Ziva's IVDD Medical Fund

Meet Ziva, the amazing two and a half year old rambunctious golden retriever living in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. She loves to play ball, chase brush turkeys, patrol for bunnies in the reserve behind the house, always enjoys keeping her brothers, two RSPCA long haired cats Mickie and Thumper, in line or just hang with her sister Madelyne. All of that changed on Saturday night, 19 November.

We had no warnings, Ziva had no symptoms, but on 19 November she went outside for her last wee of the night like she has done for months and "something" happened. She was in the flat part of the yard, there was no place to fall, Warren heard her "scream," and when he shined the torch on her, she was going around in circles because her back legs were paralysed.

Ziva suffered a ruptured disc in her vertebrae at T13 L1, which paralysed her back legs. She was rushed into emergency surgery where she was given a 75% chance of recovery. The spinal surgeon said it was one of the worst ruptures he had seen in all of his years of spinal surgeries and he was shocked this had occurred at her age and in her breed. Ziva spent 8 days in hospital, half of that time in ICU due to high fevers.

The final diagnosis was Intervertebral Disc Disease Type 1 (IVDD.) Ironically this is a "small dog disease" like Dachshunds or Beagles who are Ziva's age and only occurs in the Golden Retriever at an elderly age like 10 or 11. This explains the spinal surgeon's surprise. Here is a link with some information concerning the disease: Intervertebral Disc Disease 

This is the first time I saw Ziva in the hospital after leaving her in the very capable hands of the Northside Veterinary Specialists at the Northside Emergency Veterinary Hospital:

Ziva is now home and on her way to making the best recovery she can. She has use of her back left leg but the right leg is taking its time to "connect" to the brain. She still requires one person to be her back legs using a towl as a sling. She has a great attitude and as her vet at Northside Emergency Hospital Dr. Stephanie said, "Ziva is a doer...she gets very involved in her recovery!"

This horrific experience left us with a $13,401.05AUD medical bill. We have pet insurance, which has helped out somewhat but there is still a large balance. We haven't even begun physical therapy, which starts in another few weeks. Ziva must be contained in a 107cmX70cm area while she recovers. This requires round the clock "surveillance" so she does not try to stand and walk before she is ready. With IVDD, this recovery time is extremely dangerous for re-injury or new disc ruptures. It's been a difficult adjustment for the entire family but we'd all do it again in order to save Ziva!

Any monetary help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. This is a tough time to ask for help when everyone has their own family's needs to think about. It has put quite a strain on the holidays for our family. Any amount, large or small, is helpful and we will keep the Fund open as long as Ziva is in recovery. I will also promise to post updates weekly to keep everyone informed. Our family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts and Ziva thanks you too!


Susan Parrish Smith
Oxford Falls NSW

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