Help Kilo Walk Again

Kilo is our beautiful, 5 1/2 year old German Shepherd who we rescued from a grain elevator nearly 5 years ago. Filthy with fly bites on her ears, parasites and a wild spirit, she quickly took hold of our hearts. She recently suffered a disc rupture between her L2/L3 vertebrae resulting in loss of sensation and paralysis of her back legs. This all started Friday, 3/06/2015 when we were playing fetch in the yard. I heard her yelp slightly as she caught the ball and then she immediately stopped playing. Everything appeared that she had just perhaps strained a muscle since she was still walking and eating normally up until bedtime that night.
    Saturday morning is a day I will never forget as it turned our world upside down as we know it. We got up for our usual morning walk when I noticed she was having trouble getting her hind feet under her and walking on the top of her right foot without noticing. We took her to the local emergency vet, who took  x-rays and assumed it was perhaps a bulged disc. She was put on steroids early in the afternoon and monitored for improvements. We received an update around 10pm that her condition had slightly improved and we optimistically went to bed, anticipating the next update at 8am.
   Sunday morning, 3/08, we received the call that her condition had not continued to improve. We rushed to the vet to speak to him in person about her condition, which is when he told us his assumption is that she had a ruptured disc in her back, which was causing her acute paralysis. Our options were to wait another day or if surgery was an option we needed to go right away. We decided to make the journey to The University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center for emergency surgery, a 3 1/2 hour drive.
     The Dr. called the U of MN and told them to expect us that afternoon explaining Kilo's current state and we made our way there.  Upon arriving, the Dr. did a quick diagnosis of Kilo and determined that she no longer had any deep pain sensation in her hind legs.  This prognosis dropped her chances of recovering and walking again from 80-90% down to  50%. We spoke with the on-call surgeon and decided that we had to try to give her the best chance we could to regain the use of her legs, no matter the cost or possibility. After all she is like our first born.  We signed the paperwork and off she went for a CT scan and emergency surgery. The Dr. called us at 11pm that night to tell us that surgery had gone well, she had removed the ruptured disc and now her spinal cord was laying flat again. She anticipated that we could possibly see improvement in her condition as early as a day or two after surgery.
   Monday we were able to visit her and the surgeon advised that there were no changes to her condition overnight. Tuesday morning we received the same update that she was in no pain and was comfortable, but unfortunately still had no pain sensation in her hind legs and was unable to move them. Searching for answers and additional options, we called Casselton Veterinary clinic to inquire about their acupunture and canine rehabilitation program. They were able to move some things around and get us in the next day. We spoke to the U of MN surgeon and she was willing to discharge Kilo given where she was going. The picture attached is of our beautiful girl, full of spirit, ready to go home from the U of MN after three long days.
     This morning, 3/11, we took Kilo to the vet clinic where she received her first acupunture treatment. This will be the first of at least four treatments over the next month with the possible addition of chiropractic care. The canine rehabilitation team will work with her to maintain strength after muscle loss due to immobility.
     We were relunctant to set anything like this up because we are not looking for handouts in any manner. We knew what we were getting ourselves into when we took her for surgery. However, we want to give those who perhaps have gone through something like this or those who can empathize with our situation a chance to help defray medical costs. It is going to be a long, hard road on her way to recovery, but we are all determined to give Kilo the best chance she has at recovering. Your support and well wishes are also very much appreciated as we know not everyone has the financial means to make a donation.
    Finally, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been sending thoughts and prayers our way since this began. We are incredibly lucky to have such great friends, family and an amazing medical staff who have helped us along this difficult journey we have made thusfar. Our hope is to one day watch Kilo walking, running and playing  like she used to.


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Shelly 'Wittmier' Rychlik 
Fargo, ND
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