If you follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you probably already know that our walking miracle Molly had a second hemilaminectomy last week. While a repeat back surgery was pretty devastating, this experience was MUCH less excruciating than the last… for us all!
The difference between the two experiences was extremely enlightening, the last approach being more conservative than the most recent. While each disc disease case is unique, we hope Molly’s story will help other dachshund parents who may face such a circumstance.
About a month or so ago we noticed a few minor signs that Molly may be having back issues again. Her posture was a little off, she had been moving a little slower and she yelped a couple times when pulling off her harness. To be safe we kept her exercise to a minimum and restarted some of her rehab exercises. In the following weeks all appeared to be normal, so off we went to visit my sister in San Diego as scheduled!
Upon arrival Molly’s gait looked great on her daily walks. On Saturday she had a ball running around, chasing the wind and a few birds on the fur friendly Imperial Beach.
Up until Sunday night all appeared to be completely normal. Molly pranced around our new neighborhood on her walk that evening and lounged on my lap while we watched TV after dinner. It was “business as usual” right before bed as well.
It wasn’t until I brought her back inside that things went astray. Instead of staying by my side as she normally does on travel, I found her sitting in the bathroom. When I encouraged her out, she hid under a side table. After some coxing she came out but sat in a corner and became very snappy when I tried to touch her. The same behavior had been displayed directly before discovering her first disc rupture, so we were immediately concerned.
I put her on the bed, then we watched as she struggled to stand and walk. Little Miss Piggy even refused to come for a treat (by my toe below).
Later I witnessed Molly dragging her hind legs in the bed as I began researching local vet neurologists. In the meantime literature was also found suggesting only about 1% of dog disc ruptures are caused by a significant event and that disc disease common in dwarf dog breads in mainly based on genes. That explains a lot being that Molly has always been deterred from jumping, stairs, etc.
In the morning Molly was still standing and eating normally but she seemed very uncomfortable. By that point we felt our poor boo needed to crated confined to avoid further disc damage.
We left Molly in a make-shift cage and set out to find a crate and bedding at our fur child’s favorite store. On location Molly’s sister vet suggested a specialty veterinarian who was able to refer us to one of the same neurologists I’d found in my research the previous night.
The Veterinarian Specialty Hospital is the only animal hospital who boasts not one but two board certified neurologists in the big city of San Diego. They suggested we bring Molly into emergency care immediately, as which time we were introduced to Dr. Levistsky-Osgood who prescribed the pain reliever Tramadol and a steroid new to Molly, Prednisone, which was to reduce inflammation. To make a long story short, the steroid did NOT agree with Molly, so first thing the following morning the kind doctor recommended we bring Molly in immediately to rehydrate and reassess.
It was clear to us and the attentive VSH team that Molly had deteriorated overnight. We were faced with the decision of how to proceed and were utterly confused being that our pervious experience had lead us to believe surgery should be a very last resort. The team provided us with some amazing statistics that lead us to proceed with a CT scan which would untimely allow us to identify exactly where Molly stood, literally.
The chance of Molly walking again after surgery drops 40% after paralysis is reached, say what?! The scan results showed significant spinal canal blockage and disc damage with calcification evidence proving the injury had occurred some time ago. The statistics provided by VSH left us wondering why Molly’s previous neurologist had been adamant on waiting to proceed with surgery until mobility was lost. It was also concerning that the neighboring disc had ruptured when drilling on either side of her previous disc rupture was supposed to prevent such a reoccurrence in the same area of the spine. Please don’t get us wrong though, we will forever be grateful of our of fur child’s first walking miracle!
This go round Molly went in and came out of surgery walking. She was SUPER wobbly, but still walking. After her last disc rupture, it took over a month to progress to the walking point she’s at now merely a week post op. Check her out!
Molly got back to her old tricks today. She went sightseeing!
Her exploring was minus the usual walking part of course since she’s been prescribed to strict crate rest for two full weeks other than taking a few steps to do her business.
Despite the restrictions, she still had a heck of a time today thanks to some encouragement from my dad!
There is NO doubt Molly will be back up and running as usual VERY soon! What a miracle!!