Egon the Dachshund

If you already follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know about this (and if you don’t already, why the hell not?!), but I have news to report about Egon.

He’s currently spending the night at the university veterinary school’s animal hospital where he just had emergency surgery for a ruptured disc in his spine. This is not an uncommon problem for dachshunds, but it’s one that I hoped would never affect my little dude. He’s very lean and, now that he’s almost 6 years old, not terribly rambunctious (the two risk factors are being overweight or jumping a lot). Nonetheless, he managed to injure his spine.

I’m not sure what happened, but I took him to the vet for a suspected UTI on Monday, which he tested positive for. The vet also determined that he had a strain in his back, so he was prescribed antibiotics for the UTI, anti-inflammatories for the strain, and tons of rest.

[297/365] Patient Egon

At some point Tuesday night, while I was out, he managed to hurt himself. He’d been feeling better and had been okay with staying voluntarily in his crate (crate door unlocked) in my bedroom, where there’s no tall furniture for him to jump on. It seemed safe enough to me, especially since he used to panic a lot when I’d crate him with the door locked. With the crate plus his favorite blankets on the floor, he hadn’t even tried to climb on the (low, platform) bed all day. I would have noticed the little dents he leaves in the down comforter, so I know he never went up there. What I found after the fact was that he’d apparently gone in my closet, climbed into the laundry basket, peed in it, and climbed out. He’d had some incontinence issues from the UTI, and I think he didn’t want to pee on the floor. Poor guy. That must’ve been when he really hurt his back.

I came home to find him hiding under the blanket on the floor (his usual burrowing M.O.), and when I lifted up the blanket to peek at him he yelped in pain and tried to move, but he wasn’t able to use his back legs at all and was dragging them behind him. In about 14 seconds I had called the emergency vet at the university and was on my way there, with W. (who was in bed and nearly asleep at the late hour) awake and arranged to meet us.

Emergency visit to the vet last night for my dog's injured spine. He's still there today.

They kept him last night and the neurologist saw him today, confirming after tests that he did have a ruptured disc. He underwent surgery for it today, but I haven’t spoken to the doctor yet. It sounds like he went home without remembering to call me (MOTHEREFFER), but the front desk tells me Egon is out of surgery and in the neurology ICU. Hopefully I will get to talk to the doc tomorrow and possibly even come in to see Egon.

The financial aspect of all this is a whole other matter and is almost equally as stressfull. The estimate was for between $3000-5000, and I had to put down half of the high end before they would take him (which I was — barely– able to do). In order to give them the go-ahead for surgery I had to make sure I could come up with the rest, and I did manage to get financing for that after begging my dad to cosign for it. I may be 33 years old with a nice middle-cass job, but I am only a few years out of grad school with student loans and credit card debt (It was almost paid off until today, but now I’ve more than doubled it!) and I guess I wasn’t a good enough candidate for the stupid financing on my own. Anyway, I’m more than covered, now. Oof. Many thanks to my unfailingly kind and generous father.

And this is all the news I have at the moment. I will update with more when I can, but I wanted to post something here for all my friends who don’t follow my every move in 140-character bursts. Thanks so much to everyone who has gotten in touch with me to offer words of support — you are very much appreciated.


  1. Oh, honey. I am almost in tears imagining the panic you must have gone through to find him sick and unable to move his legs. I would be SO panicked and scared.

    And I’m so sad to think of the debt incurred. It’s such a hard choice to make – actually, it’s no choice at all — but so frustrating. Ugh. If I was there, I’d be bring bourbon over as we speak (type).

    I’m snuggling my pooch, and hoping the snuggle vibes are making it your way


    1. Thanks! It was in fact super scary, but I somehow managed to hold my shit together the entire time until we walked out into the parking lot after leaving him in there. Whew. Regarding the financial stuff, I basically didn’t see any other option, you know? In this case it isn’t something that can be left untreated. Just busily planning how I can reduce monthly expenses and pay it off fast! You will have to start calling me Frugal MacDougal.


  2. Poor buddy! I knew something was wrong last weekend when he wouldn’t jump on anything and spent a lot of time hanging out in Rosie’s crate! He’s a tough dude, so he will pull thru just fine–it’s the human I’m more worried about in situations like these. I hope he’s home resting soon! (That exam room pic sure brings back memories!)


    1. Yeah, I KNEW something was off. I just wish it had only been the UTI. I certainly didn’t imagine it’d be TWO things. Ai yi yi.


  3. Poor Egon! I read about this on Twitter and felt so badly for you and for him. I can’t imagine what I would do if something like that happened to one of my boys – oh, wait. I can’t. Exactly what you did, wiping out savings included. Seamus had to get a tumor removed a few weeks ago and it was thankfully benign, but the surgery and biopsy cost us about a grand. Worth every cent, though.

    Speedy recover to Egon! I’ll be thinking of y’all.


    1. Thanks. So glad Seamus turned out to be OK. When stuff like this actually happens, I guess you just do what you have to do (within reason — this was pretty much at the top limit of what I could do).


  4. Poor Egon! I’m glad you were able to get him the surgery and I hope he recovers speedy quick. This is a real wake-up call for me, as we also have a dachshund and he jumps on EVERYTHING. He needs to stop ASAP.

    Keep us updated on the little guy! I will keep my fingers crossed that he’s all better soon!


    1. Thanks! It is impossible to get them not to jump on things. I think I may look into a ramp or steps for the couch and bed when he comes home, and try to train him mot to jump up on the furniture. I think he may also be spending more time in his crate and/or shut in the kitchen or bathroom. I’ll have to figure something out.


  5. Oh, I am so sorry, and so hoping he gets better. This is exactly what happened to Hambone, except his disc was ruptured, and the surgery was $10,000 with a $2,000 neurological workup prior to surgery and it just wasn’t possible for us. I am so so happy that you guys get a second chance!! Will be thinking of you and Egon.


    1. Oh, Emily! I didn’t know that was what happened to Hambone. That is so heartbreaking. It must have been so, so difficult. I am really counting myself lucky that the estimate for Egon was (while very high), still in the range of possibility for me. Had it been twice as much there’s no way I could have handled it either. Thanks for the support!


  6. Sending love to you and hound. Be well, Egon! And good luck with the money sitch. If you felt up to setting up an Egon Benefit Fund online, through paypal or some such, I think a lot of people would be honoured to be able to throw $5 or whatever his way.


    1. Thanks, that’s a really kind thought. I am pretty much covered for now, though, but if it goes too far above the high end of the estimate I may have to reevaluate!


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