A month has passed since the last update so here are some notes I’ve patched together from the information I’ve received from Merle.
(From a conversation about hydrotherapy) I have been thinking about hydrotherapy, but up until now, her infection has kept it on the back burner. it came to me that the UW vet school (one mile from me) is likely to have a hydrotherapy pool if the sub-specialize in orthopedic/neurological surgery/rehab. The infection was the thing for the time-being, so things look different now. My vet was quite adamant that Tori's knee was not as severe as she first thought, having had the chance to examine it while Tori was sedated. in addition, the neurological signs on awake examination were pretty strong, if not completely conclusive, in the absence of an extensive work-up (MRI, myelogram, etc). Claudia's partner independently came to the same conclusion a couple days later when we saw her on-call. On top of all this, I don't think the dead of (snowy,cold) winter is a good time to rehab from ortho surgery I do think hydrotherapy will do nothing but help Tori, no matter what her diagnoses are.
In regard to her diet for DM, it's pretty much as described in the 'vetmed' link you sent me. I use fresh, organic garlic and penzy's mustard and ginger, brewer's yeast from whole foods and I just started glucosamine/chondroitin from the health food store. I have been using up my own B-complex tabs, vitamin E caps and selenium. I give her (cooked in olive oil) edamame, carrots, apples, spinach, broccoli, brown rice added to 1/2 "wellness" senior dry food and 1/2 "natural planet organics' adult dry food. The antioxidants are important in human diet as well as dogs' and have been recommended to my friend with MS, the human disease comparable to DM. i throw in organic egg now and then, just because it's neat to watch Tori eat a hard-boiled egg whole and because i think eggs improve skin and coat, as well as carry all those fat-soluble vitamins. I just got a new canned food, which I have been using for treats and to bury her pills in called Merrick Mediterranean banquet. At $2.10/can after Sam's discount, I will probably limit her to 1/2 to 1 can per day. It's a veritable California cuisine in a can, but i am going to have to get the ingredient amounts from the sales rep. I have not looked into the more expensive supplements described in the link. I’ll l pursue that further if we hit a step-down or roadblock in Tori's progress.
I let tori do as much as she pleases, exercise-wise. interestingly, she seems to be more active an alternating days, resting on in-between days. Some days, she is all about playing and she has days when she is obviously hurting. She lets me know what she wants, and seems to want to push herself with more activity on days when she's capable of doing so. I do watch for over-doing, but the weather takes care of a lot of that, too. Her personality has come out the last week or so; she is so much more alpha than omega now, and I'm glad she is not just trying to please all the time. She backs off when we're firm and loves a good challenge, especially targeting, as we discussed. I think it makes her think without demanding a lot of physical exertion. On good days, she is really into tugging and also splashing in the snow, running around like a puppy. she initiates play, even taking out her tugs and toys.
I am able to occasionally get a look and a spritz (H2o2) at her vulva area, which is clean and dry and NOT the least bit smelly anymore. i took off her lampshade this week, as it's been quite a while since I've seen her lick her bottom or bother the spot on her L hip(which has healed up completely). Tori and the cats have entered into a non-aggression pact, largely ignoring each other, but are not above a friendly nose-to-nose now and then. She has developed a taste for catnip mice, which come out looking pretty much the same as they went in. The cats and I are working on a containment plan for the various cat toys which are embedded into our household. until that gets perfected, i figure cleaning up after Tori's visits to the backyard will continue to be fairly interesting. The cat litter pan problem has been solved, you'll be happy to know (I certainly am). I’m sure Tori still misses you, but i think she is finding more things about her new life pretty cool, too like the dog-next-door, Calvin (a rescued Samoyed). Their initial meetings have gone well,and she looks for him every time she goes out, often going up to his front door to peer in at him when he's not in the yard. The plan is to walk the dogs together as weather allows, and allow them to visit together in our yards, if all works out well. Tori got along fine when Steve, the rat terrier came to visit. Steve stays with us often when his family is away. Tori is letting me groom her pretty thoroughly, making me think her bottom is feeling no pain. She is much less on her guard about many things, now that I'm not giving her shots every day. she sleeps just outside my door at night, to date declining my invitation into my room. Everyone we meet responds so positively to her and she always responds in kind. She is definitely a people magnet. If her physical condition can be managed effectively, I would like to see her return to part-time work as a therapy dog. I can even get our mailman to give her a great personal reference!
So much for this report… thanks to Merle for being way more detailed about explaining than I could ever be!