It’s becoming clear to us that Andee’s recovery from her back injury and subsequent surgery is going to be long, and likely incomplete. While she is improving every day with her reflex response, she is still unable to feel deep pain and has no motor control of her hind legs, and no voluntary control of her bladder.
We visited her at the vet school on Saturday to deliver some toys, chewies and her favorite food. She was having some gastro-intestinal distress from the medication and food they were giving her. Her regular kibble seems to be helping this. We also got to help her exercise with the “cart”, which is effectively a wheelchair for paraplegic dogs. She was quite adept at getting around with it, but it’s only something that she can do with direct supervision (at least for now).
We are learning a lot about dogs who have survived with this kind of disability. And it is truly amazing the quality of life they can have. But it takes a tremendous amount of effort by the owners, and it will be a challenge for us to find kennel care when we travel.
Our older dog Happy is clearly not happy, and this concerns us. She is confused by why Andee is not around. She is not eating well, and she is constantly in need of “attention”. We took her for a walk to the voting precinct (we had local elections on Saturday) and she really seemed to enjoy that. So we’re trying to keep up the activity level. We would like to bring her with us to visit Andee, but we know that is neither feasible nor practical.
We’ve included some photos of Andee from our last visit. The marks on her shaven back are the point at which tactile reflexs stop. That mark is moving slowly towards her tail (a good thing). What we don’t know is when and where that progress will stop.