THESE DOG DAYS
A resource for disabled dogs and their owners
12/20/2018 9 Comments
Thanks to Jennifer for sharing this great story of her dog, Lilly Mae's recovery from a fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE). While recovery from FCE (and other neurological conditions, such as IVDD) is quite common, understandably most people prefer to put this difficult period behind them and we don't get to share these important stories.
Tell us about Lilly Mae's experience with FCE
Lilly had a Fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) on January 10, 2018. She followed her dad into the bedroom, and just dropped at his feet, and could not get up. There were no warning signs, no yelps of pain, she wasn't playing before it happened, none of the typical things that are looked for in an FCE.
It was 7pm, so we rushed her to an emergency vet where she got so much blood work done, urine sample, and x-rays. They could find nothing wrong. The emergency vet suggested it could be an FCE, but could not confirm without an MRI.
She saw a neurologist the next day who confirmed with an MRI that is was an FCE. Initially Lilly was paralyzed in 3 legs, both hind, and 1 front. She regained use of the front leg the next day. As of today, 6 months later, she has use of all her legs, except her left hind is very weak.
She's not able to do a lot of the things she used to do. It takes a huge effort to get out into the yard, because there are 3 steps leading to it. She can't play with her brothers like she used to. When she does run, her back legs do a little bunny hop. She never really lost control of her urine etc, but if she does happen to fall, she will poop without noticing it.
Could you describe your daily routine?
We get up between 4:45am and 5:00am. I have to be at work by 6am, so we are on a tight schedule. If I'm lucky she will get up the first time I ask her, but she's super stubborn. Once she gets up, she will go outside to pee. Sometimes she can't hold herself up, so she has to be cleaned up.
She then eats her morning kibble. Her morning kibble has to be served to her in bed, she will not eat out of her regular bowl in the morning for some reason. This is a new thing that happened after her FCE. While she eats, I get ready for work.
Once done, she will go back outside to poop. She comes in and gets CBD oil (to help manage her arthritis), and settles down to go back to sleep. I work until 3:00pm, so my husband bought an in home camera to monitor her activities, and we are able to speak to her through it if needed.
I get home from work around 3:30pm. Lilly is usually waiting at the door. We go outside, she does her business, then we take a walk around the garden. Depending on the weather she may lounge around outside, or come in, and lay around. She eats a home-cooked dinner at around 5:30pm (she will not eat kibble for dinner). That also happened after her FCE.
After dinner she usually goes to relax with her dad, and watches TV. She goes out to use the bathroom around 9:30pm, then gets more CBD oil.
I am off on Tuesday, so that is pool day for her. She has a baby pool she likes to walk around in, and drink the water. It's like her giant water bowl.
Lilly enjoys sleeping in on weekends. She gets up whenever she feels like it. She pretty much likes to do her own thing, whether it be lounging outside, or running around. She gets tired very quickly, so any activity requires a nap afterwards!
We try to keep her on a schedule, so her activities are close to the same on weekends. In the summer, she enjoys going to the bay. One weekend a month is spent on getting ingredients, and cooking large batches of food for her dinners.
Would you recommend any products to managed FCE?
What physical therapy have you tried?
We did do PT for about 2 months. She got laser therapy, and hydro therapy.
I'm not sure that it did anything more than we could have done with the exercises she does. She hated it!
What advice would you offer to someone whose dog has FCE?
I would say that recovery from FCE can be frustrating, and extremely exhausting at first, but it does get better. Every little milestone is a reason to celebrate. Don't compare your dog's progress to others.
Join support groups, that helped so much with my questions.
12/24/2018 06:01:28 am
Lilly we are super proud of how far you have come we love you to pieces you have such strength keep it up! We love you Aunt Angella, nick n lexi
12/24/2018 08:58:24 am
Your so special Lilly! Your strong and determined. Aunt Mel loves you so much.
Zoe der Kinderen
1/10/2021 10:33:03 pm
Jennifer, i realize that it has been 2 years since this post but wanted to comment anyway, our Dog Jasper, had a stroke 5 days ago and is suffering as Lilly did, we are mortified and it has only been a week, I wanted to tell you that the therapies that you used on Lilly we are using too, I give him CBD oil and have a TENS machine that
1/31/2021 06:52:43 pm
Zoe, I came across your comment about Lilly's recovery. My dog had an FCE on 8/20/2020. The first few days are the most difficult. Try not to blame yourself for this. I've had several veterinarian's tell me there's not a scientific reason why it happens, it kind of just does. There isn't anything you could have done differently. Manually expressing the bladder was probably one of the most frustrating things , for both me and my dog, Duke. Maybe ask your vet if they can show you where exactly to squeeze to express Jasper's bladder. As far as bowel movements go, it will just happen naturally, so don't worry as much about that as the bladder. I had Duke in physical therapy three times a week (mat work, massage, underwater treadmill) and acupuncture once a week. Also see if you can find a veterinarian that specializes in integrative medicine/Chinese medicine and herbal medicine. Within two months Duke was back up and walking and the vet sent me home with some exercises for him. The beginning of this year was the first time I was able to take Duke on a 3 mile run. There is hope! I know that its devastating but it will get better. Just stay strong for Jasper. If you have any other questions or need advice, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sending positive vibes your way.
10/20/2021 06:07:07 am
Stacey, I just came across this post and it is making me feel a little better. My dog (5 years old) just had an FCE 2 days ago. He can't us his back legs. He was an active dog and walked 3 miles a day with me. I am devastated. I'm going to pick him up from the specialty vet tomorrow. I know it is going to be a long road to recovery. I'm glad Jasper had a good recovery and hope my Lincoln does too.
9/6/2021 12:13:54 pm
I'm so sorry I did not see this sooner. I didn't get any kind of notification. Lilly has a whole different set of obstacles at this point. She's still with me though! She never regained full feeling in her one back leg. She was also diagnosed with Degenerative Myleopathy. Essentially, both of her back legs are now weak. She also has Cancer and heart issues now. I'm so sorry I wasn't much help earlier. Please let me know how everything is going for you.
2/19/2021 06:08:41 am
My 3 year old staffxlurcher went completely paralysed yesterday afternoon in his entire back end, he was just hanging around in the garden and suddenly started screaming, when I looked round he was dragging himself towards me looking petrified. I thought he’d broken his back and rushed him to the vet where they diagnosed FCE. He’s home tonight after showing a little improvement on one leg, not much just a few seconds of trying to use it. He seems to be wearing ok so far but no poop as yet. He groans a lot and looks at his legs, I just think he’s trying to work out what’s going on. We’ve ordered a hind end sling and we are calling the local hydrotherapy site tomorrow to book him in. I’ve been devastated since it happened, he’s so young and fit and fast running is his favourite activity. I just don’t want him to lose his quality of life but I’ll do all I can to help him get better.
9/6/2021 12:19:02 pm
I'm so sorry I'm just seeing your post. I hope everything has gotten better. Please feel free to comment. I'll be checking back regularly.
4/27/2021 03:42:22 pm
Hi Hemp Living USA, I can't thank you enough for all of your guides and tips on BLOG NICHE. They are like a goldmine for me, keep rocking on, you are helping so many.
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