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Old 07-21-2010, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Buddy the Pit Bull Part 9

Friday, July 16, 2010
Buddy Rose the Pit Bull Part IX



Sunday, June 20
For the first time in four weeks and a day, Buddy Rose started taking a few clumsy steps. He was unsteady, wobbly and unbalanced, but this was different than before when he tried to walk and fell. He was slow and deliberate. He would walk two or three feet, then lay back down and go back to crawling. When he was resting, he would stand up and turn around and lay back down, like walking dogs do, something he had never done before.

When he stood or took a few steps, his front legs trembled. I took an old harness we rarely used for Mollie and moved all the adjustments to make it as big as it could be. I hoped I could make it fit Buddy so that I could help hold him up as he walked or stood. Although it looked a little funny because the length was short on his long body, it worked and allowed me to help support him. I never used it to lift him, but if he was up, I could help support him with it. Outside, he would try to stand to urinate and both his front legs would start shaking badly. The longer he stood the worse he trembled. He would shake until he couldn't hold himself up any longer, then he would lay down to finish his business. I used the harness to help him whenever he started to tremble and shake.

He crawled more than he walked. After taking a few wobbly steps, he would lay down and crawl. Stand up again and take a few more steps and lay down. If he really wanted to move around inside and outside the house, he still mostly crawled. The second day was much the same. Although very subtle, he was improving. He really was walking. He had real trouble navigating the slick concrete floor in our garage, so we laid rugs down for him every three or four feet. He would walk to the first rug as he came in the garage and rest for 30 seconds or so. Then, with a little verbal coaxing, he would stand and walk to the next rug. Four rugs and four short breaks later and he made it in and out of the house through the garage on his own four legs. It didn't matter how long it took him to get in or out of the house, his doing it on his own was a huge break for me. Carrying his 65 pounds in and out of the house five or six times a day was hard. I was more than thrilled he could do this on his own.

For the first time, he also started to "sit" like a dog sits. He was never able to sit like this before because his front legs could not support his weight as he sat. He couldn't sit long before his front legs would start trembling and he would lay down. He could now sit down in front of me or the Colonel and put his head in our lap, another thing he was never able to do. With his head and front of his body supported by our lap, he could sit a little longer without lying down. I think we were all pretty happy with this development.

These little things may sound like small improvements, but when you have watched this beautiful dog do nothing but crawl, roll, flop, flounder and fall for more than a month, all of these really small things were monumental to us.

Buddy's test for Myasthenia Gravis was the only results he still had outstanding. All of the rest of his tests, blood work, scans, fluid tests, etc. had all come back completely normal or negative. We had been told the Myasthenia Gravis test would take a week to get the results. We had researched this canine and human disease and knew in severe cases, Prednisone was prescribed. With medication this disease is controllable and can go into remission. Most times it does recur during a dog's lifetime, but for a few dogs, the disease never recurs and the dog can stay in remission for his/her lifetime. I really hoped the test would come back positive for this disease because at least then, we would have a diagnosis. If it was not Myasthenia Gravis, I didn't know if we were really ever going to get a diagnosis for Buddy Rose.

The Colonel and I differed on opinion about all of the money spent on tests with no diagnosis. The Colonel's opinion was that all of these tests ruled out what was not wrong with Buddy. My opinion, we spent all the money and still didn't really know what was wrong with him. Yes, Prednisone had him up and becoming a little more mobile every day, but we still didn't know why he couldn't walk. One thing we both agreed on. Prednisone was doing something to get Buddy up and walking.

On Wednesday, we called both vets, our regular vet and the special Internal Medicine Vet in Dublin. Of course, both vets were out of their respective offices on Wednesday and we left messages for both to call us back when they returned to the office on Thursday.

Thursday morning, the Internal Medicine Vet returned our call first. The test for Myasthenia Gravis was negative. Buddy still didn't have a diagnosis. We told the vet, although slow, uncoordinated and clumsy, Buddy was walking a little, and improving a little more each day. Having ruled out most diseases with testing, the vet said Buddy Rose likely had a compressed disc or spinal cord issue in his neck. For whatever reason, the Prednisone was reducing the inflammation or swelling allowing him enough neurological or nerve response to walk. The vet told us he wanted to increase Buddy's Prednisone to 20 mg. daily for two weeks, then slowly we would start reducing the Prednisone and hope Buddy remained on all four paws. We told the vet, we thought the Prednisone was causing Buddy to have some diarrhea. Stating Prednisone is used to treat diarrhea in dogs, he thought it unlikely the Prednisone was causing his diarrhea. He said it was probably caused by "something he ate." He said to start giving Buddy Imodium, as much as 18 mg. a day, for the diarrhea. He said he would write the new dosage instructions for the Prednisone and fax them to our regular vet later that day.

We did give Buddy one Imodium pill, twice that day. Since Buddy is not really mobile, we don't have a back yard where he is ever crawling around, and are literally with him every moment of every day, except for the six or seven hours he is "night-night," I didn't believe it was something he ate. If it was something he ate, I really didn't want to give him Imodium because I wanted him to get it out of his system, not keep it inside of him.

Several hours later, our regular vet returned our call. This conversation went much the same as the first except our regular vet wanted to increase Buddy's dosage to 20 mg. of Prednisone daily for three weeks, instead of two. This vet said, "Prednisone really is Buddy's last chance at walking." I still believed this guy gave up on Buddy when he had referred us to the other Internal Medicine Vet. His "last chance" statement sort of just confirmed my belief. In this vet's opinion, Buddy's diarrhea was caused by all of the antibiotics Buddy had been taking. We reminded the vet, Buddy had not taken any antibiotics in eleven days. This didn't seem to matter. He thought these antibiotics had killed the "good flora" and Buddy would need some help restoring it. He wanted to put Buddy on Prostoria for seven days to restore the good stuff in his intestines and put him on special Low Residue dog food. We would need to call him in two weeks to give him an update on Buddy's progress.

One week after Buddy started taking 15 mg. of Prednisone (three 5 mg. pills) once a day, we increased his Prednisone to 20 mg. (10 mg. twice a day), added one Prostoria (good flora) pill a day and Buddy started eating Low Residue dog food. For Buddy, who always had a great appetite, the Low Residue dog food was not a hit.
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