I don’t know which one of your prayers or well wishes did the trick, or if it was the power of them combined, or if it was the puking, or if perhaps it was the nap (I think they can cure about everything), but six hours after he could barely walk, Ace was unexplainedly up and running.
“Stop running,” I told him.
But given I was smiling, tearing up and having difficulty working up the stern tone sometimes required for him to obey, he apparently didn’t feel the need to pay attention. Either that, or he was as happy as I was.
Six hours after he could barely stand up, he was ready to romp.
What befell him yesterday morning is a mystery, and your conjecture is welcome, because I’d like to figure it out.
You’ll recall, maybe, that he had some disc problems a few months back. Those, treated with steroid pills, vanished after the second round of drugs. While that ailment didn’t affect his ability to walk, it was clearly painful and led him to yelp out, whereas yesterday he didn’t seem to be in any pain at all.
After sleeping in yesterday — til almost 11 a.m. — he got up to find he couldn’t get up. It seemed to be just one front leg affected at first, but then I noticed his rear leg on the same side was dragging, splaying out, and clearly not following his brain’s command.
The vet, who had recommended he see a dog neurologist, came out to the car, tied an IV bag to my roof rack and administered what’s called a subcutaneous drip to restore his fluids.
During it, I noticed some slight signs of improvement. Ace sat up, and seemed to be putting weight on the bad side. Once back home he seemed even better, though the right front paw still seemed to have a mind of its own, flopping down on the ground in an exxagerated motion.
After the nap, he insisted on going outside, where he proceeded to walk 99 percent normally, run 99 percent normally and pester me to play 100 percent normally.
I calmed him down, insisting that he chill, and told him we would withhold any celebrations until tomorrow — after seeing whether he gets up with the same problems or not.
It was a scary day, and I can’t tell you how many roads my mind went down. Was it going to be something as serious as it appeared, could I afford the tests to have it diagnosed, much less to have it treated? Would it prove fatal? How badly would I fall apart if so, and could I ever be put back together again?
Sitting in the exam room, waiting for the vet, I reminded myself every minute or so that it wasn’t about me. I reminded myself that I’m a cool-headed sort. But inside, I had turned drama queen.
Ace has given me some scares before during our travels, with his herniated disc, when he disappeared through a swimming pool cover, when he jumped over the fence at Niagara Falls. This one was by far the worst, because there was no explanation for it, no precipitating event — just a sudden loss of limb control.
It’s nothing to take lightly, and even if he seems 100 percent today, I know he needs to be checked out by a specialist. Some breathing room to do that would be nice, though.
I am of that percentage of society that places their dog’s health above their own. Lacking health insurance — for me or him — I am also of the ignore it and maybe it will just go away school.
Yesterday was so frightening I made an exception.
While his problem may not truly be gone, I’m glad it’s gone for now. Borrowed time? We’ll take it.
On our way to the car, for the drive to the vet, Ace was barely able to walk, even with me lifting up on his harness. He leaned his weak side into me for support. He’s normally a leaner, but not when he walks. That it is when I first lost it — it being composure.
That simple trusting act, on his part, somehow pushed me over the edge — partly because he did it without thinking twice, partly, truth be told, because of the realization that I lean on him much more than he leans on me.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bond, control, difficulty, dogs, fear, health, leaning, legs, limbs, neurology, pets, road trip, sick, specialist, travels with ace, vet, veterinarian, veterinary, walking
I was typing away at the computer when Ace finally decided to get up this morning.
That’s the general routine. He sleeps in while I, an early riser, work. Around 9, or 10, or sometimes not until 11, he finally stretches and gets off the futon.
This morning, though, he found that hard to do. Once on the floor, one of his front paws didn’t seem to work. He seemed to have no control over it. When he got off the carpet and onto the wooden floor, it was even worse.
I let him outside and he walked spastically. Maybe his leg is just asleep, I told myself, even as a sick feeling started rising in my stomach.
I noticed that in addition to his right front leg not seeming to cooperate with him, the right rear leg wasn’t either. He managed to go a few steps and pee, then kept veering to one side, falling down and struggling to get up on his way back.
I called his local vet, and though they were booked solid they said to bring him in. On the way to the car he got worse. He leaned his left side on me as he walked, and his right paw dragged, his claws scraping rhythmically on the concrete.
Even with his ramp, it was hard to get him in, but he managed, thankfully, because I’m not sure I can lift 130 pounds now, or for that matter, if I ever could.
At the vet he stumbled and fell some more as we worked our way to the door. He didn’t seem to be in any pain – unlike when he had what was diagnosed as a herniated disc a few months ago. He seemed to have completely recovered from that.
He managed to get up the three stairs into the vet’s office. When I checked in, he didn’t jump up and put his front paws on the counter like he always does. He did perk up when, as we were walking into the exam room, a puppy was walking out. He stopped to sniff and say hello, his tail wagging wildly.
Inside the exam room, as we waited, he was drooling more than he has ever drooled, and sliding all over the floor as he tried to sit and then lay down.
They checked his legs, his ears, his heart, his eyes. I was wondering if he had a stroke, but he seemed responsive, just totally lacking coordination on one side. They asked if he’d eaten anything unusual; I assured them he hadn’t. They asked if he’d had any ticks recently. No, I answered. They took some blood for testing, and recommended a neurologist, but upon calling to make us an appointment they learned the only one in town was out of town – until Aug. 10.
They suggested one in Charlotte, 100 miles away.
We agreed to wait until the blood work up was done, in case Ace made another miracle recovery, as he did from his herniated disc.
“This doesn’t look to be the sort of thing where he’ll just wake up from a nice nap and he’ll be over it, does it?” I asked.
“It could be,” the vet said. “You never know.”
I managed to get Ace back in the car, but just barely as he kept sliding off the side of the ramp, his legs seeming to be working even less well by then.
In the car, I gave him some water, and wondered if we should just head straight to Charlotte, before getting him in and out of the car got to the point where it would require a forklift.
As I pondered, he puked.
Up until then, he hadn’t seemed to be in any discomfort, just stressed out by his limbs not functioning and the veterinarian’s probing.
I ran back inside and found the vet. “Now he’s started throwing up,” I said.
It was yellow, with hunks of what appeared to be chicken – even though I thought the canned food I’d added to his dry food the night before was beef.
The vet came out to the car to look at him again, told me to turn the air conditioning on, and had a technician bring out an IV bag to replenish his fluids with an subcutaneous drip.
During the drip, he got up from his laying down position, and sat, seeming to be put more weight on the malfunctioning front paw than he had been.
By the time we were home, he had little trouble getting up, and little trouble walking down the ramp. His right front paw, though, still seemed to flutter about wildly as he stepped.
In the house, I noticed a large swelling on his back, near where the needle had been — something like a camel hump, but smaller. When the vet called to tell me Ace’s bloodwork was all normal, I asked about the hump. He told me that was routine after a subcutaneous drip.
That’s where things stand now, and I have felt sick all morning, and frightened.
I’m frightened by what may be wrong with him, and frightened that I won’t have enough money, or credit, to pay for what the specialists advise. That is an awful feeling.
The camel is taking a nap now. I am going to join him.
The plan for now is that, when we wake up, it will all be better.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, control, dogs, health, herniated disc, legs, limbs, nerves, neurological, paws, pets, travels with ace, veterinarian, veterinary
Believed to be the first dog to be fitted with prosthetic paws on all four legs, Naki’o is a red heeler who suffered severe frostbite after his foreclosed upon family abandoned him in Nebraska.
At just five weeks old, Naki’o and his littermates were taken to an animal shelter in Nebraska, according to IncredibleFeatures.net.
Veterinary technician Christie Tomlinson organized a fundraiser to have Naki’o — who previously got around by scooting on his belly — equipped with prosthetics on two legs.
The prosthetics, which allow him to run, jump and swim, were designed and fitted in a procedure by Martin Kaufmann, founder of Orthopets. After equipping him with the devices on two legs, Orthopets decided to complete the process for free.
It was the first time they’d fitted an animal with a complete set of new legs.
Naki’o adapted quickly to walking on four prosthetics, and it reportedly just took him a few days to be able to run.
The prosthetics are built to mimic the muscle and bone of dog limbs, allowing them to do everything a normal dog would do.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, all four legs, amazing, animals, disabilities, dogs, foreclosure, four, frostbite, handicaps, legs, limbs, naki'o, paws, pets, prosthetic, prosthetic legs, prosthetic paws, veterinary, video
Faith, the two-legged dog, continues to spread inspiration — most recently last weekend when she visited McChord Air Force Base and Fort Lewis in Washington state.
Faith met thousands of soldiers — some headed to war, some coming back.
“She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all,” Faith’s owner, Jude Stringfellow, told the Associated Press.
“There is a lot of crying, pointing and surprise. From those who have lost friends or limbs, there can be silence. Some will shake my hand and thank me, some will pat her on the head. There is a lot of quiet, heartfelt, really deep emotion.”
Faith, a Lab-chow mix, was born to a junkyard dog around Christmas of 2002. Her mother rejected her and she was rescued by Jude Stringfellow’s son, Rueben, now in the Army. The mother and son taught the dog to walk on her rear legs — using peanut butter and a lot of practice.
Since then Faith has done the talk show circuit, and Stringfellow has become a motivational speaker. She has written two books about Faith and is working on a third, “Faith Walks.”
They get more than 200 letters and e-mails a day, run a website and make dozens of appearances every year, including stops at veterans’ hospitals across the country to cheer injured soldiers.
Rueben Stringfellow left Iraq in September and is stationed in Alaska. He is scheduled to get out of the Army and head home on Jan. 1.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air force, army, base, chow, coping, disabilities, dog, faith, fort lewis, hope, inspiration, jude stringfellow, lab, legs, limbs, lost, mcchord, motivation, on two legs, rear legs, rueben, soldiers, two legs, two-legged, video, walks, washington
Cassidy, the three-legged dog we first told you about last month, seems to be getting around well on his new prosthetic leg, if the footage in this CBS report is any indication.
Cassidy was missing one of his hind legs when he was adopted from a New York City shelter in 2005 by Steven and Susan Posovsky.
Veterinary Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine outfitted Cassidy, a German shepherd mix, with his new titanium leg in July — after much trial and error.
“We worked for about a year first to try to design an external brace that was fairly sophisticated, but did not work very well,” Marcellin-Little told CBS .
“There were two removable legs were made for him. Slip-on legs, which he was able to just kick off,” Steven Posovsky said. “At that point, they took out some computer diagrams and said let’s look into this possibility of an osteo-integrated leg.”
Cassidy’s artificial leg is a permanent prosthetic. A titanium rod was implanted into Cassidy’s lower leg bone. Over several months, they fused together. A custom designed carbon fiber foot with a rubber tread for traction screws right on to the implant.
“Now he walks for two, three hours and not a hint of fatigue,” Steven Posovsky said. “Watching him run on the beach is a very emotional thing for me personally. But a lot of tears of joy.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, artificial, cassidy, dog, implant, leg, limbs, marcellin-little, north carolina state university, osteo-integrated, posovsky, prosthetic, shelter, surgery, titanium, veterinary, video