Indie - a 10 year-old Miniature Dachshund – from Greasby on the Wirral has won a bravery award following her dramatic recovery from life-saving surgery by the orthopaedic team at ChesterGates Veterinary Specialists.
Her owner, Sheila Yates, noticed that Indie was wobbly and was struggling to walk and immediately took her to her local vet who identified that she was paralysed and had no pain sensation in her right back foot. She was then referred to orthopaedic specialists at ChesterGates.
Further investigation revealed that Indie was suffering from a condition known as invertebral disc disease (IVDD), which is common in dachshunds and is estimated to affect one in four of this breed. Paralysis is caused by degenerated discs herniating and compressing and bruising the spinal cord.
Sheila said: “I was devastated to learn that poor Indie had one of worst grades of compression. The orthopaedic surgeon, Ben Walton, explained everything really clearly to me and said that there was only a 50 per cent chance that surgery would allow her to regain the use of her back leg and there was only a 10 per cent chance of her regaining bowel and bladder control afterwards.
“We have had Indie from a puppy and she is a delightful, playful dog so we thought we would give her every chance and agreed to go-ahead with the operation to decompress the discs.”
ChesterGates’ orthopaedic veterinary surgeon, Ben Walton explains:
“Indie had not one but two large disc herniations, both causing significant spinal cord compression. To give her the best chance of recovery, we operated at both sites, carefully drilling away the overlying bone and removing the herniated disc material. It’s a delicate surgery, but is one we have to perform regularly for certain breeds. Indy was remarkable in her recovery. She is such a sweet character and was bright and affectionate the whole time she was with us.”
The surgery worked well for Indie but this was just the start as she had to undergo a course of intensive physiotherapy and a great deal of home nursing.
Owner, Sheila, commented: “Indie initially had a catheter in but once that was taken out she had a nappy. I had to do lots of small exercises with her and found lots of ways using treats to distract her while I did cycling movements with her leg. I also put up a temporary bed so I could stay downstairs with her.
“In addition, she had a great deal of physio at ChesterGates in the treadmill and hydrotherapy. Two weeks after returning home, she had her first dry night and she has just continued to improve since then and slowly started to use her back leg. Some weeks later, she is using her leg a lot now and can even run. She’s still wobbly but is back to her independent, happy self.
“The team at ChesterGates have been amazing. The communication was excellent throughout – explaining everything in layman’s terms. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
In recognition of her bravery in coping with such adversity, the ChesterGates’ team awarded Indie their Pet of the Month title.