I'm writing to update you on Tori's progress. I can't believe it's been over 2 weeks since she went to her new home. Her soft crate was her comfort place for a few days but it didn't take her long to gradually start settling down in other places. She's an only dog in a house of a few cats and is being cared for by a loving foster mom who is a registered nurse and knows how to take care of her medical needs
Friday, November 30th, she had her first appointment with the vet in Madison and started a 10 day regiment of a daily shot of gentamycin for treatment of a Pseudomonas infecton of her vulva. This type of infection I'm told is resistant to most medications and we were VERY fortunate to have a wonderful person donate enough gentamycin which would have cost hundreds of dollars for her treatment. This condition must be cleared up before any other procedure is considered. It's been a few days since the daily shots were finished and we're really hoping that it doesn't need to be repeated....first of all because it's hard on Tori and secondly, it will cost $300. The inflammation has also been reduced by the use of prednisone and she seems comfortable with tramadol 2-3 times a day, on top of the prednisone.
Hip x-rays showed moderate hip dysplasia and also a chip fracture on her right femur. She also has a cruciate ligament tear in her right knee. The vertebrae shown in the X-ray look healthy - no arthritis or fracture, which could also account for spinal cord compression at that level of the spine. Good news/bad news from that - this may make Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) as the source of her rear-end weakness more likely. It was discussed not wanting to put Tori through an invasive work-up, such as myelogram, spinal tap or MRI. All would require sedation. General anesthesia and surgery in general are not well-tolerated in the presence of DM, much like for humans with MS. Her hip dysplasia is not severe, so in the absence of the DM, she would be a candidate for repair of her right knee crucuiate ligament tear. An examination under sedation revealed the tear not to be too bad. We discussed treating Tori as if she had DM, as she has the muscle loss, ataxia, wide stance and general uncoordination and endurance loss associated with the disease. We will consider operating on her vulvar folds or on her right knee only if her neurological status is stable and either the knee or her vulva cannot be managed conservatively and is very seriously affecting an otherwise acceptable quality of life.
In the absence of surgery, the current plan is to do everything we can to keep Tori infection-free and comfortable. Her current home plans to start a special diet that is believed to be very good for dogs with DM. Much like the special diets that some people with MS follow, the diet has been shown in most cases to slow and sometimes stop the progression of DM. Tori's "Guardian Angel" adores her and will do everything she can to make sure Tori is as healthy as she can be and has the best quality of life possible.
Tori's medical bills since she came back to the rescue are already approaching $1000. The money that was generously donated will be in a separate fund specifically for Tori. Because my original letter indicated that the money would be used for surgery, I'm asking if you would agree to having your donation be applied to the her immediate needs, payment of her medical bills and to help with her special diet which is NOT a cheap nutrition regiment.
Since Tori's surgery isn't in the immediate future and you intended your donation to be for that, if you would like it returned we will reverse your credit card charges or return your check. If I don't receive a reply email from you indicating that you would like to be reimbursed, I will assume that it will be acceptable to use your donation for her immediate needs. The generosity of people, some I don't even know and from 13 states, truly did save her life and touched me deeply. Without the money, there would have been no vet appointments to get her on track, no expensive medication and no plan to keep Tori as happy and as comfortable as possible for as long as possible, while avoiding tests and interventions which may be more uncomfortable and possibly detrimental than beneficial to her.