Jasmine has been on crate rest for about two weeks now. She’s not happy about it. It’s very apparent that she’s feeling better and that she’s NOT happy about being crated.
For those of you who haven’t had a pup that has been on crate rest…well, you’re lucky. Imagine being in prison; your cell is just about large enough to stand, lie down, turn around and sit in. Your meals are all served there. The only time you get to go out is when you have to use the bathroom. Your friends are walking around you and taunting you through the bars. Your family is sitting outside your cell, giving you treats and pets, but you can’t go out and hug them.
You stare at them with sad, lonely eyes. For hours and hours on end. You finally relent, bury yourself in your blankies (yes, your prison has blankies), and in a huff…you nap. But at every move, every crackle of a plastic bag, you jump up, ready for action.
That’s what the last two weeks have been like. Now, when Jasmine had IVDD the last time, this lasted EIGHT weeks. Of course, some of that time was spent at the kennel (it was right in the middle of our move from California to New Hampshire). It SEEMED easier. Perhaps because Jasmine was a different dog back then; she was much less playful, energetic or demonstrative. And she didn’t have Juliet traipsing around either!
Jasmine’s sentence is officially over on Friday. Thank goodness! And it seems that there are no serious/lasting injuries. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort.
What’s also nice is that the vet and the vet tech both noted how very different Jasmine is today. When she first started seeing the vet in NH, she used to shake in fear so badly that they could barely keep her still enough to do blood draws and exams. Even though she’s still scared, she’s a much more calm and ‘normal’ dog today. It’s good to see that other people notice the positive changes in her.
If you have ever had a dachshund, you know that one of the most dreaded (and common) health issue with the breed is IVDD–Intervertebral Disc Disorder. Basically, it’s a spinal cord injury due to a herniated or ruptured disc in the spine. Jasmine had this before we moved from California to New Hampshire and fully recovered with crate rest.
Late last week, Jasmine came out of the sleep crate a different dog. Instead of her bouncy, happy self, she was timid and off. She barely wagged her tail. She didn’t play. She was like this all day, and I was worried. However, her appetite was good and she wasn’t yelping in pain.
When she woke up the next morning with the same disposition, I immediately made an appointment with the vet and took her in. He gave her a thorough exam, checked her bloodwork, and then prescribed some pain medication to see if it would help her disposition. It did. Within a few hours, she was perkier. The next morning, she was back to her old self.
Given these signs (including a slight tenderness in her back during the exam), he’s thinking that she injured her back again (or it’s flaring up). She’s on strict crate rest for at least two weeks; the Dodger’s List group recommends eight full weeks of crate rest. Oh, she’s not going to be happy. But I need to make sure that my pup is okay.
If you haven’t done crate rest with a dog before…well, it’s not fun. It means that the only time she should be out of the crate is to go potty. No running, no jumping, no playing. She eats in the crate. It’s intended to restrict her movements so she can get the rest her back needs. Given that she’s feeling better now, keeping her contained is not going to be easy OR pleasant. But it’s what we need to do to help her heal.
Find Jasmine (no, it’s not the black spot–that’s a blanket)
The worst thing in the world to see is a dog that has had IVDD jumping off a bed or a chair. Our sometimes squirrely little pup did just that–not once, but twice–this weekend and put me into hovering, overprotective mom mode.
We are now letting Jasmine sleep with us on the big bed (I got tired of being woken up in the middle of the night to an overly anxious little pup who just wanted to snuggle). Yeah, I know. Sucker. Well, she decided yesterday morning to jump off the bed when I was in the bathroom. Hubby was just trying to pet her, and her “scaredy dog” attitude towards him went into overdrive yesterday for no apparent reason. She leapt off the VERY high bed onto the carpeting. Hubby called to me and I ran in to see what the hullaballoo was all about. He told me, I called Jasmine out from under the bed, and I checked her. Thank goodness there wasn’t any damage to her back!
The implication is that I can’t trust her on the bed at all when I am not in the room. Hubby seems to think that dogs have some natural instinct for danger. Um, yeah maybe when there’s a predator that’s about to eat them, but jumping off a bed? Nope.
The second incident occurred yesterday evening. I placed Jasmine in hubby’s lap for a little peanut buttah treat. He finished giving her a little bit of peanutty goodness when she leapt off the recliner and onto the floor. My heart was in my throat! She was once again unharmed, but it’s just so disconcerting to see her do these things…I know that doxies jump off of furniture all the time. But a dog with a history of IVDD…there can’t be any latitude.
So I’m watching her like a hawk. I don’t want her to hurt herself again. Okay. My heartbeat is back to normal now.
One of the comments on my last post about Jasmine taking a header down the stairs was a kind and gentle (thanks!) reminder that Dachshunds shouldn’t go up and down stairs. Which brings me to my dilemma. Should I let her?
We already had Jasmine when we bought this house. One of the considerations I made when we were searching for a house was to try to find one with a first-floor master bedroom. Alas, we didn’t find the right house that had that feature. We sleep upstairs. My art studio will also be upstairs.
The stairs are a standard staircase that is fully carpeted in deep plush carpet. When we first brought Jasmine here, I diligently carried her up and down the stairs. However, she started darting ahead after a little while, and when she had no adverse effects from it, I just let it go and let her climb up and down herself. When I leave the room, she sometimes goes searching for me upstairs. We do have baby gates and we can keep her from going up and down by herself.
Taking her outside to “go” also requires that she go down 5 wide steps off the deck. She zips up and down those as well.
So, I either allow her to do this by herself, or I have to carry her up and down the stairs to go outside, to go to bed, to go up with me every time I go up, etc. This probably means being picked up 20 times per day on average. While I don’t mind doing it (except for MY bad back) except for the inconvenience (laundry + dachshund + baby gate = disaster), I’m wondering how many people with dachshunds NEVER have a problem with back issues AND have stairs.
Now given that Jasmine has already had IVDD, I know that it’s time for me to be much more proactive about her health and stop being lazy about the stairs. But I really want to know the science behind this rather than the “experts” just stating that “stairs are hard on Dachshund backs.” Does anyone have any insight into the cause/effect of stairs on Dachshund IVDD? Do you let your little darlings do the stairs themselves? And have they had any issues? Inquiring minds want to know. Please leave a comment. Also, here’s a poll…let’s see how many people do let their Doxies take the stairs:
Jasmine was getting much more vocal before her injury. When she wanted something, she was starting to squeak and woof at me. It was great to see her beginning to communicate with me, and I was thrilled.
While I thought her crate rest would hamper her communication, it has in fact reinforced it. She has woken me up at 4:00 a.m. with a small but distinct whine, and I’ve immediately responded by taking her outside. One time, she barely made it out the door before she went. She has also woofed at me when I’ve given her “crate breaks” for meals or a little petting. The woof has told me that she needs her outside break as well…and I’ve been right. I’ve wished in the past that Jasmine would communicate her needs, and she’s finally doing it. Of course, all of it is up to my interpretation. She might be saying, “Woof–I want lap time” and I interpret it as “Woof–I wanna go outside;” then when we get out there, she goes out of habit.
The crate rest hasn’t been fun, but it’s now part of her daily routine. We’re thankfully halfway there, and I think she’s going to be just fine–just in time for our cross-country odyssey. Now THAT will be an adventure!
Jasmine is feeling better. MUCH better. Much better as in, “Why are you putting me in jail, Mom? What did I do wrong?”
Hubby decided that Jasmine should be out with him. So he let her out and laid on the floor with her for an hour giving her scratchies. Of course, he had to get up to go use the bathroom, and when he got back, Jasmine had jumped into the leather chair. And of course, when he went to get her down, she jumped off of it onto the floor.
Props to him for even admitting this to me…I was a bit peeved. But the point is that we have to watch her like a hawk. We have been letting her out for potty breaks, meals and a tiny bit of “love” time, but in general, she’s been in the crate for about 23 hours a day. The vet told us to stop the meds (to prevent irritation, kidney and/or liver problems with long-term use of the anti-inflammatory). So, she’s now drug free and pain free. The next weeks of rest should assure that her recovery is not short-lived.
It breaks my heart to have to crate her. She doesn’t like it (well, except when she wants a nap, and then the warm fluffy blanket makes te crate her favorite place). Mostly, she doesn’t like NOT being next to us or on us. She craves that physical connection with us. As do I. Jasmine is such a love and such a joy to be around. I love seeing her happy, and even though I know this is the best think for her, it’s SO hard to do what’s best.
It has now been two weeks since Jasmine’s back injury, and I’m happy to report that she’s better. I picked Jasmine up from the kennel yesterday, and it was all I could do to keep her from jumping and re-injuring herself. She was so happy to see me…it was so nice to be greeted with such unbridled joy. She cried all the way home. I had to coo and calm her the entire time so she would keep from wriggling and moving around too much.
She is back to her old self. She is squatting as she does her business, she seems to have lots of energy, and she has her spirit back. Of course, it could be the “honeymoon” period of being home–when that wears off, she generally rebels a little to let us know that she DOES remember that we left her. However, the “back to the crate” routine hasn’t been a rousing success. She’s less inclined to desire to spend her time there. Before we left, she was on pain killers, and that tended to put her out. She’s now whining a bit to “pretend” to need to go outside to get let out. Of course, she had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. this morning to go out (not pretending), and it was tremendously hard for me to crawl out of bed and do it, especially with this cold/flu that I picked up during our trip. Hubby and I are both fairly ill and slogging it out as we go through the pain of remodeling our house. Oy.
I’m still going to continue the crate rest until she’s fully recovered. I have to speak to the vet about tapering her off her meds (she’s still on anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants) given her more positive disposition. I want her to be pain-free, but I also want her to be able to let her body do the healing. She’s off to a great start, and kenneling her was actually good for her (she was on strict crate rest at the kennel except for bathroom breaks). I just have to remember that feeling good to her can push her towards behavior that could cause further damage. This is probably the most dangerous time for her…she’s feeling better, but her back isn’t completely healed. I have to keep telling myself that…it’s SO tempting to give her a little more lee-way and let her romp and play as she’d like.
While she’s not thrilled with the crate, it’s what’s best for her right now. I know that, and I *am* the adult here. 😉