Jan 5, 2015

Our Very Scary Holiday

Whew...where to start, where to start? I guess I can begin by asking how each of your holiday celebrations shaped up? I hope Santa was good to you all! For Team Cote, well, our Christmas started out lovely, but ended far from blissed-out. 

On Christmas Day, after all the presents had been opened and Christmas lunch was on our minds, I noticed our sweet Tucker-dog was acting a bit funny. He was hanging his head low, shivering some, and just not his spunky self. He'd gotten lots of new toys in his Christmas present that morning and had been going HARD playing with them all. Harder than usual. I, at first, thought he was just totally wiped out and wanted all of us to sit down and cuddle with him, but then I picked him up. He screamed bloody murder and my heart sank. Something serious was up. Of course, with it being Christmas Day, nothing was open but the ER vet. I knew the ER vet would drain our pockets just from walking in the front door, so we opted to make him rest the rest of the day and take him to our regular NC vet first thing the next morning. Cut to our vet appointment next day...x-rays done and verdict in...Tuck is an IVDD dog and has injured his neck. :(

[Our handsome boy a few weeks before his injury]

IVDD (also known as Intervertebral Disc Disease) is common among the Dachshund breed. In fact, it's highly suspected that it's hereditary. Imagine our surprise and dismay when we saw his x-rays and the vet proceeded to show us multiple disc narrowings in his neck disc-space and a few mid-back. Heartbreaking. What's even more disconcerting? Knowing the narrow discs could possibly have been there since birth. Double heartbroken. Our vet concluded that he likely injured it from playing so vigorously Christmas morning (a severe muscle sprain coupled with minor disc inflammation). D and I proceeded to kick ourselves. Why did we try to spoil our pup with fun toys?!?!?!! And why did we ever start letting him on furniture?!?! Parental guilt is a total jerk (even of the fur-child variety). If only we could go back and tell our college-selves to stick to better doxie practices. We knew our pup would forever be prone to back issues because of his stature, but our delusion that it could never happen to Tuck just slapped us across the face. HARD. You live, you learn. Thankfully, Tuck doesn't have a slipped/bulging disc or any major spinal cord pressure...just some disc inflammation & narrowing. So, no surgery needed, no paralysis, no major decisions to be made. Our small silver-lining. The vet prescribed him anti-inflammatory meds, pain meds, and a muscle relaxant and suggested we monitor him, let him rest, and start restricting all jumping off furniture from now until forever...before he REALLY injures himself. Done and done. Except not so much.

Doxies are, by nature, the most stubborn, hard-headed dogs on the planet. We knew this from day one, but trying to keep a dog (an 8-year-old one, at that) that goes from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds from jumping up on the furniture he's be jumping on for years is like trying to tell Kim Kardashian not to have such a large butt. IMPOSSIBLE. D and I spent 5 days trying our darndest to keep him from doing any activity whatsoever without keeping him 100% confined to a crate (which wasn't suggested to us at the time--can you believe it?). We got him a doggy playpen and pretty much lived in there with him and watched him like a hawk, stifling his natural puppy playfulness (SO HEARTBREAKING). Within 3 days, he was acting like his normal self. No signs of pain whatsoever. So, we started to allow him to move around more (no jumping), but still hovered like helicopter parents. This was our first big mistake. We should have given him the full week of rest instead of assuming he was all rainbows and sunshine again. New Years Eve, I picked Tuck up to carry him outside to do his business and BOOM...more blood-curdling yelps. And off to the ER vet we went.

After another round of x-rays and some blood work (precautionary...he had a slight fever, but it went down shortly after he rested at the vet) we still had the same diagnosis of IVDD with disc inflammation...only this time, Tuck was to be strictly crate rested 24/7 for 3-4 weeks. Once again, D and I were devastated and kicking ourselves. Dogs aren't as resilient as they lead on! We took him back home and I sent D off to buy Tuck a new crate. Tuck hasn't been in a crate since 2009. This was going to be a long and heart-wrenching journey to recovery. I couldn't imagine keeping him crated, only allowed out for potty breaks 4 times a day. Seems so cruel, even though it's much needed.

So, this is where we find ourselves today. On day 5 of strict crate rest and Tuck, while whiny from time to time, has proved that you can teach old dogs new tricks, no matter how heartbreaking it is for us to watch! We've had to do some weird things (like placing his crate on the couch beside us or on a table beside our bed so he feels like he's right there with us at all times), but whatever it takes for him to heal and feel as comfortable as possible in the process. He's already seeming to feel great again, but we're no dummies. He's staying in that thing until 1 month has passed and vet gives us the all clear! We don't have another spare $1,000 for repeat vet visits. And we want Tuck to be with us as long as possible, no taking chances ever again. While his IVDD will never go away and we have to change his entire way of living/behaving from this day forward, the vet foresees a full recovery of his current injury. PRAISE THE LORD!

[Our first day with Tuck in 2006...what a sweet little nugget!]

All that being said, we had quite the stressful, worry-filled holiday season. Not what one ever hopes for and not another week and a half I ever want to experience again. There's nothing scarier than thinking you're going to lose your fur-child (aside from a real human, of course) or the fear that he might be adversely changed forever. I wish I could go back and change so much of the last 8 years. Hindsight has us reeling. I haven't cried this much in a long while. We also haven't been able to do or think of much other than Tuck here lately. A total life-change for us all! While it seemed so daunting and impossible to rewire Tuck, he's showing us that with a little faith and by taking on this new adventure one day at a time, we can make it through. Plus, my dad is awesome and currently building pet ramps for Tuck for all his post-recovery activity. This issue totally rocked my parents world, too. They love Tuck just as much as we do! He did live with them for 3 years, after all. 

This hiccup is indeed the reason for all the somber tweets and hiatus from the blog recently. We're now back in FL (his injury had my stay extended another week in NC) and we're slowly adjusting to life post-holiday & hardship. I'm emotionally and physically drained, but so thankful Tuck is here with us and on the mend. We'd pretty much do anything for that hot dog! If you're the praying type, please keep our little warrior in your prayers. And us, as well. We've still got a long road and the always looming threat of re-injury to face, but with all the support and love we've gotten and the Good Lord on our side, we will overcome this! Onward to better days...

26 comments:

  1. Aww, what an awful thing to happen to the poor little chap, especially at Christmas! I know exactly how you feel about it being awful to see them in a cage all sad - my cat Julian was run over a couple of months ago and needed his broken pelvis pinning in three places. He has been on cage rest ever since, and he hates it. He has just been given the go ahead to roam the bedroom though, once anything he could jump on had been removed. Hoping he'll be fully recovered soon and back to his old self, and Tucker will too eventually. Give the little chap a pat from me, and trust you're doing the best thing for him. xx

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  2. So glad to hear that your puppy is on the mend!! Can't even imagine how terrifying it must have been for you guys not knowing what was wrong at first. Sometimes I think it is almost worse when something is wrong with a pet because they really can't tell you what is wrong so it makes it harder to figure out what exactly to do. Hope he continues to feel better and is back to himself soon!!

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  3. Oh Casey!! I'm sending Tucker healing thoughts and also so for you and D. When our pups aren't feeling/doing well it really is the pits! I'm thankful that the prognosis is good for Tuck's recovery. You're also doing the right thing in being proactive to prevent future injuries! Bless your dad's heart for building ramps... what a guy!

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  4. I used to work for a Chiropractor. He has helped two different paralyzed Doxies walk again. Just keep that in mind should you ever need that resource!

    Speedy Recovery to your fur baby.

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  5. Aww no, I wish your doggie all the best! I can only imagine what it must feel like to worry so much about your fur baby. :(

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  6. Our doxie went through the same thing. Thankfully, steroid shots have helped him seem like his own self again, but rest is still necessary. Best wishes for getting through the next few weeks!

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  7. Dogs just become part of your family. So sorry for all the worries this year. www.eatallovertheworld.com

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear your little guy isn't feeling well. I hope he's back to normal soon!

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  9. my little pup (she's a chuweenie - daschund/chihuahua mix) got really sick and dehydrated once a little over a year ago and we ended up having to leave her overnight in the vet to get hydrated and make sure she was eating ok, with a couple xrays mixed in too. it was HEART WRENCHING. i was also like 8 months pregnant and well...cried like a baby. i've never seen her so scared or shaky and it about did me in. they are totally part of the family and that is so scary to go through! i'm so sorry! i didn't really know about the IVDD thing, but since my pup is half daschund, i will have to keep it in mind. she's only 3 years old this month - i want her for many more years! glad he's feeling better. xo.

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  10. Oh my gosh! This brought back such sad memories. My parents had to put their doxie down last year because of the same problems! Obviously a lot worse. He injured his back beyond repair by jumping off the couch.

    I know keeping him crated is hard but it'll be worth it to have a healthy pup! You and Tuck will be in my thoughts.

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  11. Awww poor Tuck!! He's lucky to have you guys in his life!

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  12. Aww poor little Tuck :( I hope he feels better soon!

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  13. So scary! I'm glad he is on the up and up and I'm sending good vibes! I would be so upset if my pup was going through so I totally wish you the best! <3

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  14. Poor Tuck, mom and dad! Praying he has a quick, full recovery!

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  15. Poor doggy :( That is so stressful! And I understand the difficulty keeping a busy dog down... after my border collie got neutured they told me to not let him jump or run. Ha! Okay.

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  16. Ohhh..poor baby! I hope that the rest heals him. I had to have surgery on my long back beagle when she had a split disk. So sad to watch her all of a sudden not be able to walk. Surgery went well and she lived a happy and healthy 10 more years after. I hope he wont need that though.

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  17. Oh baby Tuck! At least you know what is wrong and you know what to look for. And it's not weird at all like you move the crate around so he can be near you. It's totally normal!

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  18. We have a doxie that's going through this too! We've found the best way to keep her from jumping is to put her leash on her with enough rope to move around and get in her bed (which we brought closer to her) but not long enough that she can jump on anything. It's the absolute worst to see them going through it!

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  19. Poor Tuck! I cannot imagine having to crate full time for that long - but it sounds like you guys are made of tough stuff! I hope that he will get well soon and that things will be smoother sailing for you all.

    Love, light, and hugs!!
    Jessica

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  20. Poor Tuck! I'll be praying for him. I can't imagine how rough it is to have a sick fur-child. I don't even want to think about my sweet kitten being sick.

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  21. Oh this is terrible news, poor Tuck I hope he is starting to feel better

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  22. Oh no! That is really stressful :( This might sound odd, but you should see if you have an animal chiropractor in your area. I know a lot of people who have had a lot of good results with their animals seeing a chiropractor and something like IVDD is an area chiropractors are very familiar with treating. No matter what kind of treatment he gets, I hope he starts feeling better and that he stays acute injury free <3

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  23. So sorry to hear about Tuck! I'm a frequent lurker of your blog, but haven't commented before. I just want to let you know there's hope even if he does end up needing surgery (but I pray he doesn't! It's awful). My cockapoo had a bulged disc thanks to IVDD and went paralyzed. Imagine the horror when your 3 year old pup goes from running one hour to completely paralyzed in his back legs the next. He went through a VERY expensive surgery that wasn't guaranteed to work, but after 2 months he started walking again. Our little miracle pup. Anyway, I don't want to scare you (okay I'm sure I already have), but if you ever want to chat about it, let me know! It's an extremely scary and rough time to watch your pup struggle, especially when he's bound to the crate, but it's what he needs. Our vet also said no more stairs, so I'd recommend getting a baby gate. We bring it up and down the stairs each day depending on where we want to confine him. It's definitely a huge change, but anything to keep him healthy. Some vets also recommend joint supplements, but our pup's neurosurgeon said it isn't proven to help. We decided to give them to him anyway because it definitely won't hurt and if there's a possibility it's good for him then why not!

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  24. Yikes! I was so nervous for you when I was reading. But I'm glad to hear that he's doing well and will make a full recovery. I know just how you feel because I felt the same way when my fur-babies (bunnies in my case) were sick with near-death illnesses. It was so scary to feel so hopeless and not knowing if you're adept at taking care of this little life. But I know you and D are great parents and will see him through his recovery!

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  25. Poor puppy, and poor puppy parents! I'm sure this is so stressful. :( I'm glad he'll recover, and he's lucky he has you to take care of him!

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  26. Hi Casey! Visiting via Helene today, and I'm so glad she wrote about your blog. I could pour through your travel photos for hours on end! I'm also so very sorry to hear about what happened to Tuck. I know how scary it is. Our French Bulldog was diagnosed with IVDD about two years ago. She did end up having surgery, and we do our best to monitor her to help ensure she never has to go through that again. But it's tough. She's feisty and likes to play so hard. We eased up on her post-surgery rest time, thinking she was OK. She ended up with a few more weeks of crate rest after that. And it does flare up from time to time, which also means more strict crate rest. Her face says it all when it happens, but luckily her horrible shrieks stay with me from that day as a reminder to keep her ass in that crate! I'm glad to hear Tuck is doing better. Hopefully you (and he) have gotten as used to the crate rest as possible. Baby steps after that! He's adorable by the way. Oh fur children, how you have us by the heart strings! Take care!

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