Join Date: Feb 2016
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Update: Hind end weakness
I wanted to post an update about where we are with Parker's problems and also share very important lessons we have learned throughout this ordeal. Anyone unfamiliar with this story please read my previous post laying out the background story.
His consultation with the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center in Appleton, WI was yesterday afternoon. My fiance brought him down and I stayed home with our other Havanese. I have some health issues which makes it hard to travel, as well. I was on speaker phone for the entire appt. Also, I sent a written summary of the chain of events starting from the very beginning of him beginning to miss the bed when trying to jump on it, then no longer jumping on the bed at all, and gave him the entire summary. Which they told me was extremely important and helpful in getting a proper diagnosis.
It turns out Parker has NO spinal issues whatsoever! Thank God for that!! However, he does have serious problems with both of his ACL's. One is completely gone and the other is pretty bad as well. The entire time the specialist was manipulating both of his legs to verify that this indeed was his problem and throughout the X-rays of both legs and his hips Parker NEVER cried, whimpered, or showed any signs of pain. The vet couldn't believe it.
That's the first VERY IMPORTANT message I want to get out to everyone. Throughout this entire situation which has played out now over 7 months. Parker yelped 3 times, once he woke up yelping, some time later he yelped when I was trimming the hair on the bottom of one paw, and the 3rd was when I was trimming one of his nails. He has always hated his feet touched so this is what I contributed the two times to (I was certain I did not trim to short or hit him with the scissors) and the other we were stumped but since immediately afterward he seemed normal we thought perhaps a nightmare. All of these were well before he started limping and spread out so they didn't seem connected. My point here is it is possible for certain dogs to be quite well at hiding pain. From what I've read this can be a natural instinct with pack type animals because weak or injured animals are at risk of predators. Secondly, Parker's personality is easy going, friendly, happy go lucky. Which makes him less likely to voice his pain or illness. Please learn from my mistake and be more alert and learn the common subtle signs your pet could be hiding his pain. Now, my Grace is very vocal and sends clear signs so it really does depend on the animal.
The second thing I want to get out there is this; When we took Parker to our regular vet the moment he began limping and there were obvious signs something was wrong, I distinctly told him, when he limped it looked just like when my yorkie had a luxating patella some years ago so I think this might be what it is. He clearly did not listen to us and failed to do the manipulation test to check his ACL's. He did look at his knee and since he showed no outward signs of pain he dismissed the leg entirely without going further and checking his ACL condition. In addition to him not listening, we are to blame for being overly trusting of the vet because he was the professional. WE should have asked for an X-ray of the leg. At the end of that appt because Parker turned and looked at him when he touched his back and the skin on his back twitched (something I told him he has done forever when I would pet his back)he concluded it was his back and started him on some prednisone for inflammation. He said if this didn't help he would come back to do X-rays then.
I won't go further in to the story because it is written in my first post looking for advice. So, if anyone cares to learn the rest please look at my first post titled (Hind end weakness)
The last point I want to make is this; If we would not have sought the second opinion I would have been giving Parker the dexamethasone which is a very powerful steroid that was never needed and comes with it's own set of side effects the healthy part of his body didn't need. Also, the first vet had the mentality that if we couldn't get things under control with medication it was basically hopeless, as he advised against any type of surgery on his spine because he felt the risk of surgery was too high. We would have gone on thinking it was a spinal problem that would never improve. The no surgery wasn't even true. The second opinion taught us that the back surgery is performed often and with great success and although her diagnosis was also wrong she put us in touch with the specialist that immediately knew where to look based off of symptoms, the two vet reports and the X-rays of his back, and my summary of chain of events which in hindsight I could see when it most likely started.
Although he still needed surgery, it wasn't nearly as grave and his prognosis is fantastic! We opted to do both legs at once, because they both were beyond point of repairing with rest. This way also saves him from two surgeries with two anesthetizing, two hospital stay charges, etc. I just now got notice he is out of surgery and in recovery and everything went great! He will need to stay in the hospital for at least 2 days perhaps a little more but they are giving him wonderful care! He has a little blankie that has the scent of me on it and a toy from home to comfort him as well. I will keep you all informed.
In the end I certainly wish I would have done some things different and better. But I am also thankful I listened to my gut and sought a second and ultimately a third opinion. One thing I want to make sure to convey is Parker comes from a very good breeder who is completely involved with the pups she brings in to the world, does all the necessary testing, and her training begins at birth with massage and other early life stimulation. So, this definitely was not a case of poor breeding.
I cannot tell you all how much I appreciate all the kind words and information sharing, along with moral support. By sharing our experience I hope I have paid it forward and helped give useful advice to others. I will post updates throughout his recovery too. This summer, when Parker is all healed up, I will post a video of him playing pain free with his sister! Thanks again! You guys are as special as our Havanese babies are!