Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Good Vet

While moving can be fun and exciting there is also the hassle of finding a lot of new service providers; hair dressers, dentists, doctors and, arguably, most importantly a vet.  I got so lucky in the veterinary department with this move.  Before I left VA, I had several recommendations for Dr. Bernander at Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Franklin, TN.

It turns out that was a good thing because while I was making the drive down here, I called his office to schedule an appointment for Sam.  In the weeks leading up to our move, Sam had increasing issues with mobility - specifically, his rear movement.  So we arrived in TN on Tuesday evening, moved into our house on Wednesday and Sam went to see Dr. B on Thursday.

Dr. B took xrays and diagnosed Sam with a potential infection in one disk, a fully fused disk and a third disk - L7/S1 - that was causing the real issue - and quite a bit of pain.  Basically, Sam has cauda equina.  This is a chronic condition that is very painful and will eventually lead to rear paralysis.  It's a fairly common condition in large, athletic dogs but you don't hear much about it in Cardigans.

The initial treatment for Sam included Cephalexin, Prednisone and an increased dose of Tramadol.  It also included return trips to the vet every 2 weeks.  So we made return trips for the next 8 weeks.

In the middle of all that, Grace, the cat, also became ill.  My first clue was that she missed the litter box.  During one of Sam's regular rechecks, I brought Grace along and ended up leaving her at the clinic overnite.  She was diagnosed with a severe UTI and ended up spending 3 nights at the clinic.  She came home on a Monday but by Thursday evening she had made it very clear to me that she was finished with this life.  I took her back in on Saturday morning and Dr. B helped her cross the bridge just one week before her 15th birthday.

In my next post, I'll introduce Sam's new physical therapist.  She's going to help us manage Sam's pain so we don't have to graduate to morphine for pain control.

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