Drac was paralyzed! How we helped him heal, walk, and run again
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Drac is a puppy who is full of life. He loves zoomies in the living room, snuggling, having "teeth-showing" competitions, and being everywhere that we are. Drac is a puppy that is overflowing with so much love that it spills from his tiny body all the time in the form of dancing front feet, crying, kisses, and running around. So, imagine Dominic's surprise when he came home from work one day and Drac did not greet him but instead ran under the bed and hid. The bigger problem was that Drac didn't run so much as quickly drag his backside behind him.
Laurie had told Dominic before that when a dog is hurt they may bite, even when they love you and you are helping them. He went to get some mechanic's gloves and gently removed Drac from under the bed so that he could see better what was wrong. Dominic found that Drac was not standing on or using his back legs at all. Dominic called Laurie and told her that he was rushing Drac to the animal hospital and to meet him there. He grabbed a dog bed and placed Drac inside. He placed the bed on the floor of the car and travelled as fast as he could safely go to the animal hospital. Once there they took x-rays and were able to see that he had two herniated discs in his spine.
We were given two options for treatment, we could have laser surgery performed for about $5,000 or we could give him pain medications, steroids, and anti-inflammatories. Laurie has known two people with this exact issue and opted for the medications. As soon as we all got home again, Laurie immediately started looking for an animal chiropractor. She quickly found one with a very good reputation and called for an appointment. Laurie discovered that in Texas, you must have a referral from your veterinarian to be able to have chiropractic care. The next day Laurie called the veterinarian and was told that they do not give referrals to chiropractic care. She called the chiropractor back and asked which veterinarians have recommended pets to her in the past. Once she found one who was nearby and also had good reviews she made an appointment for a consultation with them. Drac was seen, we brought copies of the x-rays and they evaluated him with the same diagnosis. We were then given a referral to the chiropractor.
We were having to follow him around the back yard with our two finger under his hips to support his weight so he could wheel barrel himself around the yard and relieve himself. We also had to try to anticipate when he had to go #2 then, after he found a spot he liked, position his legs underneath him so that his bowels were more straight and balance him so he could go. But he is inches off the ground and in pain, that made him more picky about a spot. We bought a harness since bathroom breaks were killing our back with our tiny 5.5 lb puppy. The harness was hard to use on Drac since he was so small, he kept peeing on it since there really isn't much room between that area and his hips. Meanwhile, we started making plans for if Drac never walked again. It was something that we really hoped wouldn't happen but we also wanted to be prepared for. We looked into wheelchairs, wow are they expensive. We just hoped that we wouldn't need that. It was breaking our hearts to see him unable to leave his bed though. He lay in bed to eat, drink, and couldn't get up to say hi to us. This was the hardest time.
Dr. Crystal, the miracle worker, started coming to our house once a week to adjust Drac. We stretched him, adjusted his spine, and used cold therapy. He continued taking pain medications, steroids, and anti-inflammatories along with this treatment. Slowly, he began to want to use his legs again. he regained some strength and now only needed some help with balance rather than us completely holding him up in the backside.
Eventually Drac starting taking a few steps out of his bed. He began to stand, very wobbly though, while eating. When he walked, he would cross his back feet and trip himself. It was slow going and by now we were nearing Christmas. We were happy with any progress he made and joyful for each step he took. Watching him wobble along for short distances was amazing.
Once Drac started walking on his own we backed down the chiropractic visits to once every other week and he was off the steroids, we also starting backing him off the pain meds and anti-inflammatories. This was also the time that Dr. Crystal told us that she was leaving to move to Florida. We were crushed and weren't sure how Drac was going to do without continued treatment.
We would just have to do our best to not let him get hurt again. He was no longer allowed to play with other dogs, he watched him very closely when we walked and as soon as he showed signs of tiring we carried him the rest of the way, he also trained him how to us the "Elevator" to avoid having to pick him up. The elevator is a dog bed that we place on the floor and tell Drac "Get in the elevator", he climbs in and lays down and we can lift him up onto the couch or into the car or trailer. These behavior changes have managed to almost completely protect his back for 2 years. We have had two episodes where he tweaked something and started behaving as if his back were giving him pain. For these times, we amp up our protection of his back as well as give him some pain medications. This lasts about two weeks before he seems to do better and we feel like we can start trying to wean him from the pain medicine.
Here is a video of little Drac beginning to walk (and, gasp, run) again. Please check it out here https://youtu.be/wwFGJ8S1bXM
If you would like to see a video of little Drac running on the beach in Destin, FL after his recovery, please check it out here https://youtu.be/7NVWpGgyWJs
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