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A New Obstacle for Rocket

Sometimes tiny tripawds run into unplanned obstacles that are not because they have 3 legs. Last Saturday after a hard day of playing Rocket collapsed. We grabbed his little limp body and honestly thought he was gone. After several minutes of attempting to rouse him, he began to respond but it involved violently jerky movements where he would throw his head to the right side. His eyes were open, but not focused.

Here is the difficult part – the closest vet to us on a Saturday is an hour away. It was the longest drive of our lives. The ER Vet immediately took him in an did X-Rays and offered several possibilities of what could have caused this, but knew he needed more specialized treatment. We were sent to a second ER vet that offered 24-hour care until he could get to the specialists on Monday morning. Now we were looking at the longest 24 hours plus of our lives. Updates Sunday had some positivity – he was eating and drinking and was more focused but still could not sit up on his own or stand.

The specialist got us in very early on Monday morning and took Rocket for an MRI. What came back was very scary. He has been diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation which is an area in the brain/spinal cord area that normally closes during development but, unfortunately, his did not and it created a brain herniation (which makes him unable to have the surgical intervention) along with hydrocephalus putting pressure on the brain and spinal fluid putting pressure on his spine. It does not normally happen in this breed and he had never had any of the symptoms so they said he is an anomaly. At this time, he was recognizing us, but was still exhibiting the neurological symptoms we saw previously. The vet first told us the diagnosis was very grim and we did not want this full of life baby to suffer. After much discussion, we felt we needed to let him go and contacted that vet to let them know we would be coming over to be there with him. Just as we were walking out the door (about a half hour later), the vet called and asked for 24 more hours as they had finally been able to consult with 3 neurologists and wanted to begin a drug protocol which involved prednisone for inflammation and omeprazole which, strangely enough, decreases the hydrocephalus. Ulcer drugs are good for a log of things!

Tuesday morning they called and he was sitting up and eating but still would not stand. At this time, they said we could come get him and take him home to see how he would do. We were a bit scared, but Wednesday morning we headed out and when we got there were told he has been “alligator crawling” but still not attempting to stand. He was so happy to see us and was glad to get into “his” truck. When we got home, I set him down on the barest part of ground we could find in our snowy yard and he immediately stood and up and went and did his business. It was pretty shaky and only having one leg in the front made it much harder that a four-legger, but this baby is tough and determined. He lives his life at 100 MPH and never quits.

Each additional day the improvement has been amazing. He still has a head shake (a little like a bobble-head doll) but he is much more stable when standing and moving. He needs to stay calm and on flat surfaces for at least a month and we will always have to be aware of the chances it could occur again. The hardest part for him will not being able to rough house with the other dogs or run up and down the hill in the big yard. We are just feeling blessed for whatever time we may have with him and the miracle of this recovery. Keep Rocket in your thoughts and prayers.

Christmas miracles do happen!

Official Tripawd! (but still tiny)

I have been a little slow with posting updates on Rocket but all has been going great. We now have the official Tripawd uniform and couldn’t be more excited! He looks SO fashionable and we are wearing it on any social occasions. Thanks so much for letting us be part of this awesome group!

Some random thoughts on having a tripawd that is not aware there was ever any other way to get along and one that is so tiny:

-He does not have that “awkward” sort of gait that former 4-leggers seem to have. Some of this is because he knows no better and the other part is being small. He can zoom and outrun the bigger dogs and you would never know about his special condition. Being closer to the ground has advantages.

-He is a monkey!. He can climb and jump anywhere and is often like the ball in a pinball machine. This sometimes makes us a little nervous. I’ve noticed when he jumps off thing, his natural instinct is not to use his front leg but lands first with his two hind legs using his front to take the first stride after landing. Shooter could not do this as his natural way of moving was to try and land using his front leg.

-Rehab is easy for him! Ask him to go over cavaletti poles? No problem – straight, sideways, one leg at a time, he even uses a pole for a chair when waiting for a treat. Balance? Again, no problem! I think his size and different way of moving has created natural core strength. We will continue to work his core just to make sure all stays strong.

-He can run as fast backwards as forwards – I haven’t quite figured this one out yet but it’s interesting to see.

We will try to do better with updates – everyone take care!


Getting Strong

Happy 4th of July!

Rocket has been busy just being a puppy. This 3-legger can run and turn faster than the other 3 dogs in the house. He does cheat a little by zooming under the coffee table and running circles around the legs so the bigger dogs can’t reach him. He thinks he’s a pretty funny guy! He can jump up on all the furniture now and, like Tigger, is bouncy, bouncy, bouncy! Rocket run backwards almost as fast as he goes forward – I think it’s a combination of being tiny and a front tripawd.

We have been traveling some and he is our best traveler. Sleeps all the way there and loves staying in the horse trailer.

About a month ago he had his first small session of physical therapy using a yoga block (being little he can use about anything for tools). Yesterday he had a much longer session working on balance and working all those important core muscles. He did stretches up and down and side-to-side and then did figure 8s around his balancing balls. Now we have homework so we can show improvement by his next session – which is a mix of puppy training and PT. Needless to say, he was exhausted!

Life is good for this Tiny Tripawd and says he’ll see you in the next post!!

One busy puppy

Rocket has been very busy this past month. Being a puppy he sometimes plays extremely hard. Unfortunately, when the puppy crash hits and he drops for a nap, his neck and shoulders must tighten up and when he moves it hurts and he wakes up crying. The vet has given us some anti-inflammatory to help on those days it is needed. So far, he has been able to work the kinks out quickly except for a couple of times. We are hoping to be able to start doing some core work soon to try and avoid this happening.

Other than that, he is a normal crazy boy. For some reason, this tiny tripawd has picked his biggest sibling (25 lbs) to be his favorite play pal. To our surprise, even though she is still a puppy herself, she is very careful of him and is always concerned should he squeak for whatever reason. He gets the zoomies and runs circles around her – who needs that extra leg?!

He has experienced his first snow and made tripawd snow prints.

Got his first bath (not too fond of that experience!)

And had his first big trip and stayed in the horse trailer where he found another dog and he wanted that “other dog” our of there. He handled traveling and socializing very well.

His abilities are amazing and can now get up on the couch, climb up and down small stairs and go in and out of the doggy door. Nothing gets in his way. Next week brings the last of his puppy shots and rabies and then on to puppy classes and PT work. Updates will follow!

Rocket – A Tiny Tripawd is brought to you by Tripawds.
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