Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pretty girl Zala

Zala Bu

Zala Bu is missing one of her big lower molars on each side of her mouth. They never came in. So sometimes her tongue falls out when she is sleeping. Charming example of poor genetics, huh? She has Addison's Disease and came to live with us as a foster in August of 2008. She never left and is a permanent member of the Z pack now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zane's summer

Well, where did we leave off? Oh, yes, Zane was having some "issues" with his knee....
From the beginning of Zane's issues with his left knee, I was concerned that he could be having some additional neuro issues. We always kept tabs on that but let the blame fall on his knee for everything. In the beginning of June, I was again seeing more neuro issues. He was often knuckling on his front right leg and would actually support himself on his wrist when bending down to sniff something on the ground. Occasionally he would trip or stumble when walking. Again, the vets said it was probably the unsteadiness of his back leg and to have patience. In the middle of June, I made an emergency trip in to our rehab vet office for another set of knee xrays. We could see swelling around his knee. A quick email of the xrays to our knee vet and we had a diagnosis..patella tendonitis. More pain meds and rest for Zane. Oh, and a new offer for a treatment to help Zane's slowly healing knee.
One of the vets at the office where we do rehab has started doing stem cell treatments. They harvest stem cells from the dog to put back into an area of poor healing. It has a really great success rate and they offer to do this for Zane at a much reduced rate of $1700. Greg and I talk it over for a couple of days and decide that this is a really good opportunity for Zane. All the doctors on Team Zane think this is a really good option for him. We schedule the surgery for 2 weeks out and allow his knee some more quiet time.
The neuro issues continue to increase and I keep a checklist to discuss with the vet. In my head, I can't sort out which problems are due to the knee and which are due to neck issues. I go over the list with Zane's knee surgeon and he recommends that I go over the same list with the neurologist and get another check up. If all is clear in the neck, then come out with Zane to see him for a check up. Ahh...if only I could get these 2 wonderful surgeons in the same city!
Neurologist says to bring him in the following day, no appointment necessary. Zane is now barely walking and trips outside to potty take 15 minutes at a time because he has to rest before walking back in. Meanwhile I have my mom staying with us for the week. So on a Thursday, I drop her off at the airport and then make a beeline to the vets with Zane.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spring 2009 brought more surgeries for Zane....

You would think by now we would have had enough with surgeries for Zane. Unfortunately, his body said otherwise. In February, he suffered a partial tear of the ccl in his right knee. Right on schedule, since about half of the dogs with ccl ruptures will tear the other ccl within a year. Rather than wait for the tear to get worse and start causing Zane more pain, we opted to go ahead with surgery quickly and try to head off any additional problems. Seemed like a good enough plan.

Zane had another TTA surgery on February 12th. The surgery went well and he was able to come home again on the same day. He took all his pills on schedule and easily resigned himself to being leashed for potty time out back. He had a much easier time getting around than last year and didn't seem to have as much pain. He was recovering well aside from a lot of seepage from his incision. We kept that in check as best we could by applying pressure bandages.

Ten days later, disaster struck. I noticed Zane toe touching more than usual with his right leg and not putting much weight on it. By the following morning, he was having a really hard time walking. I took him out back to potty and he stopped walking. I couldn't get him to move. After about 5 minutes I bribed him with a ride in the van. He limped off to the van and we headed to the ER for xrays.

More bad news for Zane as something went wrong and he had a tibial crest failure. On the xrays, it looked like a broken leg to me. His surgeon took the weekend to figure out how he would like to repair the broken Zane and order a bone block for grafting. By Tuesday the cadaver bone was in and I drove Zane back out for another surgery. This time he spent the night. He came home wearing a huge "Carolina Blue" cast to further protect his leg.

Ten days later, stitches were removed and we tried going cast- less. A few days later and I was in with a local surgeon to wrap Zane in another cast for stability. This one we did in bright green since St Patrick's Day was quickly approaching. That lasted about a week. In general, he continued to do well even though he was much more cautious about using the leg.

Another week or so later and Zane was suddenly coming up lame... again. Through the course of a day, his knee cap developed some twin peaks. Off to the ER for more xrays. The pins that were used in his revision surgery were backing out. So the following day we scheduled surgery with a doctor we didn't know to go in and get the pins out before they broke through the skin. Another new incision and more healing to follow. Oh, and another $1000 bill.

Certainly not the way we envisioned this knee repair to go. We thought this one would be so much easier since we were just dealing with a partial tear.

Friday, January 2, 2009

7 Months later and what has Zane been up to?

I know, I know...way over due on the updates!

Zane has been doing very well since surgery back in May. His rehab was coming along nicely but something was still off with Zane. I was sure of it but just couldn't put a finger on it. Everybody suggested that I be patient, after all the poor dog had just been through 3 major surgeries in only eight weeks time. It was his personality that seemed down. He wasn't eating well and his weight was starting to drop. He was occasionally vomiting in the morning after getting up. My intuition is good so when I had finally convinced myself that he wasn't right, I took him into my regular vet and asked to run a full blood panel and fecal. I asked for everything to be sent to an outside lab. I was a little suspicious of whipworms since I had a foster dog last summer that had them. They can hatch in your soil and stick around for a long time to reinfect your unsuspecting dog. We were pretty surprised with the results.

Zane had a major coccidia infection brewing in his gut. Generally, this is a puppy parasite problem and healthy adult dogs can keep this parasite in check. However, it can present a problem for dogs with weakened immune systems (thanks to the prednisone) and dogs that are under stress ( 3 surgeries) and are in otherwise poor health. Zane stayed on antibiotics for another 3 weeks and showed a gradual improvement after about 10 days. He started to eat again and his energy level perked back up. We did a follow up fecal check a month later and all came up clear.

I learned 2 things from this experience. First, do fecals more often than at the yearly check up. We now run them 3 times a year. Second, only do fecal checks by centrifuge. Fecal floats don't show everything and if I had relied on that method, as I had in the past, the coccidia would not have been detected.

The summer resumed and Zane enjoyed hanging out on the back deck under his giant umbrella with the misting fan blowing cool water his direction. My pack loves to play in the doggie pools so every day we would refill with fresh water. I know, a bit of a no- no in a drought but the other neighbors do it with their kids so why not with mine?

I started back up with another dane rescue after taking a bit of a hiatus from the rescue I had been with previously. This group promised more organization and an active volunteer group. I had been sending them Danes in need of rescue for months now so I finally jumped on board mid summer. I agreed to help out at meet and greets (adoption events) and was up to doing short term foster for special needs Danes.

I'll save that whole story for another post but know for now that the pack has grown!

Zane has had several follow up visits with his neurologist and all is healing well. He runs and plays with the other dogs. When he has had enough I tell him so or he just heads off on his own to my bed for a little rest time. He looks great and is enjoying life. We are enjoying it right along with him!