31 March 2010

{30mar2010: It's...}


Whew. What a relief!  Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes and crossed paws for good results!
We dropped Darwin off in the morning, and by 3:45 we got a call from the neurologist with the results.  He said her spine looked totally fine and there was no evidence of compression, but the radiologist picked up on some abnormal tissue growth between her T10-T11 vertebrae... sometimes it's called a "kissing lesion" in horses.  
So while it's NOT WOBBLER'S(!!!) it could be meningitis and he's running some tests on her spinal fluid to see if that's what's causing her pain.  He'll be calling tomorrow with those results. 
If it is meningitis (Wobbler's research stops here... meningitis research picks up) she'll be treated with 9 weeks of antibiotics and Prednisone.  The vet tech also told us if the tests don't show meningitis, they may still treat her for it, because they weren't able to get a spinal tap on her lower back where the problem seems to be and they had to take it higher in her spine.  
They she also may need physical therapy or water therapy.

When we went to pick her up, they took us to an exam room to go over the results of the MRI, then left to go get her.  Once they got her out of the back, she bolted straight for the front door.  The vet tech thought she was just skittish and "drunk" from the anesthesia and tried to carry Darwin's rear (she hates that) and eventually Darwin just  squatted and peed in the lobby.  Poor girl.  She was whining and pulling to get outside, and all she wanted to do was use the bathroom!
Now that we're home she seems to be doing better.  She ate dinner as soon as we came in (she couldn't eat anything after 10pm last night) and is now chewing away at a raw bone.  She has waves of drunkenness and neediness from the drugs, but other than that she seems to be fine. 
I'll post pictures tomorrow of all her new shaved spots... I may start calling her Patch... I just wanted to let you all know the results and say a big thank you for keeping her in your thoughts!

It's not wobblers!!!

30 March 2010

{29mar2010: we're been tagged!}

Our favorite little lady Twinkie tagged us for a photo tag game.  Here are the rules:
1. Open your first photo folder
2. Scroll down to the tenth photo
3. Post the photo and tell the story behind it
4. Tag 5 more people
Here's our picture:
This was the first day we met Darwin and and some of her siblings.  Their mom Misty had a giant litter (18 pups), though one came out still born and another died two days after being born.  They took Misty and the pups to the vet and the vet realized that only two of Misty's nipples were producing milk so the pups would need to be bottle fed or they'd lose more.  I volunteered myself (and Jason) to take care of some of them.  And so when they were 5 days old, Tom brought six of them into the office and I chose four to take care of.  Darwin was one of those four.  In the picture she's the one being laid on... you can just see her white stripe down her chest.

And now I tag the following 5 friends to play!
1.  Nala
2.  Remi
3.  Duchess
4.  Honey
5.  Mr B and Ms M

Can't wait to see everyone's pictures!

29 March 2010

{29mar2010: weekend review}

We had another beautiful Saturday here in Seattle!  To take advantage of the beautiful day and kick off spring we decided to plant our first garden!  We tried herbs on the balcony last year with some mixed results, but this time we decided to expand our herb garden and add some veggies.  
After a run to the store to get supplies we tied Darwin up outside and she supervised our planting.  We planted some wild flower seeds in one planter box and salad greens in another.  We even planted some broccoli starters in another bed.  
{ours are the first and third bed}

{broccoli starters!}
It's my first attempt at real gardening so we'll see how this all goes!  I keep rereading the seed packs to figure out what (and when) to do next... hopefully in a few weeks we'll have fresh salads from our garden!
Of course in the excitement of planting I forgot to bring the camera out to get a picture of Darwin, but supervising must have been tough work because as soon as we got inside she passed out on the couch.

After the princess got her nap, we took her out for a walk.  I had discovered a trail behind a park near our house last year, but never actually walked it because I'm a bigger panty than Darwin and was always scared of homeless people coming out and attacking me.  We were reminded of this trail by our neighbor and decided to finally check it out.  
{woo hoo!  a walk!} 
It's a quick walk there and the trail itself is only about a quarter of a mile, but it's a nice change from the usual urban street walks we take.  It was longer than the prescribed 15 minute walk, but she's been walking better and we stopped a lot for rests and practice sessions for her basic commands.
On our way home, Darwin found a ball on the sidewalk and was quite pleased with her find.  The only problem was that she kept putting it down and it would roll down the street.  As we neared our street she dropped it again and it rolled down a steep street, turned the corner and ended up heading down our street.  After I chased it down Jason and her caught up to me and she took a rest with her ball on the grass.  
When she was ready to walk the last block home, I turned to look at her and saw this:
{what's up mom?}

She's such a goof.  
Sunday the rain came back so we all stayed inside and lazed around on the couch.  We did order her ramp today so hopefully it'll get here soon and we can start training her to use it!
Tomorrow is the big MRI day and we've got our fingers crossed for a "it's not Wobbler's" post!

28 March 2010

{27mar2010: thank you!}

We got an award from Mack and Mia!!!

Thanks Mack and Mia! 
Now we have to pass it on to 12 more friends and let them know about it.
So here's our 12 in no particular order:
1.  Moose our very first blog friend!
2.  Twinkie our very first tiny dog blog friend!
3.  Remi our handsome little (getting bigger) Ridgeback pal who we hope we can have another play date with soon!
4.  Nala Remi's sister who's a fun playdate friend too!
5.  Honey the beautiful fawn Dane who's mom Hsin-Yi always gives great advice
6.  Baby Rocket and Hootie whom we met through their sweet and generous mom
7.  Mr B and Ms M our first pitty friend's who have the cutest cuddling pictures
8.  The Army of Four, Ammy always has such a big smile in her pictures that I love!
9.  Jack who may be one of the funniest doggy bloggers
10.  Duchess, beautiful Merle Dane with some great stories
11.  Mochi our Husky friend who comes from my home state of Hawaii
12.  Mango (and Dexter), the greatest host of Mango Minster and his funny brother too!

Wow a list of 12 is a lot of doggies!  
It's supposed to be a nice sunny, warm day in Seattle and we hope to take advantage of it!  Hope you all have a great weekend as well!

27 March 2010

{26mar2010: marmaduke}

Is it really going to be as bad as it looks?!

{26mar2010: finally Friday}

Darwin got an Easter card in the mail this week from her Grandma and Grandpa VB.  She was very excited about getting her own mail and held onto it for a while.
After a while she turned to look at Jason like, "now what do I do with it?"
After much discussion and going back and forth we came to a decision on what we want to do for her.  We were initially leaning towards the wait it out and rest her longer option with a visit to our chiropractor.  Instead we decided we'd much rather know if it is (or isn't) Wobbler's as soon as possible and decide on our steps forward from there.  So we've got her MRI scheduled for next week Tuesday and hoping for the best!  
In the meantime she's getting tired of the bed rest and the short 15 minute walks aren't really doing it for her... I've brought out the cupcake pan brain game which she's getting much better at, and I've been looking for other options to entertaining her that don't involve tugging or a squeaking toy right in my face.

Many of you have commented about looking into getting a ramp for Darwin for the car and Moose's mom gave some good points about getting her trained and comfortable with one before she really needs one and we agree!  So does anyone have suggestions/recommendations on where to find a good sturdy ramp for a 100+lb doggy?!  

26 March 2010

{25mar2010: insurance}

There have been quite a few questions about insurance and if our insurance will cover these expenses we're looking at facing with an MRI and possible Wobbler's.
When Darwin was around 6 - 7 months old it seemed like we were constantly calling up the vet for scrapes from the dog park, many cases of diarrhea , or some ailment or another.  At that time we decided we needed to look into pet insurance and I did some heavy duty pet insurance research.  I asked around to the Marymoor Dane group, Googled, asked our vet for their recommendations, and found this site specifically reviewing pet insurance.  I filled out free quote forms and spent a good amount of time weighing the options.  Many of the Marymoor Dane owners seemed to be with VPI and had decent things to say about them.  At that time, Darwin had already been spayed so it seemed silly to me to get an insurance plan that would be covering something she already had done.  I also didn't want to pay for a plan that covered costs we were already willing (and prepared) to pay for like vaccinations, it was the scrapes and diarrhea episodes and unexpected things we wanted to be covered for. 
One of the Marymoor Dane owner's recommended Trupanion and after comparing various plans we settled on them.  I liked that we could choose how much we wanted our deductible to be and that we could get additional coverage for hip dysplasia since we were enrolling before her 1st birthday.  I also liked that they paid back 90% of the vet bill (minus exam fees) and premiums wouldn't go up due to her age (man I sound like a commercial).  
Of course after we got Darwin insurance her diarrhea stopped, she didn't get as many scrapes and we hadn't had to use it till this all came up.  After our initial vet visit I got the claim form filled out and faxed it in Monday morning and by that afternoon I had got an email saying it was processed.  Wednesday when we got home from work there was a check from them waiting in the mail for us.  I called to confirm that they will cover the MRI and surgery if it comes to that.  The things they don't cover though is holistic medicine such as acupuncture and chiropractic treatments.
We've only made a couple claims with Trupanion, but so far I'm pleased with them and I'm so happy that we decided to get insurance for Darwin.  It makes saying 'yes' to any procedures that need to be done to find out (and fix) what's wrong so much easier knowing we don't have to worry about if we can afford it.

25 March 2010

{24mar2010: mostly wordless Wednesday}

animals of Cambodia edition:
{Phnom Penh, Cambodia}
{Siem Reap, Cambodia*}

{Phnom Penh, Cambodia} 
{Sihanoukville, Cambodia} 
{lucy trying to catch fish}

*Those aren't my feet!  Though I did try it!

24 March 2010

{23mar2010: update}

So today was Darwin's appointment with the neurologist and I was kind of nervous as to what he'd have to say.  I was hoping I'd be able to do a "not Wobbler's" post today, but he wasn't able to totally rule it out based on his exam and her xrays.  
Darwin has been hesitant to get in the car the last few times I've taken her places... Sunday, I went in to work and she seemed to be eager to go with me, but when we got to the car she didn't want to get in... she's usually quick to jump right in.  I wasn't going to force her to go to work with me since I barely wanted to go myself so I took her back in and left her (where she whined at the door for me according to Jason).  Last night we were going to meet Robin, BB and Friday at Norm's (a dog-friendly bar/pub in Fremont) and it took a good 5-10 minutes to get her to jump in, and even then I had to force her in the car.  Then today to get to the neurologist, loading her into the car took at least 5 minutes, and I basically had to (try) and lift her in.  I've been chocking it up to nerves... maybe she's worried we'll be leaving her again, maybe her last vet visit with the sedation and xrays made her nervous about going back, maybe she's just being difficult. 
So we get to the neurologist's office and meet Dr. Sanders.  He checks Darwin out, makes her walk down the hall, flexes her legs, tests her reflexes, and palpates her spine.  At certain parts along her spine she would react with a jerk and a low growl.  He then checked out her xrays, but said he didn't see anything that stood out to him as being anything to be too worried about.
He said based on her reaction to him pushing on her spine, he said it could be meningitis or polyarthritis, though he's pretty confident it's not meningitis as she doesn't present the typical symptoms of it.  He also hasn't ruled out Wobbler's as the xrays that were taken were of her lower back and none show her neck which is where Wobbler's affects.  But he also said that based on the exam today she's not showing any symptoms that stand out to him, her gait and posture are normal, that make him feel like we need to rush her to get an MRI and that it could just be something that could heal on its own.  Our two options are to continue to limit her activity and slowly reintroduce her back to her normal activities and see if she reacts like she did on our walk on Saturday.  Or we can do an MRI to see if there is (or isn't) something bigger (like Wobbler's).  If it isn't Wobbler's we can have that peace of mind, and if it is  we can treat it before it get's worse.  
After I thought about it after our appointment and thinking back to Darwin and her not wanting to jump into the car, I am thinking now, maybe it hurts her back to jump up in the car and that's why she's so reluctant to get in  and not that she's traumatized.
Jason and I currently are debating if we should do the MRI (we're leaning to yes at the moment), but we are also thinking about taking her to our chiropractor who does adjust dogs (including his own) to see if that would help her.  
So while we have no definitive answers like I was hoping we'd get today, it was positive that her gait is back to normal and there wasn't anything that seriously alarmed the doctor. 
Once we got home Darwin was quick to get out on the balcony and get some vitamin d.

22 March 2010

{21mar2010: Spring!}

It was the perfect weather for the first day of spring yesterday!  Sunny clear skies and temperatures in the high 60's!
{Ahhh, the sun feels sooo good!}
Darwin is still on bed rest, but it felt like a shame to stay cooped up inside on such a beautiful day, so we took a walk up to Jason's favorite coffee shop near our house so we could sit outside in the sun.  
We walked slowly and stopped for a short rest/photo-op at a school along the way...
Darwin still has a big toothless gap between her front canines and her back molars (which you can see in some of these pictures) (we asked the vet about it when we were there last and she said she's never seen that before, but it just may be normal for Dar) and it makes the perfect slot for her tongue to hang out of.
I love spring in Seattle... 

We got to the coffee shop and got to sit on some chairs outside and enjoy the nice warm sunshine.
We brought along an apple (with peanut butter) for Darwin to snack on while we had our tea and coffee.
{mmmm, that was delicious}
When we take Darwin out (to work, to the bar, to the coffee shop, anywhere) she doesn't seem to be a fan of sitting or laying down on the ground like a normal dog, so she'll stand the whole time, or do this:

Yes, in typical Dane fashion she's sitting on my lap.
While we were there this guy biked up and Darwin was fascinated by what he was carrying in his basket.
{Mom, what is it?!}

After a few sniffs and lots of face licking (by both dogs) Darwin was enchanted by this little guy.
{Let's play!!!
Of course, no playing was allowed, and soon it was time to go.
The walk there was a bit longer than the 15 minute walk Darwin is allowed, and it was obvious when we were a few blocks away from the shop that her butt was starting to sway a bit more than when we started out.  So instead of risking tweaking her back anymore walking back home, Jason made the walk home to get the car and then came and picked us up.
Of course that was yesterday, and now the weather is back to mid 50's and overcast. Booo.  Oh well, I'm at work anyway, so I'm glad it's not as beautiful a day as yesterday!  Hope you all had a great weekend with your pups too!