This was the Facebook post that was shared to us on Saturday January 4 at 11;30am.
Theo was taken to a local veterinarian (not ER hospital) after becoming paralyzed. His family did not think they could not afford the recommended referral to a neurologist for an MRI and surgery, so they surrendered to the vet clinic in hopes that a rescue would step up and provide the medical care he needed in order to avoid euthanasia.
From 11:30 am to 11:55am, I started thinking about how we could help.....At 11:55 am we were told that we only had until noon before the vet clinic euthanized this sweet baby. Whaaaat? OK we'll figure out the details later, just give us that boy! After a LOT of back and forth and frantic pleas for someone to foster, the vet clinic finally said they would hold off on euthanasia and wait for us to come get him. Assuming he would need surgery, I knew we actually had couple days to figure out an actual foster. I posted another frantic plea on Facebook and a few of my S Florida friends messaged me that they could help.
Beatriz offered to go get him at the vet and transport him wherever he needed to go. She rushed over there and scooped him up and headed to the ER/specialty hospital for a neurological exam, MRI, and surgery. We started fundraising for the anticipated 1k MRI and 4k Surgery. We estimated we would need approx 6k to take in this boy....we can do it! Look at this face!
After doing an exam, the neurologist called us with same bad news. He is completely paralyzed (no control over bladder or fecal) and has zero pain response. I mean , it's good he's not in pain... but zero feeling is not good in terms of prognosis. IF his injury happened within 24 hours, he has a better prognosis with surgery. But that "better" prognosis is 50%. There's a 35% chance he'll stay the same. And a 15% chance he'll actually get worse (the paralyzation will move up the spine and eventually paralyze his lungs. In that case, euthanasia would be the humane choice so that he does not suffer suffocation.) With zero surgical treatment, he has only a 5% chance of recovering function. We were quoted $9,000-10,000 for this surgery. Our hearts sunk. That's a LOT of money. Even if we raised the difference between what we had in the bank and what we needed, it would wipe us out. We have multiple special needs kids already. One who just had an ER visit and needs a cardiac consult. What if another has an ER visit? We wouldn't have the funds. But of course, I can't just say no without trying to think of other options. As we tried to figure out our options, we were able to get a little bit more background info. Theo had his first episode in March and he was referred to the neurologist. He never went. They must have managed at home with crate rest and meds. This is the issue with IVDD though - you always risk flare ups. Just because they recovered once, doesnt mean it wont happen again. And apparently it did. He was coming out of his crate on Thursday when he yelped and went down. Completely paralyzed. He was taken to the vet the next day (Friday). We were contacted on Saturday. We are now well outside the 24 hour window where surgery has the measly 50% recovery prognosis. We definitely cant spend 10k for under 50% success. But he's also not in pain. How can I euthanize a dog who is not in pain? I can't. I just can't. He could go on to live a perfectly happy life- he just needs some wheels and someone to express his bladder since he can't. After consulting with other people who specialize in special needs bullies we felt confident with our decision - we declined the surgery. But now what? Where does he go?
Luckily one of our Frenchie MeetUp moms stepped up and saved the day - she offered to foster Theo while we figured out transporting him up here. (Thank you Kiko for sharing your momma! We know your thoughts on sharing so we're super grateful! LOL We love you!)
She went to the ER to pick him up and they showed her how to express his bladder. He was also started on a steroid.
He may be over a thousand miles away, but he still got the traditional HBR Welcome PupCup! Thanks Veronica!
The plan was to get him to Indianapolis to get an MRI (for half the price of an MRI in Miami) and start physical rehab. We have a great rehab program here that I've done with own IVDD Frenchie.
Theo loves his Snuffle Mat! Thank you to those who sent a couple different varieties of snuffle mats to keep him entertained as he's on activity restriction!
Thank you to our Dog Scout friend Emily who is a veterinarian....She came by the day after Theo went to his foster home to help his foster momma express his bladder. She now a pee pro. Please click Theo's amazon wish list link at the top or bottom of this page to help keep Theo in good supply of diapers, belly bands, and pee pads!
Transport Plan A: Miss Veronica and Miss Sandi will use their frequent flyer miles to get Theo to Chicago (Jet Blue doesn't fly into Indy) and The Blonde Lady will drive up to Chicago (only 3 hours) to pick him up. Much better than setting up a Bullie Train that will take 2 days and multiple hand offs. He will be IN the cabin (NEVER put your bulldog under the plane!) with his hoomans. The direct flight is only 2 hours. This is quickest way to get him here and the least stressful.
The weather was a nightmare the day he was supposed to fly in. Over 1,000 flights out of Chicago were cancelled. Flights into Chicago were all delayed, including Theo's. Luckily we found out about the delay before leaving for the airport. After 6 hours of delays, we thought his flight was going to take off. They headed to the airport. After getting through security, Little Theo began to panic. He had been given some meds to help calm him , but that was hours ago before we knew the flight would be delayed a million times. He started having trouble breathing and he threw up. They raced out of the airport and took an uber straight to the ER. His body temp was 108. They gave him a sedative which immediately calmed him down. They put him in oxygen and let him rest. His body temp came down quickly as soon as he was calm. Respiratory distress does not happen just with heat stroke, it can happen when they get too stressed. The airways inflame and they can't breathe. This sends them into panic and it spirals downhill. We are so glad this happened BEFORE he got on the plane. If it happened on the plane, he would not have made it.
Theo is now safely home with Florida foster where he'll stay until we can work out a car transport up to Indy.
Theo has lots of extra special needs. If you can send something from his wish list, we really appreciate it!