Saturday, 31 October 2015

Extra pain relief kicks in

Tramadol; added to the Gabapentin & Metacam gave Blue some much needed pain relief last night, though it took most of the evening to kick in.

Blue has created a wide audience who have been interested in his progress, so for that reason, rather than keeping people posted on his twitter account (Bluethegsd) through this blog we can chart his progress for others to follow, and read older posts.

Yesterday evening he was in a lot of discomfort, a few times he looked as if he was going to be physically sick, but once out in the garden, he was content to lay there, so for a while, he laid on the lawn in comfort, so there he stayed until he was ready to move.

Although people have a look of concern when you say about Blue being in a crate, it really is so beneficial for him, it is the best advice we have ever had, crate training as a pup has now been very useful to help him gain some comfort and switch off.

The crate to Blue is like an old pair of slippers, (except he does not chew it), anyone who is considering a dog, could do a lot worse than crate train their dog. We have loaned Blue's crate out to a fellow German Shepherd called Max and a Pug called Daisy, both owners were amazed at the benefits.

Back to Blue.

Yesterday saw Blue at times lifting his hind right leg to take the weight off, and at times he would be dragging it behind him, when sitting some times he leaves it outstretched to the side at an odd awkward looking angle.

Sue is constantly in dialogue with the Veterinary Consultant Ricardo, at Fitzpatrick Referrals through phone calls and emails. 

The complexity of Blue's case has delayed any decision on what to do next, would the mass be the primary concern or the spine, what would be the implications of dealing with one and not the other, could both be dealt with in unison, at the moment there has been the MRI and two CT scans to gather information. The overriding concern is that they are keen not to go in blind, it is highly likely that our little soldier is going to need some form of surgery before he is pain free.

Ricardo has said that keeping Blue at home on pain relief will be a lot less stressful than him staying at the Vets, which we are in agreement with.

Blue has been moulting a lot, this could be his summer coat is being shed, to be replaced with his winter coat, or it could be related to the stress and discomfort he is feeling.

As I write this, Blue has taken up a cosy spot, a bit of crate-free relaxation.

Friday, 30 October 2015

More pain relief needed

Blue had a very very restless day and night yesterday. Unable to settle throughout the evening he was constantly up and looking for somewhere to settle.

He was out in the night, looking like he wanted to be sick, but ended up just laying on the lawn in the pouring rain. Attempting to lead him back indoors he refused to get up, the only way to move him was to abandon him in the garden and encourage him with a treat from the kitchen.

Sue slept downstairs with him, but by all accounts he continued to remain unsettled, eventually exhaustion got the better of him. At 5.30 am Sue took him out to do his business, and returned without any incident,this being no more than 15 minutes out of the door and back.

Sue had managed to arrange a shorter working day, so that she could contact Fitzpatrick Referrals to get some advice.  They have arranged for the local vet to supply stronger pain relief medication, which Sue can obtain from our local vets.

The prognosis is proving very difficult due to the complexity of the images created by the scans, but we have been assured that he is not being forgotten, they need to make the right decisions before committing to any operations, it is the difficulty of the symptoms could be caused by the mass within him or the condition of his spine impacting on his spinal cord or a combination of both.

It is very hard watching Blue in such discomfort, we hope that they can make a decision without too much more delay.

Blue is now less mobile and in more discomfort than he was four weeks ago.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Ignore if you are a responsible dog owner

Today following the vets advice, we increased Blues walk, as he has been responding well to his rest.

We took him for a walk in the local park, where he often frequents, and probably has enjoyed a little less than he would have liked.

Walking through the park past the busy five a-side enclosed area two young lads exclaimed their admiration for German Shepherds, and asked if they could stroke him. I explained that Blue had not been very well, and would not welcome them getting too close, they politely accepted, and went back to playing football, saying perhaps we can when he is feeling better.

We carried on with our walk admiring how polite they were, and Blue also gave a bark of approval, at least that is how he seemed.

As we walked around the park, giving other dog walkers a wide berth, all was going well, until a small fluffy white dog began to approach. It stopped a fair distance away, but we made sure Blue kept   himself to himself , but this little ball of fluff had other ideas. Blue was like a magnet, the star attraction that needed a closer look.

So there we are stood stock still, and making it clear, we were not there to play, but the other dog could not resist, now Blue had some ground to defend, first the barking, then the spinning and trying to get off lead, and what was the other owners response, softly calling "Bella" to come repeatedly for a good couple of minutes, finally Bella realised Blue was not up for playing returned to her owner, now some considerable distance away.

Blue settled and ended up with a shorter walk, and sure enough, half hour later, when he was called for his dinner, he slowly got up with a distinct discomfort in his hind leg, so the four weeks he had been resting, had just been undone, because of an owner that failed to recognise their little yappy dog was bothering a dog who was not well, and it's owners were desperately trying to keep him calm.

Blue may look a big strong brute on the outside, but he is a soft sensitive soul who is in a lot of discomfort, all he wanted was some quiet me time out with us.

The saddest part, he has now had to return to his crate for some enforced rest. 

We really do need the vets to get in touch soon, this waiting is very tough on Blue.

Monday, 26 October 2015

News is news

The day arrived, an incident free journey see us safely arrive on time for our 8:30 appointment.

The calm before the storm as they say, this sun drenched waiting room would soon be the hive of activity, and sure enough as others began to arrive, we were called in by Ricardo for Blue's check up.

We reported how Blue had been very well behaved with his crate rest, limited exercise and taking his medication. It was also pleasing to report that Blue seemed more stable on his hind legs than before our previous visit.

Ricardo explained that today he was more concerned now with assessing the "mass" that had shown up, the CT scan would be a quicker process than our previous visit, because it was more specific and targeted.

Blue had been vocal, but no more than usual, now was time for the sedative, which would take the edge off his anxiety, enough to put a catheter in, for the anaesthetic.

With a bit of positioning and some enforced hugs from me and Sue, Blue was injected, we now had to wait for it to take effect, this gave Ricardo a chance to go and prep the team ahead of Blue's arrival.

Blue resists the sedative, but gives a false impression it is working, as soon as the vet team re-enter the room some 25 minutes later, he is immediately up on the defence. But this time we worked quickly and effectively and within five minutes, he had been shaved, catheter fitted, we just had to wait for it to take effect. Although his hind quarters went down fairly quickly, the head and chest stayed very erect. More anaesthetic was given and gradually he succumbed. 

Scooped up into the arms of the veterinary team, he was carried like a sleeping baby out of the room.

Less than an hour had passed, when Ricardo, summoned us across a now packed waiting room, to say the CT scan was all done, he would check out the results, he suggested that Blue was not brought through the waiting room, so we moved our car to the rear of the practice, so that Blue could be brought out through the side exit and into the car, in their words he was easier to handle while the drugs were keeping him sedated.

It was a strange sight to see him come round the building, pulling although he did not know where he was going, to greet someone who may look vaguely familiar, Sue and me.

Blue was lifted into the back of the car, where we would wait with him until Ricardo came out to see us. Even the veterinary nurse took a few longing looks, Blue was being his most adorable.

Results; The reason for our visit.

I was hoping to be writing how good everything was, but there remains a lot of uncertainty. The results revealed no reduction in the mass which lays inside him. It is believed that the pressure on his spine is not his major concern, as he is coping well with mobility and bodily functions. 
At this moment in time there is no explanation or prognosis for this mass, therefore Blue's case is to be discussed with the "Oncology and Soft Tissue-team"  also in Guildford 

The word "Oncology" is the science of mass, tumours, within the body, at this moment no one knows what is the make up of Blue's mass. There is no point in jumping to conclusions or dismissing the presence of a form of malignant or benign tumour. Only time and more tests will give that answer.

Each and every day has always been precious, today that just ramped up a little more.

We will do all we can to make him happy, and see our way through what ever comes....

We now wait for a phone call .................

Blue as always blow a raspberry when the camera is pointed at him.


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Tomorrow is a huge important day

Tomorrow Blue returns to Fitzpatrick Referrals, at Godalming in Surrey, and it will be one of the biggest days of judgement that he has had to face for many a long time. 

Blue has completed the course of medication prescribed, he has had four weeks of being without any serious exercise, and for the most part lived in his crate. All as was advised by the vet.

I say for the most part, to expect him to remain crate bound for four weeks is unrealistic, therefore because Blue has been a model patient this last week he has spent longer outside of his crate, but he has still not gone anywhere without being on a lead. Last night for only the second night did he come up to the bedroom with us. Without fail we have taken it in turns to sleep downstairs with Blue, since his enforced stay in the crate.

Tomorrow is the long awaited return for the CT scan and MRI scan, the results of which will form the way forward for him. We will need to know if the"mass" in his body, that was detected has subsided or got worse, and or if the anomalies with his spine have altered.

There are the main two questions, and until Blue has been sedated and scanned, nobody knows what the next step is for Blue. Sedation won't come easy, as Blue has a deep fear of the vets, not surprisingly, since what he has gone through over the years.

So how is he?
Blue seems to be quite content within himself, he remains bright and alert, though still a little unstable on his hind legs. He has no loss of appetite and all his bodily functions are normal and healthy.

This is what Blue has in front of him for the next 24 hours;
  • By 5:00 pm he will have his afternoon walk, about 10 minutes.
  • By 8:00 pm his final meal of the day along with his final medication
  • After his meal there will be no food treats until he is back from Surrey the next day
  • By 7:00 am in the morning Blue will have been out for his dawn walk and constitutionals
  • At 7:00 am we will all get in the car and travel the 40+ miles to Godalming
  • At 8:30 am we are scheduled for Blues return consultation
  • Some short time after Blue will be under sedation for his scans
We then have the anxiety of waiting and worrying, hoping, fearing, praying that the odds are balanced in Blues favour.

It is without doubt tomorrow is going to be very emotional and soul searching, we must expect to have to make some tough decisions if the long term prognosis depends on it.

What ever way things go tomorrow we will do the best and right thing for Blue, he has given us so much, we have to give him all we have.

"Come on you Blue's"

Blue is going through this because a car driver failed to concentrate and stop before hitting the back of our car. We know it could've been much worse and the car took the brunt of the impact, written-off officially last week by the insurers, and it takes a lot to write-off a Land Rover Freelander2.

Blue's symptoms took 24 hours to show up; He had looked fine and without injury at the time of the impact, if only they could talk!!