Zena is on 25 mg of prednisone, twice a day. She is tolerating it well, but this last vet actually advised to take her off it as she is drinking/urinating so frequently from it, and she is afraid Zena might hurt herself if she tries to get out to pee unsupervised. This is a huge concern now, keeping her safe from breaking a limb. I am with her all the time and being hyper-vigilant that this does not happen. I iced her neck for an hour last night as per your advice dobemomtoo...not sure if it helped but she tolerated it well. I am exhausted, lack of sleep, picking her up so much and supporting her to walk, is taking its toll on me both physically and emotionally.
She is so miserable being inactive like this, her whole life was about going to the beach every day, and playing fetch with her ball...about this...
After everything I have read about CVI/Wobblers and the importance of preserving the neck in Dobermans, I would have NEVER PLAYED BALL FETCH with her...all that running and diving to pick up the ball was extremely taxing on her neck, but it was her absolute joy. We started it to help her gain muscle mass after we rescued her, but in hindsight, it was not the right thing to do. Natural play and exercise as described above is the best advice...never forced and always use a harness.
Today will be a difficult day...I see in her eyes she is suffering.
I know your heartache -- Shelby's last 48 hours were pure hell as she was always a very proud and independent girl and at that point, there was little she could do without assistance.
While I don't want to disagree with this last vet as it appears she gave you the real specifics of Zena's situation, I would recommend NOT pulling her off Prednisone yet. Give it time to really get into her system and then back off her dosage gently. How long has she been on the 25 mg?
Prednisone will cause your girl to drink more, but you can minimize that by freezing water in a Kong and letting her lick at that during the day. It will also keep her amused as she rests.
The vet has a right to be concerned about fracture. As the bones fuse, they are more prone to breakage simply because the anatomical make-up of the dog has become altered. Shelby had both fusion in the rear near her tail and wear/slipping of vertebra in her neck area. The tail end started at 10-ish. Slippage started around 12 and that's when things got really challenging.
If you think the icing helped, then I'd keep it up for a few days. Try 10 - 15 minutes on, 30 minutes off.
I'd also suggest you look into a sling to help her and to save your back/arms. A good example of one can be seen here
. I had one for my TPLO Dobe and it saved us a lot of heartache and backache!
If I can lend you any advice that would perhaps help you personally
, I would tell you to be kind to yourself. You can second guess everything you've done for her and drive yourself nuts. If her whole life was about going to the beach every day and playing fetch with her ball, then you made her happy. You've allowed her to experience "absolute joy." I am sure if she could, she would tell you, "No Regrets, Mom!"
I wish I could give you some amazing fix for your girl. It really is in the hands of a higher power now. Give yourself credit where credit is due -- you've loved her deeply and given her a life experience some never get. For that she is forever grateful and for that she has given you her heart.
Okay, got myself sobbing now...*sheesh*