JR was diagnosed with the Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) when he was about 10 years old. I was given the option of having surgery which was not guaranteed and could have left him worse off than he already was. I felt it was not worth taking a risk with the surgery on a dog his age; even today, after losing my boy to the ravages of this disease along with several other problems including an undiagnosed muscle wasting disease, prostate problems, and suspected cancer, I do not regret my decision.
In the early days of the disease I only used Etodolac for pain as needed and valium for back spasms. As time went by, and the CES progressed, he was put on Pred, with the dosage adjusted periodically. I contacted the CES support group and the members, who were absolutely wonderful, giving me a lot of useful information and suggestions. They gave me a list of human medications they used, however, after his neurologist reviewed them he felt it was best to keep JR on Pred since he was not sure how the combinations of medications would affect a canine.
Last September, when JR was 12-1/2, he was in bad shape, walking like a drunken sailor, stumbling, sometimes falling, getting weaker rapidly. At that time he was going to an acupuncturist but I didn't see any improvement with this type of treatment though I've heard that some dogs have done well with acupuncture. Sandi, one of the members of the CES support group, suggested swimming. I told JR's acupuncturist about her suggestion and he knew of a place outside of Ocala, in Morriston, FL (Trained Dog, Happy Dog), that offered this type of therapy. I enrolled JR and he started going three times a week for the hydro-therapy and hydro-massage sessions. I was shocked at the improvement I was seeing, soon JR was fairly steady on his feet, able to 'run' and get around at an almost normal pace, showed a lot of interest in his surroundings including spending time sitting at the fence flirting with his 'girl friend', the Doberman next door. After the initial 'training' period, his therapist scheduled him for twice weekly sessions.
We continued thru the winter, it was an outdoor heated pool and we only had to cancel a few times due to foul weather. He was able to swim non stop for 30 minutes at a time, including 12 minutes against the jets. Despite the therapy he started losing ground, falling down and unable to get up or place his legs properly, lethargic, not enjoying life. After much soul searching I stopped the therapy sessions about two weeks ago since he never liked them and I wanted to allow him to enjoy what little time he had left. Both his doctors and I have credited the hydro-therapy sessions and the members of the CES support group for giving him many extra months of a quality life. THANK YOU EVERYONE!
On May 20, 2003 I had to make the agonizing decision to let JR go. God Speed, Rest in Peace my dear JR - I love you and miss you!
February 28, 1990 - May 30, 2003