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-   -   Upgrade Equipment or Save My Dog? (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=15115)

Hedgemaster 11-12-2011 05:40 PM

Upgrade Equipment or Save My Dog?
 
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...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3068.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3070.jpg


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.

http://www.pvs-ec.com/tour/index.php

http://animalcarefund.org/UserFiles/File/pvsec_3.jpg

Anyway, that's the condensed version. You never know what may come along and change your plans for your business. (or your life, for that matter)

Any prayers for Pepe's recovery are appreciated.
And don't ever tell your dog you don't want kisses. I felt like hell after that and thought I'd never get a kiss from my buddy again.

bruces 11-12-2011 06:27 PM

I certainly hope Pepe recovers fully .

B-2 Lawncare 11-12-2011 06:35 PM

Man I am crying now thanks dick, YOU had better saver your dog, Save your dog.

Ducke 11-12-2011 06:46 PM

Man I just want to give him a big hug .
he looks so scared in the pictures.:(
Please keep us posted.

Hedgemaster 11-12-2011 07:04 PM

Thanks, guys. It's been a rough couple of days and he probably won't be home until Monday at the earliest.

The place seems so empty without him here.




I was looking for a pic of him in better times when I ran across the "snow fort" album. LOL! (Yes, I build my dog snow forts)

This was Feb 2010...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/104_4461.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/104_4456.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/104_4452.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/104_4311.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/104_4398.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/104_4401.jpg

JeffK26 11-13-2011 08:08 AM

Aww..... Good looking dog you have Hedge, me, the wife and Scout, my dog send our best.

Hedgemaster 11-13-2011 07:33 PM

Not much change from yesterday. Still just lying on his side, although they did see some movement in his back legs today.

He gave us kisses when we got down near his face.
Going to talk to the neurologist tomorrow to see what the plan is from here.

Thanks to all for kind words and prayers.

Steve 11-14-2011 11:11 AM

I hope Pepe is feeling better soon!

Hedgemaster 11-14-2011 10:46 PM

Day 3 - Post OP:

We went to visit Pepe today and spent a good hour and a half with him. The staff is wonderful - we kept asking if we were interrupting them, and offered to move/leave if needed, but they were fine with us being there. One of the ladies even said it was nice to see us there, as some of the dogs don't get visitors.

He looked a lot better today, and while he's still not moving much, he's off of the IV and taking pain meds orally. He still has the catheter and will likely stay that way when we bring him home until he gets to where we can help him outside to do business.

Barring anything odd, we should be able to bring him home tomorrow afternoon/evening.

It was extremely busy there tonight, but while Pep's surgeon was rounding, he stopped in to speak with us for about 10 minutes. I didn't know whether to be delighted, or offended when Pepe began wagging his tail when Dr. MacKillop came into the room - he didn't wag his tail for US! LOL! (But he gave us kisses!)
It was pretty awesome. He really likes Pep. He said he even gave him a treat before he went home the one night after his surgery. "He just looked so pitiful, I had to give him a treat!"

The doctor got down and moved Pep into another position while we talked about the plan for his discharge. We were pleased to see that he didn't protest being moved. Before we take him home we are going to have them go over what they've been doing with him in regards to physical therapy.

Hopefully I can figure out a way to post the x-ray of the screws/bands that were put in his spine. He may have less range of motion side to side now, but "up/down" should be OK.

Oh, I almost forgot - this was pretty funny...
We were lying with Pep before Dr. MacKillop came in, and one of the techs brought two Pugs into the room to "say goodbye" to another tech working there (they were being discharged). They were both on leashes and very excited, and when Pep heard their little feet clicking on the hard floor, he started to wag his tail and let out a "Wuuup-wuuuup!" - even tried raising his head a little more than we have seen him do before. He knew that there were "puppies!" in the room.

I took some more pics today that I'll have to post. A little more encouraging than the previous photos, I must say.

Thanks again to all for your continued support.

Hedgemaster 11-14-2011 10:49 PM

Pics from this evening's visit...


He started getting sleepy and closed his eyes for a nap.

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3077.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3078.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3081.jpg


Can't a dog get a cat-nap around here? Who do I speak to about getting a private room?


http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3082.jpg



After Dr. MacKillop moved him. He was a lot more alert and in this position he could keep an eye on the activity in the room...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3087.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3084.jpg

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3088.jpg



I love you, mom...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3093.jpg


You too dad, but what's up with the camera? You're not going to show that photo to anyone ARE you?

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3094.jpg


Sigh. This is going to be on the internet - I just know it...

http://i886.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/IMAG3100.jpg


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