Hi, my name is Piper and I’m a five year old French Bulldog. Any of you that have met me know that I’m as sassy as they can get and one of the things I love to do is romp and play with my brother Hoz. It was the Fall of 2018 when I was doing just that when all of the sudden I found myself face planted on the ground. I’m not sure what happened, but my rear legs weren’t working like they were supposed too and I couldn’t run, walk, or even stand up. My mom and dad rushed me to the doctor who over the next few days was able to diagnose me with Intervertebral Disc Disease. Soon, I not only couldn’t stand up, but I couldn’t feel my legs nor could I go the bathroom. I became both urinary and fecal incontinent. My mom and dad were devastated and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself too.

After long discussions about the options with the doctor, Mom, Dad, and I decided the best thing would be for me to have surgery to try to alleviate the pressure that the misplaced intervertebral discs were placing on my spinal cord. We were all hopeful that surgery would help me be able to go to the bathroom on my own, that I would be able to feel my legs, and that I would once again be able to romp and play with Hoz. After surgery, I was kept in the hospital for what seemed like an eternity. I was never so happy to see Mom and Dad when they came to get me. Unfortunately, surgery didn’t help me as much as we wanted. I was able to stand up with little assistance, but I couldn’t bend my rear legs to sit down and I had lost a lot of muscle mass during the post surgical recovery. The surgeons told my Mom and Dad this was probably the best it was going to get. Again, we were so devastated and discouraged.

Then, we started doing physical rehabilitation with Cornerstone Animal Hospital. They gave us hope! They have an underwater treadmill and have been working with me twice a week to help me build muscle back, to improve my proprioception (knowing where my feet are in space) and neurologic function in my legs, and to be able to bend my legs so I can run, jump, and play. Dr. Stroud and the rehab team are constantly changing my sessions so I don’t plateau and so I can keep being challenged. I can now stand and trot and I don’t fall. My rear leg muscles are continuing to get stronger and I’m even starting to be able to sit properly now with my legs bent. It has been a long road, but well worth it and I now know that there is hope that soon I’ll be able to romp and play with Hoz again.