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Old 10-17-2012, 11:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wobblers / Paralysis

Where to begin??....??

Meeks, (Mekail) is my red male Doberman who turned 8 last month. Healthy as a horse, he has never suffered more than the occasional bump or bruise. We live in the country, and he has roughly an acre of fenced property he rules over, and is an extremely active dog that always seems to be stuck in high gear. Also, according to my 6 year old daughter, he also is her protector from the bears, wolves, crocodiles and gremlins that try to torment her at bed time.

So last Wednesday, he was showing signs of what I can explain as wobbly hind quarters, which I chalked up to an injury. I carefully went over both rear legs looking for the source of what I thought would be the cause of his strange walking. But, being stoic as he always is, he did not show any signs of pain whatsoever. His condition continued to deteriorate, to the point that he was falling over quite often. I brought him to our vet on Friday, and after a solid exam, she concluded he had a condition called wobblers. Wow, this was news to me, and having never hearing of this disease, I was stunned to say the least. So no big deal, she prescribed an anti-inflammatory along with a strong painkiller and said he should dramatically improve over the weekend. However, because this a common health issue in Dobermans and great Danes, we will have to be vigilant in monitoring this for his future health.

So shortly after returning home from the vet, not only do his hind legs go limp, so do his front legs. My 74 lb boy is basically paralyzed. What a horrible site to witness, he was totally helpless. So I immediately call my vet, and after a chat, we both agree on letting the medications take hold for 24 hours, before drawing any conclusion. I placed Meeks on the couch beside me, praying the medications would kick in, relieving the swelling in his neck, and returning his mobility. I spent my most sleepless night beside him, trying to comfort him, with my mind racing all over.

Come Saturday morning, no improvement. He was still unable to move from his neck down. I immediately loaded him up into my vehicle, and headed back to our vet with tears in my eyes, knowing this was it. I would have to be fair and put him out of this misery, after all, what quality of life could he possibly have paralyzed??? Well, she eventually talked me into driving over an hour away to the Ontario Veterinary Clinic in Guelph, Ontario. This is a major small animal clinic which is part of the University of Guelph.

So I arrive in record time, and they take him in and perform a battery of tests on him, concluding he needs to be seen by a neurologist. After she arrives and performs her exam, she recommends an MRI to pinpoint the issue. OK, so on to the next step....the MRI reveals that the material between two neck discs has popped out, and is now impeding on his spine, causing the paralysis. She says if they perform surgery, he has an 85% chance of recovering. WOW...hear I was earlier in the day expecting to put my boy to sleep, and now I am being told he has a chance to recover! Emotional rollercoaster for sure. Anyways....what an easy decision right?? ya....you would think. They are quick at this point to say that time is of the essence for the surgery and oh ya...this will cost $7000.00. And I apologize as this is my first post, and am not sure about colourful language on the forums here, but I am thinking HOLY ****!! that’s an insane amount of money. And it begs the question....what would you do? Well, surprising I didn't even hesitate and gave the full go ahead to do whatever they needed to do. Do I have that kinda money in my bank account? Absolutely not, but being very lucky in this economy, my wife and I have decent jobs and I am willing to borrow the money to save my best friend.

So fast-forward, he has what the surgeon describes as successful surgery, and now we have wait and see if he recovers the use of legs. And because of the bruising on his spinal cord, this may take awhile before he regains movement. It’s been two days since the surgery, and I am being told he has showed NO purposeful movement in any of his legs. What a horrible feeling....so my wife and daughter all went down to see him tonight, the first time since the surgery. We entered the ICU where he is being kept, and his eyes light up like a Christmas tree....we are able to spend a couple of amazing with him. And during the first the half hour of our visit, he is visibly super excited to see us, and starts moving his front left foot in an incredible fashion! The vet that was with is super excited, as this is his first movement since the surgery! What an amazing feeling of joy!! It felt like a boulder was lifted off my chest, and finally I am seeing the evidence that he will recover and walk again!

So anyways, after a couple of hours, we had to head home. I am planning on driving up again on Friday to see him, and am hoping and praying he will continue to make great improvements and hopefully bring him home soon and start his rehabilitation.

I just wanted to get this experience off my chest and share my story. Although this story is far from over, I am finally able to rest easier knowing my boy is on his way to recovery. And if anyone has taken the time to read this crazy wall of text, thank-you.

I will keep this updated on his progress, and please let me know if you have experienced this or have any questions!

Thanks for reading!!!!

Here are a fews pics of Meeks.....1 before surgery, and 2 from tonight.



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Old 10-17-2012, 11:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hope for a good recovery.
Its a tough thing to go through. I had a red girl 30 yrs ago with Wobblers. She was only 4yrs old. Im sure they have made medical improvments on this type of surgery since then.
Good luck
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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1st Rays & Hugs to you & your boy for a great recovery.2nd might find some useful information at Dogerslist.com its mainly for Dachshunds but they have tons of information about back surgery might help. 3rd I cannot remember where I saw it but some one made their large dog a PVC type walker had a sling for the front & back ,it was on wheels looked like a walker but it was for a dog walker in front and in back sides at the top and the sling in the middle for the dog to go in. It supported the dog while the dog recovered its strength of course the vet is the one to go by not a vet but just thought it was a great idea. Again Rays & Hugs.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Prayers & paws crossed for Meeks full recovery
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You made the right decision to go to OVC in Guelph, if you are interested in trying to save him. Glad your vet pointed you that way. There is no where better in Ontario and it's one of the top clinics/teaching hospitals in North America. And also cheaper then most other specialty vets, as it's a teaching hospital. I received EXCELLENT care for my Strider when he did his chemo and radiation treatments.

Though in the end....the last procedure, which cost a couple thousand was not successful, I let him go knowing that I had done EVERYTHING possible for him. And he died in remission, as what ended up getting him was not cancer.!

I, of course, hope for an amazing outcome for you, and sending BIG hugs your way.
Seeing the blue matt and white fluffy blankets in your pics reminds me of my boy.

Sending good vibes to you.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I was looking for a video I saw a long time ago about a Rottweiler in eastern Europe somewhere that had a major recovery and the owner described what he did.....I couldn't find it....but found this.

Balled my eyes out watching it.....
All this dog needed was a bit of time.
Wobblers Syndrome Dog Recovery - Athena - YouTube
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh I am so hoping for your boys recovery. He is getting excellent care at that facility so don't give up hope. They have done some miraculous work there. I have seen a "hopeless" looking case recover in their care so keep believing.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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hope your boy continues to improve and you made the right decision. I had 2 dobes who had to have back surgery and both recovered fully and lived for a few more years pain free. We had to be careful not to let them get to hyper for fear it could happen again. Sendng good dobe thoughts your way.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I hope I can bring you some hope. My boy Dylan had CVI surgery and a full recovery. His symptoms were more subtle but he was becoming paralyzed at a frightening rate. He had the surgery at the U of Florida, at the time they gave him a 95% chance of recovery. The rest time and the rehab was very difficult but the end result was miraculous. We had a huge great dane sized crate on our screened porch and another large crate in the living room. We kept him a little bit more entertained that way. He was leash walked only to potty for about 6 weeks and restrained on a leash for about 3 months. After the first 6 weeks we were able to begin rehab and take him walking to build up his strength and musculature. Dylan was an exceptional patient, never trying to leap or bounce around. That helped a great deal. He had 4 happy and healthy years until DCM stole him from us at 8 !/2. He was also the second dog to get the stem cell implantation for DCM. You could say that we spared no expense to try and keep him with us.

Please keep us updated. I will be praying for a similar recovery for your beloved boy. I'm so sorry that this has happened to you and to him. I know exactly how you feel. Hugs to you and Meeks.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome to DT. So sorry you found us under these circumstances. Hoping and praying your handsome boy has a full recovery. You have found a great support group at DT. Please keep us updated and also we love pictures.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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keep us informed ...let's hope a great success story is told, i feel it coming
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hoping for a speedy recovery!!
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hugs and well wishes to your handsome boy. Welcome to DT from TX!
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:09 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Welcome from Toronto — and thank you for telling Meeks's story. I hope your boy makes a full recovery so that the story has the best ending possible. Please post updates on his progress.

And yes, experience tells us that vet care for the kinds of health issues faced by Dobes can punch a huge hole in the pocketbook. That's why Jack is insured to the eyeballs. We would never want the cost of care to factor into a decision about how — or whether — to get him treatment.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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My heart went out to you as I read your story. A friend and I were discussing the money I have spent on one of our Dobermen to treat bone cancer. He may be with us for another year or so, but I don't regret spending a single penny in order to do all we can to give him the best and longest life possible. I can tell from your post you feel the same way.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:42 AM   #16 (permalink)
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paralysis

I had a 10 year old Dachshund who had the same surgery; he jumped off our bed and was immediately paralyzed all 4 legs. They gave him only a 50% chance of walking again . . . but we went ahead anyways. $8500 for the surgery and a week in critical care.

When we took him home, he was trying to "crawl" with his front legs only. We had to have him on puppy pads as he was incontinent at first, but this did recover.

He DID walk (and RUN) again. . .but it took several weeks of therapy and rehab. We did daily exercises with him that the vets showed us, also we took him to water therapy with an underwater treadmill. In my opinion this was the miracle worker . . .he started to walk again after 1 time in the water, and progressively got better and better.

He lived another happy 3 years I will never forget the first time he took off after a crow in our yard, weaving and bobbling all the way, but running like the wind in his mind
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Meek is a handsome boy. Sending thoughts and prayers for a full recovery.


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Old 10-18-2012, 08:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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My grand dog Zeus had surgery for wobblers and lived another 3years in good health. He died of. Cancer--wobblers had nothing to do with him being put down.cancer was the reason.

Good luck!
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:26 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Found this site might help to get more into a normal postion als you have to keep moveing them so they will not get bed sore.
How to Make a Homemade Dog Wheelchair | eHow.com
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:54 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Here's hoping for the very best and wonderful outcome for you and your fur kid.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:38 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing, your dog is beautiful...sweet eyes, we're pulling for him, love will pull him through. I guess it's a reminder of just how this energetic, athletic breed is so vulnerable to neck and back injuries. Our dobie girl broke her back jumping off the bed. She was 9 at the time and it just got worse from there, we learned she had von Willebrand Disease and an auto-immune problem. It was a lesson to buy pups from qualified breeders ONLY!
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:03 PM   #23 (permalink)
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You're a Good Parent

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Regardless of the outcome, you made the right decision to give your boy a fighting chance at life. You spent $7,000+, but in return you have received unconditional devotion and love that is a priceless gift. Nice job!
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:52 PM   #24 (permalink)
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WOW,

Thank-you for all your well wishes and encouraging words. It really means a lot.

I just returned home from visiting Meeks at the OVC. It is so quiet around the house without him, and I cannot wait until he returns home. As for an update, he is recovering well and they expect we can bring him home in one weeks time. He is down 10lbs from the whole situation, but is now showing an increase in his appetite, so hopefully he will put some weight back on shortly. Also, he has developed a UTI from his catheter, but now that he is drinking much better, his IV and catheter should both be removed in a day or two.

His recovery is now focusing more on physio therapy, and he was able to stand (in the sling) for more than a minute, and also was able to sit as well. He can move his front legs somewhat, and will start his water therapy, with the treadmill in the next day or two. I know he will recover, and hope by the spring he is able to walk, and perhaps jog around as well. I will spend every waking moment I have with him to ensure this. It will be a long process, but I cannot wait to have him home and work with him on walking....more bonding time!

Unfortunately our financial crisis continues, as we are now looking at a total of $10,000. This is basically due to him staying an extra week. And really, what can you do but laugh.....in for nickel I suppose. I am just relieved that there are others here that would do the same thing....I cannot let the money be a factor in my boys' recovery from this horrible incident. It will be very tough for us to pull this money together, and yes, there is much stressing going on about it, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Giving him a chance to recover and to walk again is priceless for me. I will do everything in my power to see him to this goal.

Anyways, once he comes home, it will be much easier for me to post pics and even videos of his recovery. I just want to say thank-you again for all the kind words, they really mean a lot to me in this time of worry and uncertainty.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:49 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Wobblers, know it too well

To make a long story short, got to apvet.com under testimonial page about Gus. He was completely down, had a mylagram and acupuncture for treatments. Walked into the vets office a week later. Let me know if you can get to this website
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