November 19/20 was one of our worst days for The Smiths in Oz. At about 10:30pm I let the dog Ziva out for a final potty break prior to turning in. Within seconds, I heard her crying in pain and when I turned the flashlight on her she was desperately trying to move but both her back legs were trailing lifelessly behind her. She was effectively paralyzed. What the heck? I rousted Susan from sleep and thus began a nightmare evening where I tried to carry this HEAVY dog back up the hill, up the steps, and back into the house. Susan called our vet and discovered where we should take her. We got her into the back seat and she was terrified and trembling. For all I knew, she’d been bitten by a snake but instant paralysis didn’t seem to fit with that. Susan and I were both beside ourselves. It was really like a second daughter had suffered a terrible injury. We got to the vet clinic and Susan hollered for help; we couldn’t carry that heavy dog any further. The docs began by first checking to see if she had been poisoned, and then would do testing for snake bite. But first they had to cool her down. Ziva had worked herself up into a 40 degree C temperature so they used ice packs to cool her down to avoid brain damage.
Then they sent us home, promising to stabilize and watch over her until the 6am shift checked in. We got a few hours of sleep before they called us to say a conclusion hadn’t been reached but they were still working on it and would call us about the next steps to be taken (surgery.). Not what I’d call a restful night. In fact, the entire next day was unsettling as we basically went into a waiting mode while they continued to work on her. By the afternoon the specialist arrived and they did a CT scan on her. The surgeon called Susan to report that the dog’s disc “shot out of place like a cannonball” and injured the spinal cord. But it wasn’t severed, thank God. The surgeon said he’d never seen such a thing in a dog only 2.5 years old. But the procedure had a high success rate, with 70-80% recovery odds. That was the first good news we’d had all day. So now the surgery is done, the dog is recovering, and the Smiths are collapsing into bed to find some peace and get some needed rest.
Not a particularly sunny day for us. But we did everything we could and are hopeful that our dog Ziva will regain the use of her legs and start down the rehab path toward returning to her old self.