dear davi

Pets Like Me: SADIE

Behind every good human is an awesome pet waiting to share its story


It’s not every day you meet a dachshund as lovely as Sadie. We first rubbed noses at a dachshund mingle. She looked very much like Audrey Hepburn, if Audrey Hepburn had been a dog. Mostly we exchanged sniffs at the gate, and then I ran to join friends in the field. She never joined, just sat gracefully at the foot of the picnic table, watching from afar. It was at that moment I lost my cool and face-planted in the grass. This unspoken thing between us is something special, and isn’t going to fade anytime soon.

There is only one thing that ages better than dogs and that’s cheese—it’s delicious. The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been (and birthday cake).

But with age comes change. From nose to tail, change can be uncomfortable, even scary. Most of us like things the way they’ve always been, like running along a sandy beach or tossing squeaky toys high in the air. Whether we like it or not, we will all experience changes with aging, which has affected me physically.

The symptoms came out of the blue. Hunched back, stiff body, shaking. My unwillingness to move was completely out of the norm, a telltale sign that something wasn’t right. A trip to the vet confirmed my condition—IVDD (intervertebral disc disease). I thought my back legs would go limp with IVDD, but that’s not always the case. Turns out mine is a mild form, so I should make a full recovery. Meanwhile, I’m on anti-inflammatory medication and crate rest for a few weeks. Guess I’ll be burrowing under blankets to binge-watch TV until I’m back to good.

IVDD, intervertebral disc disease, is a very common and complex condition, one that doesn’t wait for old age to arrive to effect you. Approximately 25 percent of dachshunds, as well as some other breeds, especially those with longer backs, experience some degree of IVDD when they hit middle age, or three to six years old. The loss of mobility alters one’s activity, and most are not ready to embrace this change—so it’s good to be educated, especially before it happens.

Our bodies have little discs between each vertebrae, sort of like jelly-filled donuts, that act as cushions. IVDD occurs when these discs become displaced, deteriorate, bulge or burst into the spinal cord space. When this happens, the discs press on the nerves, causing pain, discomfort and, in severe cases, paralysis. Sometimes this occurs gradually, with osteoarthritis being a contributing factor; other times, it’s trauma, like leaping up onto a couch, that causes the discs to rupture. Sometimes it’s a combination of several incidents.

The good news? IVDD is not a death-to-all-fun sentence for dogs. Modern medicine has allowed dogs to make full recoveries and thrive or, at the very least, has helped dogs manage their condition on a level that still allows them to be active, even if they’ve lost some capabilities.

Davi isn’t so keen on crate rest, but snuggling and binge-watching Animal Planet sounds amaze-balls.

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