Friday, March 4, 2011

My Border Collie is Recouperating

The key word here is slowly.

We are all confident that my 10 plus year old border collie, Lettie has had a stroke.  Strokes are funny beasts.  Every one is different, every one effects us differently, and every one effects different species differently.  With dogs and cats, they say that a stroke can be an event that you can completely recover from.  On the other hand, my father's father had a stroke and was bedridden through my entire childhood.

We are also fairly confident that Lettie had a stroke around a year ago when we heard her yip in pain and then wake the next morning very wobbly. 

That is our story and we are sticking to it. 

I am watching her very closely.  She's resting most of the day, sleeps through the night, and I think she'll come back to most of her function.   It also sets up a pattern.  Some morning in the future I may wake to find her in this state again.  I'll wait until that episode to judge my reaction.

For now, she's safe.   I'm learning alternate ways to do things.

One example, food and water.   Yesterday she refused her normal food.  She would usually scarf down 1 cup a day of Purina Lamb and Rice.  Gobble Gobble Gobble... then want more.  She'd drink water to make it expand in her gut, and then walk out the door for her one mile walk dragging me behind.  Lettie took no food on her own yesterday so I tempted her with about 250 calories of Peanut Butter on Crackers.  I also used a bottle with a very small nozzle to slowly give her about a pint of water through the day.  Dinner was around one egg, scrambled, and a half of a pot of Activia Yogurt.  It was blueberry and she spit the fruits out thinking they were pills.

I have also had to get creative giving her pills.  She's on Prednisone and Cipro.  Apparently Cipro tastes vile.  Not only will she refuse the pill but will pass on what ever it touches.   The way I have been getting these pills down her throat is to hold her head up at a 45 degree angle, wait until she sneers, slip the pill through her molar, then irrigate her mouth with a slow stream of water.  It works, but it is not very subtle.

Today she walked a big figure eight around the Central Area Neighborhood in Wilton Manors.  Around my block, around Wilton Drive, and sniffing all the way.  Total of .85 miles.  Most humans won't walk that much in a day.

Her "scanning" of objects has stopped, which means her brain is recovering.  When she had the episode, the doctor noticed that instead of focusing on an object, her eyes would flick or scan the object and never quite settle on it.  Today her vision looks approximately correct - she focuses, constriction and dilation of the pupils are normal, and she "fixes" on the object.

My little girl is still wobbly on her feet.  She is also a fighter.  I am too.  We're going to fight as long as she wants.  There does not seem to be any pain due to this, but of course we can't be completely sure.

I am amazed that she is bouncing back.  Remembering my Grandfather laying in bed in a VA Hospital in Nazareth PA all those years, I never would have expected that my little dog would be walking around town with a purpose.   Last night she even dragged me past the bars as if to say "I want normal! Lets Try!". 

At least she's better than Yesterday when we had the first full day, or the first morning with all those symptoms.

I expect her to lay around all day like in this picture, asking her from time to time if she wants out or water or food.  I can be a mother hen if I like, it's important to have someone around to care for you when you're down.  

Besides, I can squirt a mean water bottle past the lips if I need to!

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