By Mari Hellriegel
August 20, 2018
So here we are at the end of Junie’s rehabilitation saga. Certainly not the end of her story but the close of her rehab with Happy Tails.After the disappointing news from the neurologist about further therapy for Junie being possibly of more risk than reward, we realized it was now time to find a way to give Junie the best mobility that we could. We had a cart designed by Eddie’s Wheels specifically to Junie’s measurements, guided by the folks at Eddie’s Wheels in long conversations. We had been told that Junie fights a cart when you strap her hind legs in because she wants to use them. So the cart she has allows her to use her back legs without having to bear weight on them. You can see in the video she is propelling herself along with her hind legs as well as using her front legs. But it is much less exhausting for her because she can use the pelvic cradle to support her weight. She has only been using the cart for about a week. Because she has been paralyzed for going on 5 years it will take time to build her stamina and muscles back there, but she works hard and is determined. Junie is not a high energy dog and is not one to go run and play with this cart, but it allows her to be much more mobile and roam around. She likes going for walks in the cart and being able to go out in the orchard with us. She will get stronger and better with her wheels. Now all she and Johnny need is their own forever home.
April 20, 2018
Meet Junie, she came to Happy Tails, in February, from a rescue in Payson that was disbanding. Her story is a sad one, and unfortunately, not uncommon in animal rescue. Junie was a breeder dog in a backyard operation until her back finally gave out, and they got rid of her. The Payson rescue took her along with Johnny, another doxie. Soon, Junie began therapy on her back.
In the four years she was with the Payson Rescue, Junie regained some mobility of her back legs but remained completely incontinent. She has been with our Happy Tails foster since mid-February where she spends time with other dogs, including her faithful friend, Johnny. Junie gets lots of exercise, and has shown more improvement in the use of her back legs. Happy Tails had Junie evaluated at Grand Paws Animal Clinic in Surprise, AZ, where they have had tremendous success in treatment.
April 27, 2018
At Junie's check-up, her cancer screening is negative and she is scheduled for her first stem cell injection on Thursday. Stay tuned for more updates and join Johnny in cheering on his best friend, Junie.
May 2, 2018
Junie prepares for her injections. She had a lot of injections but she held very still and did well. Picture below, is the area of the spine where each level received an injection. And you can see the area further down towards her tail where she received the cauda equina injection.
Dr. Johnson at the Grand Paws Clinic was with Junie every step of the way. Also pictured are Junie's two new best friends. They checked her in this morning and stayed with her all day.
May 3, 2018
Junie is home after a long and very busy day. We piled in the car at 7:30 a.m. for the trip to Grand Paws. See Junie before her treatment:
Happy Tails Dachshund Rescue:
The vet collected stem cells from a small incision in Junie's abdominal mid-line to retreivecells in the adipose fat located on the falciform ligament. While recovering from anesthesia, the cells were processed, isolated and mixed with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from Junie's blood. The PRP acts as a carrier for the cells and has natural anti-inflammatory properties. She received a slow IV infusion of cells which naturally migrate to the damaged tissue in her spine. The cells work systemically to awaken the damaged cells and begin the regeneration process. Junie received approximately eight or nine small injections to the individual levels of her lumbar spine, thoracic spine. An additional injection went into the cauda equina located further down in the pelvis and contains the nerves for bladder and bowel control to help her incontinence. She was a real trooper, but I could see in her eyes that she was tired and wanted to go home to Johnny.
Junie is required to be on crate rest for 4-6 weeks with short periods of time outside for potty breaks. She returns tomorrow for a quick check-up and again in 7 days to check her progress. She will receive another PRP injection on day 14 and possibly day 30, depending on her progress.
Junie must have as little movement as possible for 2 weeks, and then I begin standing therapy with her twice a day to build tolerance for having her legs underneath her. At about the third week, if all is going well, and the pool is warm, then she can start paddling in the water and slowly increase the time in the pool each day.
On our way out of the clinic we met a lovely couple with a dachshund and they adopted her from Happy Tails about 3 years ago! It's always great to catch up with the doxies we help! She and Junie were similar in appearance.
And so it begins: Junie's recovery. At night,she ate a little dinner, drank some water, and is now sound asleep in her crate. Johnny is very happy to see her and have her back home.
Any donations made to Happy Tails are always appreciated and help dogs like Junie with her procedure and recovery.
May 9, 2018
We are awaiting Junie's one week check-up after her stem cell injections.
She had quite an audience today as they wanted to see her walk, which she did a little. Junie's next step is to have a towel underneath her belly to help support her and gain strength in standing and walking. Next week she will receive more PRP injections and if she is doing well, we will increase her physical therapy. At this appointment, the team noticed that Junie could sit on her haunches rather than on one hip, and stand up at the water bowl which was exciting. She rediscovered that a scratch on the rear feels really good as she has regained some feeling in her back end.
May 13, 2018
Junie is resting and Johnny is standing guard, as usual. She is tired because while I was going about my chores this morning, she went out and came back in the doggie door...TWICE!!! Junie, but she has been paralyzed for 4 years and had stem cell injections eight days ago, used the doggie door twice. She is slowly regaining some use of her back legs, some feeling in her back end. I watched her WALK the length of the TV room rug...not scoot, not stagger, but actually walk...to go lay down on her bed. She has more awareness of her back legs and when they get tangled she can fix them rather than just giving up and collapsing. We are doing physical therapy with a towel under her belly to help her stand and walk a few times a day and will do one leg standing when she is a little stronger. I checked the pool this morning and we are close to swimming temperature.
It is exciting what we are doing for Junie! If you would like to help Happy Tails help Junie as she continues on her journey, please donate today!
May 18, 2018
Today is 2 weeks from her stem cell injections. Her appointment today included PRP injections in the two
lesions in her spine originally found on her X-ray and another in the cauda equina to encourage the bladder
and bowel control. We have been doing lots of walking and standing therapy at home and it is paying off. Junie walked all the way from the waiting room to the exam room, a distance of about 35 feet, and at the end she was happy standing for another minute or so before she finally sat down. When she went back for her injections she walked again down and back in the treatment area. She was then pooped, so she will rest for the rest of the day.
This week we will do single-leg standing exercises as well as walking therapy. She goes back for another follow-up in two weeks and if she is doing well we will start her water therapy in the pool. Her doctor is very pleased with her progress. She is showing signs of better bladder control and signs of being able to sense when she needs to to the bathroom, which is making caring for her much easier because I can have her on a schedule. There are lots of other little signs of improvement that I can see from having cared for her since February. As always, any donation towards Junie’s care is appreciated. There just is not a more determined or deserving little girl.
May 29, 2018
The biggest thing I can say is when Terri dropped off my new foster, as usual the whole herd came to greet
them and demand her attention. Junie was running around on all fours with everybody else barking and making a fuss to be petted first. Terri said, “she looks like one of the pack now.” She probably spends as
much time up on her back feet as she does scooting along, which is a big improvement. I am so proud of
this girl. She already exceeded my expectations for recovery and we are still in the early stages of treatment. We walk every day, do therapy, and after her next visit with Grand Paws will most likely start swim therapy. She is in and out of the doggie door several times a day with the help of a special ramp we built for her. We will have another video at her next vet visit. As always, donations to Junie’s care are always appreciated and can be done here.
June 5, 2018
Junie is now one month post stem cell therapy. She received the last PRP injection today. She is walking now for extended periods of time. As long as she takes her time, she does well. She go the go ahead to begin swimming. My job is to ensure she is swimming with her legs and not wriggling her back too much. Even though she is still cannot urinate by herself, she understands the idea of of going outside and actually goes to the door. I go with her and express each time and as long as we stick to a schedule, she does well. She went from a breeder dog in a backyard to being paralyzed, so she has never been housebroken. She is a smart girl though, and is catching on. she uses a doggy door and the special ramp our very own John Lindenmeier built for her works like a dream. Junie has another follow-up in two weeks and we should start to see some effects of her swim therapy.
Dogs like Junie are tragically often just dumped at a shelter and put to sleep for lack of resources to help them. Or perhaps, their owners are not equipped to deal with a handicapped dog. Your donations can help us do more for dogs like Junie who can be saved and find a home with someone who is willing to work with their special needs. Our hope is to educate dachshund owners that there is help available so that these dogs do not become thrown away.
July 3, 2018
Junie had her 60-day follow up today at Grand Paws. They were busy due to the holiday week so there was no time for a video. She managed to walk in to the office from the car without collapsing. However, when she got inside to the smooth floor, she started scooting (she does this at home too). I think a smooth floor is a struggle for her because she has no traction.
She is currently in a 'holding pattern' until the 90-day mark when we will have a better understanding on how much the stem cell therapy helped. I believe (as does her doctor), that we have improved her quality of life and given her the chance to be more active and interactive with other dogs. Unfortunately, we did not achieve a miracle recovery for her. We talked about further therapy, getting her in a physical therapy program with an underwater treadmill, and laser therapy. At her 90-day checkup, they will do a trial cold laser treatment on to see if it will increase her progress enough to continue further.
Meanwhile, Junie is grasping the idea of housebreaking. Given her situation, she was probably never house trained. While her bladder control is less than optimal, she has the idea to go to the door when she needs to use the bathroom. If we adhere to an every 3-hour schedule, she does well.
Junie is a happy, fun loving dog that someone will fall in love with and hopefully be able to continue her therapy. Both Johnny (her companion) will be at our next adoption event on July 14 at PetSmart in Chandler, Arizona.
If you have followed her story, come by and meet her! If you think you could make a place in your home for these two lovebirds, please fill out an application. She will be ready for adoption after her 90-day checkup on August 1. We hope to see you there! If you would like to contribute to Junie's therapy or help up provide care for our other dogs, please donate today!
Junie prepping for her injections at Grand Paws Animal Clinic.