I am completely and totally frustrated. Sasha was doing so well after her SCT; not huge leaps but small and steady improvements each day. After I took her to Dr. Agrodnia about a boot to help her knuckling, she started Adequan Injections and laser therapy 2x/weekly which I honestly feel has caused her to backslide. The long rides twice a week are too much for her. Travel time alone is 5 hours round trip. Plus she’s become anxious, a trait Sasha has never displayed before. My gut says it’s a combination of this treatment plan, the extremely long car rides, and the fact that if she need a potty break we have to stop on the side of a loud, busy turnpike. If I was blind just walking on the side of a turnpike would scare me. After we arrive one of Dr. Agrodnia’s technicians takes Sasha away from me to a room in “the back” and I’m not allowed to go with her. Sasha has been coming to this building to see Dr. Noble for over 3 years and is used to going to one of two exam rooms. She’s also used to having the same technicians. This round of laser therapy however is completely different from when she had it in 2013 through Dr. Noble. They always took her to the same treatment room, I accompanied her and we all wore goggles. Sasha was so relaxed she would nap. I think being taken into “the back” by a different person each time where I’m not allowed to go is causing her stress. Sasha has always had steely nerves but now we have a new component, blindness. It takes the entire next day to recover only to do it again the following day. She has two more sessions; I really need to think about all of this. Time to become even more of a “helicopter” fur mom because this is nuts. I called the practice manager and discussed my concern. She assured me Sasha would have her next laser treatment in an exam room.
The biggest improvement however is her ability to relieve herself in a more natural way. Prior to SCT she stood to go potty because her knees were so painful from osteoarthritis. The first week she started squatting a little more every few days and as of the beginning of June can squat 3/4 of the way to the ground. She also seems to be more mobile and when walking her stride is easier and at times quite fast. It’s difficult to accurately assess her mobility because she’s blind. We visited a dear friend who just closed her doggy daycare where Sasha went for many years. Sasha knew exactly where she was and walked all over without difficulty, up embankments and back down. The only thing that concerns me is she still knuckles her left rear foot at times which cause abrasions to the top of her foot. Her left rear leg was the one affected by the FCE in 2011 so has always been the “problem child”. It’s the reason I want a boot or other adaptive device.
Sasha went to Portland this morning for Adequan and laser treatment #5. One of our dogs was a pest during the night. I’m still sleeping in the great room with Sasha and the pest caused me to have less than 4 hours sleep so my daughter took Sasha. She wore her patriotic bandana today in honor of Flag Day. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t go because once again, she was taken “in the back” for her laser therapy ~ something I have a problem with. When she had laser 3 years ago I was with her during each treatment. However, unlike 3 years ago, she is now blind. I notice that each time the tech returns her to me Sasha is very anxious. I spend enough time with her that I can easily discern when she’s stressed. I believe the anxiety is from being in a strange room, strange person doing a strange treatment (previous laser was for a different body area). I’ve expressed my feelings and always told “there are no exam rooms available” even though Sasha has an appointment. So what this tells me is that because I prepaid for a package of (6) treatments which are administered by a tech, the exam rooms are used for animals that require a visit with a veterinarian thus more money. You may not agree with my cynical opinion but that’s how I see it and I will be extremely glad when she has her last treatment on Monday. First and foremost is Sasha’s well-being and I don’t believe being subjected to an hour-long treatment that causes such anxiety in a historically stoic dog is a good thing. When my daughter told me they still took Sasha to the back I flipped. On a whim I found Dr. Stuer’s email associated with his practice, Bethel Animal Hospital. I reached out and explained my situation in the most rational way I could (considering my head was shooting steam out like a radiator). I almost fell over when he emailed me back and suggested he could see Sasha at his practice in 2 days! It’s still a drive but 1.5 hours compared to 2.5 to Portland. And it’s through the mountains of Western Maine as opposed the turnpike so if Sasha needs a potty break, it will be calm and peaceful. Gosh was I blessed!
As for her SARDS treatment, she completed the injections on May 31 and the EI1 panel results came in and indicated her hormone levels were markedly improved. She began oral meds and in 2 weeks we’ll do another blood panel to see if the medication need to be tweaked. The good thing is her pills are quite small so easily given in her treats. Her mobility is still slowly improving from the SCT although I know it will never be as good as it once was. It makes me sad because Sasha was extremely athletic, involved in Schutzhund training/competition and could easily scale a 6′ fence. She swam like a fish in the summer and jumped for snowballs in winter. But just like we humans, dogs are affected by physical conditions that slow them down. I think Sasha has accepted her limitations better than I have because she’s her usual happy self. I’m excited that she’s starting acupuncture a month before I thought she would be. I’ve researched that as well plus I’ve heard so much positive feedback from pet owners who said how much it helped their dogs. That’s the most important thing to me – giving her the best quality of life.
Sasha visited her former doggy daycare again. It was bittersweet because for 11 years they were a huge part of my dog’s lives. Plus I had become very close with the owner and will always stay friends. She had a mega yard sale and whatever was left she donated to the shelter. I helped her and we made a weekend out of it. My hubby brought Sasha over for part of the first day and once again she seemed right at home. Bumped into a few things but other than that she did great. The heat was oppressive so I sent them home after a few hours. German Shepherds have such dense coats plus the medication makes her pant. When I left home in the morning to get to the yard sale before the people started arriving, it was so cold I had to put on a heavy sweater but within a few hours it was so hot and humid that everyone was literally dripping! Here’s a little slide show of my first and only yard sale.
It’s funny but as I wrote this post I felt, as Italians say, agita ~ complete with a tense jaw for it brought back my frustrating emotions during that time. It seemed as if I was spending a lot of time and money and the end result was a stressed out dog. However, from here on I’m hoping for smooth sailing. I’ll close with a picture of Inga and Sasha. I *think* Inga senses when Sasha was stressed after one of the long trips to Portland because as soon as we came in the house Inga would rush over, check her out and share a few kisses. What a far cry from the early days. Now they have a unique bond.
I’m not a savvy blogger so unsure of menus, icons etc. Click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. Please subscribe to her channel for all new videos.
💜Next up ~ acupuncture💜