Today we meet Francois, a Frenchie from the sunny Gold Coast in Australia, who became paralyzed a year ago as a result of an Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) episode.
Zoe tells us about their experience and share some of her great tips for managing a paralyzed dog.
Could you tell us about Francois' disability?
Francois had an extreme episode of IVDD on new years eve 2017. He had surgery immediately to remove the compressed disc but he has remained paralysed in his hind legs with no control over his bladder or bowels.
Could you describe a regular day with Francois?
We wake up, or Francois wakes us up from his crate, we take him outside and express his bladder and encourage his bowel movement. We find that lightly spraying his bottom with water encourages a bowel movement.
Francois has gotten into a habit of chewing his hind leg toes (as he can't feel them) which has caused nail bed infections.
To prevent this, now we either place booties over his hind legs or dress him with baby sleep bags. However, the baby sleep bags are very warm so we don't use these in summer. We tailor the baby sleep bags to add a snap on button as the zip sometimes comes down during the day allowing him to get out of the clothes.
Francois wears a nappy when we leave him home by himself for work. Generally he still sleeps in our bed when my partner or myself are away for work. This is risky due to his incontinence.
What advice would you offer to someone with a paralyzed dog?
Have you tried any physical therapy?
Yes, we tried all sorts of dog physical therapy. Unfortunately, none worked to recover movement in his rear legs.
What advice would you offer someone with a paralyzed dog?
Patience. Francois is so happy and is still the same dog he was before his paralysis. It's us, the owner, who needs to adapt.
After a few weeks, Francois' special needs become habit for us. He has the same, if not a better life than he had before. There are many other dogs and owners going through the same thing and the support out there is endless.
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