Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, April 24, 2017

I Thought We Had More Time...

before we had to start worrying about our almost 14 month old Bernese Mountain Dog having any sort of health issues that would impact her quality of life.

Not true. Just 18 months after we lost Adler, I found myself back in a similar situation with big decisions to make. After we returned from spring break, I noticed her dragging her back paws and almost stumbling. Since we had her groomed, I thought maybe one of her nails was cut too short. I watched her over the next couple of days and her wobbling seemed to get a bit better but on longer walks it definitely was more noticeable. After almost a week, I came home after Tom had taken her for a long walk to her front paws pretty bloody indicating that now she was dragging her front paws too. I called the vet and brought her in immediately. They noticed her gait was off and after taking an Xray that showed nothing they sent me to a neurologist for an MRI. After our initial consultation, they were pretty sure that what they were seeing was what's known as Wobbler's Disease found in large and giant breed dogs and sometimes in those under 3 years of age as their bodies grow so fast and sometimes due to this there are ligaments compressing the spinal cord. We did an MRI that showed 30-40% compression between the 5th and 6th vertebrae. The next step was either to take her right into surgery to relieve the compression or mask the pain for who knows how long with medication before she lost total use of her legs. Since she is so young we decided to do the surgery as we wanted her to have the best chance for a normal life.

So last Tuesday, Sadie went directly from her MRI into surgery. There her doctor injected a special cement around her spinal cord to relieve the compression. Surgery went very well and she spent three days at the hospital afterwards (in her own suite because she was too big - 106 lbs. -to be crated). She still has a long road ahead as recovery is 8 weeks with no playing, jumping or walking. Her gait will recover with time and we hope this is it for her and she never has to spend time at the animal hospital ever again!

Two paws shaven as she chewed the catheter guard and pulled out the line so for the second one they had to cast her forearm so it was harder for her to get to it.

The incision site. Just below her neck and at least six inches long, closed with staples.

She can't do much so she enjoys laying in our neighbor's grass as she's only allowed to walk a few houses down. And, today, she sat outside on our front porch for 45 minutes. Leashed but she was as happy as can be - even when another dog walked by!


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