Monday, April 7, 2014

Bella's new plan

Thanks again for all the kind words and notes to our pretty girl. Bella is doing just fine after her ordeal on Thursday.

She discovered that an MRI does not in fact mean driving to the hospital, hanging around in the car for a bit and going home. And she decided pretty quickly when it came time to get out of the car that she did not like this MRI. She did not look us in the eye. She was not going here or there. She was not going anywhere.

That's right, in front of God and everybody, Bella did the pancake move and not only refused to get out of the car, she plastered her 60 pound body to floor making Jan have to try and lift Miss Dead-Weight out. And it only got better from there. Did I say better? Yeah, I lied.

Once we finally got her inside the facility (an effort unto itself), Bella tried everything in her power to get outside again including pleading with her obviously horribly insensitive owners to take her home again by climbing into our arms and up on our shoulders. (Individually, of course. Double your horror, double your guilt.)

Moving on...

Bella did, much to her surprise, survive the event. And she was ridiculously happy to learn we did, indeed, come back for her. She was so excited in fact that she tried to do zoomies in the car. This might have actually worked if we had a Hummer, but we don't. We have a Mini Cooper. :?

She was still pretty drugged up when we got home. We gave her a little food and she devoured a bully bone she had left unfinished somewhere (ew) but we tried to leave her be for the night - she just wasn't herself and we didn't want to do anything to upset her. She slept most of Friday but by Saturday was back to her old demanding self

"Why no, Occifer, I'm not stotally toned. Wa hever would you ax?"
As I posted on her Facebook page, the neurologists found nothing amiss in her MRI. They found nothing amiss in her EMG. They found nothing amiss in her exam because the damn dog won't let on where she's hurting in front of them. Everyone is baffled.

Some very good news did come out of the MRI and that is that all the really big scary stuff has been ruled out: cancer, degenerative disc disease, degenerative myelopathy... There doesn't even seem to be a single disc injury. But we do have a game plan.
  1. Starting yesterday, Bella's off strict crate rest. She is still on some activity restriction (no stairs, no off-leash zoomies). I'm sure she'll be happy with whatever sniffing and exploring she's allowed. (I know Jan and I will be happy for her to have something to do besides eat and whine at us for more food.)
  2. We are trying Bella on a course of Doxycycline to rule out any tick-borne diseases. It's a long shot but harmless to try. The thinking is that she hasn't presented straight-forward signs and symptoms for anything so why would we expect her to follow the rules for symptoms of Lyme disease? We should know in just a few days if it's helping and if it's not, we stop. No harm, no foul.
  3. We also have an appointment with a new vet on Wednesday who does chiropractic care. The practice is integrative in their approach and other doctors offer different modalities from chiro and acupuncture to nutrition and massage so we're hopeful that someone among them can do something to ease her pain.
  4.  Finally, our neurologist seems to have made Bella her own personal challenge and spoke to the head of Tufts "Pain Clinic" who wants to see Bella because she thinks she might be able to offer some techniques not available elsewhere. (I haven't set that appointment up yet. Bella can only handle one vet visit a week.)
So the long and short of it is, we may not know what's going on with our little crazy dog but we have a pretty good idea now of what's NOT going on. And there are a variety of options we can pursue to try and ease her pain.

That's our first order of business right now: pain management. We may return to diagnostics once she's out of pain but it's time to focus on making her more comfortable. Her response to treatment could even point us in the direction of what is really wrong.

Again, I'd really like to thank everyone for their kind words and support through all of this. You have been a blessing in our lives.


Many thanks to Alfie, Snoopy, and My Brown Newfies for bringing us the Monday Mischief Pet Blog Hop.


  1. I'm sure it is great to know that you ruled out all the nasty stuff. I don't blame her for her behavior when arriving for the test. I would do the same and totally embarrass my mom, those places are scary!

  2. I'm glad you ruled out all the nasty things that it could have been. Hopefully you'll get an answer soon!

  3. Still got hold tight to your paw Bella, lots of luv's Frankie de tabby and The Cat Flap Cavalier. xxx

  4. I'm sorry it wasn't an easy process. I sort of thought that they might sedate a sensitive girl like Bella out in the car...

    I'm so glad that you ruled out so many awful diseases. I know that you want to know what is causing the problems, but you never know - some things just eventually go away. Our dog, R, had badly damaged red blood cells for 1.5 years. It's usually a sign of hemangiosarcoma, so we were on high alert. A few months ago, they finally disappeared. No idea why. I hope that a similar miracle happens for Bella.

  5. Wow. You guys are incredible. I know it isn't an answer, but it sounds like you're at least a couple steps closer. Dear Bella. Wishing her - and you and Jan - all the best in the next round.

  6. Happy Healthy Dog BlogApril 9, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Glad to hear there's nothing terribly serious and she's improving. It will be interesting to hear what the new vet suggests about other possible therapies. Bella's obviously made of strong stuff - hang in there girl!

  7. Glad the test results were good, though inconclusive. It must be so frustrating not to know why Bella is feeling this way! Hope the new plan has her feeling better soon.

  8. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsApril 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    It has to be such a relief to at least have those big things ruled out. It sounds like you have a good plan and focus for her. I hope that she gets to feeling better, and that you can ultimately get to the bottom of it.

  9. Okay...well first glad nothing terrible was found and all those dreaded ones were ruled out. Phew...what a relief! Hope that you DO figure out what's going on though. Maybe the Doxy will help. Tick diseases are tricky and mask themselves quite well.

    Now, I am still trying to picture her attempting zoomies in the cooper. LOL!

  10. I'm glad all the big scaries are off the table, but then not knowing can still be frustrating. I hope you get answers, there is nothing worse than not knowing and not knowing how to help.