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
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.
last week for more details about Jabber's case.
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