One Long Day

Well the much anticipated Fourth of July has come (and is nearly over).

Not anticipated because I live south of the border and love me some fireworks (though that last part may still be true), but because Moses’ long awaited appointment with the specialist was today to determine exactly what it is that is causing his clumsiness and drastically reduced range of motion – and hopefully fix it.


We previously had two (great) vets independently come to the conclusion that Moses probably had Wobbler’s, and so our specialist appointment for a consultation, CT Scan, and hopefully surgery was made.

That was today, and unfortunately there is no good news to report.

The worst news?  Ironically that it’s not Wobbler’s.  Definitively not.

That’s the bad news because not only did all of the signs and symptoms point to Wobbler’s, but also because we were basically mentally (and emotionally) braced for that diagnosis and what to expect.  And boy were those expectations shattered.

At the outset, even the specialist put Wobbler’s on the top of her list of likely causes, based on the way he walks, drags his feet, and his hypersensitive reflexes in his back legs.  Definite nerve pinching is happening, restricting the movement in his front legs, and Wobbler’s and disc lesions are the most common causes.  Both of these are vertebral issues.

So in Moses went for a CT Scan to confirm that strong hypothesis.

And they got this:

Moses' spine - C6

Which is bad, because it’s supposed to look like this:

Moses' spine - C4

If it were Wobbler’s or a disc lesion, deformations would be found on the white part – the vertebrae.

Instead, what we see is that central circle is much larger at Moses’ C6 than in the second image (at C4), and pushed to the top left.

So that explains the nerve pinching, because there is definite swelling/inflammation, but instead the swelling is in and around the spinal cord itself.

Apologies to the specialist, veterinarians in general, and anyone else who better understands and can explain this issue; my humanities degrees grossly under qualifies me in anything medical, and I’m still trying to make sense of these issues myself.  Maybe this photo helps.

Moses’ diagnostic also included a myelogram, where dye was injected into his spinal column.  This allows the spinal column to show up well on X-rays, so any sort of pinching or blocking can easily be seen.

When they injected Moses at the top of the neck in the usual course, the dye stopped right about at C6 and would no longer move further down, so they had to inject him again in the lower back so the dye would travel upward to the other side of the blockage and they could get a full picture.

Moses' myelogram results.

I’m no expert, but even I can see the circled swelling.

Another view - that's C6 circled.

So if it’s not Wobbler’s, then what?

Well, good question.  And that’s the worst part – it’s still very much up in the air.  We’re waiting for a report back, and some fluid test results, but a new possibility is cancer.

Which just plain sucks and there’s no other way to put it using clean language.

I want to wait for the more definitive diagnosis before thinking too hard about treatment possibilities, but cancer is an entirely different bag of awful than Wobbler’s, so it’s been a terribly long day.

Perhaps the worst part is that Moses had to stay overnight at the vet.  The dye used in the myelogram has side effects (seizures are common due to caused hyperactivity in the brain) and they wanted to keep him overnight for observation while the dye dissipated from his system.

This is good, because when we got an update on the big guy earlier this evening they informed us that he had a seizure about half hour prior to our call.  They administered valium to combat seizures until the dye is out of his system.  So if our day has felt long, I can only imagine how Moses is feeling.

It’s pretty odd and very sad without Moses at home with us, but it’s important that he’s being cared for.  And we’re dog sitting our favourite pitbull, Hooch, this week so at least the house isn’t totally dog-free tonight.

We’re looking forward to picking up Moses tomorrow and finding out more about what exactly his condition is, though it might be as long as a week before we have certain results.

A long day for all of us.

(My regrets for the depressing post….)