Disc decompression surgery; need advice
Oliver, my 12 year old, just had spinal decompression surgery, for two ruptured discs that had rendered him barely mobile and in severe pain pre-operatively. These were chronic disc problems that suddenly became worse (behaviorally - these dogs can be so stoic) within a matter of two to three weeks. His neurologist said he couldn't believe he could even walk at all and that he wasn't crying out in pain with every movement. The discs had encapsulated around the spinal cord so it was a surgery that carried the risk of paralysis due to excess spinal cord manipulation. It was a risk I decided to take because I rationalized (in consultation with my vet and the neurologist) that within a few months the discs would deteriorate further and pain meds would not hold him and we would end up putting him to sleep because he would lose all mobility and the pain would be intolerable. His health otherwise is excellent - no murmur, good lungs, good labwork. Unfortunately, one week after surgery, he has not regained the ability to walk on his rear legs. He has good sensation in both legs, and has some movement in his right leg, but nothing in his left leg (which was the worst one before surgery - it was constantly collapsing on him every time he got up from lying down or went down one step). He is urinating and defecating on his own (phew!). He has no strength to even stand on his own. I have to hold him up by his hips to help him as he sniffs out a good place to do his business in the yard, and also to exercise his front legs. I also do PT on his rear legs three to four times/day. His neurologist said it may take up to a month before movement will return. His spirits and appetite are great. He scoots around the house dragging his rear legs. My question - does any one else have any experience with this? Also, until movement returns, I was thinking of getting a wheelchair for his rear legs, because he's killing my back supporting him as he "walks" around the yard. I don't like the slings. Does anyone know of a wheelchair company or if the wheelchairs work? Thank you for not judging my decision to have surgery on a 12 year old dog. I did what I thought was right for him - trying to give him a better quality of life and hopefully some more pain free years.