Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Prognosis

Our Dachshund, Hexi came home from the veterinary clinic yesterday. Her prognosis for the long term is not great. She will, in all probability, never walk again on her hind legs. Now that she is home, the New Year will start, and continue, with her getting special care. Hexi can not walk at all right now, her front legs are not strong enough to drag her lard butted slightly overweight behind around. So we have to exercise her by walking her with a towel wrapped under her abdomen for support. We are using it like a sling for now, to support/hold up her rear. This way she can walk on her front legs with us holding up her back legs. This will be done until the dog cart we ordered arrives.

Luckily though the year ended on a fairly good note because her condition did not worsen, and we did not have to make a difficult decision about whether or not to put her down. What I mean is the decision was easy - we decided to buy her a cart to replace her hind legs so she can be mobile, and hopefully she will live many years to come in relative bliss. On the other hand, had her condition bettered or worsened the decision would have been much more difficult to make. So in a way, I am kind of relieved that she will be using the cart and not getting a back operation; but of course, I wish she never needed either one. In Hexi's case all sensation is gone - with zero to extremely little chance of any recovery - even with surgery. The back operation would have had some good chance of success but only if she had any feeling remaining in her hindquarters. The surgery would have cost over $5,000; heck the vet bills alone to date have been well over $1,000. The decision to have surgery performed on Hexi would have been difficult for at least two reasons, one that there was a chance it would not work or kill her, and the other that it would have just about wiped out any cash we have in the bank. The cart, which will give her much needed mobility, will go for $300 (plus shipping I think). That is a relief to our life's savings - the five grand would have just about wiped out our bank accounts; and it is a relief to the decision making process. If the vet would have said: 'There is hope of her walking again, but only 25%' - it would have been difficult not to have opted for the surgery and poverty but it would have been doable I think especially in light of the other option, that of the cart. Chances are we would have opted for the cart then too. Then again, if the vet had said there was a 50% chance of her regaining sensation, just imagine the difficulty in making the decision; and if he had said an 80% or more chance - I wonder if we would have taken it! It would have been a roll of the dice for us and her had we opted for surgery, with the dice heavily loaded against us; so as I said, the decision wound up being an easy one. Apparently though the decision for others would have been quite different, the vet said that he had to ask because some people would not opt to care for her but would rather have put her down had she been their dog. Sure, had she been expected to worsen, we would have chosen the same, but she is alert, in fairly good spirits, and apparently not in any pain. Thank goodness for that, the decision was easy - though I wish we never had to make the decision in the first place.

Well, as it stands, Hexi is going to need a lot of extra care. She has been with us only 7, or is it 8 years, since she was a little puppy. We all love her, and I although think the care will be time consuming each day, we will all do our best to care for her. Once the cart arrives, things should get easier. Right now we have to pick her up to bring her out to pee or poop. Thankfully the good old behind works on its own, but regrettably the faucet does not. We have to give her some squeezing to get her to pee, which I do not hesitate to say is much better than having to squeeze her to poop. My wife got squirted last night when she picked her up, I guess we have to be careful as to how we pick her up to avoid that in the future. Oh joy. I guess though it really is a joy, we would have been devastated had it turned out worse.

All the best,
Glenn B

1 comment:

Jungle Mom said...

That is one lucky dog to have you all as her family.