Dane of the Week


September 24, 2001 – Last week I posted an update on Jabber's deteriorating health. (See last week's DaDane) On Friday Jabber was examined by the surgical specialist who first diagnosed Jabber's cruciate problem last year. Dr. Keller manipulated Jabber's legs, tested his reflexes and watched him move. It was a thorough hands-on exam that lasted 90 minutes. Dr. Keller concluded that Jabber's current problems are not orthopedic. Unfortunately, Jabber has a degenerative neurological disorder that can't be diagnosed without further testing.

Dr. Keller saw "soft" signs of a neurological disorder when he evaluated Jabber in August, 2000. He had similar observations when he saw Jabber again in October and December. Back then Jabber's symptoms were quite subtle. Now the symptoms are obvious. Jabber doesn't have good control of his back legs and he doesn't quite know where they are at times. This was discouraging news, but not unexpected.

Neurological problems can be hard to diagnose without extensive (and expensive) evaluation. Test results are often inconclusive. If we wanted to have Jabber fully evaluated we would have to take him to a veterinary school in a neighboring state. Due to his other health problems, we've decided not to pursue aggressive testing but we plan to have Jabber's spine radiographed, hopefully next week. If anything "treatable" shows up, we will do what we can for him unless it is impractical or prohibitively expensive.

Frankly, we feel Jabber's prospects are not very good right now. I would rather keep Jabber home where he is happy instead of shipping him off to a neighboring state for a neurological work-up, surgery and possible rehab. He has been through enough. If Jabber's ambulation declines further, we will probably have to put him down. He requires assistance to stand and supervision whenever he is outside, especially when he tries to navigate steps. Once Jabber is up and moving, he gets around pretty well despite his awkward gait. He doesn't seem to be in pain, but he is confused and frustrated by his lack of mobility.

Next Installment
See last week for more details about Jabber's case.

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