Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Tough Week

Well, I had a tough week. I could barely walk at all this last week. Makes life hard for both me and Mom.

On Thursday Mom took me to the vet. This vet was recommended by Kathy, who is the Mom of my GSD swim buddy Jake. The new vet is Dr. Jennifer Condreay at Porte Veterinary Hospital located at 3265 Winchester Blvd., Campbell, CA 95008 phone (408) 374-6114.

Below is the note Mom sent to her friends after we saw the vet.

I had tried to tell Mom I was in pain but she didn't understand! But I feel a LOT better now. I'm happier, I can walk a little bit better, and I'm not snapping at anyone. Mom thinks the new medicine is controlling the pain. I wish I could tell you exactly how I feel but I'm only a dog and sometimes I can't really express myself.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me though. I'm happy! I love to eat. I like to bark at the cats. I love to ride in the car. I don't really like to swim but I like to go to the pool and see all of my friends.

Note sent by Mom to the Yahoo Group on Degenerative Myelopathy:

The new vet confirmed the DM diagnosis although she said she couldn’t be 100% sure. But given Sam’s breed, age, and behavior, DM is the most likely cause. Some kind of spine problem is a slight possibility, and X-rays would be required to totally rule it out. I didn’t have the x-rays done because the treatment would be the same as what we decided anyway.

The vet says that sometimes she has had temporary relief with steroids if the disease is a disc problem or a combination of a disc problem and DM . So Sam is now on dexamethasone (steroid) and sucralfate (for tummy lining). She said that we will know in 3-4 days if he is going to respond.

The vet confirmed that Sam is in pain in his rear end, particularly on his top back spine and around the tail base. This is why I am having so much trouble getting him into a harness. It’s pretty much impossible actually as he turns and snaps at me. The vet saw this behavior and she said he can’t be trained out of it because it is a spontaneous reaction to pain. She said I must not do things to him that cause him to snap at me as there is no doubt that eventually he could bite me very seriously. I had thought that DM was not painful but Sam’s reaction to being touched in the rear seemed out of character. The vet agreed this is not typical of DM and that’s why she wants to try the steroids. The vet said the steroids would help with the pain.

The vet also said that the sores on Sam’s foot would not heal well when he is on steroids and that I must wrap his foot in a bandage or have him wear booties.

She took a blood sample to check his liver function. (Results came back perfect.)

He was walking (wobbly) the whole time inside the vet office but when we left he collapsed in the parking lot. The vet assistant came to help but he snapped seriously at her even as she reached for him, she hadn’t even touched him. She and I spoke for awhile about Sam’s quality of life given that he is so afraid of being touched because of pain.


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