Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The MRI that didn't happen....

This week sure has started out with a bang. On Monday morning Zane had his first color echocardiogram. I felt that it was important to assess Zane's overall heart health before he undergoes anymore anesthesia. With two potential surgeries in the near future and a MRI, Zane will be "put under" quite a bit in a short time. The echo went well and there are no signs of potential problems. That was a huge weight lifted off my chest. I know that he is not out of the woods, however, as dilated cardiomyopathy can strike quickly and without warning even when there are clean echos. For now, I will focus my worries on other issues.

Zane was scheduled for his MRI to take place once we finished the heart testing. The Dr called me about 30 minutes after I left Zane and told me that he could not do the MRI as the gold beads were interfering with the imaging. I questioned him about this before we ever scheduled the appointment but he said that he had done it before. Dr. Durkes was adamant that a MRI could not be done on Zane. He said that the beads have a magnetic quality. Apparently, sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. Zane has over 300 beads in his neck so I would bet that caused quite an issue for the machinery.

Since we couldn't do the MRI we agreed to go ahead with the myelogram. We knew there was a strong chance that we would have to go that route in order to get the answers we need. Dr. Bergman told us that we would need to leave Zane for the night so they could monitor his reaction to the dye and make sure he got everything flushed out of his system. He cautioned us that sometimes a dog's Wobbler's symptoms could be made worse by the procedure but that it should clear up in a few days, with less than a 1% chance of a fatal reaction.
Dr. Bergman called us a couple hours later to let us know that all had gone well. He sees atrophy of Zane's spinal cord at C6-7 that he is very concerned about. The problems at C4-5 and C5-6 are not as severe but could get worse over time. He requested a radiologist to review the findings and offer a second opinion.

The following morning (Tuesday), Dr. Bergman called us as we were on our way to pick up Zane. He told me that Zane was doing much worse than the night before and that he could not lift his head or even sit up. He said that we could leave Zane there longer for follow up care or if we were up to it we could bring him home. We immediately elected to bring him home. I know strange environments can be very stressful to dogs. Danes are very susceptible to stress and can even bloat as a result. We felt he would do better at home. They wheeled Zane out on a gurney and as soon as he saw us he gave a little tail wiggle and sat up. We got him loaded into the van and headed home. He had not eaten at all while he was there so I stopped on the way to get him some extra tasty foods. He did not move for the entire hour that we rode home. I worried about how we would get all 132lbs of him into the house. He could not even sit up for more than a minute. He was dead weight to carry in. I have no idea how I got the strength to help Greg carry Zane up the front steps and into the house.
Zane spent most of the day sprawled out on his mattress in the living room. We could not leave him alone at all. He would try to get up and flop over if we were not right there to lay him back down. He was so pitiful and we wondered if he would ever get back up on his own.
I fed him canned food and warm broth throughout the day. We put him in diapers and spent the rest of the day cleaning up urine leaks and doing loads of laundry! All the other dogs were very quiet for the day and cautiously sniffed him whenever they passed by. Daizee could often be found laying nose to nose with her best buddy. I gave him 100mg of Tramadol every 8hours and 40mg of Prednisone once daily. I have learned that Prednisone should always be given in the morning to mimic the body's own natural cycle of cortisol production.

As if all that wasn't stressful enough, it rained all day. By early evening, a tornado watch had been issued for our area. The winds picked up around 7:30 in the evening and I started to get stressed/ panicked that something was about to happen. I have awesome intuition. It's generally pretty dead on. Within minutes of coming back into the house to warn my husband that large branches were dropping on the house, two 75' tall pine trees came crashing down across our driveway and landed parallel to our house. Our 2 vehicles were crushed. Our car is only 1 year old today and the van, well it's a '95 but it's like gold to me. I use it to do dog rescue and for transporting all 4 of my dogs. The "totaled" value of it is only $1500... but for the purpose it serves, it is probably worth more to me than the car. I can't exactly replace it with that kind of payout. So now I guess we will be car and van shopping very soon.

We headed off to bed with heavy hearts. Talk about having a bad day.....

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