by Eugenie Chopin
Shanti & friends update: Danilo, Eugeni’s 17 year old, has a Spinal Stroke
Well, Danilo certainly gave me a fright 2 weeks ago when he awakened me with heavy panting. He could not stand up and was salivating profusely. I made an appointment with his Homeopathic Specialist Vet and took him to an appointment by mid-day. (Just a note that I did have a couple of conversations with Vets to make sure I was OK to wait a few hours to see someone – sometimes prompt action is necessary). In any case, I’m glad I waited as by the time we arrived at the Vet, he could stand and take a few steps on his own. Then tests were done to rule out other possible problems and an x-ray to make sure he hadn’t injured himself going up and down the stairs.
The conclusion was a spinal Vascular Mistake – easier remembered as a Spinal Stroke, which usually involves some internal bleeding around the spine. The good news is that it also usually rights itself within a couple of weeks. Of course, given Danilo’ s age and history of losing mobility in the back legs, this is still a scary scenario.
I am very grateful that I was at my holistic Vet as there is little treatment for this other than acupuncture and this we did immediately. Danilo happily walked out of the surgery and has been improving steadily. We have since gone back for 2 more acupuncture treatments.
However, even with a wobbly walk, he couldn’t negotiate the stairs at home and we do live upstairs in our house. Now do you remember last month I told you I had a brain wave about bringing the garden upstairs to Danilo so that when he wasn’t able to handle the stairs, he could have a patch of grass on the balcony?
Well, we had actually done this and I now have a patch of grass on the end of the balcony about 1 by 3 Meters, but I had not up until now encouraged Danilo to use it as he was doing fine on the Stairs.
So on the day after the stroke, I decided to keep him on the Balcony until he just HAD to use the grass.( I had asked a couple of times, but with no luck) – He actually held out until 2 p.m. in the afternoon when I gave in (scared he was going to get stopped up) and had him carried down the stairs. He did his business and was brought back upstairs. Later in the evening just as I had asked for help to take him outside again, I saw him go out onto the balcony and decided to peep and sure enough he did a wee in the dark when no one was around! Yeah it worked!
Of course, he still preferred to go into the garden and within a few days Heather and I could put on a Harness and use back leg supports to help him down the stairs. We were having to make sure his back legs didn’t slip out from under him. And then 8 days after the stroke, he decided he could do this on his own and is now going up and down the stairs alone.
I can’t say that I don’t have anxious moments, but I also know that his independence and dignity are very important to him, so I let him do it and hope that when he senses that he’s going to have difficulty, he’ll let me know. I have actually seen him do this before, where he looks at me as if to say – hey, can’t you help me out here?
This whole episode brings home very strongly the reality of his age and how limited our time is together. After 17 years, I am grateful for every day and am blessed with his strength and willingness to stay and enjoy life with me for a bit longer! He has a magnificent Spirit and Joy for Life that teaches me so much!
I love you Danilo!