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He's not improving as well as we had hoped.
He just lies there. He'll move his legs on occasion, but makes no effort to move or even lift his head. I try to coax him to move his neck when I'm feeding him by moving the food around.
I think his neck is giving him a lot of discomfort and the surgery has him twisting his head to the right when we stand him up. (which makes it impossible to keep his balance)
We are able to "stand" him now. He has enough strength in his back legs to hold himself up for a few minutes, but the front legs aren't doing much yet. If I position his feet properly for him, he keeps the front legs straight until he gets tired.
Unfortunately, all this effort involved in standing him doesn't make for a relaxed trip outside to "do business" and we've only been able to get him to pee once outside.
We have an exercise "peanut" that we're going to use to help do physical therapy. Drape him over it to support his weight, then by rolling it forward or back, we can get him used to applying pressure to the legs again.
It's very hard, and it's quite frustrating. Everything that needs done takes a lot of time to do - rolling him over every few hours, stretching his limbs, feeding, watering, cleaning off the pee/poop when he goes... it's very time consuming.
My back is killing me. He's only 52 lbs., but picking up a "limp" dog that has had surgery done on his neck is a lot more tricky than carrying a bag of sand.
It's going to be a long road with ups and downs. If we can get to the point where he pees outside - even if I have to carry him - it will be a start. It may be that he needs to "re-learn" that since he had a catheter in for about a week.
Anyway, thanks for asking. Keep us in your prayers.
Heh. also had to take a cat to the vet the other day. He hadn't eaten in over 4 days and long story short/$460 later, he's doing better.
I just can't catch a break.
Here is our dog Charlie age 11 @ the time. He was diagnosed with cancer, so the vet cut off his front leg, he beat the cancer for the next four months & then was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, we ultimately had to put him to sleep. One of the saddest days for our family in recent memory. I honestly can't tell you what to do, but I know Charlie is not in pain anymore. Good Luck man!
The wife and I were both out of the room and around 7:30pm, my wife called to me, "Come quickly - be quiet!"
I peeked around the corner and there he was, still lying on his bed, but upright, and turned to the left, licking his back foot!
He continued for a minute, then looked at us as if to say "what are YOU looking at?"
He then straightened out, still upright, and lay there for a few minutes looking as though none of this ever happened.
It's a milestone we needed to see. He soon lay back onto his side again and fell asleep, but that was amazing to see.
This morning I found him off of his bed! He was out a full foot away from the edge, just lying there on his side. I thought that he had peed his bed, or even worse, on the carpet where he was lying, but that wasn't the case.
A little while later I came into the room after feeding the cats, and discovered that he had righted himself again...
More recently, we had him outside when he began whimpering, and he pooped for the first time while upright. I had his feet positioned so that he could "stand" while I supported his weight. He started to "sag" in the back and I thought his legs were giving out, but then realized he was trying to squat to poop. Another victory.
It's nice out, so we put him down in the grass afterward and he was able to lay in the upright position fairly well. A neighbor and his girlfriend came up to see Pepe when they saw us outside and Pep actually tried to "go" to them. He didn't accomplish anything, but his legs were making an effort to do so.
After we brought him back in, we looked wiped out and he was lying on his side again, but after a while he picked himself up and began licking his back foot! We were both standing there to see him do it this time.
The orange cat is Boo Boo. He and Pepe are buddies who groom each other often, but the reason Boo is in the picture here is because I had the quartz heater on to keep Pepe warm - the cats LOVE the heater. There were three cats there until I started taking photos, and they left.
We go to see the neurologist tomorrow for a follow up visit.
He's still not able to get up, or even walk if I hold him up. The back legs are getting stronger, but the front legs don't "work" well enough yet. He did TRY to walk to someone yesterday, but his front legs didn't do what he wanted them to do and I had to catch him from going face first onto the ground.
This is an amazing challenge and if he were any heavier I don't know that I would have been able to deal with this. It's physically demanding moving him, carrying him outside, and bending over to steady/support him while he does his business.
He seems bored, so I picked up a few bone type things for him to chew on. It gives him some added motivation as well since I sometimes place them out of reach to encourage him to get them himself. You gotta crawl before you can walk, right?
Thanks. Yes, it went well.
The Neurologist examined him and felt that he was progressing OK. He noted the improved use of the rear legs.
They also cathed him to get a urine sample to make sure he didn't have any infections brewing as a result of (a) having been catheterized and (b) "holding it" too long. (He tries to hold it as long as he can)
One really nice thing is that the doctor told us that we would never be charged for a re-exam/checkup and that due to our financial situation he's "writing off" some other fees as "educational" since Pepe's situation is so unique. (They are actually doing a medical write-up on his condition)
We would have been charged $130 for the testing done today, but it was waived. How cool is that?
Thanks a lot for the link! We actually have one similar to that. We bought it back when he last injured his neck in 2009, but haven't used it yet this time... he's almost ready for it though!
Well, it really is a no-brainer, but yesterday our dog underwent surgery to fuse several vertebrae in an effort to make this third "event" his last.
Very, very long story short, prior to last week, he has twice been left without the ability to move his extremities after his spine was pinched causing swelling that cuts off the signals from the brain to his legs/feet.
He's 7 now and the first time it happened he was not quite 2 years old.
Both events resulted in MRIs to determine the cause and took many weeks of physical therapy and steroids to reduce the swelling to the point where he could stand and eventually walk again.
The last time surgery was discussed as an option, but it's not without risk, nor is it inexpensive, so we decided to treat him conservatively as we had done the first time and while difficult, we were able to get him back to "normal" at home.
The first two times it happened as a result of him twisting his neck while playing with a ball - last week (Wednesday) it came out of the blue. I was sitting on the floor and he came over wanting to lick my face (his favorite thing in the world), but I didn't want my face licked and told him so. He simply turned and walked over to his bed where he yelped loudly/dropped and didn't move. We knew immediately that it had to be the same thing happening again - he wasn't moving.
Off to the ER.
After having yet another MRI, the neurologist spoke with us, and we all agreed that this was not going to get any better on it's own and had the potential to get even worse without treatment. Surgery was scheduled for the next day.
This really is a long and complicated story but that's the condensed version.
It couldn't have come at a worse time financially. The truck just needed $700 work to pass inspection a few weeks back, my wife was hospitalized for 4 days (although she has insurance), and my battery died one day while out working costing another $140. On top of that, the mowing season has all but dried up.
I had planned on upgrading to a 36" walk behind mower for next season, but vet bills are going to kill me. $860 from the emergency room/overnight/testing. $1,500 for the MRI and I believe the surgery is going to be around $2,500. (minimum)
Financially, there is one glimmer of hope, in that we have pet insurance.
They covered part of the bill from the first event, but due to some doctor's notes stating that his issue may have been congenital, they flat out denied payment for the second event. Gee, thanks.
The surgeon said that when he opened him up and could SEE what was going on, he believes it is not a "birth defect", but possibly an old injury from when he was a pup. (We adopted him at 10 mo. old)
Praying that the doctor can write something up to help us get this at least partially paid for by the insurance.
Here's our boy Pepe (Le Pew) in the ICU today...
The surgery took 4 hours and was not an easy one. He lost a LOT of blood and the situation with his neck is so unique that there isn't anything quite like it documented anywhere. Thankfully, the surgeon is the only board certified neurologist/neurosurgeon in western Pennsylvania, but even with his knowledge, much of what he did for Pepe had to be improvised.
We are very fortunate to live close enough to this facility. It opened a few years ago and is an emergency room and veterinary specialist hospital. All the specialists form the area got together to form a group and build this state of the art facility - it's truly amazing and rivals just about any human hospital I've seen.
Pepe has a "fan club" on another forum where I have a thread that's almost a "blog" following his progress. I'll cut/paste some of the entries here.
Friday, December 9, 2011:
He GOT UP and went to the door! (With some assistance)
Since Pepe seems to respond better when there's a motivating factor involved, we asked our postal carrier to "knock on the door" when he delivered today.
Earlier I had gotten him to crawl across the room to me so he could hang out in front of the sofa instead of being stuck on his "hospital bed". He was there for several hours, changing positions a few times, and at the time when the mail was delivered he was lying flat on his side.
"knock. Knock. Knock."
"Whooo-whooo-whooo!!!" he barked, as he turned, and in one fluid motion, used his front legs to STAND UP and head across the living room toward the door!
I had been sitting on the sofa, so I was able to "hover" over him in case he stumbled, but for the most part, he made it across the room pretty quickly, and under his own power! I kept him from going sideways once, and sort of caught him when he came to a stop because his front legs weren't positioned quite right, but overall, it was very impressive.
Wow. I don't think he understood why we were all so excited, but he got to get his head scratched by the mail man and got a treat, so I think he's happy.
Time to dig out the baby gates! It's only a matter of time before he wants to move about the house.
Monday, December 12, 2011:
I haven't posted in a few days because he hasn't done anything remarkable until today.
We had a repeat of the "Mail man" thing where he GOT UP and walked across the room to see the mail man at the door!
He was lying on his bed and saw the mail man come by the living room window... "WHoooo-whooo-whooo!!!", he said, but didn't get up until my wife opened the door and I told him to "GET HIM!" LOL
He got up and went right across the room without stumbling - tail wagging the whole time. It was pretty awesome.
The mail man stepped in to say hello to him/scratch his head and then Pep stuck his head in the mail bag looking for treats! I should have taken a picture - it was too funny.
After he left Pepe tried to turn around, but that didn't work out - his front legs didn't go where he needed them to go. I turned him around to see if he would walk some more, but he seemed a bit unsteady, so I picked him up, and put him back on his bed.
He can stand in place pretty well until his legs get tired. Here's a pic I took out in the front yard today...
He's never too happy about going outside because it's COLD out there!
ETA: I just got copies of his Xrays showing the screws he has in his spine! I'll try and upload them and post them later.
Five "self tapping" (ewwww!) surgical screws and two pins/K-Wires as well as bone cement (whitish mass under heads of screws) along the bottom. Interesting tidbit: the five screws alone cost $88.00!
Note that you can see that he was still tubed (for breathing) in this image.
Also, see that row of "things" along the bottom of his neck? Staples to close the incision!
Pre-Op View from Top:
Post-Op View from Top:
The surgeon called today to update us on the results of the urine sample they took last week. Initial results were OK, but they left the sample continue to "grow" a few more days and discovered something minor that we're going to go after with some antibiotics just to be on the safe side. He's got enough going on - no need to wait until something develops and adds to his problems.
While on the phone my wife let him know that we received the xrays and he then mentioned that he had surgical photos as well. Knowing that my wife has a medical background (Nurse - on disability due to numerous work related back injuries) he asked if she was interested in seeing those as well. We have them now. There are 2 of the procedure, as well as what I believe is a 3-D mock-up of the bones for surgical planning purposes. The photos are closeups, so it's not as though you see Pepe lying there "opened up" - it's just... CLOSE. Tissue and the ends of surgical instruments. I dunno how else to describe it.
I won't post it, but if anyone wants to see it, PM me and I'll link it for you.