cause them to get out of posture and worsen the problem. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, but I've ALWAYS given him pillows for comfort. So I think he is a little mad at me over taking his pillow away, ha!
I got home Saturday night and was SO ready to see Reagan. Since then, he has been getting up and using the bathroom on his pads and not himself. He is eating normal, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking his meds like a pro. We went back for his first follow-up laser treatment yesterday. He likes to stand and walk a few steps, but then I make him get back in his bed. I am SOOO happy to see him getting back to "normal", but I know we are so far away from being healed.
I have had a GREAT group of family/friends who have checked on him just as if he is a real little boy. Those are the true friends that understand that this dog is more than a dog to me, he is a part of the family.
So, please keep my baby in your puppy prayers, and if you are a dog owner of this breed PLEASE be aware of what all activities your dog is doing and what could cause this to happen. I think we lucked out and didn't get a full blown case, but we aren't out of the water yet. Just be mindful of your dog jumping on things, and making habits that might one day be a very painful moment for them. This has made me realize that I have to start enforcing better rules with Roxie and her jumping habits. Just not worth the risk to me.