Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tonka Tonus Clonus!

I have taken to calling Tonka by his new name- Tonka Tonus Clonus.
If you follow the blog you know that he has an outstanding issue left over from whatever happened to him 8 months ago. The lack of a diagnosis or prognosis has left me with trying to understand his symptoms and controlling those. This is essentially what his therapists Chris and Diana work on every week. I have added acupuncture back in the mix with Dr. Philips and everyone is on the same page.
I wrote an article for Dogster about Tonka and someone (who does not know Tonka, does not know me, and I am assuming is not a Veterinary Neurologist) commented to the fact that if I loved Tonka I would have euthanized him so he did not go through all this misery. In order to be very clear to everyone I am going to try and explain what is going on with Tonka symptom wise so that you can understand that he is not in any pain, nor is he miserable.

First a picture of Tonka at the park NOT BEING MISERABLE

Tonka has something going on called Clonus which refers to repetitive, rhythmic contractions of a muscle when attempting to hold it in a stretched state. If you have ever had your eye twitch you will understand the feeling, not painful just annoying. It is a common sign in neurological conditions and is usually a sign of damage to the nerve tracts above the place where it is initiated. Tonka suffers from clonus and what is known as hypertonicity in his hind leg.
Every muscle has tone which refers to the amount of neurological input the muscle receives. Hypertonicity refers to the neurological system sending too many signals or a signal that is too strong to the muscle which makes it rigid. The inverse of that would be hypotonic or not enough signal and a “loose or floppy” muscle. In Tonka’s case we have a muscle with too much tone creating a joint that does not bend or straighten smoothly.  This also means he does not lift enough to always clear his toes off the ground and so he scuffs.

We created a little video to show you what I mean. Notice he is not in any pain even when he goes to sit and lie down; he just has to maneuver a bit.

The other leg had these exact same symptoms and disorders and they were resolved with therapy. I have faith that this leg will do the same.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Make sure to get my good side!

Hey AP wrote a story about me for the Dogster Community and used some of my best pictures.

You can check it out here at the Dogster  homepage which has a big pic of me Styling and Profiling in my shades of you can go right to the story here

My friend Arty asked for my autograph but AP told him that even though I rock at math and science my penmanship needs work. I happen to think I make an awesome pawprint!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Busy Boy

I have been a very busy dog lately. I have been to Therapy, and started Acupuncture again with Dr. Phillips - which makes me very relaxed...

I have been on walks to the park and hung out with all my friends....

I have spent time with all my kids ......

Had my humans push me in my cool cart.....


My Buddy AJ and I spent some time together......


.... and tonight at the park I met some new friends Henry and Quinn. Henry was very curious about my shaved spot on my leg and the fact that I am blind. He was trying very hard to come up with all the ways I can know where I am even though I can't see. Quinn was checking the score on the cell phone for the Pacers game and took the time to pet me and stroke my fur before we left. I hope we run into them again sometime.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Call in the Forensic Team

AP here:
It is like a scene out of the TV show Dexter at my house this morning.

---In the living room we have a 4ft blood splatter in all directions.
The heaviest concentration is here in the middle with a lighter radiating pattern suggesting that this is where the initial event occurred and then the victim took a few steps.
It  changes into smaller droplets towards the furniture, walls and stairs indicating that several smaller events happened after the initial one. ---

 I don't need the forensic skills of Dexter to know the cause. The bear that is the Tonka has nosebleeds again and has sneezed his gigantic nose sneezes in the living room. He has just come in from his morning shuffle (walk) and instead of sneezing outside where it is easy to clean up he has made his way into the living room so it can splatter as many surfaces as possible. Exactly what I need on a Monday morning while trying to get ready for work.
I take him through the kitchen to get him out the door when he sneezes again this time all over me - Excellent!!  - very thankful I still have on my sweats and a t-shirt and am not dressed for work.I grab a paper-towel and wet it with cold water to clean him up and see if we need to ice pack his snout or go get the epinephrine solution. Luckily there is no more blood flowing and I have him lie down so I can clean up his muzzle and his legs where he has sneezed downward all over his feet. I then grab the paper-towels and a bucket of cold water to clean up everywhere else.
Clean up time is shortened by the fact that I am still putting thin fleece blankets down in the areas that he mostly occupies. I got into the habit when he was having incontinence issues and have just kept doing it. The fleece has taken the brunt of the initial sneeze and so I start working outward from the edges. Soon I am at the wall and proceed to clean that off. In the the other direction is the bloody couch, the coat rack, the umbrella stand, the baby gate, the leather recliner - wait the leather recliner which would be the easiest to clean is spotless - figures...

I pull up the fleece and check on him before heading to the laundry room. He is busy cleaning his paws - apparently I did not get them Tonka clean. I grab the phone on the way to call the Doctor and have them update his file and refill his epinephrine solution (our bottle from last year is almost empty). I put together a load of laundry that now includes the fleece, my bloody T-shirt, sweat pants and even my socks. I don't need to watch TV my life with Tonka is way more entertaining than any TV show.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Meaning of Nothing

AP here:
Pondering the meaning of nothing.
I am not a big believer in nothing. I believe in cause and effect in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event.
If you have ever studied philosophy or know anything about Karma you have heard of cause and effect - action and reaction.
In science this is one of Newtons Laws for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, -something happens and something caused it .
In management cause and effect is used to predict outcomes and to locate potential problems within a process.there are even diagrams and charts to help narrow things down.
So what happens when you have an effect with no cause?

Something is causing Tonka's problems, something is having an effect on his ability to walk and balance correctly. I have spent 8 months now dealing first hand with this  "Somethings"   effects and am no closer to knowing what the cause is. Multiple Orthopedic Doctors,  Multiple Neurologists, many, many tests of different types and we have a big fat "Nothing" as the Cause.

The last place to look - his head and neck - was scanned using an MRI on Thursday evening.
His Canine Rehab Specialist (physical therapist) Chris came by to check on him and get the results first hand. She went over the results with Dr. McDonnell before I did and was with Tonka when they called me back. I could see her in the back on the floor with Tonka and was looking at her to see if I could get a read on whether I should be bracing myself for the worst. Dr. McDonnell then proceeded to tell me that Tonka has a beautiful head and neck and there is nothing visible that could be causing his symptoms.
Now I had joked with several people that this was my worst fear and you were going to have to pick me up off the floor if that was the verdict and here it was- a diagnosis of nothing.
I am sure my real reaction would have been puzzling to anyone not knowing the full story or the past 8 months.
I had just been told that there is nothing nasty lurking in his head and most people would be ecstatic and jumping for joy instead I was just dumbfounded. this was the last place to look - the answer was supposed to be here - good or bad we would know something.
Nope - nothing there - nothing to fix - no cause to his effect...

So what is the meaning of nothing? and just what do you do with nothing?

Chris and Dr. McDonnell had the only answer I can hold on to at the moment which is to "keep doing what we are doing". He has come a long way in 8 months so that is what we will do..

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Riddle me this

Riddle me this Batman? If you watched the TV show with Adam West then you remember the Riddler would always have a riddle and the Batman would always have an answer. Sometimes it took Batman a little while to figure it out but he always did. Well tonight we should finally have an answer to the riddle that is Tonka's neurological issue. Tonight we MRI his ginormous head!

It was 8 months ago this week that my big goof started displaying odd symptoms and behavior. He has since been poked and prodded, scanned and tested with no concrete answer as to what is causing his neurological deficits. We have been to therapy every week and tried different medications with some success. his therapy seems to have worked the best. It gave him back his mobility in the left leg but he is now having issues with his right so it is time to look in the only place left - his head. I am a mixture of emotions about the MRI that will take place today. I want to know the answer but I also do not want to know if it is something devastating. Knowledge is power so knowing what we are fighting will help everyone involved and let us know how to prepare for the future.  His therapist Chris is going to be there and is also very interested in finding an answer. In researching neurological issues in canines over the past 8 months I have learned a great deal and I know what I do not want it to be. The problem is he displays symptoms at different times that correlate to many different things making it very hard to pinpoint what it is. The last MRI was of his Thoracic and Lumbar area and showed nothing of significance so this truly is the last place to look.