Reilly’s Recovery

17 Nov

This is a kind of sad post – a dachshund owner’s worst nightmare happened Tuesday. I was working in my living room when I heard a yelp come from the office, where Reilly regularly keeps watch over the house. I went to see what happened and found him sitting in the foyer. I checked him out – nothing appeared to be wrong. I opened the front door and he followed me outside and went to the bathroom. I figured he was fine. As the day went on, nothing seemed out of whack. Granted I was trying to feed, bathe, and put my children to bed so I might not have been as vigilant as I should have been. Around 7 pm, I saw that Reilly wasn’t jumping onto the couches to sit with us. Now I realize that this is frowned upon for dachshunds – they shouldn’t be jumping on and off of anything. He’d been doing it for years so we barely noticed anymore. So when he wasn’t jumping I got worried. I picked him up and put him on the couch with me. He could still walk at this point. About an hour later, I walked into my bedroom with Reilly trailing behind. His right back hind leg sort of collapsed. Then I knew something was wrong. I called an ER vet and they said to bring him in immediately.

When I got there, things had gotten much worse. I was trying to check him in and set him on the floor. He couldn’t even get up on all fours at that point. His back legs just wouldn’t work. His eyes were completely dilated and he was freaking out. Not good. The vet took him into the back to do an exam on him . About 30 minutes later, she came in to talk to me. It was exactly what I thought it was – Reilly had ruptured a disc in his back. It was pressing on his spinal cord and causing paralysis in his lower half. He needed surgery asap…if you’re familiar at all with dog surgery, you know this is not a cheap procedure. Unfortunately, there weren’t many options available. I wasn’t putting Reilly to sleep – he’s only 6 and healthy otherwise. Reilly was in pain and was heading towards complete paralysis in his hind legs. So we scheduled the surgery for the next morning. The vet brought him in to see me before I headed home for the night. Here he is pre-surgery:

So, Reilly had the surgery on Wednesday about mid-day. I got daily check ups from the vet techs and the surgeon. They were optimistic for a full recovery given Reilly’s youth, muscle tone, and the fact that he could still wag his tail. I didn’t visit because I didn’t want to over-excite him and cause him to reinjure himself.

In the meantime, I was scouring the internet for info on how to help him recover. I found a great site: – there’s a ton of info on how to care for your dog post surgery and how to avoid reinjuring his back. Also, there was info about options if your dog never regains motor function in his legs. Hopefully this won’t be an issue for Riles, but you never know. Best to be prepared.

I picked him up on Friday afternoon – he was very excited to see me. I was a bit apprehensive – admittedly, I’m not very good with gross stuff so surgery, blood, staples, etc kind of freaks me out. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be – he seemed to be in good spirits despite not being able to stand on his hind legs. The vet had explained to me that Reilly wasn’t using the bathroom on his own yet, so I got a crash course in how to express his bladder. Needless to say, it’s not fun. She also showed me a few doggie PT moves to work on to make sure his muscles don’t atrophy.

We loaded Reilly into the car and took off for home, where he’s to stay crated for 4-6 weeks. Here he is, on the way home:

He’s still handsome, even with his shaved back and staples.

At home, we’ve got two crates set up for him so he can still feel like part of the family. He’s not enjoying being in them 24/7 right now, but I hope he adjusts in the coming days. We’re still figuring out how to sling walk him, as well as express his bladder. It’s a bit awkward trying to hold his back legs up so he doesn’t pee on them, while squeezing his belly at the same time. He also does this thing where he bounces on his front legs, trying to drag his back ones. A bit cumbersome to say the least. Here’s hoping we get better at this…

At home, in his comfy bed, right next to my bed:

The surgeon did say that he expects his bladder control to return in 3-4 days. Walking could take a bit longer, but he didn’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be walking again.

That’s it for now – I’ll try to update everyone next week.


One Response to “Reilly’s Recovery”

  1. Alice November 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Poor Reilly! Glad to see from the second post that he is doing better.

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