CJ is my Sheltie. He’s eight-years-old, and a week and a half ago, he had a spinal stroke or FCE (Fibrocartilaginous Embolism) . I can’t begin to describe the horror I felt when I came out from my bedroom that morning to find him desperately trying to pull the back half of his body behind him, dragging both of his back legs across the tile of the kitchen floor.

My husband rushed him to the vet while I went to work and we soon found out that he’d had a spinal stroke, meaning that he had an blood clot that went into an artery near his spinal column. He wasn’t in pain because he was paralyzed. However,  74% of dogs regain some or most of their mobility in the first three weeks following an FCE, and they can recover a little more in the months to follow. We had a difficult decision to make. Do we end euthanize him due to his poor quality of life or do we prolong it in the hope that he’ll regain his mobility?

After doing research, we decided that we would just love on him and do whatever it took to make him comfortable. My husband isn’t working right now, and that’s turned out to be a good thing since he can devote the time and attention to CJ that’s required. He has already started standing and walking on his back right leg, and he is just starting to attempt to use his back left leg though he’s curling his foot under. Unfortunately, we’re still having to express his bladder for him every few hours since he has no bladder control of his own.

Though this is a difficult ordeal in many ways, we’ve discovered a silver lining. When a loved one goes through something like this, you appreciate that being (person or animal) much more and value the time you have with him. I’m enjoying getting down on the floor and cuddling with him, petting him, and massaging him more than I ever have before, and he’s loving the attention. As long as he’s eating and drinking well and doesn’t seem to be in pain, we’re just going to keep looking after him and hope for the best.

CJ Capture

CJ and me two weeks before his FCE

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