Diesel's Story

Diesel, a black and tan Dachshund, standing in the grass.

March 1, 201,3 we brought Diesel to our local vet Dr Maria Amaro, because he had jumped off the bed a few days prior and was now showing he had pain in his back and was also uncoordinated in both hind legs. She felt that Diesel was most likely suffering from a herniated disc. She explained that it is very common in Dachshunds and sent us home with some medications and paperwork on Intervertrebral Disc Disease. She stated that if his condition changed and he started to drag his back legs, to immediately contact the U of M Veterinary Medical Center.

The next morning when we got up we took him outside only to feel sick and frightened because his right rear foot was dragging, so we called the U of M right away. The girl who answered the phone was very kind, as I was in tears, and was probably hard to understand as she asked about Diesel and what his symptoms were. At this point she stated that this would be considered an emergency and to bring him down right away.

When we got there, Dr. Jeff MacLellan and his assistant greeted us. They took the time to get all the details of what had been happening up to this point. They then took Diesel and began his physical examination. The Doctor found that Diesel had slow withdrawal reflex on both hind legs, with the right being slower than the left. His exam also showed that he had pain. 

Dr. MacLellan felt that he had a herniated disc, and explained how it was compressing the spinal cord, in return was causing the problems. He was very informative in discussing what to expect, what could happen, what our options were and was very patient in answering all of our questions.

Dr. MacLellan introduced us to the surgeon, Dr. Daniel Balogh, who had just walked out of surgery. Dr. Balogh examined Diesel and expressed the same conclusion. Time was of the essence. He explained what would happen during surgery in words we could easily understand. He also took the time to answer all the questions we had from our discussion with him. Both doctors never made us feel rushed during our discussions and made sure we were comfortable with what was going to happen with his surgery and recovery. We knew that our boy was in the hands of truly compassionate animal lovers.

The next step was a CAT scan, which did prove positive that he had herniated intervertrebral disc material, which was causing severe spinal cord compression. Dr. Balogh personally called us at home to give us updates that night about the hemilaminectomy that was performed on his T-Spine and then again first thing in the morning when he informed us that Diesel was already showing positive signs. Taking the time to personally call us was above and beyond what we ever expected and really meant the world to us.

We also received a call from the nutritionist that could not find anything that Diesel would eat the morning after surgery and trust me she had a list of numerous things any dog would have devoured. We brought him some chicken during visiting hours and he started eating it. 

Diesel is recovering extremely well, his back legs work above and beyond what we expected.His doctors should be very proud!! Diesel still does sleep in bed with us, but now he has a leash that is hooked to his collar and my upper arm. He just snuggles in and lays his head on my pillow with a few kisses throughout the night, we feel blessed.

We cannot say enough kinds words about our experience at VMC, nonetheless, how we can ever express enough how thankful we are for the care we received. We would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Daniel Balogh, Dr. Jeff Maclellan (you guys are amazing), Laura Karkhoff, Dr. Betty Kramek, Dr. Alyse Zacuto, the front desk staff and anyone else we may have missed. We would also like to thank the gal that did the study on Diesel and gave him extra attention each day. You are all true heroes in the field of Veterinary Medicine!!

With warmest regards and deep gratitude,
John & Alyshia

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