Monday, February 25, 2008

The News

Well, we went to the vet. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't a complete exam, either. TJ has to drop her off in the morning. The doc wants to sedate her so she can get a complete x-ray of her hips, and then she'll do a complete orthopedic exam. Of course I got a little misty-eyed as she told us her preliminary findings: hip dysplasia. I asked if she was sure, and she said as sure as she could be without having an x-ray.

I told her what I had researched last night, and rather than dismiss what I told her, she did some examining to rule it out. I thought Kiana had degenerative myelopathy. It's ironic, but I just learned about this in one of my classes. This happens to people who have a stroke, CP, or other neurological damage. Basically, our nerves are covered in a coating called myelin. When a person suffers a stroke or other neurological distress, the myelin coating breaks down, similar to the rubber coating on an electrical cord. Without the covering, the nerves are exposed and, also like an electrical cord, the electricity (or neurons) can't pass back and forth as freely, causing the nerves to misfire or quit working at all. It often leaves people unable to speak, move muscles, etc, and has a similar affect on animals. The onset is rapid and irreversible.

I thought Kiana had this because her onset was so sudden, and TJ commented last week that he thought perhaps she had suffered from a stroke. She has just really quit using her back legs. She just lays, lethargic, unless she has to get up. The vet told me that since Kiana still had sensation in her legs (she could feel the doc’s hands on her paws and was drawing them up toward her body), more than likely it was only her hips and not this more serious condition. Only the x-ray and ortho exams will show for sure, so I am still praying that this is it. The doc did say that if it was her hips, she'll be put on a medication for pain for the rest of her life. I hope it improves her quality of life as she has just not been herself the past week or so. I got outside and played ball with her for a little bit this afternoon, but she's back to laying on the couch instead of snuggling with me and Jenna.

Anyway, thanks for thinking of us, and I'll know more tomorrow when I pick her up. Just pray she handles the sedation fine- she is considered elderly.

Vet

Kiana goes to the vet this evening. I was able to get an appointment tonight so TJ can come with me. I did some research on the Internet last night and no longer think it's her hips but something more serious. She seems to show those symptoms more so than hip problems. I showed my findings to TJ and I think he agrees with me but doesn't want to outright say it to keep me from getting upset again. If it is what I think it is, more than likely she'll have to be put down. I don't know if it will be immediately, but that is the only option. I don't even want to share what I think it is because I am praying that it is her hips. From what I found out about hip dysplasia, there are a myriad of options from exercise to medication to surgery. Hip dysplasia is a best-case scenario, and I am praying for the best!

I'll update more tonight after we get home. Her appointment is at 7pm, but then of course we have to get our kids in bed once we get home. Please pray for us. I know most people don't care for their pets like people, but we do (which is why they have human names and not pet names- they are like our children and we refer to our kids and dogs as siblings). Kiana and I have a stronger bond than anyone in the house (I mean pet/human bond), and I don't know what I'll do if she has to be put down. It will be so sad for me!