2011-01-14

To Infinity And Beyond!

His favorite toy has lasted since puppyhood, nearly 13 years ago!
Buzz has a love affair with the newest doctor on his care team.  She feeds him dried liver, loves him up, and makes him feel like jumping for joy after every visit.  She even lets him lay down if he wants to.


After a visit to the cardiologist at the U of MN that resulted in an answer of "we did not perform an echo-cardiogram, but based on our evaluation today, we see no reason for heart problems to be causing Buzz's symptoms" or something to that effect, I was less distraught but still needed an answer.  So while I gave a HUGE  sigh of relief, I didn't know what to do next!  The cardiologist suggested a referral to the Internal Medicine Specialist but he wasn't all that certain we'd find anything there either.

The only reason he retrieves is for food.

I thanked him (profusely, I just may have kissed that man if it wouldn't have been unprofessional) for his time and headed home.  I pondered our options and decided to pursue the avenue our regular veterinarian initially thought was the case, pain.
Foot target to hand for leg raises.
I certainly wasn't keen on driving into Burnsville, MN even more frequently, but such is life when you find someone as remarkable as Dr. Julia Tomlinson.  Her assessment was "Buzz has a lot of stiffness in his lumbar spine and some evidence of nerve pinching (pain and loss of proprioception, right sided weakness).  I am surprised that his lumbosacral area does not seem to be bothering him much at this time.  I think the pain on right hip extension is probably due to right paraspinal muscle pain.  We need to manage pain and restore mobility before we think about strengthening.  GOALS: To restore mobility, manage pain, strengthen."


Taken from the front page of the Twin Cities Animal Rehabilitation website
Our mission statement: 
"To alleviate pain and restore our patients to maximal function,
improving their quality of life."

And so began Buzz's rehab.  His has gone much more smoothly than Bailey's has and he is progressing at what I think of as a normal rate.  At this point in time, he's receiving Adequan injections once a month and takes two oral medications every other day.  He's still on a joint supplement and fish oil.  He's able, willing, and ASKS to go for walks again, even in the snow and cold!  We can go for over half an hour at this point, and that is off leash exercise which is far more strenuous than town walking!  When we do go town walking, he's able to go-go-go until I'm ready to stop.  He's still lacking muscle in his rear but he can do stairs by himself now!

Beef ribs are a staple in this house!
Just this morning he took off at a dead run (seriously, he RAN) for the fields where we go walking.  It was a good 300 yard stretch that he RAN.  When he stopped it wasn't because he was hurting or panting... he wanted to sniff something!  Rather than trotting painfully and then walking, he's cantering around with joy now.

Grey is just distinguished, right?
I was honestly thinking about the dreaded E word this spring when we could NOT figure out what was going on with him.  To say I'm happy about his current state is a complete understatement.  I'm relieved, happy, and all sorts of excited about his progress.  I even entered him in a rally trial, with two runs in a single day.  He's going to be SO happy to get out and play again, and I'll be the smiling dork holding onto his leash.

Waiting for WAFFLES with Beckett!
I feel incredibly fortunate to have the resources I do.  Not only have I learned an immense amount from this experience, but my dogs are living better lives because of it.  I certainly didn't think I would be this "into" canine rehabilitation, but there's really no way around it after the results I've witnessed.  More specifically, the rehabilitation plans for both dogs has consisted of regular chiropractic care, strengthening exercises, stretching exercises, pain control when needed, and a lot of carefully controlled exercise.  None of it has been easy, I am human and forget to do their exercises sometimes, but the progress they've made is what keeps us going.  (And being able to show off Bailey's new-found ability to hold a stack on the tile floors at work today... yeah, that was pretty darn exciting.)

Chris wanted Buzz in the photo.
Buzz did not want to be in the photo.
I promise he is not actually being choked.

1 comment:

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That is fantastic news! You must be so relieved. I hope Buzz's rehab continues to go so smoothly