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#601614 - 08/01/08 08:54 AM Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury
Jackie_Chans_Mom Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 05/01/07
Posts: 2511
Loc: Texas
I am writing this even though I do not have all the answers. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard "It is not possible......" in the time that I have had Jackie Chan and Nugget. I do believe in miracles, but KNOW that I am not the deliverer of them (though Karen M. says there are healing waters at my home - lol). I am just a mom to amazing gliders. AND, I pray that through their stories and experiences, we - as a community - can change our expectations and understanding of severe nervous or spinal damage.

In case you do not know their stories:

In Short, Jackie Chan came to me after an injury that severed his spine just below his shoulders. He was unable to move his back legs or tail and unable to control bowel or bladder. He was given very slim chances of survival by several vets (3 of which suggested putting him down as they did not believe his quality of life would be good).

I brought Jackie home and put him in a very small cage and on a good diet. I also began doing some massage on him. Basically, I would rub him with my pinky finger in circles all over his body. His vet at the time felt that his swelling was so severe that he needed more than 3 days of metacam. So, Jackie received metacam for 14 consecutive days. As the swelling began to go down, Jackie began to have a return of feeling. We speculate that this feeling felt like "pins-n-needles," which was uncomfortable. So, Jackie Chan began to self mutilate. In the course of 5 days, he had 2 emergency surgeries - 1 to remove the poms and one to amputate the tail. Again, he was given a very slim chance of survival.

Home we went. I continued the before mentioned therapy. Jackie recovered fully. However, he also sustained an open injury on his butt that would not heal. We speculate that he did not have the ability to fully regenerate cell growth at the base of his spine due to the spinal injury. AFter 10 months of unsuccesful trials to close the open wound, we also found a neuropathy on the spine where the tail would have attached. Removed the neuropathy and sewed the wound shut. This time, it healed (despite efforts from a cage mate to keep it open). Jackie also began to have return of feeling in his penile area, and self mutilated his penis. So, he had an emergency surgery to remove the penis. I have written in other places/threads of the effects of all of this anesthesia on Jackie's personality.

Throughout all of this, Jackie Chan has continued to recieve therapy and exercise. Over time, he has developed the STRONGEST upper body I have ever seen in a glider. Additionally, he has developed MOVEMENT of his back legs. It is not coordinated movement, but he is able to move with purpose and to lightly grip with his back feet. He also has return of feeling. He does not feel pain, but he feels pressure. So, he purposefully pulls his back feet away from your touch. Based on studies done on horses that had spine severed but were able to run again when they were put through the motions of running repeately, I began putting Jackie through the motion of pulling his legs up under him and putting weight on his back legs. Today, Jackie will independently pull his legs under him when he is sitting. Recently, he began JUMPING short distances!

Functional return after a spine is severed? NEVER - some said. You tell me: today Jackie Chan runs in a wheel, climbs all over his cage and tent, pulls his legs under him, jumps small distances, has feeling in his feet, and plays with toys like all my other gliders. His cage and access to everything has to be modified, but he is a happy, active, determined, inspirational glider.

NUGGET came to me after having both of his back legs essentially crushed. He was not using his back legs or his tail. I was reminded of Jackie Chan. X-rays revealed that Nugget had no spinal damage, but he was severely swollen. Nugget stayed on metacam for 7 continuous weeks. As of today, he has had no negative side effects of long term use of metacam. After the swelling was finally reduced, we found that Nugget had nerve damage at the right hip and was unable to control movement of the right hip. I was given so many different options and so much advice for his care. The overall agreement from most everyone was that the right leg needed to be amputated. I decided, instead, to treat him as I did Jackie Chan.

After 4 months of cage rest, massage, etc.... Nugget returned for x-rays. What we found was astounding. Nugget's left leg healed AS IF it had never been broken! His right leg - 3 of the 4 major breaks healed as if they had been pinned. The hip healed a bit irregularly. Nugget still has some difficulty with his right hip - he is unable to place it as he desires and the nerve pathway seems to be quite slow to the hip. As a result, he experiences many falls. Nonetheless - after severe injury resulting in massive swelling and pressure on the spine as well as nerve damage at the hip, Nugget has regained full use of all joints in his back legs and has developed grip in his back legs strong enough to support him like this:

Nugget hanging in tent

In summary - It is possible for a glider to regain functional use of limbs even after significant spinal or nervous damage. It is not easy. It requires a great deal of effort and care, but it is possible. It has been my overwhelming joy to be mom to these two boys. I pray that no one else ever has to experience this, as I hate to see this happen to a glider. But, I will never regret one moment with my boys.
~~ Val B ~~ 806-803-0318
Daily giving the abused, unloved, unwanted and neglected SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN


#601628 - 08/01/08 09:21 AM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: Jackie_Chans_Mom]

ooo i am in awe of your determination you gave these suggies something amazing, and proved what no one would think could happen, IS possible
congrats to you and these two, i'm astonished

#601629 - 08/01/08 09:24 AM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: Jackie_Chans_Mom]

Val, as a human living with severe nerve damage I know what you say to be true. I had a horrific fall down 14 stairs 2 years ago and was almost killed by my fall. I ripped the entire right side of my face off the side of my head, broke all the bones in the right side of my face, crushed my right arm, had damage to my right ribs and right side of my back.

The nerve damage to my face was very apparent. My face drooped horribly like I had a stroke. I had painful pins and needle feeling and believe me, I've felt like self mutilating so I know what Jackie Chan felt like in that little body of his.

I still have nerve damage but its less severe than what it was. I was told that the nerves would never regenerate but somehow they have. I still have the pins and needles feeling in my face but less severe.

Also as someone who suffers from neuropathy, I can also sympathize with Jackie Chan with that.

You keep on doing what you're doing for those two! I applaud your efforts 1000%!!

#601663 - 08/01/08 10:16 AM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: ]
JMM331 Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 344
Val, You should be commended for the work you have done with both Jackie Chan and Nugget. You knew in your heart that you could give these two little guys the quality of life they deserve even with their injuries, you did just that and then some. I learned a long time ago that in medicine whether human or veterinary there is never a sure thing, and you just proved that.

My Fabulous Gliders: Mojo & Soco, Jack & Boo Boo, Penie, Gizmo & Stripe
My Pit Bulls: Sammy (the old man of the family) and Sadie
My Sneaky Ones: Cheeks & Bunz, the Chinchillas
My Frisky Cat: Kitty
R.I.P - Slowmo (Mojo's Twin Brother)

#601671 - 08/01/08 10:32 AM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: JMM331]
pappy1264 Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 11015
Loc: MA
When I think of Val and all she does, the phrase 'angels walk amoung us' comes to mind. What you do and have done is nothing short of a miracle. God sends his healing power through you to these little innocents. Never say never definitely applies.......God bless you for all you do!!
Timmy, Gidget(RIP), Bandit, Petey(RIP), Phoebe, Jake (RIP) Piper(RIP), Pru(RIP), Paige, Cole, Molly(RIP), Oliver, Wyatt, Roo(RIP), Romeo, Pennie, Mandy(RIP), Madison, Garth, Kikipoo, Stasia, Bella, Petunia(RIP), Helen, Sydney, Kizzy and Sweet Pea's mom,

#604311 - 08/04/08 08:46 PM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: pappy1264]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
We recieved two different rescues with spinal seperations. One of them also had displaced hips. However their problem was from calcium deficency. After being supplemented with calcium and being put on a good diet, they both made amazing recoveries. Neither are 100%, but they are both leading happy lives with their cagemates. We have also had broken legs completely heal.

You did great with your gliders. Just goes to show, never give up hope.

Rescue & Rehabilation

#604323 - 08/04/08 08:59 PM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: Charlie H]
Trigger Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 3970
Loc: Spring, Texas
Val Jackie Chan is an amazing glider and I have never seen Nugget but from your posts I would have to venture that he is as well. I think YOU give your babies the will to fight thru all the love you give them. I saw little Jackie Chan moving his back feet at the SGGA and was simply amazed by that.
-(`v)-MO MONEY!-(`v)-
kids Chance, Dylan, John, & Kayla
Skittles, Snupi, Snuki, Lucy, Shanu, Caspian, Ivy, Kalysta, Kaliya, Santee, Cheyenne, Apache, Comanche, Twirpy, Meribelle, Santeria, Shyamalan, Sebastian, Zoey, Naira & Katsu

#605221 - 08/05/08 08:06 PM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: Trigger]
ozzi Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 02/01/08
Posts: 3201
Loc: Sedona, AZ
You are amazing Val.
Thanks for your love and determination for these little guys and thanks to everyone else here for their love and devotion to our little friends.

You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.....Unknown

Rest in Peace our little sweet friends that have crossed over the "Rainbow Bridge".
I miss you gangel Boo-Boo, Lucy, BJ, and Fivel gangel

#659762 - 10/20/08 11:54 PM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: ozzi]
sandbat Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 633
Loc: Dallas, TX
Thank you so much for these stories. Cessna was on her way back from her own spinal damage, and I honestly think she would have made it if her advanced age had not been such a factor. In any case, these stories are a reminder of what incredible fighters and survivors these guys are.

#673027 - 11/12/08 02:14 AM Re: Functional Return after Spinal or Nerve Injury [Re: sandbat]
Happy Birthday Xfilefan Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 8899
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
Speaking of people, I have spinal damage-currently a severe issue in my neck at C 5-6 that will require surgery...I have had 5 surgeries on the L5-S1 level, and get to look forward to another at the L3-4 and L4-5 level. I spent a year in a wheelchair with little functional mobility. Functional return depends on whether the spinal cord is compressed, severe inflammation, bruised, or severed to some or a complete degree. I was told before my last surgery (anterior lumbar cage fusion) that there was little chance I would regain much function. However, post-op, I had regained ALL function-and felt my feet for the first time in several years. I had actually had a foot broken, and felt nothing, a couple years prior to the last surgery. I also had a foot that dragged, and had to wear a brace to avoid tripping over it. So it depends on the degree of damage. Just because vertebrae are shifted doesn't mean the spinal cord is severed. Bulged/collapsed disks and severe inflammation, resulting in extreme pressure so that nerve impulses cannot get through, can mimic a severed cord. Relieve the pressure and some function can return, although the symptoms will return with time with a deteriorating injury...the severity depending on the type of injury. Have you tried corticosteroids with him? I know this is human based, but hopefully it may help. The spine has little circulation, even in animals, so healing is slow to nonexistent for that reason...once the growth plates close, so does most of the blood supply.
Jen/Colin :bb: Commander Riker 12 16 02-10 04 12 you will be FOREVER missed :wfb: Sinbad, :wfb: Gabby, :grey: Baby, and :grey: Alley


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