July 7th 2011 5:15 pm
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Hi everyone. We just got back from the vet. He is a very nice vet too. I only yelped once when he wanted me to stand up and tried to pick me up. I don't like being picked up. The rest of the time I was quite comfortable. He did a few tests on me but no needles or thermometers up my butt. He talked to Mom for almost an hour and a half. (I even had a snooze during that.) He was really good in that he had read all of the reports that my other vet had filed about me.
From all that information, Mom telling him about me and from this visit, he is pretty sure it never was a tick after all. He is in agreement with most everything the other vet said it might be if it wasn't the tick. The only thing that he didn't agree with is having me take both meloxicam and prednisone at the same time. So Mom will stop with the meloxicam.
What he thinks that I have is a lesion in my cerebellum or somewhere near there. If that is what it is, we will never know why it happened. But the good news is, I probably won't ever get as bad as I was when it first happened. He said Mom could think of it like I had had a stroke, damage was done, my body has adapted a bit so I can move around better than I did that first day and we have to manage it with prednisone. He would like to see me on a much smaller dose since I will have to be on it forever. So, we are going to slowly cut that back. I also have arthritis in my lower back. We already knew that. It isn't bad but it for sure doesn't help with this other problem. It adds to it.
He thinks that it would be worthwhile to try laser therapy. Have any of you heard of that? He says that might help my mobility and make it easier to lower the prednisone dose.
He discussed all kinds of tests they could do, other rare possibilities, but as far as he is concerned, there is something constricting my spinal cord (a lesion?) and affecting the nerves running to my rear legs and even my front. With the prednisone's anti inflammatory characteristics, it reduces the constriction enough so that my front legs work good and my rear legs work enough so I can walk. I guess the hot days made things worse and that must be why I scared Mom by getting worse this last while.
Anyway, we left the office thinking that I will be making my prairie trip and maybe even another one next year!
Everything is still a bit of a mystery but Mom is feeling much more confident that we can manage this and nothing is growing in me that will make me get real bad real fast. That is what she thought. That I had a tumor. It is still a possibility but the vet didn't think so. He also noticed that my right rear leg was a bit worse than my left. He is definitely a good vet. He must have commented ten times on how handsome I was! And how I was in great physical shape. He couldn't believe how good my hips are, as in perfect! Every vet seems worried about my hips and elbows until they examine me. They are perfect. I guess it is common for a big GSD like me to be prone to hip dysplasia.
The lady at reception was also going on and on as to how handsome I am. She even took my picture and petted me, cautiously! And she brought me a bowl of water while we were waiting.
And other people in the waiting room were pointing at me and saying, oh my God! Is he ever big! and good looking! I was just waiting patiently and laying on the floor. The other dogs were all tugging at their leashes and making a nuisance of themselves. I cooperated when it was time to get weighed. I usually don't. I actually liked this vet clinic.
Mom thought I had gained weight, but I actually lost ten pounds. It makes no sense because I am eating like a pig and not running around like I used to. Must be the prednisone.
There was a 4 month old GSD being carried out wearing a cone. She was really cute. She had cut open her belly on barbed wire. I winked at her and told her about when I sliced open my ear on barbed wire. I gave her a few pointers on how to spot that nasty stuff in the future and avoid it.
Mom and I truly appreciate each and every one of you for supporting us through this latest fright.
Mom is feeling 100% better today after what we learned. Trying another vet and vet clinic was for sure good advice. Mom still likes our regular one, but it is good to know another super good vet.
If anyone know anything about this laser treatment, we would like to hear your opinions.
Lobo, and Mom
July 6th 2011 4:54 pm
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Thanks everyone. Mom is usually an optimist but she isn't feeling good about things right now. Obviously, she has been pouring over the internet for theories and answers along with checking up on everything my vet mentioned. We really trust him, but our good friends definitely got through to Mom in that getting another opinion would be wise. (Puff, you are one of them! Thank you Marilynn for the good advice.) Even really good vets can miss something or make a mistake. So thank you for that because Mom is having a hard time thinking clearly right now and is panicking.
I'm doing okay at the moment except it is so bloody hot out here right now! It is 33C (92F). We did our walk at 6:30am when it was 22C (72F).
I have had a huge appetite throughout all of this. In fact, I'm loving my food way more than I ever did. Mom used to never get much interest out of me when it came to meals or treats. Now, I'm all for them. So she will stock up on such things on her next trip to the store.
We will post tomorrow after my vet visit. This will be late in the day.
Lobo & Mom
July 6th 2011 11:31 am
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I'm getting worse so Mom is taking me to a brand new vet tomorrow. I have seen a few but they were from the same clinic. This 3rd opinion will be a last chance to see if there is anything that can be done for me.
July 3rd 2011 3:03 pm
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My problems have returned despite the pills and vet care. I have been stumbling a lot on our now, short walks. I can still do the stairs up to our deck and jump in and out of the truck with the step or ramp, but I am for sure losing ground.
I can sense Mom almost panicking about my condition. She is trying to hide it from me, but I can feel it.
Of course we will see if the vet has any other ideas about what to do now.
Mom has holidays booked in September. She is hoping to take me on yet another prairie road trip. It is now looking like I might not make it until then. If I can negotiate the ramp when that time comes, I will go for another road trip. Uncle has a place for us where we can stay while we are there and there are no stairs. Last time I was there uncle had two dogs. They have since passed from age related troubles. I guess that is kind of what I have going on.
May 6th 2011 12:37 pm
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It has been a week now, without the prednisone pills and I am doing well. We are all breathing a big sigh of relief. I just happened to take longer than average to recover from my tick paralysis.
That is what we are all thinking now even though my vet still seems a bit puzzled.
Thank you all for your encouragement and well wishes. Mom and the kitties and I are hoping to have a nice summer of 2011.
April 21st 2011 7:44 pm
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I have been doing the deck stairs real well and getting up from laying down no problem. Mom says I'm a new dog! I don't want to lay down and rest. I just want to play. Mom is trying to make me take it easy but I don't want to. We are so hoping that whatever this was is not going to come back. We are hoping it was the tick and that I just took a lot longer to get it out of my system than the average dog. I can hardly wait until tomorrow for maybe a little longer walk? Thank you again to all our friends. You sure helped my Mom out a lot. And happy birthday to my little Kitcat.
April 21st 2011 1:16 pm
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I am much improved this morning. We don't know if it is the pills? or I was just taking long to get rid of the tick toxin. Whatever it is, we will take it.
I got to go walking in the snow. I'm super happy because Mom is so happy.
Mom will wait and see how I am a week from now before she tells Dr. Gummeson about it. I think if I am still this good a week from now, he will be happy for me too. I'm still not up to long hike status but I can most certainly go for decent hikes now. This is turning into a really nice Easter. Peaches just had her bridge birthday and was named Tabby in the Spotlight! Tasha just had her bridge birthday and had many friends remember her. Kitcat is having her birthday today. And I was diary pick a few days ago. We all got tons of pmails from our wonderful friends. What a difference a day or two can make! A week ago, things did not look good for me and Mom was a basket case. Today, we are just so happy and thankful.
We hope all our friends are having a nice Easter weekend and spring. If not, we hope they can see past it and a light at the end of the tunnel.
April 20th 2011 2:50 pm
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Lobo and I had a good morning in the yard while waiting for the vet appointment. I was picking up his poops while he insisted on playing frisbee. Pick up a poop, throw the frisbee, pick up a poop, throw the frisbee ...........
At the vet clinic, Lobo was the only patient in the waiting room. But, there was a resident black cat. This cat was there when Lobo went for the extraction of spear grass from his ear over a year ago. At the time the cat was recovering from surgery from being hit by a car. It was a stray and its personality made the staff of the clinic adopt him. He isn't afraid of any dog or human. Last time I petted the cat with Lobo by my side and the kitty walked all over me. Today, I petted the cat and Lobo nuzzled him. What a sweet kitty. Later, while waiting, a teenaged boy came in and asked if he could pet my dog! I said he doesn't really like it, but he won't bite you. The guy was afraid but gently petted Lobo and we talked about Lobo and the boy's family dog. He was just there with his mother to get a dog license for it. He had been waiting in their car when he spotted Lobo and just had to come and see him. What a nice and polite young man.
The vet came out and our appointment began.
Dr. Gummeson, watched him walk and said he is displaying "ataxia". That matches with the tick problem but the neurotoxins from the tick should have been cleared by now. There is always the exception, but he is now wondering if his long shot diagnosis might be the one.
That is fibrocartilaginous embolism. If that is what happened, he is what he is now. That being still happy and healthy and not in pain. But having limitations now. He still highly doubts that this is what happened.
There is the possibility of invertebral disc disease. But he should be in pain if that was it. He is not in pain at all. Lobo let the vet move his neck all over without any pain.
He could have a tumour, damage or problems in his cerebellum. I assume this would be progressive and probably not it because he did get better since last week? Just my opinion on that.
We are at a wait and see mode. Dr. Gummeson prescribed Prednisone just in case he has some swelling going on near the spinal nerves, for whatever reason, and he just isn't showing pain because he is trying to be macho. If he improves dramatically on that, we have to figure out why there is inflammation affecting his spinal nerves. This has to be happening up high on his spine as it is affecting all his legs. If there is no change on Prednisone, then we still have to consider that the neurotoxins from the tick have not cleared yet or he did in deed have the embolism.
The tests to go on and try and figure this out better are MRI's and Cat-scans. We don't have these machines here in town. If we did, they might be able to spot a tumour or disc disease. Or, most likely, tests would be negative and we would be in the same boat. In either case there would be nothing much that could be done on a ten year old dog on a 50 year old working woman's budget.
So, I am prepared to wait and see and prepare a spot in the basement for Lobo to hang out with me and the cats without having to do stairs. I could set up a computer and TV and instead of vegging in my present livingroom, we could hang out in the basement when Lobo is in the house for meals and visiting. He has been sleeping down there the last few nights and can continue to do so. I will continue to perfect an easy way for him to get in and out of my truck. He has been doing the ramp for the last several days without trouble, but I will build something else if I have to. Stairs are the big problem. He tends to fall down the last several. He can go up them pretty good. So the "basement livingroom" would solve that problem.
That is where we are at now. I am grateful that he isn't in the condition that he was in last Wednesday. As he stands now, he is doing well but won't be going on any long hikes. He is definitely happy and playful now. He wasn't last week. We had a really nice walk in the woods after the vet visit.
After that first horrible day, things are no longer urgent. Lobo is getting around and still having a fun life. If he gets better, that would be the best thing ever. If he doesn't, I will make sure we still have fun together. If he gets worse, we will deal with that.
The only sure thing about life, is that it changes.
April 19th 2011 7:07 am
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I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow. We sure hope there is something he can do. Thank you all my friends for the kind messages and gifts. I even got diary pick and new friends out of this.
April 17th 2011 12:48 pm
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I wasn't quite as strong this morning as I was yesterday. But I'm still okay. Still some wobbles and weakness. I did do my ramp and some stairs today but Mom is making me take it easy. Unless I have big troubles, Mom can't take me to the vet until Wednesday because of her job. That gives me a few more days to get stronger.
Mom will call the clinic tomorrow and give them a report. Hopefully I will pick up a bit before then.