When you’re going through a difficult time in your life, you can often feel alone. One such time can be when you’re coping with pet illnessย (whether expected or unexpected). Thankfully, it’s also often during times of need where the power of the dog community really shows. I’d like to share some of the positives which have come from Millie’s diagnosis along the way and explain why I think it’s important to talk with your dog friends!


Click to discover why it's good to talk to others when coping with pet illness

At the beginning of Millie’s IVDD journey, I was in utter disbelief. Whilst knowing the risk of IVDD with dachshunds – you always hope it won’t happen to you. My main priority was making sure Millie received the best care and her pain minimised. The day Millie displayed symptoms of IVDD, our usual vet wasn’t working on call. We were advised to monitor Millie over the coming days and keep her quiet (common advice for IVDD). For some reason, this didn’t sit right in my gut. So as soon as we returned home, I reached out to someone from the dog community who quite frankly, I am forever grateful for: Zena Deane from Huxley Hound.


Zena’s beautiful dachshund, Huxley, had sadly gone through IVDD during the Summer last year, but he thankfully battled (and conquered) IVDD. GO HUXLEY!!! The advice Zena gave me that evening truly ensured the coming days were a lot easier. From Zena talking about her personal experience with Huxley, to my gut telling me Millie needed me to do more, I was certain requesting an MRI was vital for Millie. I listened to everything Zena shared with me and immediately our vet was contacted to request a referral for an MRI. This is the best way to really know what’s going on inside.

Whilst an MRI can be costly and may not be appropriate for everyone initially, all I can say is I’m relieved we did. Millie’s symptoms rapidly deteriorated in less than 24 hrs. When Millie deteriorated we were able to call Fitzpatricks directly as we had a referral already in place for the following day. Immediately they told us to bring her as an emergency. They were incredible.

If we’d waited and not requested an MRI referral in the first place, I can’t imagine having to call the vets, get a referral approved etc amongst Millie screams of pain and my tears flowing. This all would have taken time (and whilst it was a very streamlined process) I wouldn’t have wanted to do it at that time. Millie would have been in pain a lot longer and it’s possible her symptoms would’ve become even worse (the key with IVDD is to try and catch it as soon as possible). We were able to jump in the car almost immediately after a quick phonecall so Millie could be seen.


Whilst every dog is different and not all circumstances are the same, I strongly feel it is so important to speak through your concerns with people who have gone through similar difficulties, as well as veterinary professionals. It’s also so important to listen to your gut. From my own personal experience, had I not reached out and spoken through my worries with Zena, I personally feel Millie’s situation would have possibly been even more traumatic. For this, I am forever grateful. Zena…THANK YOU.


What if your dog is diagnosed with a condition and you don’t know someone else who has gone through it? Don’t panic! Take to social media!!! There are so many incredible Facebook Groups available (for example, for IVDD there’s Dachshund IVDD UK) or search for breed specific groups on Twitter (for example, the amazing #Sausage Army for dachshund lovers or #DogsofTwitter generally). Reach out. Ask for opinions and stories. It’s so important to rely on medical advice from your vet but it can also be worth considering additional advice,ย in conjunction with advice from the professionals. Being armed with additional information can only be a positive thing in my opinion (and the dog community have gone through a lot of events in their lives which can provide support, hope and comfort to you).


Click to discover how social media can help people coping with pet illness

The other thing to note is the support received when your dog is going through a medical crisis. You don’t need to be alone when coping with pet illness. The power of the dog community strikes again! I shared Millie’s IVDD journey a lot at the beginning via our Twitter, Facebook & Instagram pages (you can discover why I retreated later in an upcoming blog post).

At that time though, the support I received for Millie (& myself) was overwhelming. Knowing so many people were there to virtually hold our hands and paws, willing us all on was something which blew my mind! It’s worth remembering how the power of a simple message can really help someone at their time of need. One things for sure, I’m like an elephant…I will never forget those who have truly been supportive during this period. THANK YOU.

So here are just a handful of the messages we received, as well as cards. They helped raise a smile during the darkest of times…


IVDD has been an awful experience on the whole. Those initial few days were some of the hardest of my life. Amongst the dark though, the amount of love and support has been a beacon of light. It shows how helpful the dog community can be when coping with pet illness. It goes without saying if any of you go through a similar crisis or just want to reach out for some support…I will always be available. You can contact me, ANY TIME. If I can pay forward some support shown to me in some small way, I’d welcome it.

Have the dog community ever helped YOU in some way? I’d love to hear how you’ve been helped or have helped others. Pop us a comment below and help us show how great the dog community can be!

Sarah, Ted & Millie xxx



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