Well, I’ve been terrible about blogging about Gabby’s job in Animal Assisted Therapy. Especially today, I regret I didn’t write more often. We’ve been thoroughly enjoying each and every visit and came to the point of being fairly consistent with 2-3 different elderly care facilities here in San Francisco. But today I had to send the following email to the SPCA Program Gabby has diligently worked for the past 4 ½ years:
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write to you this morning. Gabby has not been well for the past 2 weeks. We've had to cancel her last appointment due to a condition that recently came about....long story short, she has hip dysplacia and has had a bad flare up. Currently she is on cage rest, wearing a diaper and feeling pretty miserable. At this time as we look at our course of action, I'll have to remove her from active duty until further notice.
I apologize for the inconvenience and I'll keep you posted on Gabby's progress.
The first signs of trouble began when she refused to jump on the furniture and would paw at us to pick her up to place her on it. Next came refusing to go up the stairs in our house and uncontrollable shaking of her back and hind area. We took her to her vet when she refused to even go on a walk and would not squat to urinate or defecate. It was determined she had ‘degenerative disc disease’ and a possible prolapsed disc, which is highly prevalent in the Lhasa Apso breed. Since she has been 2 years old, she’s been taking a veterinarian prescribed anti-inflammatory for hip dysplasia and knee joint issues. We came home and the following day was back at the vet because her legs were worse. They kept her for 2 nights on cage rest and observation to determine the next step. They gave her extra doses and an injection of the anti-inflammatory meds to aid in the flare up. When I picked her up she lost all control and began randomly defecating diarrhea and urinating. Big problem, to say the least.
We bought baby diapers and cut a hole out for the tail but the sizing was all wrong. We finally made a trip to the Pet Store for the official dog diapers and they are still not quite right but better. Of course she hates to wear them. Our first night home was pathetic. She just looked at us and whimpered in a way we’d never heard before.
Today is Saturday and thankfully the diarrhea medication worked and she isn’t having that issue anymore. She’s had a healthy appetite and hasn’t been whimpering anymore either. An issue that seems to be getting worse is when she makes the attempt to twirl in order to potty, her legs drop from underneath her body and then she stops and just stares at us. This leads to major lack of bladder control. Also, she has always had a beautiful fluffy tail and unfortunately I just had to trim it down to the bare tail due to matting and getting in the way.
Medically speaking, her vet is presenting a few options at this time. She is only turning 7 years old in April so she is still very youthful! Her x-rays were sent to a surgeon and they will be getting back to us this next week. There is a procedure called a Femoral head ostectomy or Girdlestone’s Operation. They pretty much remove the ball of the femor, and a ‘ghost like’ one is formed and the muscles in the hip mold and shape to assist the dog in walking and living a normal life. The degenerative disc issue is non-operable.
We are trying to keep her comfortable and waiting to see the surgeon for our options. It would be wonderful to wake up and all of this will be gone but I don’t see that happening.