What a rollercoaster our journey with our beautiful Frankie has been. On the morning of the 2nd of July 2023 everything seemed ok for Frankie. She was playing in the backyard chasing the birds like she usually does and was living her best life sunbaking in the winter sun.
However later that day, something was not quite right. She was hesitant to move and jump and she was not even motivated by food. Something was up and because Frankie is our little girl, we rushed to our local vet. Upon presentation she seemed fine and was able to still walk albeit gingerly. The vet prescribed Frankie some anti-inflammatories and we were sent home. Frankie slept for majority of the afternoon, however into the evening she was shaking uncontrollably and lifting her head. She looked like she was in agony and it was absolutely heartbreaking to see.
We knew something was still not right.
2am in the morning Frankie asked to go outside to do her business, however she did not, or merely couldn’t. When she came back inside her back was arched and she couldn’t even weight bear. It was at this point that I had come to the conclusion that this is every dog owners nightmare, our beautiful Frankie appeared to have the dreaded IVDD (Invertebral Disc Disease). I needed to get her help and get it fast so I stood by the phone waiting for 7am when our local vet could see us.
I was in the clinic within 20 minutes and when we were called into the rooms I just knew what the diagnosis was going to be. The vet doctor uttered the words, this is IVDD! In complete and utter shock and emotional I asked what the options were. They said that they could treat her with meds in the clinic for the day to see how she would go OR to rush her straight to SASH Adelaide. I thought to myself, what is SASH? But then it clicked- I had seen SASH on Bondi Vet.
As Frankie is of the utmost importance to me I drove her halfway across town to SASH as I knew I needed to help her and it was heartbreaking to see her in such pain.
When we arrived at SASH I was an emotional wreck and Frankie knew something was up. She had lost all control of her bowel movements by this stage but was licking me to ease my fears. My sweet sweet girl was in so much pain but was looking out for me. Once we arrived we were greeted by the most beautiful person in Client Services, Brianna. She could sense my worry and asked if I wanted a hug, I said “yes please”. Little did Brianna realise but that hug meant the world to me at that moment.
Frankie and I felt the love and warmth the minute we walked through the doors. Then the agonising wait to see a doctor ensued until we saw Adelaide’s top Neurologist and Neurosurgeon, Dr Dillon. I cuddled Frankie close until our names were called. Dr Amy and Dr Dillon took Frankie away to assess her. I was waiting in the room anxiously awaiting to hear if Frankie had to undergo the knife. Dr Dillon returned and advised that it appears as though Frankie had Stage 3 IVDD and if we didn’t take action soon it could have progressed.
Without hesitation I said yes, please do what you have to for her. Strangley although I was overcome with fear, I was confident that Dr Dillon was going to do all he could to help Frankie! He explained everything with such clarity and made me feel confident in everything he was saying. The first step was for a MRI scan to assess where in her spine the injury was at. Dr Dillon advised that I go home and that he would update me once they have received the scan results. Frankie was admitted to hospital and I felt lost. My best friend was being taken away and I felt so scared for her. When I left the consulting room, the staff were lovely and gave me a water, tissues and said that they would provide regular updates. I knew that SASH was the best place for her to be at this point in time. That drive home was one of the loneliest and quietest drives.
Later that afternoon, Dr Dillon called to provide me with the results of the scan. For Frankie to have the best chance at recovery, surgery needed to occur. Surgery did occur and I am pleased to say it was a major success! The communication between the staff and my wife and I was second to none. We were provided with regular text updates, phone calls and picture messages which made us feel reassured that Frankie was receiving the best care possible! We were also able to visit Frankie numerous times during the week she was in SASH, something we really appreciated! But it wasn’t just during her stay, the care and communication continued post surgery at her weekly Physiotherapy appointments with Johanna Higgs!
My wife and I cannot thank the entire team at SASH enough. Today Frankie is walking and it is thanks to the professional and wonderful team at SASH Adelaide. A place that we can truly say is one of the best places for your pet to be when they are unfortunately sick!
Still to this day we speak to Frankie and remind her that Dr Dillon is a hero and we are forever thankful!
SASH to us not only stands for Small Animal Specialist Hospital but it also stands for “South Australia’s Specialist Hospital” because they helped us in what was one of the scariest moments in our life!