As most of you know by now, this blog came to creation when my oldest dog, Oslo, was diagnosed with ‘IVDD’ (Intervertebral Disc Disease) in July of 2011.
After a couple days of exhibiting very odd symptoms (symptoms which I now know are classic, tell-tale IVDD symptoms) he suddenly lost use of his hind legs. A trip to a Neurological Specialist confirmed what we feared, and Oslo had emergency spinal surgery that afternoon & was given an 80-90% chance of recovery/walking again. I brought Oslo home a couple days later, with a bill for $7,200 and staples up the entire length of his spine. Together we started on the long road to healing & recovery.
I created this blog with the intention to both document Oslo’s journey & educate people in plain english & with photos, about what IVDD looks like. Because here’s the thing.. When Oslo’s Neurosurgeon told me “IVDD”, I went online and googled it like most of you have done… And you know what I found? A bunch of really confusing websites that scared the HELL out of me. All I wanted to know at that point was:
1. What does recovery LOOK like?
2. Will my dog be able to live a happy, comfortable life?
I wanted my blog to SHOW people what recovery can look like. So, in those initial few months, I posted countless photos. Photos of his pain meds, photos of him at physical therapy, photos of his incision healing, photos of his crate/pen set up.. photos photos photos!
Nowadays, Oslo is almost completely healed (he still has some residual nerve damage in his rear legs, which leaves him with a bit of a wobbly walk but it doesn’t seem to bother him any)… The roots of this blog sometimes feel very far behind us. Sometimes I wonder if our new followers even really know how and why this blog was born… But then it occurs to me… wouldn’t that be GREAT? Wouldn’t it be great if Oslo was at a point where his life just seemed so normal, so ordinary, that followers of this very blog had no idea that he’d gone through sometimes as terrible as Intervertebral Disc Disease?
If you find yourself going through IVDD with your dog, you’ll likely ask yourself the same questions I did… and you’ll likely be wondering if the surgery is “worth it” (because let’s face it, it’s terribly, terribly expensive) You’ll wonder if you’re going to spend all of this money, and maybe your dog is just going to be gimpy, and wobbly, and restricted it’s whole entire life. And what kind of life is THAT anyway? There are probably even people in your life, well intentioned people who love you and your dog, who think that you are nuts for even considering this expensive surgery that has “no guarantees”. You probably feel extremely conflicted, extemelely confused and extremely alone.
Let me say this loud and proud though… If people only take two things away from this blog, I hope it’s this:: That there IS life after IVDD. There is recovery. There is normalcy… and you are NOT alone. IVDD is more common than any of us would like.
Look back at my entries between July 2011 and now. Look at the photos. Watch the videos. I hope you see that, yes, it was scary and hard at first. And to this day there are certain things that Oslo can’t really do (like go up/down stairs, or play roughly with big dogs).. but I hope that you also see that by and large, Oslo leads a normal life. He is loved & he loves right back. His is a life worthy to live. IVDD and all.
*Disclaimer:: While I wish ALL dog’s recoveries could be as lovely as Oslo’s, I do realize that unfortunately that is not always the case. Every dog heals differently, and every dog has a different injury than the other. Please always consult your trusted veterinarian before making decisions about your pet’s well being. Please also consult your heart.