pupdate and where i've been

This week is the annual Mom Visit, which I greatly look forward to. I have a special surprise planned, but just in case my mom is peeking in, it will remain a surprise.

Tala's rehab did not go as well as we had hoped. She seemed to be doing well on total exercise restriction, so we stepped up her exercise the tiniest bit and stepped down her pain meds. But with only five minutes on-leash walking, three times a day, the pain and lameness returned.

So today we went back to the OVC in Guelph for another consult with orthopedists. They also suggested a consult with the neurology department, so we'll be there yet again later this week, with my mom.

It looks like we have two options, medical and surgical. The medical option is a full month of total exercise restriction, anti-inflammatory meds and a medication that targets nerve pain, after which we try again to gradually increase her exercise and decrease her meds.

The surgical option is intense. First, an MRI, then surgery to decompress the nerve. Canine anatomy makes the surgery tricky and somewhat risky. It's also not a cure. It has about an 80% success rate, and of that 80%, in about 40%, the condition will return. Because Tala is only about 6 years old, there's a higher chance she'd be in that last category. In addition, in the 20% of cases where the surgery doesn't work, it can actually worsen the condition or leave the dog permanently disabled. Obviously this isn't surgery one rushes into.

I wish there was a clear course of action, an obvious route: do this, and she'll be fine. By contrast, Cody's thyroid cancer last winter was easy. A surgeon removed the tumour, and she lived happily another six months. Cody was elderly, she had hip displaysia and arthritis, and had developed serious anxiety, a form of dementia. We always knew what we would and wouldn't put her through. With Tala, it's different. She's a young thing, so full of energy. We don't know what to do.

For now, all decisions are on hold, until we meet with the neurologists.

Also, these folks at the OVC are completely amazing. We are grateful to be in such good hands, only 45 minutes from home.

Also, I have many other topics to blog about, but driving back and forth to Guelph and waiting to be seen took over my blog time.


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