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Old November 11th, 2015, 12:09 AM
MTnorth MTnorth is offline
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Special rehab ideas needed...broken back, tough little rescue pup!

Hi all, I have a very specific situation and am hoping someone might have some insight or ideas. It's kind of a long story so please bear with me!

Last April, my dog (rescue, mix breed, shepherd cross, female, spayed, good health, approx. 35 lbs) got hit by a truck. To keep it brief(er), miraculously, not only did she live, but she has full function of her legs, she can run and walk and swim, jump, etc. with no issue or pain at all (after the inflammation went down and pain subsided of course).
However, at the time of the accident, the force of the impact caused her to expel her bladder and bowel. What we noticed at first was that her anus was gaping open almost the size of a golf ball. She had no control over bowel or bladder, and her tail no longer can raise up or wag, it just hangs limp (she has a long tail). After a few months, the gaping hole got a bit smaller, but still no bowel/bladder control.
Not sure what to do, I took her to acupuncture at the veterinary rehabilitation centre in the city (we live about 450km north of this facility). After several soothing acupuncture sessions, she regained control of her bladder to about 90-95%! (She only has a little dribble if she jumps up and the muscles loosen). Also, the anus opening reduced in size to about the diameter of a pencil, however control was not re-gained.
What we have seen, is an increased effort for the dog to be outside and pushing to expel her bowels, however I have only witnessed her being successful once, and it wasn't substantial. In addition, the vet would also do a feeling test at each appointment to see if/where feeling was coming back to the tail and anal area, and we did see progressive improvements, however they reached a point where we were getting the same result month after month.
The doctor asked if we had ever gotten an x-Ray done, and I said that the first vet who saw her immediately following the accident did not do an x-Ray; she never had one done.
With that we decided to do an x-Ray, and it showed that her back is completely broken in one spot (apologies I cannot quote the precise location or vertebrate), with one part of the bone angled right up on top of the other half, with a small gap separating the two ends. The acupuncture vet said it is a miracle that she is walking, and was scientifically intrigued by the improvement in bladder continence.
We decided that the effectiveness of the acupuncture had likely plateaued, and ceased treatment.
Seeing another vet a few months later, we discussed the option of surgery to put a stitch in the anus to tighten it up, however the odds of that being successful versus her actually being able to push to expel were not great and we are not prepared to try that at this point. Lastly, it was suggested that maybe applying pulsating pressure to the base of the tail might help stimulate the nerves to bring some feeling back to the anal muscles.

Now, we have not seen her get any better, and while we still love her to pieces and will continue to love her and care for her and provide for her as if nothing had ever happened, she has to wear diapers when she is inside (she did not like this at first but now she knows the routine). I don't like to keep diapers on her as it kind of chafes her inner thighs, and she eats the absorbent material unless the diaper is covered up with a cloth cover (making it even more tight, chafing and restricting), but I'm not sure what else to do due to the sanitation of my house and the hygiene of the dog (she will lick her anus and have poopy breath and also eat any faeces out of her anus). Sadly, I see that she is ashamed and we certainly do not scold her for accidents, but I know she is not happy with her condition, and her tail is constantly soiled. I also feel for her knowing that this must affect her socially when she is with other dogs as it is apparent she has a problem, however she sure has gained some great communication skills with her face and ears!!

If anybody has any thoughts and ideas on what to try next or how to "fix" her condition, or can refer me to somebody who may, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, I appreciate your thoughts and consideration!
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Old November 11th, 2015, 04:33 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Oh my, thank you for standing by her.

My first stop would be the folks on this forum, if you haven't been there yet:
http://dodgerslist.boards.net/

I will definitely be thinking good thoughts for you guys!
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Old November 11th, 2015, 04:35 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Oh, btw, I would not stop the acupuncture. I would continue it on a maintenance schedule, but I would think that you don't need to it as frequently.

I know that there are different types of laser and light therapy that I would investigate, to see what you have available in your area. Most of the time, they can't predict what the response might be, so it's worth trying, as long as you don't try something that might aggravate her condition.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 05:45 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxaLisa View Post
Oh, btw, I would not stop the acupuncture. I would continue it on a maintenance schedule, but I would think that you don't need to it as frequently.

I know that there are different types of laser and light therapy that I would investigate, to see what you have available in your area. Most of the time, they can't predict what the response might be, so it's worth trying, as long as you don't try something that might aggravate her condition.
I agree , people have 'tune up' treatments with acupuncture , I use to do this and it sure will help with a pet too.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 07:01 PM
MTnorth MTnorth is offline
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These are great suggestions, thank you both for your contributions.
I will look into the laser and light options, and definitely check out that other link!

And yes, some more acupuncture does sound like a good idea...I will make an appointment with the doc and see what she recommends for frequency.
I think a large part of her recovery thus far has been that as soon as she had no more swelling we were doing our regular walks (although not as rigorous), and lots of swimming everyday!!
She's a rock solid, tough little rescue pup that's for sure!
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Old November 11th, 2015, 10:17 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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I know with FCE, basically a spinal stroke, early acupuncture and treatment can bring a lot more function back than if it's started later. So being proactive I'm sure has made a world of difference for her.

I so hope that you can find the "next step" to get her past this plateau.
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