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Old 11-12-2011, 05:40 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Default 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...

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.

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.
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