My name is Vanessa and my best friend, Tesla, was diagnosed with IVDD (intervetebral disc disease) at the beginning of September. Tesla is a 5 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi and my husband and I's first dog. With conservative treatment failing, Tesla needs spinal surgery at the Atlantic Veterinary College in order to regain his ability to go for walks and even just cruise free around our yard.
[Want more information on IVDD? Try this link for the details. If your dog has a long back - please read and know what you can do to prevent it!]
On the advice of our vet, we tried conservative treatment at first. We caught it early, as Tesla would flinch when I touched his back, and he wasn't yet suffering neurological symptoms (dragging a paw, partial or full paralysis). Tesla was on strict crate rest for 4 weeks, progessively moving to 5 minute walks over the course of 6 weeks. It was heartbreaking, but he almost seemed to understand we were trying to help - he seemed to try to be his easy going self despite the pain and confusion.
However, by the end of October, he relapsed again, having painful spasms in his back even at rest. We restarted crate rest, along with pain killers and NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and were slowly able to get him back to 5 minute walks.Come November, it happened again. Why you ask? Once he comes off the pain medication and his energy level increases, he is nearly impossible to keep quiet all of the time, even with restricted movements (he's only 5 and a very energetic guy!). He is no longer on crate rest but when we're not home, he is baby gated in our entranceway with his crate and bowls and bed.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to even get him back to 5 minute walks. He goes outside as long as it takes to do his business, then is allowed a few minutes to sniff around on leash, then has to come back in. He's bored and often still in pain from the muscle spasms and inflammation in his spine. We are medicating him when required but as soon as we try to decrease his medication slowly, and increase his activity, the spasms restart.
With every month that passes, we also risk the condition worsening. Some dogs slip the disc fully and it will paralyze them, but they can live just fine in a wheely cart. However, some dogs remain in a grey zone of intensifying pain until a humane decision has to be made. Currently, Tesla is more or less comfortable with his restricted activity, with only occasional spasms that we medicate (on average, once a week).
Why do we need $4,000.00 you ask? Well the quote we were given for the surgery, which has to be done out of province by a specialist, is $4,800.00 plus taxes and medication. He will also need a $1,250.00 MRI in order for them to locate the damaged disc(s) pre-surgery, but we believe we can cover that cost at least. Tesla is meeting with his vet on December 9, 2017 and I will be getting more details then and I will edit this post to include them.
We just can't manage the rest. Not that I'm sitting on my butt.
I work full time but with almost a mortgage-size student loan on top of an actual mortgage, I was denied for a loan for Tesla's surgery. I often live paycheck to paycheck and I told myself that if Tesla ever needed surgery, which I assumed to be in the $2,000.00 range, I would put it on my credit card and be fine. I just didn't know it could cost so much.
What happens if we don't reach our goal? If we can get in the $3,000-4,000.00 range then I think I can still make the surgery happen. If we fall way short, I'll donate the funds to the Greater Moncton SPCA. They are currently fundraising for a new building for the shelter.
After deciding to try this campaign a few weeks ago, I took a part-time job on weekends and am saving up all that I can, but it may be too little, too late. I was also fortunate in that my friend offered to sell woven tug toys for dogs that I make on her Etsy store in order to help fundraise. I'll post the link to that when it goes live, should you prefer to buy a toy or two rather than donate.
Tesla is such a gentle, playful spirit. He is also mega stubborn and barks loudly to make himself heard, but he loves to run and play more than anything. Please help me help my furbaby regain his quality of life.
I know there a lot of important causes out there, but I'm desperate to ease his pain. Especially since he does still have full neurological function so his vet has said he is a good candidate for surgery and would very likely make a full recovery.
If you read more on IVDD, it is a condition that is largely hereditary and in the spirit of full disclosure, Tesla will remain prone to slipping another disc in his back. Therefore he will never be allowed on furniture again (he is already pretty much trained to stay off it now and isn't allowed access when we're not home), he will never do stairs or run full out after a ball (he tends to twist around in a tight circle, being a herding dog), but he could roam our yard and go for walks in the park again.
Thank you for your time. <3
Vanessa & Tesla
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