My dog is injured. I don’t mean he is sick, I mean he hurt is spine. We don’t know how.
Tango is half Chihuahua and half Italian Greyhound. Imagine Chihuahua body with long legs used for really fast running.
I woke up from a nap on Sunday and headed to the kitchen. Tango jumped from the couch as he normally does in order to scrounge for food droppings. As he landed he let out a yelp.
A few minutes later I pulled out a doggie treat for him. He jumped from the couch, again with a yelp. He came running over to me and hopped up on his back legs to get his treat and for the third time, he let out a yelp. Moments later he seemed to have forgotten that he was in pain.
We were able to get into the vet on 4:30pm on Sunday night. Initially, they thought he was walking stiffly, but couldn’t really detect anything wrong.
During the 10 minutes we met with the vet, Tango’s condition degraded. Right in front of us, he lost his ability to use his front paws . We put him on the ground and his front legs just went out straight in front of him. He couldn’t put his paws down properly and would try to walk on the back side of his paws. It reminded me of the videos of those poor creatures sickened with Mad Cow disease. He kept collapsing under his own weight. After his x-rays, Tango was diagnosed with a neck injury. They shot him full of steroids and prescribed oral steroids, pain relievers and anti-inflammatories for him to live on for the next few weeks.
The full effects of the injury were still developing as we leaving the vets. The vet was very concerned and she very compassionately made us copies of his X-rays and gave us the name and location of an ER if his condition worsened. It did worsen. When we took him out in the back yard before bed, he couldn’t walk without using the wrong side of his paw. He kept falling over and rolling onto his shoulder. The directions from the vet were simple, use the pain meds to keep him sedated. Don’t let him jump up or down on anything and try to protect his neck. We caught the injury very early so the prognosis was most likely favorable.
The child did not deal well with having her beloved dog injured. Suffice to say there was whaling.
The next morning, Tango was noticeably better. He was less mad-cow and more drunken master. He was wobbly, but not falling. I did observe him walking sideways on occasion, which is very strange to see a dog do. I stayed home with him for a few hours while Laura went to school. Although sedated, he never went to sleep, he just sat there all morning, panting.
He didn’t move much during the day, but he did roust himself from his bed into the kitchen while dinner was cooking. He also took his seat at the base of the table when we were eating. He was really cute, but the way his tail was wagging, he nearly knocked himself over. You’ve heard the expression, “Tail wagging the dog”; this was it.
Tuesday morning he was much better. During his first walk around the yard, (pre-medication) he was almost prancing. If he walked for more than a minute or so, he started to wobble again. I worked from home all morning while he laid sedated in his bed. Like everyone else in this house, the dog is willful. The sedation keeps him down only until he wants to get up.
He keeps getting better day by day. He is going to pull through this just fine. The trick is going to be to remember in the weeks to come that he is injured and in need to time to heal. Like humans, just because we look OK, doesn’t mean we are. We are quick to injure and slow to heal. We are fragile and easily harmed. Healing is a process.
Tango is an old dog. He was between one and two years old when we rescued him from the pound. He was one of many chihuahuas that were being hoarded by a person in Riverside. Most of those dogs were put down. We’ve had Tango for about 9 years now. He has quite the personality. When he was a puppy, Laura kicked him out of the bathroom while she bathed The Child. The dog didn’t care for it that much, so he proceeded to eat the couch. He showed us. Funny how pets wind their way into our hearts, minds and memories.