It’s been a brutal week

A week ago, Satchmo (our family dog), began acting strangely. Overnight he became paralyzed in the rear portion of his body. It was a long weekend, the veterinary office was closed, so I tried to diagnose his problem with Google. Everything I read said he needed surgery within the first 12 hours of paralysis. Yikes!


Sunday night. Midnight. I found an emergency clinic downtown (Toronto) that would take him. They recommended surgery immediately. Satchmo has a degenerative bone disease where the discs in his back can calcify and harden. When this happens they can push up into the spinal cord and can cause paralysis and pain.

An appointment was made and by 2 AM I was driving Satchmo to Guelph — Small Animal Clinic at the University of Guelph (the best in Ontario and the costliest). The clinic scheduled him for surgery at 8 AM and gave him a 90% chance of walking again. I arrived home at 5 AM and waited for the post-op phone call.

The call came a few hours later with some bad news. There were two discs that were pushing on his spinal column. One of them had torn through the outer wall of the spinal cord causing paralysis and reducing his chance of recovery. The surgeon gave him a 25% chance of walking again.

At this point my wife and I were faced with euthanizing our pet that was only three years old. If he couldn’t walk, run, control his bladder, well, it was looking pretty grim. To make things worse, we couldn’t get a hold of the surgeon to find out if there was any hope.

We were ready to make an appointment to visit him the next day and have him put down. Then we received a phone call from the surgeon that changed everything. He said that Satchmo was making an incredible recovery. A neurologist looked at him and was confident that he would walk again.

Satchmo is now at home and gaining strength in his legs. For now we have to empty his bladder a few times a day until he regains feeling and control of his bodily functions (groan). He’s also able to stand and bear his weight on his back legs. We’re seeing a lot of improvement and things are looking a little rosier.

I can’t believe how stressed out I’ve been over this whole ordeal. It takes a lot to rattle me and this was like getting hit by an NFL linebacker without warning. I haven’t been able to sleep, eat, or get very much work done. It’s been a brutal week.

Posted in Personal at 10:38 AM