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tough times

we’ve had a tough week here at scruffy dog headquarters, with some pretty tough diagnoses.

as some of you already know, old scruffy morley — adopted at 9 years of age and now an energetic 14 1/2 — has lost the sight in one eye and is gradually losing the other.  in spite of appointments with an ophthalmologist no exact cause was determined and it was suspected he is dealing with a brain tumor.


with no behavioral changes, however, i was determined not to believe the tumor-theory … however, last week morley had his first grand mal seizure, with several other small ones as well as facial twitches.  so yesterday he started phenobarbital in a hope to prevent any more seizures.  i may also add prednisone to the treatment plan to help shrink the suspected tumor, but i’m cautious to tax the old man’s liver too much.  so here’s to many more, seizure-free years for the sweetest of all scruffies.


8-year-old matea, my main girl, has been dealing with a rather significant case of bridging-spondylosis — a fusing of the spine.  so far it had only shown itself in passing stiffness and occasional moments of acute pain that would pass quickly. but this past sunday saw her in such excruciating pain that would not resolve and a visit to the emergency vet’s at midnight was necessary. but when a loading dose of butorphanol and metacam, along with continued tramadol, did nothing for her pain, there was concern that something more serious going on.  so … an emerg referral to the OVC (Ontario Vet College) was called in for us.  three hours monday night and 12 hours tuesday at the OVC, tests, rads, MRI and CT … initially there was the suspicion of a spinal tumor, to which i responded to the neurologist: “she doesn’t have a tumor” … it just didn’t fit with everything i’d seen over the past seven months.

as it turns out, she’s just got a really messed up spine … “benign bony overgrowth” … “chronic bony changes” … “no pathological fracture” … “exacerbated aging changes” …”chronic degenerative changes” … with the main cause of the pain originating in the bone and joint vs. nerves.  matea is past the majority of the pain for now, but will still be restricted during her course of Metacam … again, something i’m not keen on having her on long-term due to it’s potential liver damage, but there is the chance she’ll need the NSAID for the rest of her life.

so, it’s one day at a time around these parts … as we all snooze off the good drugs …


i want to thank all of my extremely supportive friends on flickr, as well as past clients who have expressed their concern, and to my very understanding current clients for their patience.  i’d also like to thank the numerous individuals who shared the waiting room with me during my 12-hours at the OVC on tuesday.  positive healing thoughts to all of your furred loved ones … and a special shout out to sweet-girl Georgia.  we’re thinking of you all.

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  • allison f.I’m just catching up now! My GOODness it’s been a tough haul. I know it’s upsetting and stressful and the most agonizing heartache to have the furry little ones hurting. Hang in there my friend. I’m thinking of you and the pack….ReplyCancel

  • LainerOMG! These poor dogs are having a tough time of it. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I hope they will feel better soon.ReplyCancel

  • LizI am so sorry to hear about this. Hugs and pets to all. We are thinking and sending good thoughts your way.ReplyCancel

  • illonathank you SO much, everyone, for your kind words and keeping us in your thoughts.

    i hear about some dogs being on Metacam for years. it encourages me, even though it’s not what i want for my girl. i’ll feel better after seeing our one vet on tuesday.

    as for morley … he’s having mild side-effects from the phenobarb, but he’s in pretty good spirits.

    thanks again, everyone.ReplyCancel

  • kennawhatever you do is the right thing. but they both still seem great. sending good vibes your way. xo

    i love that pic of her curled up on the couch. and i really love your blog format!ReplyCancel

  • JeanBoth Morley and Matea are in the best of hands. Take care. Thinking of you.ReplyCancel

  • TamandraOh wow Ilona, I so know how you feel : ( It’s the worst feeling in the world to hear your dog screaming in pain, and you can’t alleviate it for them. I’m lucky in a way, that my dog doesn’t feel as much in his lower spine. He still gets bouts of pain randomly. I do hope you find success with acupuncture. I’m sure it helps Borias. I’m afraid of NSAIDS, too.ReplyCancel

  • NatashaOur pack here in Colorado is sending lots of positive energy to your pack! Keep the heads up, everybody!ReplyCancel

  • LynneOh I am so so so so sorry to hear about all of the medical doggie struggles. I am no stranger to them myself… and I know the trauma of having to go through so much to find a reason and a “cure.” My 14 year old golden, Liberty, has been on a combination of Meloxicam, Tramadol, Gabapentin, Hydomorphone, Fish Oil and Chondroitin/Glucosamine for years for her arthritis. Each attacks the pain in a different way, and I have to say, she’s doing really well. May the miracles of modern medicine work wonders for your sweeties… and you may find peace in knowing that you are being such an amazing mom for them.ReplyCancel

  • MichelleOh, I’m so sorry to hear about all this. I hope things work out and you have lots of pain-free, happy times left with your gang.ReplyCancel

  • michelle & marcoso sorry to read this… we too went through a medical nightmare with our last pet, so have some idea how it feels… Please accept our best wishes, thoughts and prayers for speedy recovery and wholeness for your loved ones.ReplyCancel

  • MarciOh Illona, I had no idea. How very very scary for you all. Your pups have THE best mom out there. Glad you got Matea into Guelph- best place to be. I hope that you continue to see improvement in both furbabies! Sending well wishes and positive thoughts!ReplyCancel

  • andreasophie and i continue to send positive vibes your way…we are thinking about your whole crew.ReplyCancel

  • Camp Greyhound CrewI’m so sorry you’ve all been having such a crappy time of it – we are joining everyone in sending lots of white light and healthy energy to both Matea and Morley, as well as their hoomans.ReplyCancel

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