Our beloved 9-year-old Border Collie, Ace is having a very difficult time of it. He has always been a very fit and active dog - loves being outdoors and playing 'fetch' (a typically energetic Boarder Collie - always on the go!)
A fortnight ago he was out for his daily walk with my husband Brian. Before returning to the car, Brian threw Ace his ball one last time and as he happily jumped for it, he skidded awkwardly, did a full somersault; landed on his side and damaged his spine. My husband (who underwent major surgery last Christmas and is not back to full health) could not pick him up but luckily a very kind lady carried Ace to the car for Brian and went with him to the nearest local vet - an emergency appointment that cost £457 for one night!
Due to the seriousness of the injury, Ace had to be immediately transferred to the vet hospital in Langford, Bristol for an MRI scan. After this trip the vet foresaw three possible outcomes: 1. With lots of physio and other complimentary therapies, there is a 50-50 chance Ace could make a full recovery. 2. He might pull through but would need a 'doggie' wheelchair to get around and would need to have his urine expressed daily. 3. The paralysis could spread (if this was going to happen it would do so within 5 days) and we would have to put down an otherwise happy and very healthy dog. After much soul searching and many reassuring conversations with the vet (who assured us that living life as essentially a disabled dog would not be cruel to a fit and happy dog like Ace, or be selfish on our part), despite the possibility that the paralysis could spread and the risk that he might not fully recover we decided to wait and see if time really is a good healer. Making matters more complicated, during this fortnight we found out that our pet insurance (which was incredibly misleading in its wording), would not cover any of the complimentary therapies that he was going to need on top of his treatment. Even though the policy states: 'Your limits and excess' i.e. 1. The most we can pay for medical treatment and related costs is 3000 pounds. 2. The most we can pay for complimentary treatments is 500 pounds per illness. 3. The most we can pay for any food prescribed by a vet is 200 pounds per illness.’ We (and the vet ) interpreted this to mean that 2 and 3 were not included in the £3000 per illness, but were in addition to. In fact, when I rang to make an informal complaint to the insurance company the woman I spoke to agreed that this was indeed misleading and that she would “take it to the underwriters”.
Luckily, the 5 days passed and the paralysis has not spread. However, the vet has had difficulty expressing his urine so they have kept him in longer than they originally planned to and he has run up some large vet bills - only some of which are covered by our insurance. When he most needed us, he had to spend the next 7 days at the hospital and his "mammy and daddy" (living over 50 miles away) could spend a only limited few hours tending to him over the duration of the fortnight. Naturally, full rehabilitation after this accident, while also trying to get Brian back to health after major surgery has been taxing for both of us and Ace, to say the least. This (apparently common) injury has seriously hindered our beloved Ace's mobility, with him needing regular physio, hydro therapy and other therapies indefinitely. At the moment, Ace is unable to walk on his hind legs without dragging both paws. What makes matters worse is that there are steps going down to our house and Ace is far too heavy to carry.
My husband - who is a retired carpenter has made Ace a ramp and we have already bought drag pads to stop Ace injuring his paws (as well as doggie nappies etc.) but it is all adding up; particularly with the physio bills on top. It is suspected that there was some damage done to a disc in his spine - the vet thinks a shard broke off, ricocheting into his spine and causing paralysis (it is not known if this is permanent at this point). We were able to bring him home yesterday - he was ecstatic (and so were we!). He is making great progress to regain strength in his hind legs, but the difficulty that we too are having, is greatly impeding the speedy recovery we had hoped he would make.
It has become painfully clear to us that we need help to get him back in good health, which means injuring that we can express his urine to avoid urinary tract infections, as well as getting him mobile and active again. There are a number of facilities and equipment capable of providing this type of rehabilitation but the additional cost for such treatment and equipment such as a Canine Sacral Implant and a doggie wheelchair is extending beyond our current abilities, especially after spending so much on the vet bills already. Thus, we are reaching out to the hearts of dog lovers everywhere in the hope that we all get a very merry Christmas.
We hope to raise the funds necessary to get Ace some sessions of physical therapy, doggie wheelchair, as well paying for him to have a Canine Sacral Implant fitted to electrostimulate the sacral nerve for him to urinate so that he can avoid urinary tract infections and remain a huge part of our family for years to come. He is showing tremendous promise and we truly believe this is the answer to our prayers. Thank you so very much for listening to our story and for any contribution you can make.