Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vet's diagnosis for Nick

Well, guys ... I've had a good cry, now I'm trying to shake my brains into some useful order. Dr. Richardson called this evening with a diagnosis for Nick, having received and viewed the X-rays. (Which I forgot to bring with me on my visit, last week!)

He's saying Cauda Equina. He's saying surgery. What he saw in the X-rays *did* show the sacrum pressing on places it should not.

Guys, I'm devastated. Nick is everything to me, my first open-quality border collie and the vehicle for so many dreams. More, he's my best friend, my partner and my pal. He is my heart dog, in every sense of the term. I look in those big golden eyes and see so much love. He gives me everything, every ounce of his strength and every beat of his sweet, gallant heart.

But my Nick is not sound. He's not even 4 years old, his trialing career has barely begun, and he faces a debilitating problem.

Oh, there WILL be surgery. At some point in the fairly near future. He's not in dire shape - heck, right now, you'd never know there was a thing wrong with him! I've been able to work him and trial him with never a mis-step. But if he overdoes it, there's pain.

So ... now we manage our finances and plan for that surgery within the year. Meanwhile, I try to wrap my mind around the fact that my beloved Nick will have to go under the knife. :(

Dr. Richardson did seem to think Nick's prognosis would be good, with surgery. (He mentioned Spondylosis, but then went to the Cauda Equina thing. Not sure how that relates...?)

What he would do, Dr. Richardson said, is go in and remove just a wee bit of bone, no more than a thumbnail, to remove pressure on those nerves. He said he's done this same surgery for this same condition on working K-9s, particularly Malinois police dogs, and they are able to return to service. And ... that's encouraging.

But I'm not easy about this. My first border collie turned out to have severe hip dysplasia and a vet advised a Femoral Head Ostectomy. This was done, but she was never really sound, again. By age 6, she was pretty much retired. Thus, the idea of someone whittling on my dog's *spine* scares me to death!

I'm hoping that Nick's youth and the apparent intermittent nature of his condition means it's not as dire a case - (yet!) - as it could be, and that his outlook will thus be good. But it's still scary. And I still wish it wasn't so.

Now I'm gonna go hug Nick and then eat some chocolate chip cookies. I already cleaned the house today, so baking is the only stress relief I've got ....

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