Bodie's Story - Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) in Dogs

Bodie's First Day Home

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Nearly three years ago, I adopted Bodie. I was hoping to give him the best life possible after I found out what the first part of his life had been like.
He was born into a hoarding situation, in which he lived for two years. His life was one of filth and squalor, and he lived off of Oreo cookies that had been thrown into the yard for all of the dogs to fight over. When the property was investigated, they found he trusted only the dogs in his pack. From there, he was taken to a non-profit rescue organization, deemed healthy and adoptable, and subsequently placed in a foster home for a year. However, no one wanted him because he was fearful, anxious, and timid, and to make the matter worse, the children in that family didn't like Bodie. They teased him mercilessly, and wanted him gone. When I overheard that on my visit, I decided right then that I was taking him, regardless of his issues. 
Bodie has made great strides since the day he became part of the family. He was a constant gentle companion to his brother, Bishop, in the final months before Bishop's death. And although he is still a bit anxious around others who visit the house, with lots of love and some training he has learned to trust that no one will hurt him, and therefore will allow people to be close to him. 
Over time, Bodie quickly became adjusted to his new lifestyle with me. Some of his favorite activities are camping, fishing, going to the dog park, and hanging out at Dog Beach! He's so wanting to return to the activities that make him most happy!
Please scroll below to read about Bodie's injury, and the costs associated with it. If you would like to help Bodie, please feel free to make a donation. Each dollar you donate will be spent solely on Bodie's ongoing medical care! Any amount is so very greatly appreciated! Bodie and I promise that your kindness will be paid forward!!
Paypal is available for your convenience. 

This donation will help Bodie with his ongoing care and recovery from surgery for a ruptured disk in his back.

On November 10, 2012, we went out for the evening, and when we left, Bodie was, for all intents and purposes, fine. We got home about six hours later and found Bodie unable to walk correctly. He hobbled around in a squatting position and wagged his tail. As I attempted to help him, he did not yelp, cry or howl upon my touch. We immediately rushed him to the Doggie ER.
At first sight, the veterinarian on duty said he was sure it was a ruptured, bulging or degenerating disc in his back, which needed to be confirmed by a MRI.  The news was not good. It was a rupture into the spinal canal with compression of the spinal cord, and there were two options: surgery or Euthanasia.  I told them there was only one option, so surgery was scheduled for November 12. This dog is my family. He's not something I will just toss aside because the cost is only a few hundred dollars as opposed to hundreds or thousands more to give him his life back!
 The initial quote for this surgery was $4500 with a 4-day stay in the hospital, but nothing has ever been easy for Bodie.  He developed a fever post-op, and his original release date of November 15 had become conditional--if the fever broke, then he could go home 24 hours later. Tests were run, but after several, and hundreds of dollars more, a definitive result could not be found.  The fever finally broke Saturday afternoon, November 17.  After having to wait those mandatory 24 hours, he was released Monday, November 19.  The grand total of the procedure and all associated with it during that stay was a whopping $8300, which not only was far above the initial quote, but a difficult thing to deal with financially, no matter how good of a job you have! 
As part of his ongoing treatment and care, Bodie needed/will need potty pads, baby wipes, a large crate, an orthopedic mattress pad, 3-7 different medications, vitamins, check-up visits, and electro-acupuncture to stimulate and regenerate the nerves in his back and rear legs (the latter being extemely promising, but  costly), and possibly a cart. Costs are quickly rising, and to be quite honest, it's rather unsettling to know there may not be a cap on it anytime soon. 
I'm sure you may have questions such as, "Why didn't you just put him down?" He's my family, that's why! I have a responsibility to him to provide him the best possible. There is no other reason. You have human children; mine happens to have four legs and fur. Or you say, "Why don't you have pet insurance?" Many pet insurances do not pay for 90% of what may happen to your dog, and in my case, I had purchased it, but this happened during the waiting period, so no go.
 If only insurance had kicked in. To date, costs total $10,800.

Bodie playing at the lake, August 2012

"I caught a fish Dad!", August 2012

"I love camping!"

Dad and his first mate, Sept 2012, Big Bear Lake

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Cart
We've been practicing daily with Bodie's new cart.  His first day in it he just shook with fear.  He's now taking baby steps and really goes if I give a little push.  He's getting used to it slowly and pretty soon will be a cart wonder.  Back to the vet next Saturday for an electroacupuncture treatment.
On a side note, Bodie's urinalysis culture came back negative for any growth after the first month of expressing.  Takes some practice to getting that down with a larger dog.
11:22 am est

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Therapy Today
Had another treatment today of electroacupuncture.  Also had to give a urine sample to make sure therer are no urinary tract infections.  Electroacupuncture treatments will now be twice monthly.  While some improvement has been noted in his left rear leg, there is not enough improvement to continue weekly sessions.  Hope to have a positive update Monday when his cart arrives.  A little depressed today knowing that the window for improvement is rapidly shrinking.
1:57 pm est

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cart Time
Ordered Bodie's cart yesterday!  Hope he likes it and isn't afraid of it since he loves going outside.  Thank you to those that have donated and made things a little easier for both of us!
8:23 pm est

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Therapy
More therapy for Bodie yesteday.  Still some noted improvement in reflexes but the elusive deep pain is not back.  One more session of laser therapy then that part of therapy will be ending as it doesn't have the same efficacy as electropuncture this long after surgery.  Back again next Saturday for another session.  Vet was nice enough to mention he has a cart we can try there to see if Bodie will have any problems.
I've kind of accepted that he won't walk again.  Its not the end of the world.  Just going to make things a little tougher.  He's already adapted to expressing.  First he would fight me since he hates laying on his side.  Not he just rolls over on his own when he knows its time!  Treats work!
10:26 am est

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bath Day
Nooo....Dad put me in the tub and gave me a bath.  Actually, I liked it more than I thought.  It was good to get cleaned up finally!  My reflexes coninue to improve but no feeling in my legs yet.  Therapy day tomorrow, where I get some more electroacupuncture and laser therapy!
2:48 pm est

Monday, December 10, 2012

Depressing News
Bodie had his 4-week recheck with the neurologist today.  While he was impressed with the subtle improvements Bodie has shown with the electroacupuncture, Dr. Gorgi said odds are against him that he will regain function to walk.  Dr. Gorgi hopes Bodie is one of those dogs that beats those odds as he has seen a few.
Dr. Gorgi recommended ordering a cart and start taking him out for walks again, building up to longer times so his front legs are able to get used to bearing the weight.  That's all to report.  Of course I'm bummed out but you have to play the cards your dealt in life.  We'll be ok.  He said to continue with the acupuncture and our next visit is Saturday.
7:10 pm est

More Treatment
Fourth day of treatment featuring electroacupuncture and cold laser therapy. Not much to report from this visit. If I see good signs within 48 hours, vet wants to see him for another treatment quickly. If no improvement, he'll see him Saturday and then we take it from there. Neurologist recheck tomorrow.

Starting to research dog carts as that may be the reality. Bodie wants to go out and walk. Not sure how he will do with a cart since he hates noises, especially those that he thinks are chasing him. This could be the next challenge.

I am personally physically and mentally exhausted. Hoping there are better days ahead. Total costs to date are $9300 with 2 vet visits this week to add to that total. :(
12:37 am est

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Finally Some Good News!!
Some positive news at Bodie's third electroacupuncture/laser therapy session.  Its subtle, but I'll take it at this point.  Bodie's reflexes have improved and he knows if you lift his tail.  These are two things that weren't there a week ago.
Thank you to everyone who has sent love in one form or another in helping me through this!  It has helped me to remain positive about Bodie's recovery.  Next treatment is Sunday so hopefully I'll see some more subtle improvement.  Because I think Bodie is ready to go fishing!
10:17 pm est

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

No Pain Meds Today
This will be Bodie's first day off the pain medication. That stuff was tearing his stomach up. He seems to be happy. Bodie plays every night when I get home, chewing up his stuffed animal or chewing on his bone. He gets very excited when he hears his favorite treat bag being opened. He can move pretty well in the crate and gets in and out easily for his back legs not working. He doesn't like having his bladder expressed since he hates laying on his side.

More treatment tomorrow afternoon. Recheck with Neurologist on Monday. That will be the 4 week mark in which they say odds decrease that the ability to walk will come back every week after that mark. 2 more weeks of crate rest and then he'll at least be able to go where he wants and not stay in the crate unless I'm not home.
10:35 am est

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Second Electroacupuncture Treatment Today
Bodie sends a big shout out to Sarah, Stu, and June for assisting with Bodie's therapy today.  We love you cousins!  Bodies therapy went fine from the vet's perspective.  The vet was optimistic when Bodie jumped as he turned up the voltage during the electroacupuncture.  He hopes this means deep pain is there.  Deep pain is an important sign since its the first thing that comes back, followed by urinary control, tail wagging, and lastly, walking. Next treatment is Thursday.
Of course I'm probably more stressed and afraid for Bodie then Bodie himself.  Other than his physical disabilities, you would never know anything is wrong.  Haven't been getting much sleep these days.  Keep praying that Bodie will get better!
8:59 pm est

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First Electroacupuncture Session, Nov. 30, 2012
Machine doing nerve stimulation