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tara
11th October 2010, 03:41 AM
Two weeks ago, we had a terrible accident. I was getting ready to take my youngest daughter to preschool and thought I had left Holly in the house. Holly must have slipped out the door to the garage behind my daughter -- I backed into her with the car in our driveway. Words can not describe how horrible I felt, and still feel. I've always prided myself on being so conscientous with my kids and our beloved pets. I knew accidents happen, but thought they could never happen to me as I was so very careful. To say I'm learning a lesson in humility is an understatement.

After rushing Holly to our vet here to be stabilized, I decided to take her to the University of Florida for surgery. Holly had a left sacroiliac luxation, fracture of the right ilium through the acetabulum (hip socket area) and a fracture in the caudal vertebrae. She was seen by a neurologist and orthopedist at the University and had surgery two weeks ago Saturday (the morning following the accident). In addition to having a plate attached to her hip area, Holly had her tail amputated due to the vertebral fracture in that region.

I brought Holly home last Tuesday. She is on strict crate rest for at least 8-12 weeks. The wonderful news is that she is able to go potty on her own and eats and drinks well. Her right hind leg has significant nerve damage, so we are using a sling to assist her when she takes a few steps to potty. My strongest desire for Holly is that she eventually regains full function of her leg as the injury heals.

Holly is doing very well now. Her incisions have stopped leaking and she is recovering from an infection of the hip incision. The University doctors and staff have been wonderful -- I still consult with a member of Holly's team daily. I've set up a couple different areas in the house for her to rest, but still feel as if she's part of our every day lives here. I have a stroller that I plan to use more once Holly has completed this first month of recovery. We have a post-op visit in a couple of weeks when they'll redo radiographs to determine the amount of healing Holly's had the first month. I'm hoping for a very positive check-up so that we can start some physical therapy.

I've learned that however careful I thought I was, it just wasn't enough. I can't stop thinking that if I had just taken a couple of seconds to check that Holly was inside that morning, or if I had been more careful to make certain I was the last person to close the door. Thinking about all of this can kind of drive you nuts, I'm trying to deal with the overwhelming feelings of guilt I have. Holly was a reading therapy dog before the accident, and my hope is that in several months we'll be able to return to that work. I think Holly's "message" now is so strong -- it's truly not what one looks like on the outside, but rather what's on the inside that always stays the same and what matters most. Being "different" can be beautiful and teach us so much. Holly might not have a tail, and she might have a permanent disability if the hind leg does not recover. But she is the same wonderful dog with the same beautiful spirit.

I would really appreciate your prayers for Holly's continued healing. I feel like I need to apologize to this community for injuring one of our beloved cavaliers. I'm sure this sounds crazy, but I know you all understand how horrible I feel.

ByFloSin
11th October 2010, 10:01 AM
I feel so humble after reading this. Your attitude is absolutely amazing. A lesser person would be consumed with guilt, but you are using that guilt constructively to warn others of what can and does happen, picking up the pieces and getting on with dealing with the future. How I wish there were more like you around.

I have a Holly too - Holly Poppet, because she is such a little poppet. She was born with Curly Coat/Dry Eye Syndrome, which has seriously compromised her eyes, skin and auto immune system. At one time the local vet wanted to remove her eye because she did not respond to surgery and treatment for corneal ulcers. I tried to be constructive too by insisting on referral to an opthalmologist, expensive, but 18 months later she still has the eye, which is working pretty well.

There are often alarm bells set off because she catches her abnormal claws in carpets, then pulls them out and causes damage. I am off to the vet with her now, as another was lost on her deformed front paw over the weekend and she will not walk on it.

Like you, I know that each event must be taken in turn and dealt with sensibly, with an eye to the future. Tears are not on the menu, but a positive attitude has to be at the very top.

I am so sorry that this has happened to your Holly, but so glad that you have the right approach to dealing with her injuries. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

allie
11th October 2010, 10:39 AM
Thinking of you both - hope Holly recouperates well :xfngr:

sins
11th October 2010, 11:29 AM
We all have our special Hollys!
I'm so sorry to hear that this has happened to you.I can't imagine what you must have gone through.You've given her the best medical care possible and it seems like her vets are optimistic that time will continue the good work that they've started.We wish you and Holly all the best and pray that she'll make a full recovery.
The worst is over and hopefully things can only get better from now on.
Sins

Chuck
11th October 2010, 12:51 PM
Tara, no matter how careful you are dreadful things can happen. The concern for Holly’s recovery you have shown demonstrates that you are a wonderful person owned by Holly, a very resilient Caviler. Yes of course we still have you and your family (including Holly) in our prayers

Nicki
11th October 2010, 12:52 PM
Oh goodness what a horrible thing to happen - I can only imagine my feelings in that situation...I would just be consumed with guilt.

Thank you for sharing this story and reminding us all to be so very careful - these things happen so quickly - our Cavaliers always want to be with us so do tend to slip through the smallest gaps to get to us. [Teddy, my lovely Ruby boy, used to go over 4 ft fences to get to me, despite being really badly affected with Syringomyelia - our garden looks like Colditz now.]


We wish Holly a good recovery - she will be extra special and although may not look *perfect* she will still be the same dog inside, and is perfect to those of us who truly care about our companions. I'm sure in time she will manage to wag her bottom so will still be able to communicate her happiness.

How wonderful that Holly is a therapy dog and I sincerely hope she is able to return to that work - and can show many others that perfection and beauty are on the inside.


Once Holly starts to feel a bit better she may start getting frustrated at being crate rested, it's great that you have different locations for her, but there are things you can do like give her stuffed Kongs, and the Nina Ottosson toys which you can play with her to stimulate her a bit.

http://www.interactivedoggames.com/ Obviously you may need to reduce her amount of food so that she does not gain any weight, so you can give her all the daily ration in toys etc.


Take care and know that we are all thinking of you and Holly and wishing her well.

meljoy
11th October 2010, 01:48 PM
Thinking of you and sending best wishes:hug:

Margaret C
11th October 2010, 02:31 PM
Dear Tara,

We have all had the times when a small lapse could have brought tragedy and disaster. We do our best, but sometimes events catch us out.

Years ago I made an assumption about my mother's rescue boxer dog and she ended up dead on a motorway.

Holly is still with you, she will still be beautiful, she will still have her lovely cavalier expression and her sweet temperament.

You are a wonderful Cavalier Mum.

Give her a big kiss from me.

My very best wishes,

Karlin
11th October 2010, 04:15 PM
Oh how terrible and I can understand how agonising this has been. You can drive yourself crazy by re-imagining each step -- it is a kind of post-traumatic stress action that happens after an accident or bad experience. :flwr: You are so right to focus on the situation now and going forward and I am sure Holly will be back bringing comfort with you to many who are ill. Thank you for courageously sharing your own experience which I know will be helpful to many, and also I hope helps you by talking about it and brings many prayers and best wishes to Holly as she heals.

tara
11th October 2010, 05:35 PM
Thank you all so very much for your kind words and well wishes. This has, and continues to be, one of those life lessons that I wish I didn't have to learn. But ... there are many things to be thankful for. First, Holly is alive! There was also serious concern initially that she would be paralyzed from the waist down, which would include being incontinent. We went into surgery not knowing how things would turn out, but thankfully Holly is able to innervate her bladder and bowel and has use of the back end of her body. The damage to the sciatic nerve in her right hind leg may very well recover with time and physical therapy.

Karlin -- I think I have gone through some post traumatic stress issues. It is still somewhat difficult to drive, particularly in reverse. I've never been more aware of the actual power of the automobile and the opportunity for destruction that exists when driving. I see people driving carelessly on the roads now and wish I could pull them aside and share that their actions could very well have catastrophic consequences.

I'm actually a bit excited with the message that Holly and I can bring in the future. When I told the teacher of her reading therapy class of the accident, we discussed coming in after Holly's recovered and using Holly as an example of many important life lessons. I'm also going to reach out to schools for disabled children to see whether they would enjoy a visit from us. With all of the bullying issues we've seen in the US lately, I think it would be really beneficial for children in "mainstream" school to hear our message as well.

I know my own two children are learning some really important things from this accident. They know now how important safety precautions are, and that everyone can make mistakes. But sometimes those mistakes have ugly consequences that we must deal with. It's how we deal with the mistakes and move forward that counts. They're learning from watching me care for Holly around the clock, and they are living the lesson of devotion to family members -- no matter what their differences or disabilities may be.

I'm so grateful for this community and will most certainly keep you updated on our progress. Oh, a bit of interesting news that came from the event. Holly's neurologist at the University said her MRI scan was one of the "clearest" he's seen from a cavalier. I was able to share the results with Holly's breeder and the stud breeder who were happy to have the research for their breeding programs.

Thank you for the link, Nicki! Holly will need some things to keep her occupied during this long recovery. I've been thinking about how to care for her mental health as well as physical needs. I'll have a look at the link and see what might peak Holly's interest!

Sandrac
11th October 2010, 05:39 PM
Sending Holly lots of get well wishes.

Jane P
11th October 2010, 06:01 PM
I am so sorry to read what you have been through. I am thinking of you both and sending lots of healing good wishes to Holly.:hug:

I truly admire you for your positive attitude to what has happened. Holly is very lucky to have you as a mum.

Cathy T
12th October 2010, 10:08 PM
I'm just reeling from reading this Tara. You need to not blame yourself, there's a reason it's called an accident. I have no doubt you are super careful when you are driving and can completely see how something like this could happen. The important thing is that Holly is okay and your girls are okay. Sounds like it's going to be a long road to recoery but I have no doubt you will get her there. Know that you have the whole community behind your and don't forget to love yourself a little. :hug:

arasara
12th October 2010, 10:12 PM
Oh Tara, this story brought tears to my eyes! Like someone else said, your attitude toward this whole situation is admirable! I am glad that Holly is alright and is healing well. Congrats on getting a good scan!! Holly is lucky to have such a caring owner looking after her :hug:I'm thinking about you guys :hug:

tupup
12th October 2010, 10:44 PM
How awful for you all,these things happen in the blink of an eye,you could drive yourself mad with if onlys so i really admire your positive attitude,im sure that will help Hollys recovery far faster than tears would :hug:

Get well soon Holly, God blessxx

clackdish
12th October 2010, 11:31 PM
so glad things seem to be getting better ,im sure holly will take all in her stride as cavvies seem to do ,and bounce right back ,as for looks ,cavvies are cavvies are cavvies ,never seen an ugly one yet and im certain she will be back to 100% beautifullness before long our thoughts are with you

andy ,hils and the tribe

Gatsbys Dad
2nd November 2010, 04:15 PM
Please keep us updated on your sweet one! Our thoughts and prayers your way!

tara
3rd November 2010, 05:02 AM
Thank you again for your kind wishes! We had Holly's one month post-surgical check today. She saw her surgeon, neurologist, radiologist and physical therapist. The fantastic news is that radiography shows Holly is healing well. There is new bone growth and the implant is stable. There are no arthritic changes in the joints, which is great news.

The less than stellar news is that Holly still exhibits neurological deficits in the right hind leg. She has distint muscle atrophy there, as well as, a decreased range of motion and difficulty bearing weight on the leg. The "sum" of the SIX HOUR visit is that these deficits could be due to two things: first, Holly's decreased muscle tone, muscle memory, stiffness, etc. could be hindering the leg from functioning. This is an obvious result of the strict crate rest she's been on the past five weeks. If this is the case, physical therapy should work wonders.

The second scenario is that the implant (and it's wires, screws, etc.) are causing disruption with nerves in the area. I am to start Holly on an intense regiment of physical therapy, plus twice weekly injections of Adequan to keep the joints lubricated and protect cartilage. If, after two weeks of therapy, Holly is still reluctant to use her right hind leg, I'm to start Gabapentin. This will target neurogenic issues and help the doctors rule out that the deficits are being caused by pinched nerves due to the implant.

So ... we're off on a big journey of PT now! I'm to do swimming, weight bearing and range of motion exercises, plus twice daily massage sessions. Her doctors also put me in touch with a physical therapist here in Tampa that I'm to visit with Holly twice weekly.

If Holly does not respond to physical therapy, her doctors will look into removing the implant in January. Her neurologist said there is no apparent reason that Holly should not regain full use of the leg. We just need to figure out what's causing the problem! He said he was very aware of the nerves during surgery (the neurologist observed the surgery for this reason), but that we're talking fractions of milimeters and that something could have shifted post-surgically and now be disrupting nerve function.

I've got to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed tonight with all of these new responsibilities. Holly was released from "strict" crate rest, which is wonderful and scary at the same time. They want her walking freely around the house, but not running, playing rough or climbing stairs. This means INTENSE supervision on my part, but I'm up for it!

Thank you again for your kind thoughts and well wishes. I'll let you know how this next phase goes!

ByFloSin
3rd November 2010, 02:13 PM
Oh my word what a lot to take in and what a roller coaster ride you are about to climb onto. I must say though I really think you aren't just up for it, but are actually up to it, if you understand what I mean.

Nobody could be more caring about Holly nor be stronger minded than you are, so I am going to sit right here to wait for more positive news about the regime as time goes on. You go girl:rah::dogwlk:

Nicki
3rd November 2010, 02:58 PM
Oh my goodness well you truly have my respect and admiration, what an amazing program you are about to embark upon...and if there is any justice in the world then Holly should make a complete recovery.

She is so lucky having such a dedicated and caring owner :flwr:


Could you attach Holly's lead to your waist, so that she is walking around with you but not able to run or jump?


We are all thinking of you and hoping for a very positive outcome for your precious girl :thmbsup:

Cathy T
4th November 2010, 05:09 PM
You can do this Tara!! I know you can. Sounds like you've got a great team of experts behind you. You and Holly may actually enjoy the physical therapy. Shelby did it after 4 months of crate rest from her patella surgery (done twice) and she looked forward to the PT, and it sounds like we did the exact same things (rom exercises, massage and water therapy). With all you two have been through in the past several weeks I just know you'll get through this as well.

jazz
22nd November 2010, 12:58 AM
Oh Tara--my heart's in my throat because I'm JUST reading all of this. I know how much you love that little girl. I hope her recovery is as complete as can be. Thinking of you and sending "healing" wishes!

tara
22nd November 2010, 01:25 AM
Hi all! I HAVE AN AWESOME UPDATE!!! Holly is now three weeks into her physical therapy. She started out with a 90 degree range of motion in the right hind hip -- AND IS NOW AT 145 DEGREES (normal range of motion is 155-160)! She is up to four ten minute walks a day and uses all four legs very well. I no longer see the "buckling" of the right hind foot, which means that the nerve damage is healing itself. She continues to walk on the aqua therapy treadmill, with each week showing more and more strength in the right hind leg.

Holly walks on all fours without a limp and is really enjoying life again. We go back for a check-up at the University the end of December. I am really looking forward to showing her team the progress she's made.

I never thought we'd be this far along just 8 weeks after surgery. Except for the lack of tail, Holly is very close to being "back to normal." I'll continue to work with her over the next several weeks and continue her Adequan injections as well. Thank you all for your wishes of love and support -- THEY ARE WORKING!

Karlin
22nd November 2010, 01:48 AM
Fantastic news!! :jmp2:

lovecavaliers
22nd November 2010, 03:03 AM
Great news. I am so happy Holly is doing so well with rehab. :biggrin:

Nicki
22nd November 2010, 09:34 AM
This is just wonderful news, so thrilled for you - a real tribute to your love and devotion.

Holly is an amazing wee dog to be recovering so quickly - she is obviously a fighter, and it sounds like the two of you are working well as a team.


So important that the nerve damage is correcting itself - that is probably the best news.


We are all with you - give yourself a big hug and congratulations on doing so well, I know there must have been some very dark days along the way, but it's great that you are seeing such positive results.

Special love to Holly from all of us here. xx

ByFloSin
22nd November 2010, 10:21 AM
Well done to both you and Holly.

:-)Holly's namesake here, Holly Poppet, sends her love and more good wishes. She says that she has always been sure that 'the other Holly' could do it. :lol:

Davecav
22nd November 2010, 11:28 AM
I've just read this thread for the first time today. So very glad that Holly is recovering. What a tragic accident, even when one is careful! It can happen so quckly, in our house we always shut one door before opening another, but when guests come, (especially non-doggy ones) they don't understand and think we're paranoid!!!! No way!! It just shows how careful we all must be.
My thoughs are with you and Holly.

sins
22nd November 2010, 11:43 AM
That's such amazing news,keep up the good work!
Sins

Sandrac
22nd November 2010, 04:35 PM
Great News - Well done you and Holly. b*n*n*

Cavaliers2kiss
22nd November 2010, 05:10 PM
Tara, I am so pleased at the way you and Holly waethered this storm. You deserve a lot of respect and Holly is so lucky to belong to your family.

Congratulations on Holly's clean MRI scan, too. Unfortunately, we don't hear that good news often enough.

Erin2854
22nd November 2010, 05:28 PM
Tara,
I just recently caught up with your thread about poor little Holly. I was just heartbroken for you...I couldn't imagine! But I am SO incredibly happy to hear of her excellent progress!! Such wonderful news!!:rah: What a brave little girl she is. I commend you so much for all the hard work and many steps you've been going through to get her back on track and on the road to recovery. It's so refreshing to see people go to such great lengths to take care of their pets because they absolutely deserve it. I would go to the ends of the earth for my girl :l*v: Keep up the great progress!! Go Holly!!!

Desrae
22nd November 2010, 06:04 PM
Oh my goodness! I just caught up with this thread too. How terrible a situation for you to be in, but Thank God all is ok and you guys did so very well. All the best to you:flwr:

Wagtails
22nd November 2010, 07:34 PM
I too seem to have missed this incredible story first time around, but am so pleased to read the latest report of Holly's amazing progress. She just couldn't have better TLC than from you and your family, Tara. Thank you so much for sharing what must have been such a difficult few weeks.

Hang on in there, Holly - Cavaliers and their humans from all around the globe are sending healing thoughts :d*g::wggle:

Jasperxxgabby
22nd November 2010, 08:02 PM
Aww brilliant news, good girl Holly :)

Margaret C
22nd November 2010, 11:19 PM
What a wonderful dog & what a wonderful owner.

I'm so pleased about the good news.

Blondiemonster
23rd November 2010, 12:01 AM
Waw. I am impressed with how you deal with this. I am always terrified off leaving the door open, living in NYC, I sometimes even return halfway on my way to the subway to make sure that i closed the door completely... When she was a baby she escaped once and ran downstairs onto the street, that event has always stayed with me to where now I am neurotic about it. And still I know these things cant always be avoided... I wish Holly the best possible recovery!!!!!

tara
23rd November 2010, 03:16 AM
Thank you all so very much for the love and support you've sent our way throughout this whole ordeal. I can't express how much it means to me. I also can't express how fortunate I feel to have Holly in the condition she is now. When she went into surgery, we really sent her in blind -- there was no way to know whether she'd walk again or even regain urinary or bowel continence.

I certainly didn't do this alone. The cavalier community has been wonderful -- a real testament to this bread. My family has been wonderful as well. I'll never forget the look on my husband's face when I told him I was taking Holly to Gainesville to meet with a team of experts, that she would most likely have surgery there and that it would be very expensive with no promise of good results. He didn't hesitate, but just said, "go."

I've loved the physical therapy part of this journey. I didn't think it was possible to feel closer to Holly, but our relationship has grown so. I'm so proud of her spirit and determination to work hard and overcome her deficits. I plan to share her story with as many people as possible, hopefully through our therapy work. I also think she's a strong example of why good breeding is so important. I have no "facts" to support this, but I believe that her strong neurological condition prior to the accident helped her body deal with the trauma to the spinal region. I know now, through the MRI done prior to surgery, that Holly would be graded "A" in a breeding program using the SM protocol. I wonder whether an otherwise neurogically compromised dog could have sustained these injuries without further complications.

Thank you again for all of your support. It means more than you'll ever know.