Da Princess Toolip - Recovery From A Stroke

Toolip topJune 1st: I almost lost female greyhound, "da Princess Toolip".  After coming home from a much loved car ride, she walked around the corner to the dog yard, had explosive diarrhea and a few minutes later vomited, staggered and collapsed on the patio unable to get up or stand.

Thankfully, my neighbor helped me get her in the car and I raced off to the emergency vet.  Although they were able to stabilize her, they were unable to determine what was causing the issue.  She was kept overnight, treated for shock, given IV fluids and underwent a myriad of tests.  The afternoon of the second day, I went to the emergency vet and worked on her with massage and stretching for over an hour.  She was still unable to stand and would not eat, although she was holding her head up a bit and was a bit more aware.

The third day we were able to get an appointment with a neurologist and they determined she most likely suffered a stroke.  There was a chance, however, it could be canine meningitis.  The only way to determine definitively what was going on was to put her through a MRI, which meant putting her under anesthesia.  As the treatment for either diagnosis was relatively the same, we opted not to put her under.  Greyhounds can react badly to anesthesia and she was already so terribly weak, we were afraid to take the chance.

We brought her home from the neurologist that afternoon.  She was able to stand if she leaned on something and walk drunkenly a short distance if supported before collapsing.  The rest of the day however, when she tried to stand, she would take a staggering step or two and collapse.  Going outside for bathroom breaks were made with me bearing 90% of her weight in a sling.  She had no interest in eating or drinking at all.Toolip neuro

That evening, I started with light stimulating massage, passive stretching and range of motion.  Over the next week, we followed this routine 4 times a day.  By the end of the week, she was able to stand on her own and walk for short distances albeit with a staggering gait.  As she got stronger, we dropped down to two sessions a day and added two walks.  First we walked to the house next door and back twice a day and slowly we added an extra house when she was able to handle it without tiring too much.  Eventually we were walking 4 houses and back.  Several days were a bit scary and disheartening as we seemed to take one step forward and two steps back.  In hindsight, those were days where maybe she did more than she should have because she felt a bit better.  All through the first two weeks at least, she had no interest in food.  It was almost as if she had forgotten how to eat.  I tried every suggestion anyone gave me and if I was lucky, I could get her to eat a little of it and by the next meal she politely refused it.  She would eat peanut butter fairly regularly, which was wonderful as I had not difficulty getting her to take her medicine.  She also had no interest in drinking in the beginning.  To remedy this I was able to get her vanilla Ensure on a fairly regular basis.  This did double duty as it provided her with the protein she was missing by not eating.

June 22nd: Our massage, passive stretching and range of motion sessions were down to once a day.  We will stay with this schedule indefinitely, as it will help her stay limber, keep her muscles stimulated, help with her coordination and if she should be more active on a particular day, it will soothe/ease sore muscles.

June 26th: Today we added stepping over poles (two small ones with PVC pipe between).  The first few passes were with the PVC lying on the floor.  We progressed to raising the PVC pipe to the first opening on the cone, working to get her to raise her back feet to clear them.  We will be working with the poles for awhile.  The cones/poles stay set up in the hall between the kitchen and living room.  When she goes down the hall, she gets extra practice.  We stay with each level until she is stepping over them without hesitation and not knocking them over with her back foot.July 2nd

July 2nd: We added going in and out of cones to work on shifting her weight.  I placed the cones quite a distance apart to allow her to easily go in and out of them.  This will easily allow her to walk beside me as we weave in and out.  As she continues to improve, the cones will get closer together so she will need to concentrate more and shift her weight quicker.

July 4th: Today was our big outing.  We attended a Greyhound birthday party.  Six Greyhounds and one Berger Picard were at the party.  In the beginning everyone was politely walking around, sniffing and greeting.  Then as so often happens when a group of Greyhounds are together, the race was on.  All of a sudden, Princess Toolip, who had been content wandering and checking out new smells on the far side of the yard, threw up her head and took off like a bat out of ... Well you get the idea.  She caught up to the pack and then forged ahead.  Years of programming and training kicked in, and she had no intention of letting anyone outrun her.  The mother of the birthday dog and I jumped up and started in after them.  It must have been a sight, two women trying to chase down a pack of Greyhounds and cut one of them out of the herd.  We finally caught her and I took her into the house where it was cool.  She drank her fill and promptly plopped down in the middle of the goings on without moving for the rest of the party.  That of course meant that all dogs and humans were stepping over her, but then she is the Princess after all.

July 14th: By now we have gone for several walks, taken trips to Hobby Lobby, Petco, Home Depot and attended the "Grey Greyhound Birthday Party".

Car rides are one of her favorite outings.  When she could barely stand, she got excited if I even moved a leash.  Even though they tired her out, I truly believe the change of pace helped her perk up.  I looked back to when I was recovering from a double mastectomy and I was so sick of "taking it easy" in the house.  I begged to just go to Home Depot and "walk around".  I finally got my way and almost made it to the back of the store.  It took the next 25 minutes to get out of the store and back to the car.  That day, marked a turning point for me and I saw the same thing take place with Toolip when we introduced the short rides and walks.

Should any of you find yourself in a similar situation with your companion, I hope you find hope and encouragement and couple of guidelines to help you through it.

As with everything else on this site, if you have any questions or comments, please contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Toolip Vinni