This is Rutherford, an adorable 3 year old basset hound with an inspirational story.
As a young basset hound puppy, Rutherford would fearlessly jump from the bed or couch with leaps and bounds, but as Rutherford started to grow up, his mom had an instinctual feeling that she needed to start keeping a closer eye on his back, especially during play, even though he had always acted normal.
Low and behold, one day Rutherford seemed to differ from his normal activities; he was no longer jumping up stairs and hopping into bed, and he seemed more hesitant to jump off of things. When he started sleeping on the floor - that was completely bizarre and out of character.
"he was no longer jumping up stairs and hopping into bed"
Rutherfords mom knew this had to be investigated, so she brought Rutherford to the vet for a checkup. Without doing any imaging, the vet figured it was either a sprained muscle in the back or a mild case of IVDD, which of course is intervertebral disc disease, affecting many long-bodied dogs like dachshunds, corgis, and yes, basset hounds. But it didn't seem too serious, so the vet sent him home with some anti-inflammatory medication and they thought all would be well.
Just 4 days after seeing the vet, Rutherford was playing happily with his ball. Mom joined in and kicked the ball for some fetch. Rutherford valiantly chased his ball, took a sharp left turn, and within the blink of a eye he was paralyzed in his back legs. Rutherford was screaming and howling in pain, trying to run away.
What an awful experience that must have been for the poor pup and his parents.
within the blink of a eye he was paralyzed in his back legs
Mom and dad were beneath themselves, devastated and franticly trying to load Rutherford in the car for an emergency vet visit. Overnight, Rutherford had received morphine and awaited a checkup from the neurosurgeon. The next day during the neurosurgeon checkup, he had confirmed that Rutherford's L1 & L2 discs had ruptured and he would be needing surgery. Luckily mom and dad had pet insurance and immediately exclaimed "whatever he needs, do it!"
Rutherford went into surgery the very same day on the 22nd of July in 2020 and would remain in the hospital for 4 days.
When Rutherford would return home it would be a grueling recovery - he had no bladder control or leg function. It was around-the-clock care as he would soil himself every 30-90 minutes and would require cleanup.
But just 17 days after Rutherford's spinal surgery there was a glimmer of hope - he started to show some movement little by little, even commencing a wobbly walk on his own! Once the initial signs of independent walking appeared they scheduled Rutherford to see a physical therapist. Both of Rutherford's doctors, Dr. Wayne Berry & his physical therapist, Dr. Caroline Goulard, did incredible work that gave mom and dad their precious dog back!
Rutherford started to show some movement little by little
Here he is in the water treadmill, which is a great device for rehabilitating dogs from spinal/nerve injuries. It's an easy way to stand and practice their foot placements; it is gentle exercise; plus the water itself helps stimulates various nerves around the body which is very useful for regenerating nerve signals.
Today they are 4 months removed from surgery and most people would never guess that Rutherford was once paralyzed - and he even lost some excess weight he was carrying prior to his injury!
Looking great, bud!
One unfortunate thing to note is that IVDD does not go away. The burst discs that were corrected in surgery should not be a problem again, but there is always a risk of one of the other discs becoming an issue.
But with some good precautions around the home, especially when it comes to stairs, or getting on and off the couch or bed, that should never happen again.
That's why Rutherford and his mom fell in love with our large bed ramp for dogs
That's why Rutherford and his mom fell in love with our large bed ramp for dogs, which makes getting on and off the bed - one of his favorite chill spots next to mom while she is working - easy and most importantly, safe!
They now have ramps for the front entrance steps, a ramp for the car, our large bed ramp as seen above, and even our couch ramp as well!
Rutherford is very good about using his ramps! Mom says that DoggoRamps is the sturdiest ramp with the best traction by far! And it's now his begging spot since mom's desk is right there.
Who could say no to that face?
Rutherford will be trained, once COVID-19 allows, to be a therapy dog and bring smiles to those who are going through similar medical hardships just as he once did. What a wonderful and selfless way of helping others.
"As long as he keeps using his DoggoRamps, he has a bright future ahead of him" - Rutherford's mom.
That's one happy doggo! We're so proud of you, Rutherford!
(To learn more about caring for these long-bodied, floppy-eared hounds, make sure to check out our deep dive into why dog ramps are a must-have for Basset Hounds.)
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July 07, 2022
My dog Chewy had an emergency IVDD yesterday after rupturing a disc just earlier in the day. It was so sudden and took us all by surprise. Reading Rutherford’s story helped me so much, with the steps taken by his parents and his recovery process, it’s given me more insight on how to help Chewy with his own recovery. I will definitely look into a ramp for him!