Joey Has Surgery -
January, 2008!

*** 2011 Update
Oh No... Not Again!!

Proud Champion

Joey is a 4-1/2 year old 13 pound mini-dachshund who lives with us, our two other dachshunds and a papillon in Northern Illinois. Joey has always been an active and very healthy dachshund. As our Frankie, Joey also comes from the same conformation breeder in Wisconsin and has a great line.

Joey was an agility dog as well as rally-obedience dog. Joey has 36 titles and has learned many tricks. Joey has taken obedience and agility classes since he was a puppy and only recently retired from classes and plans were make to retire him in 2008. However, with this new development, Joey is now completely retired from agility forever. It is possible he might continue with obedience if he recovers from this incidence.

Joey has never been allowed to jump off beds or furniture, up till now, Joey was a perfectly healthy dog.

Joey's First Symptoms

Joey's first symptoms were very vague on the morning of January 5, 2008. It was very subtle, little things, such as he was walking a little slower, he didn't want to get up on the 2 inch living room cushion. He didn't want to walk up the small outdoor ramp. And he didn't want to be outside in our 60 degree day! While practicing some obedience heeling, I saw he wasn't interested in going over the 4" jump, but walked around it. That was enough for me! I kept him quiet for the rest of the weekend, and we saw our regular vet
Dr. Junkas from Wright Animal Hospital

After a neurological exam and x-rays, it was agreed that we see a surgeon as soon as possible. We had an appointment with
Dr. Mitch Robbins from Veterinary Specialty Center, in Buffalo Grove,
one of the best facilities with the best surgeons in our area.

Surgical Day - Tuesday - January 8, 2008

Dr. Robbins saw Joey's X-Rays from Wright Hospital agreed that there was a back issue and an MRI was done. Shortly after the MRI results, Dr. Robbins called me saying that Joe had a rupture at T-10-11 and he would immediately operate and perform a hemilaminectomy and
fenestration from T-10 to L-4.
As of the surgical day, Joey was slightly weak in the back legs, but still walking, and we wanted him operated on as soon as possible. The operation started about 1:30PM and the surgeon said he
would call within 3 hours.

When the surgery was over, the Doctor called me, Joey had come through the surgery OK, and said to call back
in the evening for another report.

At 9PM that night, I talked to Dr. Robbins and he said Joey had
stood up and took some wobbly steps, he was very pleased.

I was able to visit Joey that next day and was surprised as to the big lump on his back, I was informed that it was only surgical swelling and would soon go away. The next day, the lump was gone. I was also shocked to see Joey walking wobbly, it scared me but I was assured it was normal. The next day, Joey would go home, about 48 hours after surgery!

Going Home - Thursday - January 10, 2008

Our first night home was hectic. Joey was a little wild and didn't want to rest. He slept in a crate at the foot of my bed and cried most of the night. The next day, he was more subdued, more relaxed and that night I brought him in my
bed and held him close. We both slept better since then!

Joey came home with no medications, only 1/4 tablet of Tramadol every 8 hours for about 8 days. We have a 'recovery suite' very similar to what Frankie used. We set up Joey's area in the living room, away from the other dogs.
He has his bed, and is surrounded by potty pads and
an ex-pen. He has his water bowl and only a foot or two
to be able to stand or potty.
He can see us and seems content.


Since that first night, things have been calm. Joey has bowel and bladder control and we take him potty often. Those first few days, he eliminated on the potty pads we had outside his crate. He seemed to need to go often, due to the prednisone he received in the hospital. He had a good appetite and seemed to be in fair spirits. He likes to keep busy in his recovery suite with bully bones or a favorite toy or kong.

Those first five days post-op, Joey was not always steady on his hind legs, it is called 'ataxia'. Even though his 'wobbly legs' caused ME great stress, I was told it was normal and it would pass.

By the 11th day, Joey's walk was much improved.

joeyathome On the 11th Post-Op Day, we took Joey to Wright Hospital for suture removal, he did fine. Now back home for more rest.

Joey's only instructions upon leaving the hospital was to restrict activity level for 6 weeks at which time we would see the surgeon.

At 3 weeks post-op, Joey seems a little weak on the left rear leg, but mostly on the right rear leg. We are
scared, but we are watching him carefully and making sure he is staying quiet.

At 4 weeks post-op, Joey seems to have improved a little, he doesn't seem
quite so wobbly. He also seems more like his old self and is feeling better.
On Feb 8 2008, Joey will have his first in-home Physical Therapy
session with PATTI from Dogs in Motion which is a
wonderful In-Home Canine Rehabilitation Service.

Joey's first Physical Therapy sesson was a big success
and Patti is expecting a full recovery for JOEY!

We have been faithfully doing our excercise therapy and now on
the 5th week Post-op, Joey is more stable on the back legs. He still
knuckles over on the right rear leg, but is walking much more stable now.
His coat is also growing back rapidly and you can hardly see his scar anymore

To date, Joey has received five PT sessions from Patti on
Feb 8, Feb 15, Feb 22, Feb 29 & March 7
and she thinks he is doing great and does more in each session!
She has given us instructions for home PT during the week on our
own, which we faithfully do every night.
Joey is now is using some physical Therapy equipment
plus he gets laser treatments. See his photos below.

On 2/25/08, Joey saw Dr Robbins for his 7 week post-op Checkup
Joe is given the 'GO' for more excercise and more freedom, Dr. Robbins
expects a complete recovery!

Joey spent Sunday, March 2, his FIFTH Birthday, looking out into the yard
and enjoying the family. He is feeling better each day

At 9 Weeks Post-Op, Joey seems much better. He is doing
more intensive Physical Therapy and is walking more steady.
His right leg is weaker than the left, but
he doesn't seem to be falling over too often anymore.

At 10 Weeks Post-Op, I have noticed that Joey isn't knuckling
knuckling over any more! He is walking steady and now has been
given the freedom of the kitchen and a bigger area of the yard.
He is allowed in the living room when I am there to watch him.

At 12 Weeks Post-Op, Joey is completely healed and
his Physical Therapy continues, but now Joey uses Leg Weights
on his tiny legs to help muscle strength! What a good boy!

Joey will remain in his 'recovery suite' for the next six weeks. He had his bed within an ex-pen, potty pads, some bones and water. He is quite comfortable and comes out of his crate if he should have an accident.

Nancy and Frankie look on at their buddy with curiosity.

3 doxies

1timeout-3 doxies

Feb 24, 2008, 7 weeks Post-op, Joey's first time out of his crate, and he sits in the sunshine with his doxie Family!

Joey has Back Surgery, January 8, 2008
1st Day Home, Recovery and Physical Therapy

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** August 2011!!! Oh NO!! Not Again!!!!

August 3, 2011 - Joey is now 8-1/2 years old; and once again, he is showing symptoms of back problems. He started showing weakness in his rear right leg again. He had a poor knuckling over reflex; that is; proprioception deficit. On August 4; he was seen by Dr Junkas from Wright Animal Hospital, was x-rayed and evaluated as having a back problem. He immediately was taken to Veterinary Specialty Center Veterinary Specialty Center, in Buffalo Grove, and was evaluated by Dr Gentreau and was taken for an MRI as we all prepared for another surgery. Much to our surprise, it was found that he didn't have an additional rupture, but had some major scar tissue at the site of the original surgery at T-10 that was now compressing his spinal cord!! It was decided that additional surgery at this time was too dangerous and he would be trying the conservative treatment to hopefully restore his mobility to what it was before this setback. Joey was prescribed 5mg of Predisone for the next 10 days with decreasing dose EOD for 10 days.
Joey had his MRI and came home that same evening after recovering from anesthesia and received a loading dose of prednisone. He did well after his MRI and was much improved the next morning. He continued to improve but was on strict crate rest, just the same as after his original surgery.

Unfortunately, on Day 6, August 10, he started experiencing the same weakness in his
right leg. The vet was called again, his pred was slightly increased. I was told to
stay calm as Joey was NOT paralyzed; but was just showing weakness. His
prognosis is unclear at this time. We are on a wait and see regimene.

Aug 12-13, Days 8 and 9; Not much improvement but not any worse. He walks well at
potty time, just seems weak when he first gets up. Proprioception deficit is
still present, but slightly improved.

Aug 15, Day 11; Joey seems just a tiny bit better! He definitely has a deficit in the
rear right leg, but he seems to get his balance much better now, after
only 2 steps, he is walking quite well. Starting tomorrow, his dose of prednisone
starts decreasing.

Aug 18; Day 14; Joey continues to progress. He seems to be walking well after he
walks at least 2 steps, still some weakness in right rear leg. Prednisone
decrease continues.

Aug 19; Day 15; I really can see an improvement in Joey. Most of his steps are
steady now, I feel him really pushing that weak leg against me when I
carry him, a big improvement. He is also making lots of noise to get out
of confinement during cooking time, but he is staying in confinement.
Still weaning off pred for another 8 days.

Aug 25; Day 21; Continues to improve, still on complete crate rest, but he is definitely
feeling better; Pred is still decreasing; Vet appointment this week.

Aug 27; Day 24; Regular vet visit today, Joey is MUCH improved. He has all the feeling
in his hind leg again PLUS he has his reflexes back! He is walking completely
normally with NO DEFICIT or weakness. Joe's dose of pred will be extended for
another 2 weeks; 1st every other day, then twice a week. He will continue to stay
on restrictions for another 3 weeks. But we got the OK to go to DOXIEFEST!

Sept 4; Day 32; Joey continues to remain stable; his pred dose is now down to twice
a week for the next 2 weeks; he remains on crate rest but he seems happy
and 'perky'. Prepaing him for stroller rides now, he needs to stay IN the stroller
for DoxieFest.

Sept 23; Week 7, Joe is still confined to a very small area; he is off pred completely
now. He has been walking very well since Week 3 with no further issues
and no deficit, but will keep him confined 1 more week, then will give
him kitchen privileges as instructed. He is really wanting to RUN, but
I am afraid to let him be a dog, one more week, hopefully he will remain
stable wtih no further back issues.

Oct 10; Week 9; Joey has kitchen and potty privileges; he stays on leash during
the night and when we are in the living room. No further issues or deficits.

November 11, 2011; Joey is walking fine and finally has house and small yard
yard privilegs; Hopefully, he will remain in good health.

December 18, 2011, Joey woke me and wanted to sleep in the kitchen alone;
very scary. This is how it all started back in Aug 2011. At that time,
he awoke several times in the 3 weeks BEFORE he showed symptoms.
This time, I am trying to get ahead of the game. He is back on complete
crate rest (ex-pen rest) and is carried to and from potty. He has no
symptoms and all his reflexes seem perfect...

December 23, 2011; Joey seemed to have some kind of 'episode' while walking a
few feet in the kitchen. He just 'sat down'; tail between legs; and didn't
'act right'; He immediately was put in his bed in the expen and he didn't want
to come out during our meal time, that is a BIG RED FLAG!
In 24 hours, he is much better, all reflexes are good, but he is BEING CARRIED
everywhere... He isn't happy about this! Opening presents was quite a chore,
but I allowed much less this year due to his back...

January, 2012, no signs of any back issues at all, but we are still extremely
conservative regarding Joey's back. He no longer has complete freedom.
When we are not around, he is his bed inside an expen; very safe and
unable to get in any trouble.

February 2012; Joey is going to Canine Nose Scent Classes!

June 2012, Joey is doing excellent in Nose Scent!

October 2012, Joey is the Only Dachshund In Illinois to
win the Nose Scent Level 1 Title!!

May 2013, Joey Tries for Level 2 title,
Almost gets it, still the Only doxie in IL with title!!

This site will continue to post Updates on
Joey's condition and medical progress
Please check back often.

I had much encouragement and support from
many good friends, I wish to thank all of
them for helping me through this

I also belong to the support group that I joined
after Frankie's surgery.
The group is a wealth of knowledge and support, it is

I highly recommend DODGERSLIST!

Our Thanks to all at Dodgerslist for such
wonderful and encouraging support!
For more information about disc disease
in dachshunds, go to Dodger's List

Also see our Frankie's Surgical Page,
Frankie had back surgery in 2003 Frankie's Surgery

Return to the Home Page and Visit the Rest
of our Family! Nancy, Frankie, Joey and Sammy

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Last Updated September 1, 2020

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