Difficult Day, Difficult Decision..

Difficult Day, Difficult Decision..

In my post called  Happy Thanksgiving… I wrote of the difficulty I was having trying to reach Dr. Plechner, the veterinarian who developed the Plechner Protocol for dogs stricken with sudden blindness also known as SARDS or Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. The young lady who runs his Facebook page, Blind Dogs Cure for SARDS by Dr. Plechner, had not only blocked me but removed Sasha’s progress videos I had uploaded as well as my posts. I also found myself blocked from his personal Facebook page which told me she had access to his account.  All because one Sunday she posted that he was admitted to the hospital and several of his California patients wrote that they were going to  visit him that afternoon.  He had actually been discharged from the hospital and not wanting to see people make an uneccessary trip, I posted that information which for some unknown reason set her off. He was ill at the time and I assumed that once he had recovered we would resolve the issue. Was I wrong!

At the time he was living and practicing in California but when he became ill he retired and eventually moved back to his home state of Idaho. I was assured by someone who is in Dr. Plechner’s loop that the woman who runs his Facebook page, Myriam Miranda of Naples, Florida, did not have access to his personal email but considering the control she’d already demonstrated, I had reservations.  I’ll admit I waited awhile before even attempting to email him because I was angry. I simply could not understand how he could allow her to arbitrarily do this to someone whos dog’s treatment he was consulting on. Especially since he and I had formed an exceptionally good relationship and emailed each other almost daily. Because of my location my goal was to bring his work to the attention of an esteemed teaching veterinary schoo/hospital. To go from that to dead silence and having a barrier thrown up for no rational reason was frustrating. Most of all it was unfair to Sasha for she had undergone many blood tests, a complete change in diet and a complicated medication regime in an attempt to restore some or all of her vision. And it was working! Plus she was on the cusp of regaining some near vision when this woman interfered.

In the latter part of November Sasha began vomiting which I wrote about in Sasha’s Tummy… I love her medical team in Maine but it would have been nice to speak with Dr. Plechner, to ask if he had encountered this problem with other dogs being treated for SARDS. I finally bit the bullet and emailed him but days passed with no response.  Sasha’s stomach issues seemed to resolve with medication and I thought we had successfully passed the hurdle ~ until this past week. One of her followers had commented on my Happy Thanksgiving post that he was disturbed as a dog owner that someone would do this to a person whose dog was undergoing treatment. He said he was going to find the Facebook page but I said let it go, not worth it etc. The other day he commented on the Happy Thanksgiving post to say he’d located the Facebook page, wrote a comment which was subsequently deleted and him blocked. He pasted the comment he made so I could see  and it was essentially benign except he asked for clarification as to whose page it was, why would “Miranda” take it upon herself to block someone because she misunderstood what they wrote or because they questioned her. I was dumbfounded and still haven’t responded (sorry Andy). I emailed Dr. Plechner one more time but again, no response. I then contacted the person whom I previously  wrote was in the loop as this individual has always been extremely helpful and genuinely kind. This time however he simply gave me names of several veterinarians who use Dr. Plechner’s Protocol. That’s the last thing Sasha needs ~ to bring a virtual stranger into her care plan. She has excellent vets  who follow his protocol to a T. They just aren’t as experienced with SARDS as he is so therefore can’t be absolutely sure if the steroids are causing her stomach issues. Then last week it happened again in the morning before she left for her scheduled veterinary appointment. I spent nearly $500 between her usual acupuncture/laser therapy plus diagnostic blood work and x-rays. Dr. Stuer prescribed some medication and I prayed it would work but then just a few days later it happened again. I spoke with him and she’s going on another round of the medication (Carafare) that I dissolve in a small amount of water then give by oral syringe. We’re also going to cut the daily amount of steroids she receives in half because we both feel they are contributing to her gastric distress.

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Sasha is such a good girl, always takes her daily mountain of pills split into three rounds over the course of the day yet doesn’t resist. She is one of the sweetest, most mellow dogs  I have  been blessed to be owned by.  I thought of all she’s been through; the FCE (spinal stroke) that ended her participation in Schutzhund, the perianal fistula disease, stem cell therapy and now the Plechner Protocol. I’ve thought about it, ground my teeth during my sleep, and shed many tears this past week. Today I made my decision; Sasha needs to be weaned off the protocol. Long term steroid use can have an adverse effect on one’s body, particularly their organs and I’m just not willing to take a chance with her health. I’d rather she remain blind than to go into organ failure. As much as I trust her veterinary team I refuse to gamble with her health by keeping her on a treatment when I can’t even speak to the doctor who essentially discovered and fine tuned it. And why? Because some woman in Florida decides who can post on the page and who can’t? Based on absolutely no normal or intelligent rationale? I took a cue from Andy and looked at her YouTube videos as well as her LinkedIn. .She can’t even pronounce Dr. Plechner’s name or the syndrome yet she has the audacity to get between my dog and a veterinarian who was helping her? I took a huge leap of faith with Dr. Plechner because of the controversy surrounding his protocol. I literally spent 8-10 hours a day on my laptop reading everything I could find,  both the good and the not so good. Only to be cut off at the pass by a woman just as Sasha was making real progress.

Would she have eventually regained her near vision? I don’t know because Myriam Miranda calls the shots. And know what? That is NOT acceptable to me. Sasha is worth far more to me than the Myriam Miranda’s of the world. As for Dr. Plechner? I have zero respect for him now because any professional medical practitioner who  allows an inexperienced, non-medical person to play God with dogs whose cases he is consulting on can jump on the boat and go straight to hell with her.

I have said from the beginning of Sasha’s Journey and her subsequent blindness that I would love her whether she had a return of vision or not and that has never changed.  We are like two peas in a pod; she has a bad left leg, so do I. She has a visual impairment, so do I. She sleeps half off the bed, so do I.

Now if I could just get her snow boots from the shoemaker before spring I’d be happy. The cold snow really bothers her foot now that she has arthritis in her toes so I need the snow boots.

What can I say other than welcome to Maine where it’s winter five months of the year!

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I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

💜Next up ~ tapering off her meds💜

December Flew By….

December Flew By….

It’s hard to believe today was Christmas! One more week and it’ll be a new year and I for one can’t wait. 2016 hasn’t been the best of years so I’m hoping 2017 will be much better. 

We’ve had some very cold days and even colder nights, a few which broke 27 year records for December. Add that to over 1-1/2 foot of snow and we’ve been staying in more than usual, especially since Sasha doesn’t have her winter boots yet. I did find however what I’ve nicknamed her “bedroom slippers” which are actually a very lightweight bootie (more like a sock) that has a non-skid sole. Unlike a sock, I can adjust it by tying the laces. They work pretty good on the hardwood floors because I haven’t had a lot of luck with the scatter rugs.

Sasha's Non-Slip Bootie
Sasha’s Non-Slip Bootie on Left Rear Foot

I made the decision to take her for acupuncture and laser therapy every other week for the rest of the winter. She’s doing pretty good and since it’s 58 miles one way I’d prefer not to take chances on the roads. I have an SUV with studded snow tires but it’s still a fairly long drive and Sasha isn’t too crazy about the long trips. She’s doing good with her mobility at home; I’ve discovered her on the dogs love seat a few times. Once she even got up there while Inga was lying at one end. It’s near the picture window so they can watch the squirrels, birds and occasional larger wildlife. I’m a tad concerned that she is bending her left rear affected leg at the knee more than before so going to explore options. When she first started doing it in addition to knuckling I took her to someone who started a treatment regime that in hindsight I don’t think benefited Sasha.

Her stomach issues have settled down so that’s a plus. Hopefully it was just acidity and her daily use of Prilosec will resolve it. I just wish we could help her get an increase  of her near vision. I know her distance vision is there; perhaps not as much as before she lost her sight in April but she definitely sees things across the room and she enjoys looking out the window. One thing is for sure ~ Sasha is still a snow bunny. When it’s not bitter cold we take her outside but stick close to the house. I haven’t tried tossing snowballs at her yet but will at some point. I just have to prepare myself for the fact that she may not see them.

The other definite is I’ll be sleeping on the great room sofa for the long run. I started sleeping downstairs when my dog Callie was diagnosed with cancer in October 2015.  When I lost Callie I was so devastated that I couldn’t bare to leave the great room and then Sasha started having difficulty so I simply stayed. It’s funny because whenever I’m  upstairs and enter my bedroom for some reason I feel like I’m in foreign territory. And Sasha has finally started sleeping on her LL Bean dog bed/pillow. Took her several months but now she sleep on it every night. I’m really glad because I don’t think sleeping on hardwood floors was the most ideal place for her.

Hopefully the next week will be uneventful and we’ll see you again In January!

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I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

❄️Next up ~ Hello January❄️

Sasha’s Tummy…

Sasha’s Tummy…

In the beginning of November Sasha threw up around 5 pm just before her evening meal. It shook e up because it contained some bright red blood. When a dog vomits blood it’s called hematemesis. Assuming the role of “Dog Mom” I immediately panicked.  Then I reminded myself I was also a nurse and took a more logical approach. I immediately took photos (don’t worry I’m not including them). Before clean up began I examined the “evidence”. Sasha is a bit of a trash can in that she eats grass and occasionally chews a piece of a kong off and eats it. Sure enough the evidence contained grass, plant stems and a piece of a rubber ball about 1′ x 1.5″. I still contacted her veterinarian and we agreed to keep an eye on her.

Hematemesis is  vomiting either new or recent blood, which is bright red. It could  also involve vomiting old, partially digested blood, which has the appearance of brown coffee grounds. Sasha had bright red blood and not a lot.  I was hoping it was because she’s a four-legged trash can. She ate well that evening and as days passed no further issues. Dr. Stuer did a thorough examination later that week during her session and her abdomen etc. all seemed well.  Sasha has had horrific gas lately. In fact, she can clear a room or drop a rhinoceros.

In addition to her room clearing gas I’ve heard her tummy grumbling from gas so I knew she was a gas monkey playing around in there. Remember, we sleep in the great room together and she usually lies near the sofa.

nov-15-2016

Then it happened again earlier this week only this time no debris or grass….just liquid tinged with blood. I should mention that it was within the same time range as the first episode ~ a bit after 5pm. Once again panic initially set in then I got a grip and quickly took photos. I put my hand down next to one of the three little puddles so that Dr. Stuer could guesstimate the amount. Later that evening it hit me ~ she “might” have an ulcer. She’s on several different mediation but the real culprit is the Medrol (methylprednisolone ) which is a corticosteroid. Stomach ulcers can be caused by medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, steroids and aspirin. Corticosteroids definitely fall within that category.  Dr. Stuer agreed and put Sasha on Prilosec which is an over the counter human medication. He also called in a prescription for carafate, another drug used by both humans and dogs. Carafate is a joy to give. It’s a large white pill and the best way of giving it is to make a “carafate sludge”. You put about 15 mL of water into a medicine cup, add the pill and in a few minutes stir it then have the patient swig it down. It sort of has the consistency of Mylanta. I knew Sasha was NOT going to drink it from a cup and since it must be taken on an empty stomach trying to hide the “sludge” in her food wasn’t an option. So I bought several size syringes and proceeded my test runs. The best one was the 20 mL syringe. I put 15 mL of water into a medicine cup, droped the carafate pill in, stirred it a minute later then dumped the contents into the syringe. I gave the syringe a few shakes, push all the air out which brings the liquid up to the end then squirt it into her mouth. It’s only been since Tuesday but so far so good. She got sick again tonight, also around 5pm but it didn’t appear to have any fresh blood. I had just given her one of her larger pills and think that might have caused it. I’m rearranging her medication schedule (probably need a spreadsheet) to see if that might help.

I sent the photos of this weeks episode to her internist, Dr. Sarah Noble (Sasha’s BFF) and she agreed that it coud be an ulcer. We are going to continue with Dr. Stuer’s treatment protocol and see how she is over the net few weeks. If necessary she could have a gastroduodenal endoscopy (scoping) which is the most definitive means of diagnosing gastrointestinal ulceration. The problem with endoscopy  is that Sasha would have to be anesthetized for it. One can always try just plain x-rays first to see if they show an ulcer which is the route I would choose because 1. it’s less invasive and 2. doesn’t require anesthesia.

So stay tuned as Sasha’s medical journey branches off into yet another direction…

I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

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💜Next up ~ Sasha makes a pit stop💜

SARDS: Recovering Lost Vision

SARDS: Recovering Lost Vision

As I researched Sasha’s diagnosis of SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration), watching YouTube videos posted by other owners of dogs stricken with this terrible disease and reading their blogs gave me an “inside view”. It enabled me to see the dog in their home environment as opposed to a clinical one where we all know they’re usually apprehensive. I also joined several Facebook groups for both blind dogs and groups specific to SARDS.

Again, I want to stress that while social media can be a great resource, please do not take everything you find as factual. Read posts, take notes (gotta love C&P), interact with other owners but always refer to your veterinary specialist for treatment options. I thought of social media and the internet as my process of forming a conglomeration of “medical possibilities” which I could then research further and present to her team. Remember, always learn everything you can about your pet’s disease because in order to be an effective advocate for them, you need to understand it. I know that can seem like a daunting challenge, especially if you aren’t  in the medical or scientific profession. Take it step by step, focusing on one thing at a time. You don’t have to be an expert nor be able to rattle off medical terminology. All you need is a working knowledge of what your pet has, how it’s been historically treated, if there are other forms of treatment and what has worked as opposed to what has not. And ask questions!

Now that my PSA is out of the way, I’m going to share videos of dogs with SARDS that have been posted online. As I’ve always said, I’m not media savvy so hope this works. Most of the videos were posted in a public Facebook group so I assume you might have to log into Facebook to view them. Let’s give it a whirl…

Sweetie July 31, 2016

Sweetie August 22, 2016  Week 3

Sweetie August 24, 2016

Hana Before and After August 15

Bruiser May 11, 2016

Bruiser May 21, 2016

Bruiser September 23, 2016

Bruiser Sept 24, 2016 ~ 7 months into treatment

Gracie March 19, 2016

Chase February 29, 2016

Lila January 15, 2015

SARDS ~ Shasta’s Story (blog)

Then by chance you discover a blind dog whose story is so remarkable that you’re  compelled to share; a dog with such an indomitable spirit and amazing strength that it takes your breath away. Turn on your volume, take a 5 minute break and allow me to introduce to an amazing dog.

Freedom the Blind Siberian Husky

 

I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus, icons etc. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe to her channel.

♥︎Next up ~ a town in Massachusetts♥︎

 

Sasha And Dr. Stuer..

Sasha And Dr. Stuer..

Still feels very odd to not take the dogs swimming all summer. Summer swimming is  like salt & pepper, soda & chips, apple pie and ice cream ~dogs & River Days. Definitely making up for it come next summer!

Sasha has fallen into a nice routine; she goes to Bethel Animal Hospital  every week for acupuncture with Dr. Stuer followed by a laser treatment session with one of the excellent technicians. If anyone has a concern as to whether laser therapy is uncomfortable or burns the dog, check out Sasha getting a treatment; no discomfort there!  Bethel Animal Hospital uses the K-Laser system. Laser therapy can progressively relieve pain and reduce inflammation (as you’ve seen when Sasha’s foot is swollen). It’s typically a series of treatments, the frequency dependent  on your pet’s diagnosis and your veterinarian’s recommendation.  Once your pet begins to show improvement, the frequency of treatments might decrease.  Often laser therapy  is combined with another treatment modality to give your pet the optimum benefit. As you know, Sasha’s program consists of both acupuncture and laser treatments on the same day. Looking back at the past few months, I can say with all honesty that Sasha has benefited more from this combination than she did when receiving Adequan Injections along with laser therapy.

Dr. Stuer always checks Sasha’s pupils prior to getting down to “acupuncture business”. That’s one of the many things I like about him (hold that thought). So far her pupils continue to react to light, something I was told on April 22 would “never happen”. Her right continues to be a tad more sluggish to react than the left but hey! It reacts.My motto has always been “Can’t is a fellow that never tried” and I was NOT willing to accept a diagnosis of permanent blindness without giving Sasha a fighting chance. This girl had risen past a less than stellar start in life, had some nasty fights with her sibling Inga yet through it all remained friendly and lovable. Make no mistake though; if a situation arises or she is given a command, she turns from silly ball girl to “Fang” in seconds. She amazes me…

I’d like to devote some posts to her providers for without them Sasha would not be where she is today; making slow but steady progress. Since I already touched on her visits with Dr. Stuer I’ll begin with him tonight.  As I once wrote I felt comfortable with him on a personal level but more important in his ability to accurately assess Sasha and her needs. His love of animals is evident by the way he gently talks to them, strokes their fur and intuitively knows what they want. But I digress…

Sasha September 20, 2016
Acupuncture

As previously written, Sasha has been receiving weekly acupuncture treatments from Gary J. Stuer, D.V.M. who specializes in Integrative Medicine. He opened his practice, Bethel Animal Hospital in 1994. Upon his initial assessment of Sasha he noticed something I found uncanny. From the base of her rear neck extending to the mid-point of her back, her spinal column was warm to touch (a normal finding). However, from mid-point to her tail it became noticeably cooler. This finding is indicative of decreased blood flow which *could* be contributing to the increased weakness in her left rear leg. I would guess it’s all tied in to the FCE Sasha had in 2011. Amazing that no one had ever picked up on that before don’t you agree? Despite being in an exceptionally beautiful albeit rural location, Dr. Stuer has amassed rather impressive credentials:

  • B.S. 1983 University of New Hampshire
  • D.V.M. 1987 Tufts Veterinary School
  • Certified in Veterinary Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Board of Directors American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
  • Vice President American Holistic Veterinary  Association

He’s also on staff one day a week at Portland Veterinary Specialists where Sasha’s BFF is ~ Sarah Noble, D.V.M.

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Dr. Gary Stuer

Dr Stuer is also  the veterinarian that saved the life of a young (approximately 6 months) puppy that was discovered by Sunday River Resort security in October 2015 with his muzzle taped shut. He wound up being named Blue⬅︎ and after treatment and healing, was adopted by a wonderful family.

I’m going to be able to meet this sweet survivor at Bethel Animal Hospitals Open House on October 8.

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Blue

Dr. Stuer and crew treated this little hero and he once told that the true sadness of the situation was that despite what man had done to him, Blue never behaved in a mean way. Dr. Steur said he was sweet from the day he was saved by the  Western Mountains of Maine until he was finally ready to join his forever home.

I feel incredibly blessed to have such a skilled doctor on Sasha’s team…
I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

💜Next up ~ dogs who have recovered their vision💜

April 7 ~ Sasha Lost The Light

April 7 ~ Sasha Lost The Light

I keep finding reasons not to do this post simply because it’s a very difficult one.

Sasha literally woke up blind on April 7, 2016; no indication her vision was “failing” prior to that day. No stumbles, no difficulty finding a tossed ball ~ nothing. The only difference in her life was

  • Sasha had  increased knuckling which is why I took her to the neurosurgeon for an evaluation on March 7
  •  During her next visit with the neurosurgeon on March 16 he drastically changed the dose of prednisone she had been on for 3 years as part of her successful Perianal Fistula Disease.
  • Since her prednisone was so dramatically changed her quality of life went down the tubes (clumsy when walking, fecal incontinence while walking ~ just a mess.

I remember April 7 as if it was yesterday. I was busy running around the house doing chores and in between I was doing research on what I thought Sasha had ~ a disc compressing her spine . She was scheduled for neurosurgery on April 11 and I wanted to know as much as possible about the procedure. My daughter told me mid morning on April 7 that she tought Sasha was having a hard time seeing but I dismissed it at the time. Her entire physiology had been altered so markedly since the prednisone change that I initially thought she was having a “loopy” morning. However it was evident to me within the next hour or two that Sasha really wasn’t able to focus. I can still feel the chill that ran through me when I slowly pointed my fingertip towards her eye yet she didn’t blink, a normal  instinctive response.  I was terrified…

I’ve written in previous posts about the protocol Sasha started for her blindness, diagnosed as SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration) and the promising results she’s had to date. However I’ve never written about that first week; the fear I felt and more important, the obvious depression Sasha had fallen into. She just lay around, not interacting with her human or dog family. Sasha has always been a tad aloof which is often a trait of the German Shepherd however this was clearly a severely withdrawn and depressed dog. I had no idea what the hell to do! I wrote about reaching out to the veterinary ophthalmologist and her response. Part of me blames myself for “accepting” that response because as a nurse I simply couldn’t rationalize how a disc compressing a dog’s lower spine (leg involvement) could also have an impact on her upper cervical spine (eyes). Sasha had to be prompted and encouraged to eat and other than being walked outside on a leash (for safety) to go potty, she stayed away from the family by laying on the floor or sleeping in another room. I remember thinking at the time how similar the behaviors of a depressed dog and depressed human were.

Sasha was extremely fearful to walk down the 2 steps leading to the back even with a leash and one of us right by her side. On the third day of her blindness my husband made a temporary ramp which seemed to help a bit.

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Sasha ~ April 10

My the afternoon of April 10, Sasha’s seemed a bit less depressed. She was scheduled for neurosurgery the next day and I kept clinging to the hope that this nightmare would go away as quickly as it started. Sadly, if you’ve followed her journey so far you know that the MRI’s revealed no disc compression anywhere along her spine nor did an MRI on her head show any organic changes. I scheduled her for stem cell therapy and the neurosurgeon had me taper her prednisone back to the original dose. It was almost magical how quickly Sasha’s body reacted; less clumsiness, no further fecal incontinence while walking, and most of all her spirits seemed a bit better. For the time being, Sasha was adapting. Now however her humans needed to get with the program. I laid carpet squares in trails throughout the house to give Sasha a “trail” to follow. I figured out a plan for her nighttime restlessness. ut there were things I didn’t take into consideration and the biggest one could have killed Sasha. My basement is finished and my washer and dryer are located downstairs One day I went down the 12 basement steps with a basket of clothes and began sorting. All of a sudden I heard a rattling type noise and as I looked at the stairs, I watched in horror as Sasha slid down all 12! I almost became hysterical because I knew I had left the upstairs door leading to the basement open and that she either got off track or followed my scent. The only blessing was that she slid down in the style of someone who was snow tobogganing.  She was on her stomach, head held upright both front and back  legs tucked slightly under. She never struck her head or even got a scratch but it took me the rest of the day to calm down.  I remember it was a Sunday and my husband went to the hardware store as soon as they opened the next morning and bought 2 sets of hook and eye closures so that we coud have one on each side of the basement door. It’s a pain sometimes but I refuse to take any chances ~ end of story.

I’m trying to forget that first terrible month but every once in a while a memory pops into my head. For example, I was taking videos of Sasha every few days beginning right after her initial consult with the neurosurgeon on March 7. I recently looked at one I had taken outside on April 30, which was Day#4 following her stem cell therapy. I hadn’t uploaded it after I took it as I usually do with her videos ~ because it upset me. However I finally uploaded it on September 19 because I felt that in order for  her medical journey to help any other dogs, I needed to show all the highs and lows.

Sasha Goes Bump ⬅︎

I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus, icons etc. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe to her channel.

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💜Next up ~ continued progress💜

Wow! Almost 2 weeks just to get out 1055 words!

 

Sasha’s Loss Of Vision ~ Why?…

Sasha’s Loss Of Vision ~ Why?…

April 22, the day I was anticipating yet dreading ~ was our appointment with  Dr. Cory Mosunic, an ophthalmologist with Portland Veterinary Specialists. She would either confirm that Sasha has SARDS or a more favorable diagnosis. Normally I would enjoy a visit to Congress Street in Portland , Maine’s largest city, because of its diversity but today I was focused solely on Sasha and learning the reason for her sudden loss of vision on April 7, 2016.

April_2015_Portland_Maine_..20150424-DSC_8328 By Corey Templeton Up Free Street to Congress Square in the Spring small
  ©Corey Templeton Photography

 

We usually see Sasha’s internist at PVS’s other location so this was my first time to this office. We only waited a few minutes and then taken to an exam room by Ashley, one of the wonderful vet techs from PVS (they sometimes rotate between the two locations so you often meet). Ashley initiated the initial testing =which included staining and others that I can’t recall the name of. It was painful for me to watch Sasha with strips sticking from her eyelids but as a;ways, she was cooperative and a true champ. Dr.Mosunic entered and after introducing herself, we discussed Sasha’s vision loss. She had the records from the neurosurgeon so knew there was NOT a spinal compression. She did some manual tests on her eyes with a variety of lights and instruments. She told me she wanted to do an Electroretinography  (ERG), a test that would confirm the diagnosis of SARDS. With a SARDS dog, the ERG is always flatlined. Like the movie where the hospitalized patient  goes into cardiac arrest and the camera zooms in to the flatline of his monitor. Dr.Mosunic  explained the test could take up to 30 minutes and had to be conducted in a dark, quiet exam room. We waited for what seemed like hours but really only about 40 minutes. My daughter who is my trusty sidekick and I met with Dr.Mosunic  in her office to discuss the test results. As I feared, she confirmed it was SARDS. I had my list of questions and began asking. I asked if she had ever had a SARDS dog whose vision was restored but she said no. She did say that she had referred several patients to a  veterinary ophthalmologist  in Iowa, Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic. who had some reported success in reversing SARDS by administering Intraocular IVIg injections directly into the dogs eyes. I asked if any of her referrals had gone to see him but she wasn’t aware of any. I also asked if she knew of any dogs, perhaps patients of colleagues,  treated by  intraocular injections but she only knew what she had read and heard during conferences. I introduced the subject of Dr. Plechner and his theory. She was aware of it but not a supporter. I respected her for that because as I wrote in my previous post, many traditional veterinarians are not.

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I left knowing I had my work cut out for me and time was critical. Part of Dr. Plechner’s protocol is that the dog have a preliminary lab test drawn called an EI1 (Endocrine/Immune 1) because it will indicate if there are any hormonal deviance. The EI1 is currently only processed by one testing lab in the country, National Veterinary Diagnostic Services in TX. The blood must be drawn on a fasting dog and shipped with ice packs overnight. Sasha’s STC was scheduled Tuesday morning, April 26. As a nurse I believed that if  labs were needed, they must be drawn prior to the IV infusion of the stem cells because IV infusion travel systemically through the body and I felt they could possibly alter the results of lab tests. I was fairly confident that I could get Dr. Potthoff to agree to draw and ship the specimen but I still had to initiate contact with Dr. Plechner. I also had to approach Sasha’s internist, Dr. Sarah Noble, to request that if Sasha’s  EI1 was indeed abnormal, she begin the treatment referred to as Plechner Protocol. I’ve inserted a small slide show of pictures from Sasha’s visit with the exception of the actual ERG as we weren’t permitted in the darkened room. Please note her ERG graph; she does not have a flatline.

💜Next up ~ Dr. Plechner💜

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.