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On Thursday of last week Stomps suddenly couldn't use his hind limbs at all. He'd had a pinched nerve before, but never with such extreme results. He's been at the vet's for a few days now, on IV steroids, but they haven't seen any improvement. (He's still got sensation, and he can pee and poo. But his hind limbs just drag behind him if he tries to walk.) The vet said surgery is not an option (I didn't ask why, but Stomps is at least 13 and has heart disease). He wants to try putting him in a hyperbaric chamber to speed up the recovery. Luckily I know the owners of the rehab center that has the chamber, and I know it's a top-notch facility. But this seems like grasping at straws to me.

I'll spend about anything I have to on my animals if I think it will help, but I'm not wealthy and I have to try to be practical. The vet said he would tell me if/when he thought nothing else could be done, and I believe him. But I can't help but feel that Stomps should have had at least some improvement by now.

He's such an independent dog--if he can't move around on his own, he'd be miserable.

Has anyone out there had a dog suffer such a severe case of hind limb paralisys from a compressed nerve? What was your experience? Has anyone used a hyperbaric chamber for this or something similar? What should I do? I can't think straight. I can be so analytical when it's someone else's animal, but I fall apart when it is one of mine.

To make matters worse, I have to go out of town for four days next week! I absolutely cannot get out of it.

Thanks in advance to anyone who reads this and sends good thoughts our way or offers advice.--Allison and Stomps
 

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I am really, really sorry about Stomps, Allison. :(

Not necessarily a similar situation, but a bit of a morality tale: Lady had multiple issues going on with her hind end, including severe dysplasia and some neurological stuff, and I know I kept the philosophy of "quality of life" for her - as long as she was happy, I was happy.

I actually tried to put her to sleep a week before she died, but my vet wouldn't let me because she thought I was just doing it for my convenience. But I was doing it because I could tell Lady was just so unhappy and in pain, for reasons neither I nor the vet could find. Still, the vet asked me to just up her aspirin and wait 30 days. The consequence was, Lady died a horrid death from bloat. The lesson here: trust your instincts.

My sister is going through similar issues with one of her dogs, too, who is suffering not just cognitive problems, but multiple hind end issues - not quite paralysis, but sometimes very, very close. She and I have had many talks about doing what is right for the pup, and not just to protect our own fears of loss.

I am sorry to go off on that, but it might be important for you to think about right now. We develop such close bonds with these guys, but it's important we ensure their true quality of life, meaning we don't keep them alive, but miserable for our sakes.

I hope some better solution comes along for you. In the meantime, billions of thoughts for you two. It's very, very rough.
 

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I am so sorry to hear about whats going on with Stomps. I don'tn k now if this is an option, but have you considered those doggie wheelchair things (I don't know what they're called)? Hope the hydrotherapy helps. Sending thoughts your way.

~Heather
 

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One of mine went down in the rear, and I think it was several days before she showed any improvment, which is pretty typical of these disc-type injuries. She was also put on high-dose steroids, kept on limited activity (ex-pen) and we walked her with a sling to go outside to go potty. She eventually got back up and was able to walk again, and didn't have a recurrence, as far as I remember. Sending good wishes for Stomps. :)
 

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Betsy, do you recall the age of your dog when this happened?

Thanks everyone for your replies. There's not much of an update, other than I'm taking him over to the rehab center for a hyperbaric chamber treatment today. It's been four days now of intensive treatment and rest, and he still has shown only the most minimal of improvements. Biscuit, your comments are exactly what I'm dealing with, so they are very much appreciated. If the vets can't tell me whether he'll get better, let alone when, I can't help but wonder why we're dragging this out. But then I want to give him every chance to recover, if he's going to. I'm going to get him a couple of sessions in the hyperbaric chamber, and leave him at the vet's for a few more days, and then make a decision. (All this could very well change when I go see him today--I haven't seen him since Friday.) Anyway, I always appreciate the insight and shared experiences from this sight, now more than ever. Thank you.
 

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I am so sorry to hear Stomps is having such a hard time. I hope that you will see some improvement over the coming days. Take care of yourself as well since I know this has to be very stressful for you.
 

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She was pretty well up there, probably 10 or older. She was a rescue, so we didn't have an accurate age on her.
 

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Oh my God, I am SOOO praying for you guys. How painful this must be for you.
There are a couple of dogs at the park with those wheelchairs (1 a dachshund) They seem to be having a good time.
I'll be thinking of you a lot.
 

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1. As long as there are signs of improvement, I would continue to be hopeful. In my experience it takes a looooong time to recover from this type of injury, they're not going to be down one day and walking the next. It takes weeks of rest to heal and then weeks of physio to get them back up.

2. Seriously - consider a "wheelchair" if he does not recover.

3. Have you considered alternative methods in conjunction with conventional care? My Ginger goes to a chiropractor regularly since her back injury, other people have had good luck with acupuncture, and although I think of homeopathy as some sort of voodo, it did seem to help Myrtle when she was paralyzed (and it can't hurt and it's reasonably cheap).
 
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