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Carol
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478 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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 :)

Carol
 

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Steadfast
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262 Posts
Thank you for the information you provided and the update and from the sounds of it a good one. It is so very helpful to learn from all of the members on this forum and it helps all of us to watch and better care for our babies.

Give Seger a big hug and kiss from all of us here and I am praying for continued good reports from the doctor on his condition that the progression is slow.
 

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Thanks for the update. Seger is so lucky to have you!
FWIW, you might try acupuncture. It has made an amazing difference for my dogs. Tiny has what we suspect is LP also, and some rear end weakness as well. The difference for her, in 4 treatments, is stunning.
 
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In the Moment
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20,515 Posts
Bless his heart and yours. Seger is very fortunate to have you looking out for him. Please keep us updated. Also, do you mind sharing what supps you have him on? (Sorry if you've covered this elsewhere).
 

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Carol
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478 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the kind words Steadfast - hug given :) :)
hotel4dogs - I wish someone in our area did acupuncture - I would so love to give it a try for Seger.
Penny & Maggie's mom - here are the supplements Oakley & Seger receive with each meal - they eat twice a day -
1) 2 pumps Grizzly Salmon Oil
2) 1 Actistatin Joint Care
3) 1 scoop Biologic Vet BioVites
4) 3/4 scoop Sasha's Blend

I am also going to add the BioLogic Vet BioSenior which is specifically for dogs over the age of years. You may find the book 'Your Dog's Health" by nutritional biochemist Franco Cavaleri interesting. Amongst other things he writes extensively about the Biologic Vet line of products. I just love them. I have found a huge increase in the dogs' energy levels, especially Oakley who can be a very mellow couch potato, since starting the BioVites which are a mixture of vitamin and minerals and an antioxidant booster.
Thanks again for the supportive comments and suggestions.
Carol
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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5,044 Posts
Carol, what a wonderfully thorough assessment of Seger! If Seger's rear end weakness progresses, you may want to look into a HelpEmUp Harness, which has both a front section and a rear section. You can use both together or only one. My angel Cody had degenerative myelopathy and would periodically need a harness to help keep his hind end upright. Also, if Seger begins to scrape on the tops of his hind feet, you may want to look into booties to prevent bleeding. Hopefully, a higher dosage of thyroid supplment will mitigate some of the problems your guy is experiencing!
 

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I miss my Buddy
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11,531 Posts
Seger is so lucky to have you, taking great care of him. It is good you were able to do so much in one day. Sending positive vibes and prayers for your boy and your family. Good bless.
 

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Kristy
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9,403 Posts
THank you for the update, I've wondered where you were in the process. I appreciate you sharing the details, especially about how inter-related the symptoms seem to be, that is the type of knowledge I try to keep in the back of my mind. I admire your tenacity with having Seger diagnosed and treated, he is truly blessed to be in your family :)
 

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Carol
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478 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Merry Christmas everyone! I'm sitting in the sunporch looking out on the lake and watching Seger sleep on the mat beside me. As you may know we lost Oakley suddenly and unexpectedly on November 23rd. I continue to have more bad days than good. We have had Oakley cremated and I want nothing more than to have him back here with us - we hope to get a call soon that we can pick him up.
We recently had Seger's thyroid rechecked as was suggested in Guelph in October, and the results have gone from borderline low to high normal. I couldn't believe how this could be - such a drastic change in just a month. Our vet consulted with OVC in Guelph and they feel Seger may have sensed Oakley was ill and many of his symptoms were stress related. I totally believe that! Seger's panting has all but disappeared, he has gained weight (he had lost so much I was sure he was ill, never suspecting Oakley was sick), his eyes have gone from being sunken to bright, and he is more relaxed. However the one thing that is really bothering me is that he lost ALL of his undercoat. I mean all. He is laying here on his side and all you can see is pink skin from about mid torso all the way around and under his belly. When you part his fur it is so sparse you are at pink skin. His beautiful feathers have now become a rat tail. I was sure this was thyroid related but his levels are normal. When he was in Guelph they said his adrenal glands were slightly enlarged and that this was a stress response. Perhaps to Oakley's illness I now think. If the hair loss is also a stress reaction does anyone have any idea how long it will take to grow back? Does anyone have any suggestions on what else might be causing this if not his thyroid? We have not changed his food or treats, we added Actistatin as a joint supplement in the summer before the hair loss, but otherwise everything else is the same except the immense stress we have all been under with losing Oakley. Any ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated. Carol
 

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Oh, I just posted a long response, and it disappeared. :(

I just wanted to say I am so sorry about Oakley - I missed it while I was consumed with Tesia's diagnosis and hospital stay. My heart goes out to you. To lose him so suddenly must have been devastating to you. I know how special he was to you.

And poor Seger. It's so heartbreaking to see them suffer through the loss of their brother or sister dogs. I hope his fur comes back soon. I know it has taken 4-5 weeks for Tesia to grow back a layer of fuzz where she was shaved mid-November. Do you have a coat Seger could wear until his ondercoat comes back? I have been trying to figure out how to cover up the site of Tesia's Friday surgery but it's pretty impossible. Thankfully, it hasn't gotten too cold here yet. Anyway. I'm just so sorry again - and I hope Seger is feeling better soon.
 

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Carol
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478 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thank you for your kind words Sweet Girl. We do put a coat on Seger when he goes out - I think he quite appreciates it as it is very cold up North. Seger's belly was also shaved for an abd ultrasound in Guelph at the end of October and he is just now getting some fuzz back.
I hope Tesia is feeling better. It is just so difficult and emotionally draining to see them ill.
Carol
 

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Registered
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I'm not sure how long it takes the hair loss to grow back. I would probably have Seger's thyroid rechecked in a few months just to make sure it hasn't changed. I hope this new year brings some happiness to you & Seger.
 
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