I have a new hero and her name is Linda Stowe. In 2002 Linda founded Dodgerslist, which is a website that has grown into the leading authority on dogs and especially Dachshunds with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). Linda’s passion and courage changed the conventional veterinary treatment of dogs with IVDD and has saved countless lives.
In 2002 Linda was the pet parent to several Dachshunds and enjoyed learning more about the breed in online chat groups. One day a story was posted about a Dachshund named Dodger. The dog was diagnosed with IVDD which is a disease of the spinal cord that causes the discs to lose moisture and harden. It is a painful condition that can have neurological complications such as paralysis. Dodger was brought to see a veterinarian and euthanized because of the IVDD. Surgery and euthanasia were the two standard options generally given at the time.
Dodger’s sad story deeply touched Linda and she immediately went to work to learn as much as she could about the disease. Her research led to the conclusion that a conservative approach to treating IVDD could result in a good outcome for many IVDD dogs. It combines complete crate rest to allow a dog to heal from an episode, steroid treatment and pain management.
Some dogs need surgery in addition to the conservative protocol and not all dogs recovered the ability to walk again, but they were pain-free and had a good quality of life.
With this knowledge in hand, Linda developed literature to share with veterinarians and veterinary neurologists. Her single goal was to save dogs’ lives.
It took time, but with her determination Linda helped chang the typical treatment for dogs with IVDD. The conservative approach has reached IVDD prone dog owners and veterinarians in many countries around the world.
With this great achievement you would think Linda’s mission was complete, but she wanted to protect future dogs from IVDD so over the years Linda has worked with several colleges of veterinary medicine that are studying the disease. She is most proud of a genetic research project she suggested to UC Davis about the prevalence of IVDD in certain breeds.
Linda is also deeply involved in the very promising studies for paralyzed dogs at Iowa State University, Texas A&M and North Carolina State University. Her mission is for all dogs with IVDD and for the 4 out of 8 Dachshunds in her life that have come down with the condition. I don’t think her work will ever be complete until a cure is found.
Dodgerslist offers state-of-the-art information on their website for pet parents and professionals. Their DVD’s and literature are funded through donations and subscriptions to their newsletter.
Basic IVDD Facts:
- IVDD is seen most often in Dachshunds, Poodles, Corgis, Beagles and other breeds that are 3-7 years old, but it can happen at any age.
- IVDD causes discs in the spine to age earlier in life and harden.
- The first signs are often seen after a trauma to the spine when a disc herniates. The trauma can be as simple as jumping down from the bed or a couch.
- Dogs with a herniated or ruptured disc show signs of pain. They may shiver, tremble, refuse to move or eat and yelp when touched.
- Dogs may also show signs of weakness in their limbs or have trouble walking.
- Dogs showing signs of a loss of bladder/bowel control are considered in an emergency state and are at-risk of becoming paralyzed. They need immediate veterinary attention.
Linda wants readers to know that Dodgerslist is kept-up-to-date and running smoothly by a dedicated group of pet parents. “There have been many who have helped make us the most informed website about IVDD through the years,” said Linda. “A huge ‘thank you’ goes out to all of those who helped because without their dedication Dodgerslist would have never worked.”