Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cleared For Take-off

We've had two follow up visits with Tinker's neurologist, Dr. Massicotte; the latest was this past Tuesday. In the visit prior to that, Dr. M had felt that Tinker's back was doing much better, but she still wanted us to take things slowly with him. We were to come back in 3 weeks during which time Tinker should stay in his ex-pen so that he still gets adequate rest.

Tinker doesn't really mind being in the ex-pen , and Virginia likes going in there with him. Of course, she prefers that the door stays open. We began to increase the distance of his walks, though we were still not to push it too much. I was taking Tinker for a walk one night when he slipped on some uneven ground and start to fall on his butt. His position was similar to how he bends when he needs to move his bowels, so at first I didn't think much of it. (Because he doesn't have the strength to squat like a dog normally would, he has to be supported. This is done by pulling his leash upward and holding his tail up.) Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. Before I could grab him he fell on his backside with his back right leg twisted underneath him. As I grabbed him he immediately contracted the leg and it started violently spasming. I carried him inside quickly and we got on the phone to our regular vet, non-regular vets, and AERC.

Virginia remains calm

None of our usual vets were in, friends' vets were on vacation, and we really didn't want to go to the emergency room unless it continued to be a problem. All of the specialists were gone for the day. I held him on my lap for 30-45 minutes as the spasm continued. We speculated that he hyperextended something, but we couldn't know for sure. When the spasm finally stopped it was as if nothing had happened. In fact, he suddenly jumped as we prepared dinner. Everything was fine for the remainder of the week and we hoped it was just a minor thing. Needless to say we were anxious for our follow up visit with Dr. Massicotte.

So now onto this past Tuesday... Before she examined Tinker, Dr. M had an idea of what had happened. First the good news. Tinker's back checked out very well. :) Now the not so bad news- but we still prefer it weren't the case. Dr. M explained what we had seen was actually a pain response. In this case it was a minor tear to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This was determined through examination and would really need an MRI for confirmation (Having partially torn my own ACL I was all too well aware of this). Because of Tinker's spinal injury he can't show discomfort in the way a "normal" dog would show. Whereas another dog might limp or walk differently, Tinker's reaction is an uncontrollable spasm that can last for minutes or longer. According to Dr. M., he would have the same reaction if he had broken a nail or cut his foot and there was pain.

The prescription? - rest. Here we go again. Only thing is Mr. T is going on vacation with us this weekend. We'll just have to make sure The Dude takes it easy, because there's no way he's staying home. :)