Saturday, February 4, 2017

Day 2609

Dash is not much better than he was yesterday. The doctor sounded a little disappointed when he called us this morning. Dash is still unsteady on his feet and has some coordination problems when eating. They were worried that his blood pressure is still too high, even though he has been taking blood pressure medication for quite some time. The good news is that he has experienced no further seizures. During the weekend Dash will undergo further tests at the hospital to see if it is possible to pin down the cause of his seizures. Even though vestibular disease is still the primary suspect, the doctors are now investigating whether he might have had a stroke. Evidently the symptoms associated with idiopathic vestibular disease and a degeneration of the cerebellum in the brain can be remarkably similar. I did a little research myself and discovered the vestibular and cerebellar degeneration are often misdiagnosed in humans. Even an MRI is not conclusive.

It's kind of scary to realize that serious problems are not always easy to fix. High blood pressure can definitely cause problems in the brain. I know this from experience. Before I got my own blood pressure under control, I experienced several TIA ministrokes. Luckily, this temporary lack of blood flow to the brain doesn't cause permanent damage, but it was quite sobering to have a neurologist tell me what could have happened. It's too bad that dogs can't talk. A neurological exam mostly consists of the doctor asking you questions. Without the ability to accurately describe how you are feeling, diagnosis can be quite difficult.

One thing I learned today is that vestibular problems can often result from an earlier injury to the head or neck. Bingo. Many years ago, Dash was attacked and severely injured by an aggressive loose dog in the park. The large dog bit him in the neck and wouldn't turn loose. It took months for Dash to fully recover from this injury and he probably would have died if I hadn't been able to get him to a veterinarian for surgery very quickly. All the problems he's having now may be the long term result of this old injury.

Hopefully, Dash will show further improvement tomorrow. We can't visit him at the hospital on Sundays, but the doctor will call and give us a progress report. I wish she could tell Dot that everything is going to be OK. I am already noticing changes in Dot's behavior. You can tell that she misses having Dash around. She was extra needy today. I tried to vacuum the house, but every five minutes Dot would bark and demand some attention. I never ignore these barks, because I've learned that very often she's trying to tell me that she needs to pee. I did eventually get the house cleaned, but it took me all afternoon.

Sometimes I wonder why dogs are sick so often, but it is mostly because their lifespan is so compressed. I recently stumbled across one of those online calculators that converts dog years into human years. According to this website, Dot is now 120 years old. That can't possible be right, but Dot is a very old dog. If I'm lucky enough to live as long as she has in dog years, I"m sure I'll have a multitude of health problems. My Dad was healthy as a horse until his 75th birthday and then everything began falling apart quite rapidly. The guy who hardly ever had to go to the doctor eventually succumbed to prostate cancer, Parkinson's disease, macular degeneration and dementia. 

Tomorrow we'll have our Superbowl dinner for the second week in a row. This time I think we've got the date right. I may go to the annual Superbowl sale at my favorite menswear store. I don't wear dress clothes anymore, but these guys used to be a client and the special one day 75% off sale is a long standing tradition. I'll probably go to the gym as well. It's been a long, tough week. Maybe a good workout will get rid of some of the stress I've been feeling.

Duke is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

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