Suzie Q’s remarkable recovery

THREE RIVERS, Mich. — Bobbi Ward says she loves dachshunds because of their quirky personalities. They can be so stubborn, so independent and so loving all at the same time.

SuzieQ and Bobbi

Bobbi Ward and Suzie Q

She already had two male dachshunds and decided she wanted a female also. So last month, Ward adopted Suzie Q, a 9-year-old whose previous owner had become unable to care for her.

But she never could have guessed what happened next.

Only a few hours after coming into her new home, as Suzie Q chased after Ward’s cat, her legs suddenly buckled. She started hopping on her back legs and favoring one of her front legs. And then her hind legs appeared to stop working.

“I just had her for 12 hours and then she couldn’t walk,” Ward said. “I was devastated, I was so scared for her.”

Ward was determined to find the appropriate treatment for her brand-new pet. She took Suzie Q to her family veterinarian, who recommended a specialist. So Ward drove to BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Grand Rapids.

Dr. Erin Akin, a board-certified neurologist at BluePearl, Dr. Erin Akin, a board-certified neurologist at BluePearl, examined Suzie and conducted diagnostic testing including a CT scan. She then performed surgery to remove a herniated disc and decompress the spinal cord.

Ward brought Suzie Q home after the surgery. At Dr. Akin’s suggestion, she began assisting with her dog’s recovery by using a special sling to help her walk. The sling is essentially a long piece of cloth which Ward wrapped under her dachshund’s belly. Then she would pull up on the ends, gently lifting to take some of the weight off her feet — but still allowing her to get used to walking properly again. Over the course of a month, Suzie Q’s walking greatly improved.

Akin, who is a dachshund lover herself, was delighted to see Suzie Q’s progress at a four-week check-up this month.

“She looks great,” Akin said. “She’s obviously a happy dog who has bonded with her owner. Her tail is wagging, she’s running around happily. It’s a marked improvement.”

Ward agrees that Suzie Q has made a great recovery.

“She’s doing really, really, really well,” Ward said. “It’s amazing.”