Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Neurologist Appointment

Mom picked me up at Adobe Animal Hospital this morning at 7am and we took a fun 3 hour drive up to Rohnert Park to the Animal Care Center. It was fun because I was really glad to see Mom and especially the bagel she brought just for me. I feel bad that I lunged at it at an inappropriate moment while we were on the freeway but hey, Mom should know that food and me just cannot be apart!

I'm feeling a lot better now that I am off the steroids. I know they served a very usful purpose (according to my neurologist) but they gave me anemia and caused liver problems. But thanks to the wonderful care from Drs. Rogers and Shandro at Adobe I am feeling much better.

When we arrived at the Animal Care Center I was seen by the famous canine neurologist, Dr. Pedroia. I know he is famous because all the other vets I have seen say that he is the best! Mom always tells me nothing but the best for her Sammy so this is what I expect. Connie, my swim instructor, says Dr. Pedroia is the best too and Connie knows everything about doggies.

Dr. Pedroia examined me quietly and carefully. I wanted to make sure he knew my bladder was working properly so I peed all over the carpet. I think I impressed the doctor with how much pee I could do in one sitting. Dr. Pedroia looked over my records from the Adobe, Porte, and Pet's Friend vets. He agreed with Drs. Condreay, Miller, Shandro and Rogers that since my back legs improved with steroid use that I have a different problem than degenerative myelopathy (DM). Or it may be that I have DM and something else. He said that DM never improves with steroids. But the problem is that the steroid side effects are too much for me...I'm losing weight, have terrible diarrhea, became anemic, etc. So I cannot stay on the steroids. But Dr. Pedroia said trying out the steroids was the right thing to do to see if they helped me. Which they did.

So now I am staying at the Animal Care Center for a few days while the steroid effects wear off. Then I will come home to be with Mom. Then I will return for an MRI. After Dr. Pedroia looks at the MRI he will know what to do next. I overheard him talking to Mom tonight and he said my liver numbers were back up and he expects that in a day or two I will be healthy enough to come home and then return for the MRI late next week. Dr. Pedroia is out next week till Thursday so there will be a bit of a wait for the next step which might be surgery. I don't know what surgery is but I know that Mom will make the right decision so I don't worry about these things.

Mom asked Dr. Pedroia if doggies mind that they cannot walk. Dr. Pedroia said that we doggies don't care at all. I would have to agree. As long as I feel good and can eat and pay attention to what's going on, who cares if I can't chase a cat? The reality, and this is a confession, is that despite of 11 years of chasing cats, I have never, ever caught one.

Well, I'm sleepy but comfortable here in my little cage at the Animal Care Center. I'm getting used to being poked and prodded and carried around. What's most important is that I am getting plenty of delicious food! I do worry about Mom being at home all lonely without me which is why I am blogging that she knows I am OK and thinking of myself (hey, dogs are completely self-centered, it's our nature!).

To all of my cyberdog buddies -- demand that your humans give you a treat and hug you because anything can happen. We doggies should leverage our cuteness at every possible moment.

Pictures from the day's adventure are below.



At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous barked...

Thanks so much for letting us know how your exciting day went. We all love you so much, but not as much as your Mom (but very, very, very close). Have a good night Sammy-Boy.
Aunt Cindy

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous barked...

Hi Sam,
You are one busy boy. I bet you never traveled so much before. But you are certainly in the best and most trusted hands now. Mom and I are rooting for the doctors to find out the very best treatment for you.
By the way, a little pee never hurt any carpet - it is a way to "season" it.
Good luck and enjoy your trip home.
Your pal,
Kody the GSD

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous barked...

Dear Sam,
We hope Dr Pedroia can get to the root of the problem and help you get better once and for all.
Hey! You look really handsome and your all-black coat is gorgeous.
Hang in there buddy!
Kobi sends doggy-licks to your Mom for her supreme love and dedication to making sure you get the best treatment.
Wags and Reows
Kobi the JRT-boy

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Heidi barked...

Marie stepping in for Heidi,

Degenerative Myelopathy
In many respects, DM is similar to what has been discovered about the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis in human beings. In fact, based upon new data concerning the pathology of MS, we can now say with some degree of certainty that DM is MS in dogs.
Degenerative Myelopathy German Shepherd Dogs

Now this I have experience with. Steroids are a common treatment for MS. Humans with MS do show improvement under treatment or at least some relief. Not sure if it's the same for dogs. All kinds of nerve damage is treated with steroids. I wonder why your neuro doesn't think they helped at all? Just wondering.

Also the link above provides info on a variety of nuitritional supplements. Sammy may benefit from anti-oxidents. It helped me.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Heidi barked...

I meant I wonder whay your neuro said DM never improves with steroid treatments.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Sam the beautiful all-black German Shepherd Dog! barked...

Hi Marie,

This is Cynthia stepping in for Sam.

Thanks for the information. I was not aware of the effect of steroids on MS in humans, although I had been told DM in dogs is similar to MS in humans. I don't really know why the vets say that DM doesn't improve with steroids but all of them so far have said this, including the neurologists. I just spoke with the other neurologist a few minutes ago...Sam's neurologist is out till end of next week. The other neurologist also was pretty convinced Sam does not have DM. He did say that a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug should be tried, but not till Sam's liver recovers from the last bout with steroids. Also, the MRI, which can't be done till Sam is "healthy" again (because a dog will not just lie still and has to be under anesthesia) should reveal enough info about the spine for them to be more definitive about the diagnosis.

I will look at the anti-oxidant list next. I did have him on a variety of vitamins, etc. but when he got diarrhea I took them all away.

I hope I am not on a wild goose chase for both my sake and Sam's. He doesn't seem to mind being in the hospital though -- he's pretty flexible as long as food is plentiful :-)

Cynthia (Sam's Mom)

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Heidi barked...

As long as Sammy is comfortable and loved he will be fine. I hope that they can find a problem and figure how to give him some relief. He's been such a good boy through all of this.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Max the Wonder Dog barked...

Hi Sam,

My name is Max. I'm a California dog who lives in Camarillo. I wanted to pass some more puppy love and positive thoughts along to you. My cousin, Stella the German Shepherd, had DM or a similar condition. She and her Mom were able to adapt to the situation so that Stella continued to get a lot of joy out of life.

I hope that you rest easy while you're at the Animal Care Center and that your mom brings you 2 bagels when she comes to pick you up!

Woofs and Wags,


At 9:17 AM, Blogger Charlie barked...

You always have good advice. I agree we should 'Carpe Diem' and sieze the day. You never know what life has in store for tomorrow, so we & our humans have to make the most of each day to do things together and love each other up!

I hope you're better real soon! If your mom has anything to say about it, I know you will be.
- Charlie

p.s. Awesome pee!

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous barked...

Dear Sam,
You are in good hands. Dr. Pedroia is the best. He fixed me up and now I play ball great! They thought I might have had DM too, but I have degenerative disc disease and had a laminectomy 3 years ago. My mom says it was the hardest thing she'd ever had to do, but she did it for me. Your mom sounds great too. Good luck! And hang in there! Love Akela (GSD too)


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