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.


  1. We are sorry you didn't get anything more definitive but one step at a time -

    As for wrestling her into the vehicle, I understand the challenge - getting Merdie in when she's tired made me so appreciate Khyra's leaping in!

    Paws crossed more time and rest will help!

  2. oh Darwin, pulleaze find out what's wrong... so you can be back in bidnez! A dog-furriendly pub- that's like heaven!!

    slobbery kissies,

  3. Ugh, I'm so sorry you guys still don't have a definitive answer. I'm glad you at least have the option to do an MRI if you decide to do so... I think the nearest one to us would be about 6 hours away.

  4. These decisions are so hard. Does the pet insurance cover MRI's?

  5. I'm hoping it's just a little owie on your spine that will heal quickly with more toys and treats!!

  6. Oh Darwin we hope and pray for the best for you x

  7. oh gosh Darwin, I sure hope the betterinarian can figure out what is making you not feel so good. Being sick is no fun at all! (well, besides all the foodables you get from your humans cuz they feel sorry for you!)

    wags, wiggles & get-better-real-soon slobbers

  8. Well, you didn't quite ask, but I am opinionated, all Chis are. I would take her to the chiro first and then I'd consider the MRI if there was no improvement.
    Get well amiga!

  9. Oh dear - so many worrying options! Personally, I would opt for the MRI first (although I don't know the cost and your financial situation - do you have pet insurance? I know cost is always a consideration, unfortunately, especially when the test isn't crucial) - but I would prefer to rule out the more serious, "proper" medical problems first before going down the more alternative route. Because you'd never forgive yourself if she really did have Wobblers or something serious and you found out later that she could have been treated earllier - when instead you spent that time messing around with chiropracters - do you know what I mean? (Not meaning that you would intentionally waste your time! sorry - haven't put that very well but just mean that you would probably prefer to prioritise and spend time on something that might have more successful/effective results, if the problem WAS a serious one...)

    As for getting in the car - I have to say - Honey hasn't got any spinal issues and she has ALWAYS taken ages to get in the car! Makes a huge song & dance about it. So I don't know if it is always a physical thing. But if Darwin was previously jumping in quickly & willingly, then maybe she is reluctant now due to discomfort/pain - certainly, if pressing certain parts of her spine cause her distress then there's a good chance that the action of jumping in the car might trigger something too. But just because there is pain doesn't mean that there is somethign serious - you know, you can get as much pain from a pulled muscle as from a more serious joint problem!

    So anyway, that's why I personally would do everything to rule out all the more serious, medical problems first - if possible - so then at least you have eliminated that and you can try other things with a clear conscience.

    Good luck!

  10. Wouldn't hurt to get Darwin a ramp and start working with it. It takes a while if she is like Mango. He is still not ready to combine ramp with getting into the car (that always takes thinking on his part) but we're working on it.

    Seems like rest and keen observation are in order. Of course if you can afford it, go for the tests, but otherwise if you can keep her quiet and figure out what movements are causing pain that might help with the diagnosis.

    Keep us posted.

    Mango Momma

  11. Hi Brooke and Darwin,

    I don't have time to properly reply right now.
    Please email me at:
    I have to go out today and I will try to get back to you ASAP.

    Darcy's Mumma

  12. I totally agree with Mango- that was my first thought on reading this post. Even if she gets better and does not need it now it is really helpful to have a dog (esp a large one) comfortable on a ramp before it is seriously in need of one! Even if you and Jason can lift her it is possible to aggravate strained muscles and such while they are struggling and most dogs tend to thrash around a bit if they are not used to being lifted. See Mango's blog for how to get them trained (also they come with instructions) which is how I trained Moose to use it. The thing is if they are not used to using a ramp when you put it there they see it as in the way and try to get down whatever on their own by maneuvering around it which can make things worse. While Moose new how to use it pretty well, when I brought him home from surgery he was so loopy and confused he was not sure what to do and there were some scary moments so you really want it to be second nature to them!
    Sorry you did not get any answers but it sounds like you did not get any bad news so for now we will be glad for that!