If you were to walk or drive by our house, I can almost guarantee that you would laugh. On our front porch, on each side of the door, we have two large ceramic shih-tzu dogs. The center of our front door is a glass strip about one foot wide, extending vertically from top to bottom. All day long, our little four-year-old, black and white shih-tzu sits there peering out, waiting for the mailman who never fails to deliver a dog bone along with the mail. It looks so silly.His name is “Chewy”. Actually, his full name is Chewbaka — after the character from Star Wars. Everyone who meets Chewy falls in love with him.
Six months ago, my husband and I went through a nightmare when we almost lost him. One day, he suddenly became ill. For over a week, he sat in the same spot just staring at the wall. We could not get him to respond. He refused to eat or drink. Our first thoughts were that he’d been poisoned but the blood test taken by the vet came back negative. The next day, we noticed blood in Chewy’s stool. We were frantic for an answer and very upset when our vet told us it had to be psychological.
That very day, Chewy had a new vet. This doctor immediately noticed paralysis in his back legs. Suspecting ruptured spinal discs, he took x-rays which confirmed this diagnosis. Chewy had three ruptured discs in his spine which also caused internal hemorrhaging.
Shih-tzus are known to have weak backs. We don’t know how Chewy’s back injury happened but we think it might have been while he was playing with our friend’s huge puppy. The Vet told us we had to keep him absolutely immobile in a cage if he was to have any chance of healing. He hydrated him intravenously and sent us home with a lot of different medications. Every day, Chewy was back at the vet’s because he was rapidly going downhill. The steroids he was taking gave him his appetite back but within five minutes he would lose everything he’d eaten, along with a lot of blood. The vet told us we had the choice of a $4,000 surgery (Chewy’s chances would be 50/50) or we could put him to sleep. That night I sat up all night holding him in our laundry room. He was projecting blood from both ends and he and I were both covered all over with blood. So was the entire room and everything in it. I was beyond hysteria.
All of a sudden, the thought came to me that I just had to get Chewy off all of the medicine and give him some colostrum. Why hadn’t I thought about colostrum before now?! Hour after hour, I inched it into his mouth with a little spoon along with some water. The diarrhea and vomiting stopped immediately. The next day I put his little stuffed animal next to him and he licked it. That was the first sign of life that we’d seen from him in weeks.
Today, Chewy is our “super dog” — full of energy and curiosity — he leaps up on the couch in a single jump and bounds up the stairs two at a time. We took him back to the vet after his recovery and he told us that he must have misdiagnosed his condition — until we had him pull out Chewy’s X-rays! Without the evidence in front of him, he simply would not believe that this was the same dog that had the spinal injury.
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