Posts Tagged ‘dog health’
I have had so many people contact me because their special and precious dog has become paralyzed and they are asking for help. What do they do now? How do you handle this? How do you deal with the emotional stress of this huge life changing event? What is the next step? Where can you get help?
I have answered many of these emails personally and tried to help where I could. I must stress that I am not a veterinarian. We must all rely on the expertise of those trained in the care of our beloved animals. But the Veterinarian does not come home with you and your newly paralyzed pet, no one is there to hold your hand and give you guidance or answer your questions. I know this because it all happened to me.
Yes, when my Isabel became paralyzed there were no answers. No one to help. I searched the internet and nothing came from my searching. There simply was nothing out there, that was six years ago. Today there are more choices and more people trying to help. Including myself.
Does this mean there are more paralyzed dogs than their used to be? I don’t think so. I think people are just much more comfortable with using the internet and there are more people comfortable with putting the information they are searching for out there. It is a good marriage. When people need information and ask for it, other people who write online have figured out how to give them what they need.
So I am in the unique position of loving and owning a paralyzed dog. And learning the ins and outs of this through trial and error and have figured out things that work very well, and other things that are just dumb. As I said before I have tried to help a lot of people, but it is on a one to one basis. So now I have created help that anyone can use anytime without waiting for me to respond. It is a site I have created called Care Of A Paralyzed Dog, kind of catchy isn’t it?
Please feel free to bookmark it so you can refer to it often. My Isabel was the Model for the site and she had a great time making videos and posing for photos.I hope you find it helpful and I hope your paralyzed dog is going to benefit and that your lives will improve and become joyful. Just remember, It is not hopeless. It is never hopeless.
A Website with some answers about caring for and loving a paralyzed dog.
My Isabel, the paralyzed Belgium sheepdog mix that I have spoken of on this blog is ten years old now. She is doing remarkably well for a paralyzed dog in diapers. And I am happy to say that I am doing well too.
We have all well-adjusted to life with a paralyzed dog. It isn’t as difficult as you might think. After the initial shock and learning curve were behind us, we have sailed right through with about the same number of problems you might have with a dog with all four walking.
But the main problem we continue to have is Urinary tract infections. Which I am happy to report is better controlled now than they were in the beginning. But a dog in diapers is bound to have these issues. Well a few of you have been interested in what it is I have done to improve on this situation.
As you know, I am a nurse, and I have taken care of many paralyzed patients. Whether by spinal injury or Multiple Sclerosis or whatever the cause. All these people must have bowel and bladder routines. We actually train their bowel and bladder to empty on command, by habit almost. Well it occurred to me, why wouldn’t this work for Isabel? Well it does.
When you bring your paralyzed dog home from the vet, after surgery or after healing from whatever injury caused the paralysis, they will have taught you how to express the bladder. It is always good to do this after your dog has been incontinent of urine, making sure the bladder is empty. This helps cut down on UTI’s. But instead of waiting until after the incontinence, I empress her bladder two or three times a day, before she is incontinent. Completely emptying her bladder and also keeping her dry. Of course, there will be accidents, but the goal is to dramatically cut down on urinary incontinence.
Now let me tell you another secret. As your dog continues to wear diapers. The hair around her bottom end will recede, making it much easier to keep her clean. You may even consider giving her a trim to help with the cleaning issues. But no matter, when the area is free of hair, you will notice that the bladder is easily stimulated by a rubbing pressure right next to the anus. Repeated effort at each session will completely empty the bladder without any problem. Also I learned that gentle pressure right on the anus, (I use the baby wipes or rubber gloves to keep me separated from her skin and clean from her urine and feces) will stimulate a bowel movement. Repeated pressure after each elimination will assure you have emptied the vault of her colon, thus keeping her clean until the next time you help her eliminate. I do this twice a day, morning and night.
So by emptying her bladder and bowel before she is incontinent, I make my life easier and cleaner and her life with less frequent urinary tract infections. I know this is not a preferred topic. But it is essential to a healthy and long life for your loved pet. It is not their fault they are paralyzed and it is better for you both if someone has control of the situation.
So you can see why I say it takes a special person to take care of a paralyzed dog. I have known people who simply couldn’t face this “disgusting” task and they just allowed their animal to be incontinent and felt cleaning up afterwards was more appealing. Hmmmm. I disagree. Or they had their pet euthanized because it was simply too difficult for them to deal with. This very much saddens me. I’ll admit a medical background did certainly help me. But my powerful love of animals would have gotten me over the hurdles, and anyone motivated can learn all this care. I hope you will have an easier road with your beloved paralyzed animal with this new knowledge.