Loving a dachshund is not for wimps

Rufus | October 2015. Photo by: Johnny Ortez-Tibbels ©

Rufus | October 2015. Photo by: Johnny Ortez-Tibbels ©


Sigh. It’s so very true friends: loving a dachshund is not for wimps. About four weeks ago Rufus was attacked by a big dog. His wounds healed nicely, he appears to be no worse for wear and that horrible day is just a distant memory now.

Trying to return to our normal life pre-attack, we were at the beach this week Tuesday and Thursday doing our weekly sunset walk as our source of regular exercise. Late Thursday night, after the beach, I noticed Rufus was walking a little funny. I wasn’t able to really pinpoint the problem initially, but as a devoted and dedicated dachshund dad, I knew something wasn’t right. Friday we waited and watched. The problem did not get worse but also didn’t improve. My personal philosophy is not to wait. If I’m worried about my hounds, I like to take some sort of action. I want peace of mind again. I decided against an emergency room visit Friday night, because the ER staff doesn’t know me and my dogs as well as our loyal vets. So instead, I emailed my vet and asked to come in Saturday morning. They naturally agreed to see us right away.

Friday night, I administered a common neurological test. It’s where you bend the back paws and see if it returns to a natural state or stays bent. Friday both paws returned to normal like a reflex, as one would expect. However, Saturday morning at the vet’s office the back left leg / paw did not return to normal. It’s one of our worst nightmares realized. Rufus is not paralyzed, which is the good news, but it’s clear there’s a lack of communication between the brain and his back left leg. Deep breathe.

Here is the point, I want to share. In that moment when vet and I realized there’s a problem I wanted to cry. There’s a flood of emotions, but I showed restraint for Rufus’s sake. I do believe our darling dachshunds take cues from their humans, and I didn’t want to add to any anxiety that Rufus might already be experiencing. Also, I think it’s important to remain optimistic. One of the main and basic tenets of Dodger’s List (our friends and leading experts on IVDD and other back problems) is that there’s hope! And there is.

Today Rufus got a cortisone shot and 8 minutes of cold laser light therapy. Rufus is able to walk, but his back legs are cross-stepping – which is not good. If you don’t know what that means, it looks a little like he is walking in repetitive circles because that left leg is having trouble getting timely information from the brain. Therefore, he is on mandatory crate rest for a week or longer. As a good reminder here is the definition of crate rest: Rufus is confined to the crate. He is able to walk and stand, but we don’t want him to run, jump or raise up / stand on his hind legs. We basically want to keep his back and his spine parallel to the ground at all times. If we’re sitting on the couch or in bed, Rufus is welcome to be with us, but we have to be vigilant; we don’t want him to hear a noise (like the doorbell) and take off running. We also don’t want him to climb steps – not even a small curb. When he is outside eliminating, it’s ideal to keep him on a leash also to ensure he doesn’t take off running, in the event that he hears our neighbor’s dog barking or something. This is probably the toughest part for both dog and dad. But, it’s imperative to him getting better. Hopefully our commitment and steadfast resolve with pay off. We go for our second cold light laser therapy on Monday.

This is Rufus’ 4th episode of back drama. Most recently, in May 2014, Rufus showed small signs of back discomfort. At that time he passed the neurological test, but we decided to do a series of cold laser light therapy. By mid-June 2014, he was back to his normal self. This is the first time Rufus has ever failed the neurological test, and it does break my heart. He is 11 years old though, as I was reminded at the vet’s office today, and the price for getting older is slower recovery time. Rufus is resting comfortably in his crate next to me as I write this entry. He’s actually sleeping peacefully, and looking at him it’s a challenge not to cry. Our hounds are a tough, loyal and determined breed, and Rufus and his pack have taught me a lot about being strong and bold in the face of adversity. So we’ll put on a good face for Rufus and meet this newest challenge head on. We plan to stay home all weekend with Rufus and hope tomorrow will bring better news.

The two videos in this post are from Thursday night, and as you can see Rufus appears to be perfectly fine, which reminds me, it can all change in a blink of an eye. We’ll update everyone as we know more.

Thanks in advance friends for your support. We continue to write about Rufus’ adventures, both good and bad, because we believe through our shared experiences we learn key life lessons. Have a wonderful weekend friends, and hugs those hounds tight for us. Enjoy each and every day you have together, because for us  L O V E  is a four-legged word.

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17 Responses to Loving a dachshund is not for wimps

  1. Shawn says:

    Thinking of you all. It is so very hard as our pups age and they experience difficulties. The crate rest is vital as you know so no further damage is done. Prayers for Rufus that he heals completely, and prayers for strength and patience for you.

  2. Patti says:

    I’m sorry to hear this latest news. Have you thought about acupuncture? My first Doxie hurt her back and was unable to walk. I took her to an acupuncturist, and he worked miracles with her. She was still walking at 20 years old, before she crossed the Rainbow bridge. Good luck to you and your precious baby.

  3. Joan Fredericks says:

    Many best wishes for a quick and complete recovery for Rufus! Hugs! J.

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Debbie says:

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery

  5. Denise Beard says:

    So sorry to hear this especially on top of his recent attack.I see a holistic vet for chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture as well as B12 injections on a regular basis as a preventative. One of my doxies, has already had neck issues ( that have not gone to the point of actual disc disease) & for 2 years we have been doing weekly swim therapy, massage & Fit Paws conditioning as a preventative & have not had an incident in 2 years ( we were having bi-weekly episodes before) . I cannot say enough about the importance of getting the core strong through the swim & fit Paws. And having an amazing holistic vet who can tell us during her chiro/acupuncture exam what is going on with all her discs & keep ahead of it all. Not to say that something couldn’t happen, but I believe we have an excellent chance of avoiding what you are going thru. ( We have done a back surgery one very doxie we have had before, & that was with diligent care, not allowing jumping ever, no stairs ever, sleeping on the floor, etc.) It was not until we started seeing our holistic vet that we found a new approach. Sending my thoughts for Rufus’s speedy healing.

  6. Pam says:

    Having just gone through 5 weeks of crate rest, I can only say that it is harder for the parent than the fur-baby. Cody, being a typical doxie loved all the attention! Hang in there Dad and he’ll be as good as ever. Prayers and good thoughts.

  7. Pingback: It’s a good day for crate rest | rufusontheweb

  8. Phyl says:

    For 70 years I have lived with terriers. They are good practise for a dachshund. My Sparks is 8, piebald soft wire. He is a rescue and I am a loud convert to the breed!!

  9. Tom Sutton says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Rufus. I’ve recently been following his misfortunes with getting bitten by another dog. You are so right about loving a dachshund not being for wimps. I have 3 of them myself and I have been put through the wringer with all of them from Valley fever, bee stings , broken toes, to back issues with all three. As I read your article I thought how very similar it was to what happened to my Sadie this weekend. Sadie is 13 and was being treated for a toe injury and was doing fine Friday morning but by 11pm I noticed her shivering in pain. My only course of action was to bring her to an emergency vet as my vet is not available on weekends. We thought the toe was acting up but the vet said she also was having back pain. Well my stomach just twisted and my heart sank. Sadie had been through this before and I knew the possible outcomes. Anyway to make along story shorter. Sadie is not paralyzed cause she can still walk(very wobbly) and she can still pee and poop.. She’s on crate rest which like you said is harder on me than her. It breaks my heart to see her like this and believe you me I’ve had a few crying episodes myself. Tomorrow she goes into my vet so I can see what course of action he wants to take. What is the cold laser light therapy? I haven’t heard of that treatment. Best wishes to you and Rufus !!!

  10. Pingback: Rufus get laser therapy | rufusontheweb

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