Some of you may recall my posts a few months back about Seger being diagnosed with left sided laryngeal paralysis (LP). We finally got to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph last week. OVC is an 8 hour drive for us and Seger was a gem on our road trip. OVC was amazing - they recognized the distance we travelled and scheduled a full day for Seger. Here is who he saw and the outcome:
Neurologist - assessed Seger's rear leg weakness and compared it to our visit last year when Seger had an MRI. They feel the weakness has progressed as expected it would, but also he is losing sensation in his paws. There is no treatment per se for this progressive neurological condition, and safety is the main issue for us now ie watch Seger on stairs, don't allow jumping on and off furniture etc. The Neurologist also found that one side of Seger's face seems to be "drooping" a wee bit - associated with the neurological condition.
Surgeon - assessed Seger and reviewed his scope report for his LP. The surgeon said Seger's disease is nowhere near requiring surgery and that she would only operate if he were having respiratory crises which Seger is not. We have already decided we would not have the tie-back surgery done though. The panting continues but we can manage that by keeping Seger cool and stress free. She also biopsied a lump on his side which was benign.
An abdominal ultra sound was done to rule out any masses and it was negative except for slightly enlarged adrenal glands which they said is a stress reaction - likely due to his uncontrolled hypothyroidism - see below.
Radiologist - did a chest xray and ruled out enlarged heart which our vet had thought she saw on her xray. Heart is all normal and no concerns to be had. Also ruled out any aspiration pneumonia which is a risk with LP.
Cardiologist - did a cardiac echo and again concluded heart is normal and functioning as it should.
Ophthalmologist - the surgeon had noticed a lesion on Seger's eye and the ophthalmologist removed it using a topical anesthetic. It was sent away for pathology and came back negative. She also noted a small growth on Seger's other eye which we had previously pointed out to our vet who felt nothing needed to be done. The ophthalmologist inverted Sege's eyelid and noted that the growth was invading the inside of his eyelid so recommended it come off ASAP so it did not ulcerate the cornea. We had that removed by laser under general sedation yesterday at our vet and Seger did great. It has also been sent away for pathology.
Internist - repeated and reviewed all of Seger's blood work and thyroid panel. His thyroid levels have dropped since we had them done here in June so they have suggested maintaining the same dosage of thyroid meds for a month and repeating the lab work. Based on that she will recommend dosing for his thyroid. Seger has a rat tail and thin fur typical of hypothyroidism even though he is on meds. Our vet did not feel a dosage change was required because he was low "normal" - this internist though said he could use a higher dose, so she will help us with that.
All in all, the conclusion is that Seger is very healthy except for his neurological condition and hypothyroidism. They feel the thyroid, the neuropathy and rear leg weakness are all related as this is a condition that affects some large breed dogs particularly goldens. The same nerve bundle controls the larynx and rear legs and Seger's deterioration will be progressive. Basically we manage the symptoms. So for his LP, he has his slow-me-down dish for eating, he needs to be kept cool and his stress and activity managed - although Seger is great at self management and slows down or lies down when he is tired. He also is at risk of aspiration so we must moisten his kibble, not allow swimming etc. Since winter is coming to Northern Ontario we do not have to worry about the swimming right now. However Seger is an underwater rock retriever so that will be a challenge next summer. We must keep him safe ie watch stairs and slippery surfaces, and not allow jumping on and off things or in and out of vehicles as he cannot sense where his back legs are. I have purchased a folding set of stairs which we use for in and out of the vehicles - even Oakley uses it
We cannot walk Seger with a collar so have been using his car safety harness which he loves. I haven't gotten around to researching walking harnesses yet (suggestions welcome). And once we get the thyroid results back in another 2 weeks we should be able to get his dosages adjusted and that managed.
Interestingly, the owner of one of Seger's littermates, who now live in Nova Scotia, saw my posts on here and got in touch with me. Sadly her Bailey passed away in the summer, and after reading about Seger they are convinced Bailey had the same conditions - same symptoms but unfortunately not diagnosed and he has gone to the Bridge - RIP dear Bailey.So might this be a genetic thing?? Maybe so. I did email the kennel where Seger's father was from to see if they had ever heard of this but did not hear back. Seger's mother went to the bridge almost 2 years ago from cancer at the age of 10 and she was never diagnosed with anything like this. So who knows. What we do know is that we have done the best we can for now in terms of understanding Seger's conditions and now have a plan to manage the symptoms and progression.
OVC was very happy with the supplements we have Oakley and Seger on and now I am going to contact a homeopathic veterinarian on the west coast to see if there is anything we can be adding to his supplements to slow down the neurological deterioration. Other than that we enjoy Seger every day and just focus on keeping him happy, healthy and safe.
Thanks to everyone here for all your kind words, suggestions and support. I have learned so much and will continue to follow threads and keep you posted on Seger. He and Oakley turned 9 on October 21st - so we have been blessed with 9 wonderful (at times challenging) years and they are lovely goofy seniors