Justine knew she wanted a miniature Dachshund. Growing up, her family had always had doxies and she loved their spunk and big, sparkling personalities. Although she was living in Chicago, she applied to adopt a four year old male miniature Dachshund through Save A Stray, a rescue in southwest Michigan near her hometown. Unfortunately for Justine, the dog was adopted before she had a chance to meet him.
Adopting A Dog With Autoimmune Systems Issues
A few week later, the rescue emailed her about another available miniature Dachshund. This dog was older, had some health issues, and the rescue wasn’t sure Justine (or anyone) would be interested. Justine immediately made the 90 minute drive from Chicago to Michigan and met Lilly at the local adoption center at PetSmart. Lilly was eight years old had a bad case of fleas, rotting teeth, and patches of hair loss with crusty, bloody skin. In spite of her poor condition, Justine knew the moment she held her for the first time that she would never let Lilly go.
Lilly had clearly been neglected. Her teeth and gums were so infected that there was a large abscess on the side of her face, which led to three consecutive dentals and 24 teeth pulled in total. She also continued to suffer from extreme itchy skin and discomfort. Assuming the cause was allergy related, Lilly spent her first year and a half undergoing testing to determine the source. But again and again, testing revealed no known allergies.
Easter 2014, Lilly’s condition took a frightening turn for the worse: she began limping which quickly led to complete paralysis. Justine rushed her to an emergency veterinarian assuming it was a slipped disc, a condition to which dachshunds are prone. But treatment didn’t help and her pain and paralysis continued. The emergency vet recommended transferring her to a neurologist for an MRI. After four days in the hospital, an MRI, and a spinal tap, she finally received her diagnosis of Meningomyelitis.
Meningomyelitis refers to the inflammation of the sheath covering the nerves of the central nervous system, differing from meningitis in that the nerve itself also shows signs of inflammation. This condition may arise from either infection, autoimmune reaction, or trauma.
After three years, Lilly finally had a diagnosis and treatment began immediately. Lilly’s condition is autoimmune in nature and she now follows a daily regime of steroids including Prednisone and Atopica. Additionally, she requires careful monitoring and blood work every three or four months to check her kidney levels. Her skin issues have healed and she is pain free and comfortable.
Lilly enjoys walks and playing with her toys; she even played fetch with me when I visited. She also loves the park where like all doxies, she assumes her natural leadership position, bossing around dogs three times her size. Her only limitations are stairs and jumping. Fortunately, Justine is around to help her on and off the couch.
Although Lilly’s diagnosis and treatment have been stressful and expensive, Justine has never doubted her decision to adopt her and provide her with the unconditional love and supportive care she needed to heal and now thrive. Justine is a shining example of responsible and compassionate adoption and pet guardianship. May she and Lilly have many more beautiful years together.
Lilly is part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pits and black cats. If not for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here.
Read more at: https://www.vetary.com/dog/condition/meningomyelitis