Monday, November 26, 2012

Not Myasthenia ...

So the results of Gata's Myasthenia Gravis test is back - normal. That's pretty much what we expected. So now we get back to metabolic pathways in detail and start chasing zebra ...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crash ...

So how often do you expect your dogs to literally run into each other, at nearly full speed? I know, you think they would be watching where they are going and not be so inclined to try to destroy themselves. Well, the other day, a couple of weeks ago now, Gata and Tor did just that.

We had just finished up some obedience work in the back yard and I was giving them a few free throws, as I usually do to increase the likelihood that they will relax for the evening. It was just before the sun went down on a Saturday late afternoon.

As usual, I threw the the first bumper from the back of the yard to the right side of the house and threw the second bumper to the left side of the house. Normally, Tor goes for the first bumper I throw and Gata goes for the second. Somehow, Tor missed the first throw and started for the second. Gata started for the first and then both seemed to change their mind at almost the same instant and start for the other bumper, while still looking at the bumper that they were originally headed for. They slammed into each other at roughly 3/4 speed, which doesn't sound that bad but is.

They both yelped. Gata hobbled over to me holding up her right front leg. Tor seemed fine at that point. So, I turned my attention to Gata - checked out her leg gently and gave her a little reassurance. I moved her around a little to see if she would put it back down. Thankfully, she did.

Then I turned and with horror saw that Tor was standing in 1 spot with his back roached as high as it could possibly go and his back legs trembling and fumbling underneath him. He was trying to come to me but could not coordinate his movements. It really looked like a serious spine injury.

I went to him and tried to calm him a little, in the vain hope that he might relax out of it as Gata frequently does. It helped his mental state a little but not his physical state. I had no choice but to carry him inside. Though Tor is quite thin, he is still a big dog and with the trembling in all the muscles supporting his back end this wasn't a particularly easy task. But I got him inside and tried to lay him on his side but he wasn't having any of that. So rather than risk injuring him further, I simply stood him up in the middle of the living room and grabbled my cell phone and iPad.

I quickly looked up the nearest emergency vet - VCA in Gaithersburg, about 25 minutes away. Gave them a call to give them a heads up. By this time, Tor seemed quite a bit better and was able to start moving on his own again. By the time I had loaded Gata into the car, he seemed perfectly normal. I elected to take him anyway, as I was pretty sure that he had suffered a traumatic shock to his spine and I wanted to make sure that they didn't see anything in spinal radiographs.

Got there and registered. Brought him in and got his weight, etc. He was really cool with the vet tech, though all the smells on her scrubs certainly got him aroused, as normal with Tor. She just chatted with me a bit and then got his temp, etc. By that time he was leaning against her legs getting petted.

Unfortunately, the vet was not nearly as comfortable with him as the tech was. There is no question that he is an extremely dominant dog that could be dangerous if handled the wrong way. But he isn't dangerous, just pushy. And honestly, though he may have bumped her hand with his nose when it was near his head, he did nothing more obnoxious than that. But the vet was not having any part of him and wanted him sedated before she would examine him. Since I knew they would have to sedate him to get x-rays anyway I complied with her request.

Anyway, the x-rays turned out fine. And Tor certainly seems fully recovered. But I definitely need to do more with him in terms of socialization. In particular, socializing him with people that smell like other animals. The smells definitely bring him to a higher state of arousal. I guess I'll have to talk to the folks at my friendly local vet clinic and see if I can convince them to help. They actually like my dogs, especially the owner of the clinic :-)  I wish they would have been open that Saturday late afternoon/evening ... 

I decided not to get Gata checked out. After we finished with Tor, I got her out and moved her around in the parking lot. She has one of the most beautiful trots I have ever seen and displayed it for me there. So, I elected not to leave more of my money there. They both got a few days off and seem no worse for wear at this point. 

Update on Gata - Still Collapsing

Oy, there's always so much to write about Gata. I am looking forward to the day when there is nothing of any health issues to note for her, or Tor, or any of my dogs in the future. They do seem to keep me on my toes.

Gata is collapsing again but her latest collapse may have provided a hint. It happened one day about 3 weeks ago when it was very cold during the early morning hours, only 28-degrees F when I took her to the park. Coincidentally, that day the water bottle that I have been taking with everyday, containing sugar water, broke. I decided that since it was so cool, she would probably be fine. She collapsed quite early on, even earlier than I would expect during warm weather.

So, maybe it has something to do with glucose supply for her. I've talked with Dr. Gillette about it. And I have to say getting him on the phone to discuss something like this is exactly like being in the room with him down at Auburn, only without the white board. What an incredibly, unpredictable, mind-bending conversation. All about metabolism and Gata's lab values from the trip to Auburn. I should just mention - metabolism and the energy generating pathways in the mammalian body have never been my favorite topic. I much prefer cellular communication processes (and I don't mean cellular phones!). So I guess I am on now on a collision with the TCA (Krebs) cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, etc.

We will likely pursue something along those lines. First, however, we want to rule out the possibility of Myasthenia Gravis. We don't really think that it is MG, but it is more common than some of the other things that we are thinking about and it would be foolish to head over to him again (now in the Chicago area) without ruling that out first, especially since visiting him at his new practice will be much more expensive than it was to visit him at Auburn. But I have to say, every time I talk to him I feel hopeful again. He has the kind of mind that really thrills at physiological puzzles and his enthusiasm is contagious. And, like me, his focus is on Gata.

Now that he has met Gata he understands how important it is to be able to come up with a solution for her. He knows that giving her a mental job would never be enough, that she requires a physical release of her energies. He also gets that I would never make it easier on myself by giving her to someone else that could provide a "quieter life" for her. It wouldn't change who she is or in any way change my responsibility to her. 

So, we'll wait for the results of the MG test. In the meantime, I'll try to start brushing up on metabolism and all the processes involved in the movement of glucose between cells, cellular compartments, storage, etc. It really was much easier to think about it as a potential nutrition issue, meaning that I was doing something wrong with the raw. Oh well ...