First, I apologize in advance for what is going to be probably the
longest, most rambling post I've ever made. But I'm struggling with
panic, here, and I posted this very same post on
the border collie forum, so don't feel obliged to read it twice. ;)
Here is Nick's story. In the latter part of October, I was doing yard
work while the dogs were free to play around the place. At one point,
Nick ran down to the bottom of the property with his sister, as they
often did. He came back up a while later, walking like a 90 year old
man. He was visibly in pain, and it appeared to be in his hips or lower
Scared to death, I got him in to the vet the very
next day. As best my vet could figure, he'd suffered an injury to the
base of his tail, right at the bottom of his spine. My vet's guess was
that he'd either tried to jump up somewhere and missed and fell back on
his rump, or someone ran into him.
I'm inclined to think his little sister, Gael, probably collided with him from behind.
whatever reason, the vet didn't prescribe X-rays, but we laid Nick up
for about 3 weeks, and put him on some Rimadyl. With that rest time, he
seemed to recover and his movement looked normal, including leaping
lightly into the truck.
But then I ran him at Dunnigan
Hills and at the end of the day, (after two good runs on those big
hills) I went to put him in the truck ... and he didn't want to jump
up. He was hurting again. When I got him home about 4 hours later, he
was kind of hitching on one hip.
Of course, I laid him off
again. During that time, I got him to a local holistic vet who does
chiropractic. She adjusted him and while doing so, she showed me how an
off-kilter tilt to his hips revealed that his back was out. When she
had done the adjustment, it really seemed to help him.
couple weeks later, I put him back to work and tried to go easy on him.
There was one day of practice when we got home and he again got out of
the truck seeming a bit ouchy and stiff. But some more time off, and
he seemed good as gold. I finally put him back on the work roster and
he seemed sound.
Well, last weekend, I spent 2 days at a
friend's house, building fence and working on her arena, and the dogs
just ran around and played. When I got done on the 2nd day (this past
Monday) ... once more, Nick couldn't jump in the truck. There had been
no wreck, no collisions, no wild leaps, just ordinary running around on
a flat field, but two days of that was clearly too much.
I got him in to the vet for X-rays today.
We still have no real answers. What I do have is a whole lot of fear.
X-ray was indeterminate. What it seems to show is that the disk-space
between the last vertebra and the base of the tail (I can't remember
what L this is) may be a little bit wider than the others, which may indicate there is swelling pressing the bones apart. But my vet said she did not think
the disk was herniated or ruptured. (He can walk and trot normally, it
just hurts him to perform any upward lifting movement, and his lope
looks a bit tucked-under at the rump.)
Another odd thing,
on the X-ray, there seems to be a ghostly image of what could be some
calcification, a "flaring" at the bottom of the last vertebra and also
the first bone of the tail. My vet said this could be Nick's body's
attempt to compensate for an injury, by creating this calcification.
But she said that if so, that bone would not be smooth, it would be
rough, like granite, and that could cause him pain.
she's unable to diagnose any further, so she's referring me to a vet
in Sacramento, Dr. Bob Richardson. She's sending me with Nick's X-rays,
both the "before" image from when we OFA'd his hips and the "after"
image of his lower back that we took today. And she said I might want
to get an MRI done, but anyhow, to consult with Dr. Richardson, because
he's handled this sort of thing for years and has more expertise than
This ... is where I start to panic. Since my vet
can't pinpoint just what is going on, all we have are maybes. And those
maybes range from Spondylitis to Spondylosis to arthritis to surgery
to ... we don't know what.
People, I am scared. to.
death. I made the appointment to see Dr. Richardson next Thursday, but
his office said the visit and consultation will be $130, and an MRI
runs from $1,000 to $2,000 !!!
I don't HAVE that kind of
money! I just don't. God help me, I work part time in a liquor store
and make $93 a week. My husband is self-employed, so he gets paid for
when he works, but this time of year ... things can get slow. Plus his
old corgi boy is sick and we need to get HIM in to the vet, because it looks like he's either suffering a return of his bladder infection or maybe something worse.
... I'm panicking. I'm terrified. I'm looking at this beautiful dog
who isn't even 4 years old, yet, and who carries all my hopes and dreams
in his gallant and loving heart, and I'm scared. The unknown scares
me. The uncertainties scare me. And the financial aspect simply
devastates me. An MRI will wipe out my bank account - and that's if it
falls on the lower end of the quote range. There will be nothing left
if this vet recommends further treatment.
But I'm trying
to be useful and think how to help, in at least some small way. I've
got rimadyl for Nick. He's already on MSN, and I've got a big tub of
Synovi G3 that I've started him on. He'll be laid off for at least the
next 2 months, no running, no playing, no nothin'.
And I'll pray. A lot. Fervently.
My world is wrapped up in this dog. It's probably pretty pathetic,
but that's how it is. So the complete lack of financial resources is
more frightening than words can express.
Thanks for listening, anyhow. Some prayers would be welcome, too.
realize I'm guilty of perpetuating this injury, by not laying him off
long enough, in the first place. Belatedly, I know this. I just hope I
haven't ruined Nick for life.