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How a Doomed Dog Started Walking Again…

03/30/2011

Before there was a Baby #1 and a Baby #2, there was a Dog #1. A friend asked us if she could be a wedding present – and my dear fiance informed me “absolutely not. We’re not ready for a dog.”

Then one day I came by our new house to deposit a few boxes of my worldly goods and was greeted at the door by the dearest little doggy face peering out of the cupped hands of m’love. 

Of course, you know how it goes: agony over what to name the puppy. Must be dog enough to not sound humanoid (Mary, Billy) but not so dog as to sound like a Barbie-version of mutt-hood (Butch, Spike). I decided it simply had to be something Scotland-esque. I finally settled on Aberdeen. (A few months prior I had traced my ancestor William Carnahan to Robert the Bruce’s neighborhood.)

Aberdeen was doted upon (a little too much). She got quite fat, which if you know Dachshunds is a bad thing. We kept trying to get her thinned again, but even on tight portion control and a small amount of exercise (yes, I know, I know, but I work and Baby #1 and Baby #2 had arrived by this time!), she still was a good few pounds overweight.

Then the worst happened. One day Aberdeen seemed to have an issue walking, had a hard time getting in and out from the step up to our house, squealing in pain when we tried to help her. After 2-3 weeks, it wasn’t getting better – it was getting worse. I finally knew we had to go to the vet.

Disc injury. One of her vertebrae was putting pressure on her spinal column, causing pain and worse: neurological damage. If she started to drag her legs behind her, it was a sign that (supposedly) only a $5,000+ surgery would allow her to walk again. I was sent home with pain medication and sure enough, the next day she started to drag her back legs behind her.

Because I am a Martin by birth – and the daughter of a Clapper by birth (descendant of afore mentioned SCOTCH Carnahans) – there was no way I was going to spend $5,000 on a dog’s surgery. It was that, or put her down. Being 4 years old by just a week, I was not quite ready to think about losing my (let’s face it), First Baby.

I did some research.

  • Solution 1: $5,000 surgery.
  • Solution 2: $100-160 Death Warrant.
  • Solution #3: $400 dog wheelchair (doesn’t fix the problem).

The final solution was a dog chiropractor, acupuncture and/or hydrotherapy…. a friend even posted a web article on my Facebook wall about success using these methods.

Ok, so fat chance of finding THAT near me … and how much could a dog chiropractor COST? Enter Google.

Literally a month before, Dr. Evelyn Orenbuch opened GA Veterinary Rehabilitation in East Cobb (about an hour from me). I emailed … and received an email in reply from the doctor herself within hours! (What a great first impression!) $107-$175 for the first visit – ok, definitely doable since online research shows 2-3 visits has proven to render exceptional results. We’ll try it.

On a Monday evening we went for Aberdeen’s first visit. I had to carry her in because she could not even pull her back end behind her. Her back legs would not function at all, and she looked so pitiful trying to pull herself up and then flopping over on her side. She could not stand, walk or even hold up her back end when I propped her up on her back legs….I’m in tears again just thinking about my poor dog. I truly believed there was nothing to be done. I’m not a Paris Hilton carting my dog around with me in my purse, but I’m not ashamed to admit I LOVE MY DOG.

That day she got an electro-acupuncture treatment and I was given some exercises to do with her at home, as well as a cold laser kit and some Chinese herbs.

Folks – I’m not kidding. Tuesday she rested. Wednesday she walked. Wobbly – but on her own back legs, she walked around, didn’t need help to go potty, she walked to her food – she was WALKING. Between a Wednesday visit and a visit the following Monday, she had twice daily the cold laser for 15 minutes, the Chinese herbs, an acupuncture treatment, and 2 hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill) sessions.

Today, not 2 weeks after she could not even stand, Aberdeen is TROTTING with her tail wagging away. She’ll probably never stop being wobbly, and she’ll have a difficult time with steps and stairs, but she’s walking, trotting, and by all appearances, nearly as good as ever.

I am amazed – truly. I believe in chiropractic care for humans, I’ve seen the effect of GOOD chiropractic care/treatment. When my wrist broke, I saved $200 a visit by going to my chiropractor instead of the physical therapist; when we get sick we go to the chiropractor and get better within hours. But I really would have laughed about dog chiropractic care in the past.

But I’m now a believer. I can’t believe the improvement only 3 visits has made on my Aberdeen. Oh, by the way – she’s lost a couple pounds already on a new food. Working her down to her pre-baby (siblings) weight! 😉

Read more about Dr. Orenbuch and the Rehab center from the Marietta Daily. I cannot recommend Dr. Orenbuch or the GA Vet Rehab Center highly enough. Not only is the environment comfortable and contemporary (no 80’s fluorescent-lit dingy vet waiting room), each staff member was several notches above the standard veterinary office. Dr. Orenbuch is forthright and empathetic, encouraging and calming both for her patients and their owners. I’m impressed by the facility, the level of professionalism and their obvious skill and acumen in not only treating, but successfully improving the health of their patients. Thank you, Dr. Orenbuch and staff!!

Aberdeen – Walking just 3 weeks after being told she would not be able to again!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebekah Provence permalink
    03/30/2011 12:25 pm

    Awesome!! 🙂 I am ever to happy that Aberdeen is doing so well. 🙂

  2. Harley's mama, Gail permalink
    06/09/2011 1:22 am

    Well, it is nice to meet Aberdeen…….”just like Aberdeen” was the first thing out of Dr O’s mouth when she saw our Dachshund, Harley about 3 weeks ago. We are not sure how Harley hurt his back but we waisted 2 months with our regular vet…..pain pills and steroids. He just wasn’t getting better. Every time the cut his steroids he got worse. “Surgery or put him down” was all he could …. i should say WOULD tell us.

    Well they say there is no such things as a coincidence. “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous”. While we sat at our vets waiting room for our last visit…..a nice lady struck up a conversation with us about Harley and wanted to know what was wrong. Now the funny thing about this is….she did not have an animal with her at the time. The second coincidence was that she NEVER came to the vet on a Sat….and we didn’t either, but yet there we both sat on a Sat morning. She told us that her Chiropractor breed dogs and he took his dogs to a chiropractor in Canton. Well that set the wheels turning and google searches ran on all 3 of our computers. The first two calls did not work out, but thanks to my husband, he kept on with he google searches and found Dr. O. Harley has seen Dr. O for 3 or 4 treatments and done several land sessions. When Dr O came in the land session last Tue to watch Harley, you could see the disappointment on her face saying he was getting worse. But today, Jun 8, we gave her the surprise she needed on her birthday……we let Harley walk to her. She was thrilled. Not to mention how thrilled we are. Harley is even getting happy again and wanting to play frisbee. That day is coming, but he still looks like a ‘calf on ice’ sometimes when he hits the hardwood floors. We just go and lift his little behind up and he is on his way again. So cute!

    Love your blog about Aberdeen’s road to recovery. Hope we and Harley can meet Aberdeen someday.
    Gail Jackson

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