I hadn’t even thought about this blog for a long time.
Dante is doing well. In May it will be three years since his surgery. He is mainly managed by acupuncture and some herbal remedies for his IBD when he has a flare up if his back gets achy.
He’s eight years old now and other than some back pain that he has had since the surgery, I don’t see any signs of the chiari reasserting itself.
God willing this will continue.
He is doing very well. The acupuncture seems to be working very well for him.
At first I noticed that he had a lot more bounce. Poodles love to pounce on things and then shake the toy to death in their mouth. It’s so cute. That returned right away. He also had a lot more bark. More jumping up and on guard.
The treatment was every week for the first month and then went to every two weeks. Now, three months into it we are working on once a month. The treatment is $90 and is far less than the $200+ a month I was spending on medication (Nuerontin and Budesonide) for the Chiari and the IBD. He now is on no medication at all.
The goal is to work towards getting him to a once every three months treatment.
There will be times when he requires an additional treatment before the next scheduled appointment. This has already happened once. I can tell when he is slipping into pain again because his back begins to hunch up and his stool gets greasy. The pain causes the IBD in Dante’s case.
With Arnold Chiari disease, the surgery stops progression of the disease, if it works and if there is no scar tissue formation. In Dante’s case we caught the disease before he developed any syrnixes down his spine. It is my belief and the belief of his doctors that this is the reason we have gotten him to this point. We are very lucky.
The acupuncture has worked so well that I am going for an appointment with an acupuncturist next week for myself.
I will try and post more frequently going forward.
Kathy and Dante
Sorry to all followers of this blog.
I had to move suddenly and my job has been out of control so I pray you all accept my apology.
Back to the subject at hand.
We visited the new nuerologist who confirmed Dante’s Chiari malformation. He didn’t think scaring had occurred based on Dante’s symptoms and improvement after surgery. After examination we came to the conclusion that on top of it all, Dante has arthritis. This was confirmed by his reaction to Metacam which returned him to puppy activity, for a time. Eventually he barfed big time and had no appetite.
So, today, we had the first acupunture treatment. I hope this helps him.
As to Dante, he’s good. He has bad days, but if I had to quantify it somehow I would say he has two bad days a month, or at least in the last month.
We’ll see how this goes.
He’s good now. Lot’s of increased activity this night (Mr. Bark) but yet seems chilled out. Does this mean anything? I don’t know. The vet tells me that you know if acupuncture is going to work or not by the 4th or 6th treatment.
I’ll let you know.
Dante and Kathleen
Still flaring but a bit less so. His head trembles are not as frequent and as bad.
Is this due to the antibiotic beginning to work? Who knows but that is what this seris of posts is trying to track.
Nuerontin maybe helps him a little, but not a lot. One of the things I need to figure out is what other alternatives there are. Hopefully a second nuero opinion will give me some insight on what might be good to try.
In the never-ending cycle of SM Dante is flaring. About a week ago he had a small spell in the car. I thought it occurred because he really wrenched his neck from one side to the other when someone walked near the car behind him, but there have been little signs since then. Several times I’ve thought I heard his jaw clicking but when I looked at him he seemed fine with ears up and bright eyes.
Yesterday when we walking he had a big spell and two others last night. He’s back on Nuerontin and I am giving him the broad spectrum antibiotic again. The reason for this is that the six week good spell came shortly after giving him this antibiotic. We’ll see.
His ears are flat against his head and the eyes are dull. I don’t think the Nuerontin helps him at all really and I’m getting no help from his nuerologist. His attitude right now is that all that can be done for Dante from a medical perspective has been done and we need to focus on holistic treatments when he has spells. I’m not against that and Dante goes to the acupuncturist on 12/6, but I’m definitely getting the, ‘don’t call me’ feeling from his nuero. Maybe it’s time to have Dante’s MRI, records and history reviewed by another nuero just so I’m sure the all medical options are off of the table and at least might get some better help with pain management. I don’t want to insult his original nuero but he certainly does seem to be washing his hands of us. It makes me really frustrated. In my conversation with him last night he ended with the comment that I should let him know what happens in a very off putting way. I’m not going to go on about that b/c I’m really POed about it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised based on what I’ve heard from others on the Yahoo board. Soooooo, be proactive and get a second opinion and review of Dante’s entire history. I’m fairly sure that the second nuero will come to the same conclusion so I don’t completely fault the current nuero, but it was just the way it was said, like, “see ya!” I’m sure some of my anxiety is fueled by my fear of the SM spiraling out of control so take my comments re: the doctors with a huge grain of salt.
Will let you know what the other nuero says. I was actually referred to him originally but he was having back surgery so that’s how I ended up with the other nuero.
It’s been a bit since I’ve posted.
He’s still off of pain meds.
Sometimes he still seems a bit slow on the rear legs, but for the most part he’s lively and full of dirt.
We go to acupuncture on 12/6 finally as I had to cancel the last appointments due to work.
For now he is medication free from IBD or AC. I am very grateful.
He’s not 100% but before surgery I would say he was 75%. He’s now 99%. I’ll take that.
Currently, he’s out like a light on our bed!
Tomorrow will be three weeks without pain meds. Also he will be at five weeks without Budesonide the steroid for his IBD. The home-cooked diet is faring well as far as his belly and gut are concerned as well. I hope it continues.
When I last visited his regular vet she said that neurological problems usually take six months to resolve whether they are treated surgically or with on-going medication. October 9 will be five months. Where he has gotten better with time, I have to think that this is right. I know he could turn painful at any moment, but I’m really hopeful for now.
He’s running, jumping and barking like he has not done in nearly a year. Things started to turn bad in the late summer of ’05, so it’s great to see him doing so well. In addition to feeling better he seems to be consistently happy for the first time in a very long time. He’s generally satisfied with everything he does in the way that only dogs that are healthy are unless they are in trouble. He is hunting squirrels again and almost had a heart attack when we went outside on Saturday morning and two deer were in our backyard. He froze at first, quickly shot me a look as if to say, “DO YOU SEE THIS?!!!!” and shot across the yard at top speed. It was great.
So to the surgery and my decision to do it: I’m happy I did. I’d be happy I did whether he had to be on Nuerontin the rest of his life or not. I’d accepted that it was going to be the case, so this is a great surprise.
He’s off all meds. For IBD and for pain.
He took a BIG turn towards the old dog that he was about three weeks ago.
He’s doing great. I can’t believe it.
Just when you think you know anything about SM something changes.
I pray it lasts.
Well, the antibiotic didn’t help. If I miss his pain medication (fall asleep before giving him night dose, a rarity but it did happen last night) he cries before daybreak.
My neurologist tells me that we continue pain control and pursue alternative treatments like acupuncture.
I’ll tell you this: I love this dog and pray that the medication continues to control his pain and acupuncture helps, because I can’t even entertain the thought of putting him down.
I’ll assure you that decision is not immediate, but the realization that he won’t be getting any better and that they grow immune to pain meds makes me sick.
Given that this is the best it’s going to get, he get’s treats now. If the IBD gets ugly I’ll give him the steroid but until then, HE GETS TREATS, PERIOD.
If this wonderful dog is going to have to endure this he’s NOT going to be void of treats. Forget it. He’s not going to be an old dog. I want him to enjoy the life he has.
We’ve added a muscle relaxer to his routine.
Whatever is happening, it causes his muscles to spasm which is the cause of his pain. It seems to have helped.
He is also on a broad spectrum antibiotic and he seems ickish on it. He’s not too into eating, unless it is my food which I made the mistake of giving him my leftovers two days in a row. He could be on a hunger strike having been given the forbidden IBD type of food. He’s done it before.
We also got some blood-work back which indicates that his thyroid may be going. They are doing more detailed blood-work to verify that so Dante may have loads more pills each day.
I should do a post with picture of the number of pills he takes at each sitting, three times a day. Good think Dr. Bush knew about a cheap compounding mail order place in Arizona or I’d be broke! Anything for the boy though.