Maxwell Chronicles (Part II)

Maxwell living his very best life ever

Living with a Maxwell here at the adorable house of misfits has been a whirlwind of emotions and overall trial and error on things to best help Maxwell thrive. After hearing from various veterinary professionals and pet parents alike on what Maxwell’s official diagnosis was I finally decided to end the debate and scheduled Maxwell to see the neurology department at Akron (Ohio) MedVet.

Being someone in the veterinary field who handles curbside appointments daily I can tell you that it was a very humbling experience and reminded me to be patient and compassionate and reminded myself that despite not being allowed to go inside with Maxwell the staff, technicians and doctor’s treated him with kindness, compassion and respect (and they absolutely did! I cannot thank Akron MedVet enough!).

On the “other side” of the appointment for a change; Curbside appointments

The neurologist stated that (among other things) Maxwell has multiple limb deformities along with kyphosis of the thoracic limb region with potential hemivertebra but she reminded me that with the “right family ANY pet can thrive!” and she is absolutely right.

I am unsure why I so badly wanted an official title for what was up with Maxwell, maybe it was because I felt if “it” had a name then I would know better what to expect maybe — but much with life there is no true preparation and we just all have to “roll with the tide” whatever or where ever that may take us!

Examples of the different “types” of back issues dogs can experience

  • Kyphosis is a type of spinal deformity similar to scoliosis the difference is that scoliosis is a lateral (side to side) curvature of the spine whereas kyphosis is a posterior (up and down) curvature of the spine, specifically in the upper, or cervical, portion of the spine.
  • This curvature can cause nerve damage, which is the reason behind many, if not all, of the symptoms presented. 

  • In older dogs, the condition can be caused by trauma (like a spinal fracture) or wear-and-tear on the spine (which could lead to arthritis or osteoporosis). 
  • In younger dogs (less than 1 year old), the condition is most likely congenital, meaning it was inherited by the individual at birth, as was the case for Olivia, so this is the type of kyphosis of focus throughout this website. 
  • If you suspect your dog’s kyphosis was inherited, it is important to get in contact with his/her breeder (if possible) to let them know. They will want to make sure to not keep breeding your dog’s biological mother/father so as to stop these defective genes from passing on to any more offspring

Some of the signs/symptoms MAY include:

  • Atrophy (loss of muscle tone in affected areas)
  • Loss of sensation
  • Incontinence (loss of control over bladder/bowel )
  • pain
  • wobbliness
  • weakness in the back legs
  • walking differently
  • signs of muscle wastage in the back legs
  • an abnormally shaped back

Regions of the spine
Example of hemivertebra (left) and a normal vertebra (right)
09/2021 XRady of Maxwells Spine (lateral view)

Is the future scary? Absolutely it is! But I would feel the future as scary regardless if Maxwell was in our life or not! I am unsure what the future holds for Maxwell but I know one thing for sure: He is going to live a safe, happy & loving life with myself and the rest of the adorable house of misfits!

The Maxwell Chronicle

Maxwell; a collage of photos ranging from the moment I took him home in early March 2021 to now (May 2021)

The number #1 motto that I live by when speaking about a specially-abled animal and how I “handle it all” (think about it I have a neurologic cat who wobbles/falls into things, an epileptic rat terrier, a cat with one eye and limited vision in the other, a semi-feral cat in the basement and then a puppy who needs his bladder expressed and cannot use his back legs) is “FAKE IT TILL YA MAKE IT”.

I knew NOTHING about cerebellar hypoplasia, I knew NOTHING about a blind kitten with herpesvirus, I knew NOTHING about puppies with mobility issues…I did know about epilepsy only because I myself have grand mal seizures but for the most part I knew nothing about specially-abled pets of any kind and how to care for them or their “diagnoses”. But guess what? It didn’t matter! It did not matter that I did not research each disorder or disability to exhaustion. It did not matter that I did not spend thousands of dollars on specialists, supplies etc.,

All that mattered was that I was willing to learn, I was patient with each specially-abled pet and continued each day with empathy and love. That I provided them with the Veterinary care they needed … That ALL animals are entitled to!

Everything that I learned from CH was “on-the-job” experience and training and that is alright! Bifford just needed someone that would be patient with him and love him! The same with Maxwell — he just needs someone that loves him and is patient with him and his progress.

Every day with Maxwell is an adventure to say the least! I wake him up in the morning for breakfast by going into his bedroom and picking him up from his portable crib as he coos and carries on then we go outside so I can express his bladder for his morning pee (I am still holding hope he will be able to eventually go potty on his own like a big boy!). Then we come in for a little breakfast while I get everyone else’s breakfast (and medications!) Ready and give those.

From there Max and I pack up to go to work where Max has his own “office” that he enjoys to “bark” out demand to those passing by while various coworkers pick him up, cuddle him, take him outside etc.

While at work Max gets acupuncture therapy as well as laser therapy. Upon arriving home we do physical therapy and then hydro therapy before playing a little bit and then placing Max back in his crib for a good night sleep surrounded by his menagerie of toys so he can dream happy dreams and prepare for a new day.

Am I holding out hope he will still walk? Absolutely! But am I realistic (and will love him regardless!) He will need a wheelchair? Of course.

The fact of the matter is that when most hear a pet is special needs or needs a little more “special care” they’re turned off or discouraged completely from adopting that special baby as if the term imprisons those babies for life of solitude and disappointment 😔

The bottom line is that for as many “misfit toys” as I’ve adopted and loved (or even my dear friends who’ve done the same) the common denominator is all the same: love and patience.

Stay Tuned for more Maxwell Chronicles! 🐾💕