The week following Sasha’s stem cell therapy was rather low-keyed as I allowed her to recuperate at her pace. Her outside trips were still limited to potty breaks and on a leash but by the fourth day I took her out by herself to get some sun. She was so relaxed and content that I was glad we did. I tried to take a few photos or short video clips every day so that I could use them to gauge improvement from the SCT and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections directly into her knees. Almost immediately there was a slight but definite difference in her body posturing. She was assuming the more traditional curved back that is common with GSDs from working German lines. I was surprised when I looked at my photos one night and noted a return, albeit ever so slight, of the more distinct angulation of her previous back posturing. She also managed to walk both down and then back up our (4) front deck steps without physical difficulty. She was however a bit hesitant as she still had no vision.
She continues to stand to go potty but I hope with more time she will be able to resume the traditional squat. One afteroon while sunning herself in front of the window she fell asleep. I *think* her knees may still be sore from the PRP injections and the way the top leg lay on the bottom bothered me so I decided to roll up a towel and place it between them. Apparently it didn’t bother her as she went right back to sleep. I continued to do that for almost a week. Her shaved knees still look quite different as does her reverse mohawk where the CSF was withdrawn.
During Sasha’s down time I immersed myself in SARDS and the necessary dietary changes that would need to be implemented. Looking back, this part of my research was probably the most intense but I wanted to have an approved food choice in place when the EI1 test results came in next week. If they indicated what we expected, her internist in Portland will collaborate with the veterinarian in CA and she’ll be on a medication/dietary protocol aimed at correcting adrenal exhaustion and immunoglobulin suppression. In short, finding an endocrine imbalance and re-regulating her immune system. For example, I’ve been dehydrating sweet potato chips as dog treats because every time you turn around, a brand of treats are being recalled. My dogs all love them and you can’t get anything healthier. Well apparently sweet potatoes are extremely high in phytoestrogens, which only contribute to an existing hormonal imbalance. There is actually an entire list of foods that, although healthy, contain phytoestrogens. Simply put, xenoestrogens are artificial and phytoestrogens are natural ones found in the ecosystem. So if Sasha’s endocrine panel indicates an imbalance, her dietary intake will be changed. Therein was my problem; Sasha has PFD (perianal fistula disease) which with the help of her gifted internist Sarah Noble, has been in remission for (3) years. Part of the treatment for PFD is prednisone and cyclosporine, which is a potent immunosuppressive agent. You’ve probably heard the name before as it’s a drug commonly given to humans who’ve had organ transplants to prevent transplant rejection. Pretty powerful stuff right? Equally important in treating PFD is diet. Sasha has to be on a grain free, meat/fowl free diet (fish is allowed). Since her initial PFD diagnosis she’s been on Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Fish. That would have to change if and when we began the new protocol. I spoke with Dr. Noble about it the because I wanted to have a food plan ready to go. She said if necessary we could consult with Nutritional Service at Tufts University however when I contacted them they were booked until late July. Interesting enough, Dr. Plechner, the veterinarian from CA who will be collaborating on Sasha’s case, has quite an impressive resume. In addition to the years of research he had devoted to finding a correlation between autoimmune disorders and SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration), he had developed several lines of dog foods for major companies as well as a nutritionally complete vegetarian diet for dogs. I hoped that he could help create a diet for Sasha if necessary. I kept plugging away via process of elimination and was determined to have a diet that met the requirements for both medical issues by the weekend.
All said and done, Sasha had more energy the first few days than I anticipated. Her belly of course was shaved (where they harvested the adipose tissue) and the incision has (9) staples which were removed on May 7. The area remained clean and dry with just light bruising. Very nice healing. Her appetite remained normal as did her potty habits. She moving quite well actually ~ better than I’d expected. Her pack was in the back one day while hubby continued to clean winter brush (the joys of living in a heavily wooded mountain). The kitchen door opened and Sasha seized the chance to go outside and trotted towards the far rear. Not a full run but definitely faster than a walk! I shouldn’t have been surprised that she bounded back so quickly for she’s always been resilient. Plus Sasha has consistently been extremely agile and active, even after the FCE (embolism). She’s a high energy, Schutzhund trained dog who earned Sch1 and Sch2 titles ( the names were changed to to IPO the year of her FCE). She’s a strong-willed girl with an indomitable spirit.
One more of our quiet afternoon on Day 4 following SCT.
💜💜Next up ~ Sasha’s less than ideal early life and the quest for the perfect diet💜
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