Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oops I'm Leaking

Sometimes when I stand up I dribble a little pee on the carpet. AP is not happy that I am not getting better and we still dont know what is wrong with me. We are going to see a new Dr. in Virginia next week and maybe they can figure something out. In the meantime I have to wear a belly band. AP could not find a belly band big enough for me so she made one out of a fleece sheet and an abdominal brace. She bought some Poise Pads and puts one in it and wraps the brace around my waist. I really dont like it but I will deal with it till someone fixes my problem. My friend Carolyn from Carolyns Originals is going to make me a real professionally made belly band. She also made my beach hat that I really like, I am sure I will like her belly band better than this thing...
Home Made Belly Band

Monday, November 28, 2011


We found a boot that is light enough for Tonka to walk in. It's the ruff wear Skyliner boot.

OK more like stump around in but it protects his nails and his pads so I like it....  On bad days we revert back to the sock and duct tape and it only took 2 days to wear a split in it.
Thank goodness for shoe goo and duct tape.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I had acupuncture today with Dr. Phillips at GAVH
She stuck some little needles in me (even one in my head). She read through my very large file before our appointment and knew all about all my medical challenges. Maybe this will make my leg work again. She uses these little needles and they don't hurt at all. You can barely see the one in my head.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Physical Therapy

Today Chris Allyn Fritsch, M.Ed, ATC, PT, CCRP and Diana Huey, RVT, CCRA met with me and AP to decide a course of action to get my foot working again. Chris found some swelling in my back and was pressing on things to see if she could get them to go back where they belong. She did some Laser thingy on my back and then they showed AP some things to do with me everyday to try and help me walk better. We have to play a game of tickle the toes which makes me curl my foot up and another game where I have to lay on my side and turn my head up and to the side. I have to have ice on my back 3 times a day and can only go for short little walks.
I'm not sure if I like physical therapy but I hope it helps me walk right again.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pyr Feet and Duct Tape

My foot is just not working right and it drags so AP is worried that my toe nails and pads are getting torn up so she is making me wear my Woodrow Wear Socks. You can usually get the socks for a discount if you don't mind getting an out of season pattern. Right now I am sporting the Easter Bunny print but hey they were 4 for $10.00. My Ruff Wear boots and my Ther-a-Paw boots are just too heavy for my leg to lift and if I don't wear something my toenails bleed.
The socks don't last because they were not made for dragging so AP has been sewing up the ones I already put holes in. She is now making a duct tape sock/boot which seems to work well.

She starts with the sock on my foot

Then she takes Duct Tape and overlaps strips over the toe area. The trick is to come up high enough in the back to where my foot makes the bend so that I don't wear a hole in the back.

Then she goes around the foot with another strip.

Then repeats the process once more and then she either slips it off and puts it aside for later, or we go for a walk. The duct tape holds up really well unless I get it really muddy and wet, then it starts to un-adhere from the sock.  She keeps a spare with her in her pocket just in case.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Back to the Beginning

Dad and AP took me to CVRC and today I met Dr. Prostredny, AP had him operate on Myatuk years ago and he is really great.  He pushed and pulled on my leg and my knee and then had Mike take some x-rays of my knee. I liked Mike so I was really still for my X-Ray.
CVRC houses several different specialties in one building, it's where my cardiologist, my internist, my neurologist and now my orthopedic Doctors all are. AP says when I walk in I am like Norm on Cheers(whatever that means). Dr. Prostredny talked to AP about my dragging foot and he said that even though I have the hip dysplasia and some arthritis that is not my problem.  He said we are definitely dealing with a neurological problem and left for awhile to talk to Dr. Harris. Then all of us sat down and talked about what is going on with my leg.
All my Dr.s all say the same thing about me - "I don't make anything easy". When they run tests I always come back right on the edge of normal and when they try to diagnosis me I don't give them a lot of clues. I don't mean to be difficult its just the way I am!
Dr. Harris said there is another test we can do but I would have to have anesthesia again so AP said we will have to wait on that. In the meantime we are going to try some therapy and acupuncture to see if that helps me pick up my leg.
I could have had an FCE that is not being shown on the MRI but thankfully if I did it was small. Some dogs that have an FCE are completely paralysed from the shoulders down. The other good news is I can get off all these medications and hopefully soon I can get back to my normal walk to the park. They took another bunch of blood for some tests. I sure am tired of them putting holes in my leg. I would like for the hair to grow back on my leg and my head and for CM to quit calling me Hannibal Lecter head. Idon't know what a Hannibal Lecter head is but AP says its not very nice. All the technicians all told AP I was a good boy and Ms. Gloria from CVCA gave me cookies which was a good day to end my visit.

AP has ordered a boot to try and protect my dragging foot.The boots we already have are too heavy and my Woodrow Wear socks are too thin and I drag holes in them almost immediately. I don't mind the socks so AP is working on a duct tape solution using them for now till my boot gets here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

MRI - Oh My!

AP here:
I have to say I am not good at waiting and even worse at it when I am waiting on important news. Today was Tonka's MRI and that was an adventure in itself. I had him at the VNoC at 4:30 to get his IV catheter in place and then we waited for about 20 minutes for everyone to get ready. We had to follow the technicians over to the MRI facility which is about 5 minutes down the road fro the CVRC center. Once in the truck Tonka kept licking at the catheter bandage and so I had to keep putting my hand int he back pretending to have treats to distract him. When we got there I had to find a low place to back into the ramp would be at a very gradual slope for him to get down out of the truck. Once I got him out I gave him to the technicians to hold onto while I went to park the truck. They took him in and one of them came back to get me. When we walked thorough the door and I saw that we were in a stairwell with way too many steps he would have had to navigate my face must have dropped because the tech said "it's OK Ryan carried him down". Well Ryan probably weighs a whole whopping 5 lbs more than Tonka so all I can day is he must be in great shape. Then as we got further down I smelled the Tonka poop smell and she said "oh and he left us presents as he was carrying him" and there on the steps were some Tonka poops which she very kindly cleaned up for me.
I hope this is not becoming a habit with him since he pooped all the way up the walkway at Greater Annapolis last week.
The facility does 4 dogs in an evening and Tonka was #3 to go so the humans and the little Maltese that was going last (Vince) sat in the waiting room and did just that- waited. Vince has the same type of symptoms as Tonka but he is 12 years old and he is a very sweet little guy.
They came out once to tell me they were starting the MRI and then again to request permission to do a Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tap. Then at about 6:30 they told me they were done and Dr. Harris would go over the results with me.
The great news was that there were no disc problems or any other issues with the spine other than some bright spots on the cord and that is why she did the tap. Dr. Harris is great and she went over all the images with me and explained all the different areas and what we would be seeing if he had a problem.

I had to wait some more because my lightweight of a big dog takes forever to come around after anesthesia and they ended up carrying him out to the truck.
Once we got home dad and I had to lift him out of the truck (still in his bed). I thought his ear was flipped over so I reached down to flip it back and realized they had shaved his head for the tap.

We then dragged the bed with him in it still out for the count around the back of the house and through the back door.
I setup my little bed next to him for the night and he never moved until about 1:30am and then he got up staggered around, ate a little food, drank some water and went right back to sleep.

We still have to wait for the spinal tap results but it is looking like this is an Orthopedic problem.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Weeks Out

AP here:
It's been 2 weeks since the original Neurological appointment and I have had the boy on leash walks and a ton of medication. I actually have an excel spreadsheet to track it all which in and of itself is disturbing. I have had to modify the  household schedule (including sleep) to try and keep the boy on some sort of normal routine. He cannot use the stairs so every time he needs to be shifted to another level of the house we have to use the ramp off of the porch outside the kitchen door. Just getting him to the door is a 5 to 10 minute process while he thinks about it. If you try to get him to go somewhere that doesn't suit him its another 5-10 minute process to talk him into it. Needless to say I spend a lot of time waiting.
Our morning goes something like this:
Unlock the kitchen door. Go downstairs and spend 10-15 minutes lying next to him petting him (checking his heart rate) and getting batted at with the giant paw. Give him his 2 pain pills and 2 pepcid in some sweet potato. Throw on sweats, a Jacket, shoes and a hat, run out front and unlock the gate. By now he is up and at the basement door so I put on his collar and leash and out we go to the end of the porch where he stops to sniff for a few minutes before actually setting foot out on the lawn. Then around the house we go and out the gate to the front where he stops at the end of the driveway to sniff again for a few minutes. We have a small court up the street to the left and down the street to the right so once we pick a direction the goal is to walk around the court, go to the bathroom and then home. That sounds like it should not take long but it never quite goes as easy as it sounds. Once we get to the entrance of  a court he puts on the brakes. He wants to walk the big 2 mile loop like we have almost everyday for the past 2 years and he knows he is being short changed. Tonka does not care that he is hurt he just wants his routine and he wants to go meet and greet all his regulars on his walk. I cannot force him to turn down the court without pulling him and possibly hurting him so we have a standoff. I at one end of the leash headed into the court and him on the corner at the other end refusing to move. This is where a little dog would be nice, you could just pick them up and walk on, that is not practical with Mr. 130lb stubborn boy. After 5 minute or so and with me getting down and explaining in his ear that he does not have a choice he will usually give in.Once around the court the same routine plays out again because he does not want to go home.  On my lucky mornings one of his favorite neighbors will happen to come by and will sweet talk him into going around the court or home. Usually it is Marie and he adores her and will willingly go wherever she wants. It is very nice of her to detour from her walk to help us and makes my day start off a little less frustrated. It is also nice to have a second person on those walks where he does not stop to squat but keeps on walking because I have to go back to pick up the poop. If I have a second person they can keep walking him while I double back. He refuses to go back so if I am alone I have to tie him to a mailbox and then go back. He is a good boy so if it is real  early and no one is around I can tell him to wait and he will stand still while I go pick up.
Once home we go through the gate and up the ramp to the kitchen door and inside. Thank goodness for the ramp but it is still hard for him going down as his hind end starts to go sideways and come around on him. He settles down in the living room for a little while and I get his breakfast and his Thyroid pill.
He eats in the kitchen and then we go out the kitchen door where he stands for a few minutes deciding if he wants to go. Then its back down the ramp and out the gate to the front door and the landing which is where he would love to spend most of his day. While he is lounging I give him his anti-inflammatory which is a liquid and a stinky treat to wash it down with. When I am ready to leave for work I have to coax him to get up and come back around the house, though the basement door and to get into his crate.

His crate is 4x6 and is constructed from 2 exercise pens put together around a PVC pipe frame with 2 Layers of carpet and 2 canine coolers. See Canine Cooler

The Tonka support team comes by midday and lets him out to go potty, gives him his next rounds of pain meds and takes him around front to lay out for a while. They come back again in the afternoon to let him out and stay with him until I get home. He loves to lay out on the driveway and listen to the kids come home from school. He is usually still out there when I get home and we go in and he waits at the landing while I get changed and text his Aunt Carol to bring Nala by for our short little walk. When she gets there we head to one of the courts and go through the same routine as the morning. He is a little more accommodating because of Nala but he knows he is getting shortchanged and will stop on all the corners.

Once we are home it is back up the ramp and through the kitchen to hang out in the living room for awhile. I fix my dinner and then go fix his and he eats in the kitchen again and takes his 2nd thyroid pill. His favorite part of the evening is after dinner when he gets to have a frozen peanut butter kong as a treat.
If he is feeling good he will go and surf the counters and the recycle bin or perhaps stand in the kitchen and bark for treats. Once he gets tired of that he comes back toe the living room to settle in for bed and belly rubs. He starts off sleeping upstairs and then wakes me up between 1 and 3 to take him downstairs, which again is 5 to 10 minutes to decide to go down he ramp. Once inside the back door he has to get settled and then I get to go back to bed for a few hours until 5:00am when the cycle repeats.

During the 2 weeks I have seen improvement, although not "leaps and bounds" but rather small "baby steps". He postures in a semi squat at least for part of a bowel movement now instead of just walking and pooping and he does not drag his toes as much. He still drifts sideways and a hard sneeze will cause him to stumble. We are going to do the MRI to rule out anything degenerative which would leave just Orthopedic and that we can deal with. The surgery for the Lumbar Sacral Stenosis also known as Cauda Equina Syndrome
or anything with the nerves and the spine does not read like something we want to have to go through. Read all about it here