Sunday, July 13, 2008

Xena-"Warrior Princess"

Xena entered our lives in late fall of 2005. We weren't looking to add another dachshund, things were going smoothingly well with our present pair. You know, that old saying, "two's company, three's a crowd?". Well, they weren't talking about dachshunds. It should be "the more, the merrier!".

Xena was surrendered in rescue (and there will be many posts about Dachshund rescue forthcoming) along with her Mother. She was 7 1/2 at the time and her Mother was 10 years old. A bit of a sad story, but thankfully it lead them to rescue. You see, Xena (and her Mother, I presume) were former breeders and show dogs. Returned to their breeder - who no longer bred dachshunds-they were surrendered into rescue. Originally, we were under the impression they were a "bonded" pair, so initially, they were kept together. However, as time progressed in foster care, it became clear they weren't behaving like a bonded pair. So, we made the decision to separate them in foster care, I chose to take Xena with me and in the event she or her Mom displayed problems being separated, we could quickly rejoin them.

The minute Xena arrived - it was like she had been here forever. Although extremely insecure and needy (and still needy to this day); she quickly found her place as the "Grande Dame" of the pack. She pays no mind to Oskar and his shannigans and she and Schatzi quickly became pack mates.

Now, the last thing we wanted was another dachshund (I think I mentioned that). After previosuly fostering five dachshunds and seeing them safely into new homes, I was unprepared when Xena wormed her way into my heart. I would be strong for a few hours, then blubbering over my computer at work - at the thought of giving her up. So, after a week of this torment - I conjured up enough bravery to email (yes, email) hubby and confess I was miserable at the thought of letting her go. So, in November 2005 Xena was truly home.

I'd like to say that it's been an easy road, but she's had rough go. Firstly, she underwent a spay and dental surgery (resulting in the loss of 11 teeth!). Nothing that a tough old dame couldn't handle, but what was to come a few months later would be a true test of her stamina and determination. In October of 2006-a mere 11 months after we adopted her, I came home at lunch time to discover her was acting strangely and walking stiffly. I quickly raced to the vet. After a thorough examination and x-rays, we were prescribed an anti-inflammatory & pain medication and strict rest.

The follwing morning, as I lifted her from her bed - she let out a horrible scream and her bladder let go. Hubby picked her up & cuddled her - seeing that she needed to go outside (her bowels let go, as well). As he brought her in, he set her down gently on the floor - and to our horror - she was unable to walk - but was doing the dreaded "drunken sailor" walk! I knew immediately she had gone down (an all to familiar term with dachshund owners). I called our veterinian's emergency number and was instructed to bring her in immediately.

Our vet's examination confirmed what we suspected, Xena had ruptured disc(s) in her back. We discussed our next line of action, which would be a Myelogram at the Atlantic Veterinary College and depending on the results, we would make our decision then. At a little after 8:00 a.m., we met with Dr. Gina Eigner and Dr. Mook, at the AVC. Upon examining Xena further, a Myelogram was ordered with instructions Xena was to go into surgery, if necessary.

The Myelogram revealed that Xena had indeed ruptured between the L3-L4 veterbrae and emergency surgery was scheduled to remove the debris that was pressing on her spinal column causing excrutiating pain and paralysis. The next few hours would slowly crawl by and at 3:00 p.m., we received the call that she had come through surgery and was resting comfortably and the next 24-48 hours would tell the extent of her injury.

This is Xena in ICU a few hours after her surgery; they were amazed she was trying to stand! We went into surgery fully expecting the worse - I was prepared for her to be discharged in a cart. I would have to learn to express her, but I was determined she would have a full life, even if it meant she would require constant care to empty her bowels and bladder & use a cart to make her mobile. Many dogs live full, happy lives in carts.

What I wasn't prepared for were the flurry of calls claiming Xena had full use of her bodily functions (I didn't care if she had control - at least she had use). And 72 hours later - she was "walking on her own" . She walked out of the AVC and after 8 weeks of strict crate rest, she has made a 99.5% full recovery!

This is Xena the day she was discharged!

She leads a very full, active life (for a Grande Dame of 10 years now!) still loves to go for walks and after undergoing another major dental (with loss of an additional 11 teeth!) and removal of a cyst from her hip - she lives up to her name - "Xena, Warrior Princess".

1 comment:

AnotherXenaFan said...

I'm so glad your little Xena is such a strong little trooper! I have had 3 dachshunds, though not all at once, and have a miniature now. They are indeed stubborn, er, persistent. Just like the Warrior Princess for whom your precious one is named. Good on ya for keeping her and giving her her forever home. God bless all of you! :)