Friday, February 17, 2012

Round-up of Nick's Vet Visit Today


Alrighty, then!  I'm reiterating everything I posted here on FB in more scattered form, earlier today, so if you're tired of hearing from me, move along, nothing to see, here. ;)

In a nutshell, Nick may *still* need a 4 or 5 thousand dollar back surgery. But honestly, it's not as scary as it was, and it's not immediate.

I took Nick in to see Dr. D.W. Griffin of Loomis Basin Veterinary Hospital, in Loomis, CA. Just as with Dr. Richardson at Campus Commons in Sacramento, he was given an extremely thorough physical exam, which returned Nick's neurological responses as wholly normal. His musculature, stance and weight-bearing were also balanced and correct. However, Dr. Griffin did think Nick showed some discomfort when pressed firmly at the lumbo-sacral area. Not a lot, just Nick tilting his head to shoot a dour glance back at the doc.  ;)

Then - oh, happy day! - they took not one, not two, but three beautiful *digital* X-rays. Those things are so COOL!   :-p

Ultimately, Dr. Griffin's findings did not differ drastically from Dr. Richardson's. Nick has a form of Cauda Equina, with spondylosis-y stuff going on at the juncture of L7 and his sacrum. There's an instability there that's been pinching and causing the pain he was experiencing. I do not know the *cause* of that, but it seems to be something that just ... happens. Wear and tear in a hard-driving dog. I'm not sure if Nick's accident back in October (whatever it was) caused it, or just triggered its manifestation. I belatedly realized I need to ask Dr. G some more questions. (Hey, my brain was full!)

However, he said that it's a very *mild* form of the condition. If Nick were just a house dog, he'd have told me to just take Nick home, keep him fit, watch his weight and feed him glucosamine. But given that Nick's a working sheepdog, an athlete, it may not be so simple. What we have at the moment is "wait and see."

What IS notably different is that Dr. Griffin looked at our shiny, nifty, awesome new digital X-rays (all 3 views) and he did NOT see the Transitional Vertebral Segmentation that Dr. R. thought he saw in the previous, single-film X-ray. People, this is SUCH a relief! This means that Nick doesn't have something congenitally wrong with him. He's just damaged himself while storming around being a border collie.

He could still, (maybe, possibly, someday?) sire healthy Nick-babies and leave a legacy behind. It's a dream, anyhow.  :)

Meanwhile, though, I can bring him carefully back to work, focus on his fitness, monitor how he's doing and let time tell. Dr, Richardson said lots of long walks and swimming if possible would be good for his overall fitness. Also, the doc approved of my regimen of MSM, Synovi G3 and Cetyl-M supplements for Nick. Then, if going back to work means that Nick does regress to pain and lameness ... I'll know that surgery will come sooner than later. Next fall maybe. Or not.

But it's such a relief to have a clear picture of what's going on, clear knowledge of what to do and what to watch for, and so good to escape the pressure of, "OMG, need surgery, need surgery, MUST DO SURGERY, OMG, SURGERY!" that I had begun to feel from Dr. R.

I have room to breathe. I have things to do, to help Nick. I still have a dog I can work, in the meanwhile. And the potential of *needing* surgery no longer feels like the end of the world. Nick's not on the brink of shattering like a twig.

*whew* I needed that. I'll have the X-ray images PLUS an impartial evaluation from their radiologist by next week, so I'll share all that, when I get 'em.  :)

Thank you, everyone, for sticking with me, putting up with me, and offering your support. And special thanks to T and WolfTown ( and everyone who has contributed to them! They cut today's vet bill nearly in half.   :D

Just had some pie. Now going to have some wine. Yes.

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