I realized I had not updated on Rocket’s condition since his medical emergency. I just want to say that he should wear a red cape and fly because he is my super hero!
He is pretty much back to normal – running, playing and living life at Mach 10. The bitter cold we have experienced this winter has been a challenge because he has become very intolerant to cold (me too!) plus his single front foot freezes and then he just drops to the ground and lays there till he is picked up. Since I work all day this was a giant concern in the event he went outside and couldn’t get back in. Due to this, he has become the office mascot and is our stress therapy. As the weather has warmed a little he has been able to stay home, but everyone here is very sad that he is not here anymore. When he gets tired his head will wobble but, for the most part, he is back to full steam ahead.
The unfortunate side to this diagnosis is that it is progressive and there will come a time that he will struggle either with mobility issues or pain. In the meantime, we will let him enjoy his life and we will enjoy every minute we have with him.
As for the Tripawd part of his life, all is great (except for the the frozen foot stuff). He does not understand why these other dogs have to bother with that extra leg! He uses his chicken wing for balance so we have decided that we will not have it removed unless something unusual comes up that would require that to happen. He is such a happy boy and a joy to have around. Until next time, Rocket says “Live like someone left the gate open!!”. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Sometimes tiny tripawds run into unplanned obstacles that are not because they have 3 legs. Last Saturday after a hard day of playing Rocket collapsed. We grabbed his little limp body and honestly thought he was gone. After several minutes of attempting to rouse him, he began to respond but it involved violently jerky movements where he would throw his head to the right side. His eyes were open, but not focused.
Here is the difficult part – the closest vet to us on a Saturday is an hour away. It was the longest drive of our lives. The ER Vet immediately took him in an did X-Rays and offered several possibilities of what could have caused this, but knew he needed more specialized treatment. We were sent to a second ER vet that offered 24-hour care until he could get to the specialists on Monday morning. Now we were looking at the longest 24 hours plus of our lives. Updates Sunday had some positivity – he was eating and drinking and was more focused but still could not sit up on his own or stand.
The specialist got us in very early on Monday morning and took Rocket for an MRI. What came back was very scary. He has been diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation which is an area in the brain/spinal cord area that normally closes during development but, unfortunately, his did not and it created a brain herniation (which makes him unable to have the surgical intervention) along with hydrocephalus putting pressure on the brain and spinal fluid putting pressure on his spine. It does not normally happen in this breed and he had never had any of the symptoms so they said he is an anomaly. At this time, he was recognizing us, but was still exhibiting the neurological symptoms we saw previously. The vet first told us the diagnosis was very grim and we did not want this full of life baby to suffer. After much discussion, we felt we needed to let him go and contacted that vet to let them know we would be coming over to be there with him. Just as we were walking out the door (about a half hour later), the vet called and asked for 24 more hours as they had finally been able to consult with 3 neurologists and wanted to begin a drug protocol which involved prednisone for inflammation and omeprazole which, strangely enough, decreases the hydrocephalus. Ulcer drugs are good for a log of things!
Tuesday morning they called and he was sitting up and eating but still would not stand. At this time, they said we could come get him and take him home to see how he would do. We were a bit scared, but Wednesday morning we headed out and when we got there were told he has been “alligator crawling” but still not attempting to stand. He was so happy to see us and was glad to get into “his” truck. When we got home, I set him down on the barest part of ground we could find in our snowy yard and he immediately stood and up and went and did his business. It was pretty shaky and only having one leg in the front made it much harder that a four-legger, but this baby is tough and determined. He lives his life at 100 MPH and never quits.
Each additional day the improvement has been amazing. He still has a head shake (a little like a bobble-head doll) but he is much more stable when standing and moving. He needs to stay calm and on flat surfaces for at least a month and we will always have to be aware of the chances it could occur again. The hardest part for him will not being able to rough house with the other dogs or run up and down the hill in the big yard. We are just feeling blessed for whatever time we may have with him and the miracle of this recovery. Keep Rocket in your thoughts and prayers.
I have been a little slow with posting updates on Rocket but all has been going great. We now have the official Tripawd uniform and couldn’t be more excited! He looks SO fashionable and we are wearing it on any social occasions. Thanks so much for letting us be part of this awesome group!
Some random thoughts on having a tripawd that is not aware there was ever any other way to get along and one that is so tiny:
-He does not have that “awkward” sort of gait that former 4-leggers seem to have. Some of this is because he knows no better and the other part is being small. He can zoom and outrun the bigger dogs and you would never know about his special condition. Being closer to the ground has advantages.
-He is a monkey!. He can climb and jump anywhere and is often like the ball in a pinball machine. This sometimes makes us a little nervous. I’ve noticed when he jumps off thing, his natural instinct is not to use his front leg but lands first with his two hind legs using his front to take the first stride after landing. Shooter could not do this as his natural way of moving was to try and land using his front leg.
-Rehab is easy for him! Ask him to go over cavaletti poles? No problem – straight, sideways, one leg at a time, he even uses a pole for a chair when waiting for a treat. Balance? Again, no problem! I think his size and different way of moving has created natural core strength. We will continue to work his core just to make sure all stays strong.
-He can run as fast backwards as forwards – I haven’t quite figured this one out yet but it’s interesting to see.
We will try to do better with updates – everyone take care!
Rocket has been busy just being a puppy. This 3-legger can run and turn faster than the other 3 dogs in the house. He does cheat a little by zooming under the coffee table and running circles around the legs so the bigger dogs can’t reach him. He thinks he’s a pretty funny guy! He can jump up on all the furniture now and, like Tigger, is bouncy, bouncy, bouncy! Rocket run backwards almost as fast as he goes forward – I think it’s a combination of being tiny and a front tripawd.
We have been traveling some and he is our best traveler. Sleeps all the way there and loves staying in the horse trailer.
About a month ago he had his first small session of physical therapy using a yoga block (being little he can use about anything for tools). Yesterday he had a much longer session working on balance and working all those important core muscles. He did stretches up and down and side-to-side and then did figure 8s around his balancing balls. Now we have homework so we can show improvement by his next session – which is a mix of puppy training and PT. Needless to say, he was exhausted!
Life is good for this Tiny Tripawd and says he’ll see you in the next post!!