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Tilly Had A Stroke - Few Questions I Could Use Some Help With


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Hi all - our 8-year-old girl spent the day at the neurologist yesterday, getting a full exam and an MRI. She was resting on her bed the Sunday before Christmas, got up and yelped - we thought it was soft tissue, but when she appeared worse on Tuesday morning, we took her to the vet. After a couple vet visits because nothing was helping her, vet suspected FCE and we went to specialist.

 

Turns out she has a slightly bulging disc (disc right before her tail begins) - but she saw no issues with her nerves and she said it was quite 'minor' - but she also saw some small remnants of a stroke. Nothing else at all - no tumors, nerves pinching, etc. She also reviewed her previous x-rays and found nothing out of the ordinary.

 

So she's been dealing with this for over 3 weeks now, she has good days and bad days - but never really improves/gets worse. Currently, she is not using her back left leg. She's still able to pee/poo by herself, still has her appetite and can still get around. Today, she seems worse, she's having problems getting up/going down and she was very tentative in the yard this morning - she isn't putting any weight on that leg at all. Maybe because she was so sedentary yesterday?

 

Which brings me to my questions...

 

I am waiting this morning for the rehab guy to call me from the vet's office, as we were told rehab might help her. Does anyone have experience with rehab after a spinal cord stroke? I've read that "immediate" rehab is needed, and since we are over 3 weeks out, is there still hope for her? Also, since she has a bulging disc we are concerned - our neurologist said she would speak with the rehab guy, too and explain that she needed very gentle rehab.

 

And, we are leaving for vacation tomorrow - which I am sick about. It's a family trip - my mother-in-law is paying for all of us to go to Vegas for 5 days as a late Christmas celebration. Not really something we can get out of without causing a lot of problems with our family. So, we canceled our original reservation with boarding (normal boarding place, we get a big suite for both of our dogs and they get lots of playtime). Our boy will still get a playtime situation - but we are struggling with what to do with Tilly. We can board her at the vet - in a normal 3.5x10 run (no outdoor run - so they would take her out on leash 3-4x per day and would be watched over by kennel staff) or we could board at the vet in their ICU (constant supervision, looked after by vet techs, etc. - but very chaotic, lots of sick/hurt animals and it would likely be very stressful for her). We wanted to do the vet boarding so she could begin rehab right away and be in a safer environment where they could watch her - but since no one is calling us back, we have no clue if they are recommending it or if it will even help her at this point.

 

Or, do we board her at the boarding facility and wait until we are back (next Monday) to begin rehab? We could get the big suite for both dogs, and just have no playtime for her. Or, we can do individual runs so she doesn't have to worry about our boy knocking into her (he's kind of a big goofball who has no concept of physics).

 

We also found out that the specialty clinic has medical boarding - but they have a more mellow/quiet environment and a small outdoor area where she could be off the leash for a little every day. But no rehab there.

 

We are leaving in less than 24 hours, so I *have* to get something set up soon. I just want what is best for her, I don't care about cost.

 

Finally - one more question - she has razor burn from getting shaved for the MRI yesterday. It is not a spot that she can lick, so I was wondering if aloe would be okay to put on that area to give her some relief and start the healing. Or is there something else better?

 

She is really struggling to get around this morning, I am just sick about having to leave her right now. :(

Edited by Sundrop
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Our sons four year old had a stoke on December 2. He lives outside DC on the Maryland side - so had great neuro care in leesburg va. I went for 10 days to be nurse to her so he could go to work everyday. Her experience - he found her lethargic and obviously Ill at noon on a Tuesday - took her immediately to his regular vet where all three vets looked at her and referred her on for neuro and Mri in leesburg. She had neuro care and Mri there. She spent the night there and was released on Wednesday afternoon. She stood up for the first time on her own when I arrived at his house late Thursday evening...and the progress started. She was able to walk with a 'towel harness' on Friday I think. She started rehab I'm thinking between 1-2 weeks out. They did laser treatments and put her in the underwater treadmill. Her progress was very steady with improvements everyday. My dh and I flew back to Maryland to spend Christmas So she would not have to travel long distance or be boarded. Carlinda, I am blessed to say, is close to 100%. I don't really feel like I can offer you any advice, as your situation is clearly different than ours - have you checked with rehab to see if they board there? Not sure this will help you,I'd be happy to try to answer any questions you have. Feel free to pm me or just use this thread I'll try to remember/help.

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Doodles had an FCE just before Christmas 2014, the best thing I did for her was get her into acupuncture and cold laser. Cold laser has REALLY made the difference. Over a year later I still take her every 3-4 weeks. She may have had another stroke a few months ago, not an FCE, Dr Couto has recommended 1/2 of a cardio aspirin daily. My vet has her on 1/2 tab 2x a day Organically Bound Minerals by Standard Process to prevent muscle/back cramping.

 

As for your trip, please call your adoption group and ask if someone will take care of her in their quiet home while your gone. Usually there is sirens who will help out. I had a friend who took Doodles while I was away for Christmas, she also took her daily when I went to work for about weeks.

 

Good luck, she will improve. Please keep us posted.

Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

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Thank you both so much! I think the best solution for her at this point is a medical boarding situation, as much as I know she'll dislike it. She's really having issues today and leaving her with a stranger in a stranger's home just isn't something I can do to her, especially since we have so little time to coordinate this. :( The vet does have rehab, so if we board her there, she would be able to start right away.

 

The rehab guy left me a voice mail and I called back (had to leave him a voice mail, too) - hopefully we can chat soon and I can better understand what they offer and recommend given her current state. Honestly, it just makes me feel sick that we have to leave her. Trying to remain positive, as I know she'll be safe at the vet and will hopefully start valuable rehab. I'm already pondering telling the family that we'll be there, but I might try and leave a day early, at least. My heart just isn't in this...

 

Will definitely ask about cold laser, acupuncture and underwater treadmill - thank you SO much!

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Hang in there. I was so blessed to have teddy Palmer (halfway home greyhounds) that I phoned/emailed several times a day for help and advice. I agree the laser treatments really seemed to help. Try not to worry (hahahahahaha - me saying this is really funny.).

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That makes complete sense. She will be in good hands, you can at least feel and sense of relief knowing she's with medical professionals the while time your gone. 24 hour care and you can call and check on her any time.

Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

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Plain old diaper rash ointment?? Desitin or something similar? I'm thinking from a hooman point of view. No idea if it would be a problem for doggies.

gallery_14387_3165_6886.jpg

 

Patsy and DH with the Humane Society specials, Linus & Jazz, in North Dakota

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How is she doing?

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Hi all - we are just back from vacation. Tilly stayed at the vet in ICU medical boarding, and she got 3 rehab sessions while there. In fact, the rehab guy brought her downstairs to the rehab room to stay with him all day on Wed, Thurs & Fri to give her a break from her boarding kennel and to keep an eye on her and build some trust.

 

She isn't doing very well, however, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. We have at-home rehab and we've done what we can (we need a demo of some of the things) and I'm trying to get her once-weekly rehab sessions @ the vet set up. She isn't putting any weight on that leg now, she is just hopping around on 3. That wouldn't be so bad, but she is very wobbly and she has already fallen down (and couldn't get up on her own) 3x. We are trying to do as the rehab told us - to let her "work it out" and be there to support her, as she needs to relearn how to do things like stairs, beds, etc. She just seems so weak, and she is lethargic (I assume from lack of activity overall).

 

Going to take her for her 5-7 minute walk right now (as rehab guy instructed), but she isn't putting any weight on that leg - so won't be much help for that. Hopefully it will keep her strength up in her other legs and give her some energy. I'm going to remain positive and do everything I can for her, but it is truly breaking my heart.

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I'm sorry, not what you had hoped to come home to. I'm hoping that now she's home in her own environment, she'll relax and get back to where she was and beyond before she went to the vet's. How did she do at the vet's? Did she favor that leg there, too? I'd give them a call and ask. <come on Twiggy....we're cheering you on!!!>

Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

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Lots of hugs.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Thanks so much for the support! I'm really glad that we opted to board her in the ICU at the vet, as she got 24/7 care and apparently it's a relatively quiet place. Also really glad the rehab guy was able to bring her downstairs to the rehab area - I got lots of photos of her chilling on beds watching other dogs get their rehab, and we got a couple of her on the underwater treadmill (she didn't look happy, hah!). They said she ate fine, also she went out 4-5x per day and did her business just fine, but they noticed the same thing I noticed - she has some days where she is putting some weight on that leg and then the next day, she won't even use it for balance and hops on 3. It's tough to say if she is getting better, worse or remaining the same.

 

Since we got home, she hasn't used that leg at all, not even a little bit. She is dragging the foot completely and she's having a tough time. It's taking everything in me to let her "work it out" - but I know that she has to learn how to do things again, and she needs to challenge herself and build new muscle as well as keep the existing muscle she has. The neurologist put her on Plavix - I asked about the baby aspirin/Pepcid (as I saw on Twiggy's thread that Dr Couto recommended), but she said that she preferred Plavix based on the lack of side effects. I didn't argue with her. I did send Dr Couto an email and he responded really quickly, but since we have been out of town I haven't been able to gather her medical records to get a consultation with him. I plan on calling the neurologist today.

 

She is having a lot of issues getting up, and when we let her outside, she has fallen a few times. Getting down is a bit hard for her, too. We took her on a short walk yesterday and she seemed really happy - we always take them on 2 walks per day, but since they originally thought it was soft tissue, we were resting her. She got tired quickly, and hopped on 3 legs the entire time, but she looked alert & happy.

 

Going to work on buying non-skid rugs/runners today and all new orthopedic beds. She's struggling with some of the taller beds, so I'm going to go for more compact ones. Any other advice on what we can do to make life easier and safer is GREATLY appreciated. The vet, neurologist and rehab guy don't seem overly confident she'll regain use of her leg since it has already been almost a month with no improvement. I am still going to do her rehab, look into acupuncture (they don't offer it where we do her rehab) and remain positive. They all said some dogs just take longer, and that will be my attitude. Also, I don't want her to get worse, so we'll push on.

 

Anything else I should consider or think about for her if she'll be like this for the rest of her life? I'm guessing it's a bit like being an amputee, except that leg is still "in the way," as it were?

Edited by Sundrop
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Yep, I put calls into both the neurologist and our regular vet to get all her records emailed to me so I can get them to Dr Couto. I was amazed at how quickly he responded to my initial email, I will let you all know what he says once I can gather all the records!

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Please go and read this blog. (read from the bottom up) It hasn't been kept updated for a couple years now but the important part is where I sent you which is Dec 2011. My little Opal was the "other" dog involved in this accident. Luna came for a visit last week and was running around my back yard. She came back about 95%.

There is always hope.

 

http://lunaslifeinthegardenstate.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html

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Thanks again, all. I just got Dr Couto's out of office message, and I feel like Tilly is slipping away from me...

 

She seems worse, trouble getting up and down and is very lethargic. I just spoke to the rehab guy who is actually recommending against activity for her, as he noticed that while in rehab she seemed to get weaker after any activity. He said she was responding well to the underwater treadmill for a few minutes and putting some weight on that leg - and then she just froze and started knuckling under (no response on that foot) so he stopped. The vet tech noticed the same thing - one day she seemed to want to go up the stairs (to go outside) but I guess on the third stair, she stopped and just couldn't go any further. It wasn't anxiety, she just lost all strength.

 

Now, I'm just so angry that they didn't do any MRI imaging on her head, only her spine. I cannot put her through that again, but now I'm afraid that it could be something like a brain lesion - as the rehab guy (and the vet tech) found it very strange the way she seemed okay one minute and then froze/went limp the next minute. Neither had seen anything like it.

 

She got up on her own about 30 minutes ago, but I heard her softly crying. I went to her (she's in the next room) and she was just standing there - like she didn't know what to do. I gently walked with her to another bed and she had such a hard time getting down - her left leg just wrapped around her other leg. It took a good 2-3 minutes to help her get down.

 

Hopefully Dr Couto will respond, but it appears he is away for a bit, as his message says to consult with my own vet in case of emergency. I just don't know what to do. :(

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FYI - Finally gathered almost all her medical records (MRI images have to be burned to a disc and mailed to us) and just started the consultation process with Dr Couto. He mentioned that the neurologist we saw here is one of his former students, which is fabulous. We really liked her and I'm glad they have a connection.

 

Tilly isn't getting any better. She seems weak and tired, but we are seeing her get up and back down on her own when she needs to shift positions in bed. Still able to eliminate on her own, but she's having a tough time getting around. We got the Help 'Em Up harness from our vet, but I think it's too big. We have a rehab appointment tomorrow and we are going to get it fitted, or go down a size, and hopefully start training her (and us) on how to properly use it. I have a feeling we'll probably need it the rest of her life.

 

BTW - anyone have a pronunciation of Dr. Couto's name for me? We've been guessing, and I really hate not knowing how to properly pronounce!!

 

We are stuck in the big winter storm on the east coast today - yuck! About two inches of snow, now freezing rain falling so it'll turn to ice on top of snow, which is never fun. We are following Tilly around like a shadow, which has elicited some funny stink-eye looks from her - haha! On a side note, our newly adopted boy is hilarious - I'm sure it's the first time he's seen snow in his life. :)

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BTW - anyone have a pronunciation of Dr. Couto's name for me? We've been guessing, and I really hate not knowing how to properly pronounce!!

 

It's pronounced Cou = rhymes with toe

To = rhymes with toe

or Coe-Toe

 

NoAh the podenco orito, Rita the podenco maneta, Howie the portuguese podengo maneto
Angels:  Mr X aka Denali, Lulu the podenco andaluz, Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella),  Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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