My MinPin has Inflammatory Immune Disease
Five weeks ago I wrote a hub about my Min Pin, Buzz, having Intervertebral Disk Disease or IVDD as it is commonly known or herniated disk in dogs. Well, turns out he does NOT have IVDD but Inflammatory Immune Disease! I don't know about you but until Buzz started having problems I hadn't heard about either one!
After our regular vet treated Buzz for IVDD with the normal conservative method without success, he suggested we take Buzz to a Veterinary Neurologist. Um, hum, a neurologist. Until that moment I had no idea a Veterinary Neurologist even existed. I'm learning a lot raising Buzz. Our vet recommended the American Specialty Center in Yonkers, New York. Yonkers is approximately one and a half hours south of us here in Ulster County. Buzz is only two years old and we needed to find out what was wrong. After months he was still lifting his left rear leg, referred to as "lameness" by professionals.
So, I called the Animal Specialty Center and made an appointment for one week later. I also visited their web site to see what kind of place it was. Even though the web site was well done and informational it didn't prepare me for the professional level of care we were about to receive. The building was beautiful and immaculate inside and out. The Center included (in no particular order); animal anesthesiology, Veterinarian Behaviorist, Cardiologists, Clinical Pathology Department, Veterinary Dentist and Oral Surgeon, Dermatology and Allergy Service, Diagnostic Imaging Department, Emergency/Critical Care (they are open 24/7), Internal Medicine Specialist, board certified specialist in veterinary radiology, neurology service, board certified veterinary oncologists, animal rehabilitation service, board certified surgeons (in the fields of neurology, orthopedics, cardiology, emergency, trauma and soft tissue), counseling, and radiation oncology! This is an extremely impressive list of services all in one place. It is also a list of services I had no idea was available to dogs or animals in general. We did see cats while we were waiting and I have a feeling other animals are treated there as well.
I was told to make sure Buzz had nothing to eat the night before his appointment. He wasn't happy about not eating but once we were in the care he was okay. Needless to say I was as nervous as I would've been if I was the one going to a new specialist.
On the day of his appointment my husband and I left in plenty of time. We didn't want to be late so we arrived at the Center at twenty minutes to ten for his ten o'clock appoitment. Unfortunately the doctor we were to see (a neurologist) was busy and although the 'check in technician' saw us at 10:40, we had to wait until 11:10 for the doctor. He apologized profusely for being so late. He then examined Buzz, had me walk Buzz down the hall so he could observe his 'lameness' then sat us down. He said he really didn't know what the problem was and needed to do tests. Not an unfamiliar statement coming from any specialist. He furhter explained, depending on what he found he might have to call in the orthopedic specialist to either confirm or rule out any bone or hip involvement. He didn't want to go ahead with anything unless he was sure. He asked if we were okay with this then said they would give us a low estimate and high estimate of the bill so we could decide if we wanted to proceed.
I explained this is a two year old dog, who has become our baby, and regardless of the cost we needed to find out what was wrong with him. I won't divulge the cost because it might give some folks heart failure, but I have to say it was double what I thought it would be and I was thinking high.
The technician/nurse then took Buzz and off they went. The Dr. said the tests would take about three hours.
Tests and Test Results
We were told the tests would take three hours but unfortunately that turned into five hours. We were at the Center a total of eight hours though we did take an hour for lunch!
When the tests were finished the doctor came out and spoke with us. He explained all tests were negative. This is not what you want to hear after almost five hours of waiting for test results. There were no bone abnormalities and nothing wrong with his spine. He did do a spinal tap however, and was thinking the spinal fluid might show an immune-mediated disease that was causing the inflammation in his back and was causing his lameness. If the spinal tap came back negative we would be at square one. If it was the immune-mediated disease it would first be treated with steroids. According to the printed information they gave us 50% of animals are managed with steroids alone. Twenty-five percent of animals require additional immunosuppresive medications, and the remaining 25% of animals eventually succumb to the disease. The doctor explained that due to Buzz's health and age he didn't think he would fall into the latter 25%. Obviously that was a relief!
Before sending Buzz home, he gave Buzz an injection of steroids. He said it would help Buzz with all the discomfort he was going to feel after what he had been through that day and would give us a jump on things if he did have the immune-mediated disease. Further, he said it would be two to three days before the results came back and he would call us when he got the results. Waiting is always nerve wracking.
True to his word, two days later at 8:00 p.m. the doctor called with the results. Buzz did have immune-mediated disease. We would treat it with steroids; three weeks of pills twice a day, three weeks of pills once a day, three weeks of pills every other day, then one pill every other day followed by a half pill twice a week for a year, yes, a year. Interestingly enough the prescription for these pills was to be filled at my local pharmacy. Obviously they do not have these pills for a 15 pound person so I have to quarter the pills for Buzz to take twice a day. I later found out my local vet was able to fill the prescription and much to his credit the pills were all quartered when I picked up the prescription.
The good news is after only two days on the pills there is an improvement. Whether he will have to remain on steroids for the rest of his life remains to be seen but at least he is not suffering and is back to normal. We are so thankful they were able to find out what his problem is and treat it. As I said early on in this hub, the Center was so totally professional. During out six hour wait we were given hourly up-dates and frequently asked if we needed anything and/or if we were okay.
So, the moral of this story is GET PET INSURANCE for your young pet. You never know what's going to happen!!!!
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