A disabled dog has raised more than £2,000 for a spinal disease charity – by walking more than 6km.
Elaine Brechin’s nine-year-old miniature smooth haired dachshund, Ernie, was left paralysed by Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
The condition, which is believed to affect around one in four dachshunds, causes the gel-like centre of intervertebral discs in a dog’s spine to turn dry and brittle.
This can leave them in severe pain with limited mobility and, in some cases, paralysis.
Dachshunds are more prone to suffer from the condition than other breeds due to their short legs.
But after extensive physiotherapy, Inverurie-based Ernie defied the odds and raised more than £2,000 for the charity Dedicated to Dachshunds with IVDD through a 5km challenge during the month of August.
She said: “Ernie came to me in August 2016 when I ran my business Dachshund Respite Care and Small Paws Hotel, a service that cared for IVDD dogs.
“He was paralysed from the mid-spine and his owners left him with me so I, along with Tracey Jones from Fusion Vet Physio, could give him intensive rehabilitation, including hydro and physiotherapy.
“After a couple of months he took his first steps but still today has mid-spine paralysis and no deep pain sensation in his hind limbs.
“He used to use wheels but over the years has learnt to spinal walk, where his brain bypassed the spine and developed an automatic gait.”
Ernie managed to walk an impressive total of 6.4km through 26 walks throughout August. He can only travel a distance of around 300 metres in any one session.
Elaine added: “He raised more than £2,000 for Dedicated to Dachshunds with IVDD, which is the charity I run along with my colleague in Wales.
“The charity supports and advises owners with dogs in the same situation as Ernie.
“We loan equipment to owners in the form of ginger leads, which are support slings, and strollers.
“All of the equipment is loaned out free of charge to any owner in the UK and they can keep the equipment for as long as they need it for.”
The charity also teaches dog owners how to recognise the symptoms of IVDD and advises on treatment options for dogs affected.
Elaine added: “We advise people that if they are looking to get a dachshund they must do their homework and look into the health problems.
“We get so many owners who come to us in a terrible state. One day their dog is walking around fine and then a couple of hours they are completely off their legs.
“We still see a lot of owners through social media who have no awareness of IVDD at all.”
To find out more about IVDD, visit www.dachshund-ivdd.uk/