Friday, February 22, 2008

Catastrophy strikes

Seems like with a Wobbler's dog, you are always waiting and watching for the "what next?" Well, I got the what next on Wednesday evening. Zane was outside hanging with the pack. I was calling them in to the house when I noticed Zane fall and yelp. He didn't get back up. I ran out to him and steadied him as he tried to get to his feet. I knew immediately that it was one of two potential problems. Either he had hurt his back and a nerve was pinching and messing up signals to his leg or he had torn his ACL.

My vet had already left the office for the day so I had to decide whether or not to head out to the ER. We've been to the ER with our dogs before and have concluded that unless it's life threatening, it's not worth the money or time. We're glad they are there for emergencies, but it best be an emergency and therefore worth the money. Zane did not appear to be in pain as long as he was off the leg. We decided that we would wait until morning unless he worsened overnight. I even let him sleep on the bed so that I could keep an eye on him.

He made it through the night ok and we took him straight to the vet specialists/ER first thing in the morning. My hope was that we would get to see an orthopedic specialist and/or our neurologist in the event that there were any issues diagnosing Zane. We got lucky as they put Zane right in with the neurologist. He watched Zane limp along for a few minutes and then did a few checks of the leg. With a heavy sigh, he confirmed my suspicions of a torn ACL, no orthopedist needed for this diagnosis.

Now, I have been through two torn ACL's already with Zoe, the Lab and I think I know a thing or two about their treatments. No problem, "so when can we schedule his TPLO?" I ask. Then the ball drops...Zane is not a candidate for surgery. His Wobbler's is viewed as being too unstable. What??? I thought Zane was doing pretty damn good. Not so says the good doctor. The fact that Zane is still on Prednisone shows that he is not progressing and therefore is not stable.

Now starts the flurry of questions. Dr. Bergman suggests stabilizing Zane's neck via fusion surgery and some other procedure, the name eludes me, that involves cutting down some bone to allow the spinal cord to move more freely. Yikes...back to square one. He spent a long time fielding questions from Greg and I (much longer than my initial visit back in Sept) and gives us some technical papers regarding the procedure. He urges us to take our time thinking about what we want to do next as he doesn't want to rush us into a decision. We scheduled an appointment for a MRI, which he assures us he can do despite the gold beads being in Zane's neck.

I also scheduled an echo cardiogram for Zane. I have been learning about dilated cardiomylopathy (DCM) in Danes. In order to know if your dog has any heart issues, you need to do regular testing. It's recommended to do a baseline echo at 18-24 months. Once a dog shows visible signs of heart disease, it it usually to late to treat it effectively. I had an echo scheduled for March 17th but now I have moved up the date. Before I make any big decisions about such major surgeries back to back for Zane, I want to know that his heart is stable.

So now we wait for those tests to guide us further.