There’s so little out there to find

Hannah’s accident was so freakish. As far as I can tell, this sort of thing happens to small dogs, to daschunds mostly, and it seems like an accident but it’s really a degenerative disc disease that finally manifests.

Almost all the dogs with this kind of paralysis are small. And almost all of them require surgery to relieve compression. A bruised spinal cord (also known as a contusion, which took me a while to figure out) is weird. A bruised spinal cord that involves total paralysis and loss of deep pain perception is not something I can find any documentation of, at least in layman’s terms. The medical papers are in gibberish.

So, hey, I might as well keep documenting this.

We have to express her bladder. We tried it. We got a few dribbles, and weren’t even sure what we pressed to get those. It took two people. Now, she had a good solid expression before she left, at around 7:00. And she’s never been a big urinator. But bad bladder management can be fatal. As you can imagine, I’m nervous about doing it right. We’ll see how tomorrow morning goes. But while I knew already caring for Hannah would be a big task, I have a much more visceral sense of it now. She’s not a small dog.

I’m angry. I’m furious. I’m enraged that my dog ended up hurt in such an unusual, random way. I’m angry that her symptoms are so bizarrely extreme– loss of deep pain perception? (That’s when the dog doesn’t whine or bite in reaction to the skin between their toes being pressed on hard.) The recovery rate for that is incredibly low, after surgery. (But there is a recovery rate.) But surgery won’t help Hannah because what’s pressing on her spinal cord isn’t external. So what’s her recovery rate? Was it an insta-press-and-release that she’s now healing from? Or is it still pressing? What happened to her deep pain perception?

I gave her the prescribed medication, and I did it wrong. She may not have gotten part of the anti-inflammatory medication. Hell, she’s a dog. She may have the entire packet cached in her mouth.

Actually, the recovery rate thing above is a simplification. The recovery rates are based on how quickly a dog has surgery after losing deep pain perception. And that’s another reason I’m angry– if it’s fast, the recovery rate is very high. If it’s not, it’s low. But still possible. If her deep pain sense returns in two weeks or so, the recovery rate is higher. If not, it’s very low. But has happened. (I suppose that’s why the vet tech said 8 weeks…) But I’m angry because we did things right. We brought her in right away. We committed to the surgery right away. And yet–  surgery wouldn’t help! And if she had deep pain perception, the vet would have been pretty positive in his prognosis. And yet she doesn’t.

I’m so angry. My mother died due to complications from a cancer mostly contracted by old black men. Right now, I just want hope that my dog will be able to pee again on her own someday.

Hannah update, again.

Well, it turns out ‘no need for surgery’ just means ‘it wouldn’t help’. God damn it, why aren’t bruises on the spine less bad than compression?  A bruise sounds so mild. But stuff has to heal and enough nerves have to survive the healing process.

We have a carrier to make a dog suitcase– it fits under her hindquarters so we can carry them and she can walk with her front legs. We have some anti-inflammatories and some painkiller and some medication to make expressing her bladder easier on her.

And, if in 8 weeks, there’s been no improvement, we have the URL of a place that makes and sells dog wheelchairs. They think she’s lost deep pain, but maintains some reflexes, so the specialist figured it was a rough 50/50 chance of recovery– he’s seen some who have recovered and some that haven’t.

When she saw us in the consulation room, she freaked out– take me home take me home take me home, she whined throughout our consultation with the tech. She was better in the car, but still not happy. Now she’s in the cage, ears alert, looking pretty good. She ate a cookie and seems to be enjoying looking around, and is relaxed.

I hope she needs the painkiller eventually, though. (Because I hope she gets feeling back.)

Hm. She’s started whining. She might be realizing (again) just how limited her movement is. Poor girl.

Hannah update

The doctor called after the MRI and said he couldn’t see any reason  to do surgery, that her spinal cord was just bruised, and she could either come home or be cared for there. He’s a vet with a PhD, and a specialist in canine spinal injuries. And at first this was exciting good news.

But I’ve been reading about bruised spinal cords, and the care paralyzed dogs need. I haven’t been able to find very much about recoveries– possibly just because most dogs aren’t even diagnosed that far. And I’m nervous, and scared. When I called today to make sure she could come home, the tech said she was ‘fine’ but somehow I doubt ‘fine’ means actually fine.

In light of the reading I’ve been doing, ‘no surgery’ may just mean ‘nothing we can do’. I don’t know. I didn’t talk to the doctor myself. Kevin will be home soon and we’ll drive out there. Please everybody, keep your fingers crossed that I’m just being a worrywart, and Hannah’s being melodramatic. Or something. I’ll post more this evening.

There are no titles that convey the right thing.

Hannah and Dante were racing around the house up and down the stairs when Raymond let them in this morning. I was still in bed, Robin was asleep. There was a thump and Hannah started screaming. She couldn’t move the hind part of her body, including her legs.

It was a bad morning.

The current diagnosis is a badly herniated disc, requiring expensive surgery to repair. That’s a lot better than a fractured spine and a cheap euthenasia shot. But she’s only had x-rays and a referral to a specialist– she was waiting for the MRI at the brand new Kirkland animal hospital when we finally left. (Raymond and Jenna watched Robin while we were gone).

So if things go well, she might be home again with us in a few days, in need of physical therapy but basically healthy.  She’s 7 years old– really too old to race up and down stairs, but hopefully able to walk up them for years yet to come.

All I can keep thinking is ‘my poor beautiful dog’. I love her very much.