Wednesday, July 30, 2014

27 July 2014

On Thursday, July 24 we said goodbye to our dearest boy Milo.

Life had become very challenging for Milo as his mobility had decreased to the point where daily trips out to potty were becoming increasingly arduous for him and he needed assistance not only to rise, but to potty without collapsing.

While logically I know that quality of life over quantity of life is the best thing we can offer our beloved pets, it is a very different journey emotionally.  I wanted so much for him to rally and share more time with all of us, but he was existing and not living.

It was a terrible decision to have to make, but it was the kindest thing for him.

I was so grateful to our vet who helped us navigate through the many health issues and, for this final visit, allowed Milo to rest comfortably in the grass outside the clinic and drift off to sleep.  No stress from slippery tiles and medicinal rooms.

Milo was so very loved and so very missed by me and by the many who shared his journey.  

Sleep well my friend.  There have been many tears for you.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Toe-ing the line

July 2, 2014

I have really lovely hardwood floors in my house. Very pretty unless you are a collie with mobility issues.

To help Milo navigate around the house we have the rubber bottomed mat super highway. Trimming the fuzzy in between spots of toes helps as well.

Last week this trimming ritual revealed that Milo had an injury to his right rear outside toe.  And that he had been licking it.  A lot.  I suspect that the culprit was the loading in/out of his wire crate in the car.  We've done some reconfiguring of crates so that Milo can have a super-sized crate to be more comfortable, but the angle of getting him in/out is a bit more challenging.   Milo loves to go along anywhere with the gang - even if it is just to hang out in the car.

Anyway, the toe was looking very sore and the nail bed looked infected so we went to the vet.  The nail was indeed infected and rubbing a sore into the soft tissue of the next toe making the area even more painful.

We were given two options in dealing with it.  The first was to remove the nail which would mean a lot of pain and bleeding.   (I didn't like that one.)

We chose the more conservative approach which is not without risk of needing to remove the nail anyway.
The vet cut away as much nail as possible right up to the quick and cleaned off the nail and surrounding area.  10 days of Cephalexin and several times daily nail/toe cleanings.  

I'm relieved to report that the wound area due to the rubbing has healed up nicely.  The nail itself seems better.   And Milo seems more comfortable.   Starting an antibiotic meant we needed to stop the herbs from Dr. Choi.

At the vet, we discussed the seemingly nebulous findings from the neurologist.  Since it was mentioned that we could try treating it as a disc issue my vet sent home a mild steroid in case we wanted to try it.  I contacted Dr. Choi to check on her thoughts and she thought it was worth a try.

We started the steroid last evening to see how he does with it over the weekend.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Neurology News

2 July 2014

From Milo's visit to the U of MN Neurologist.   As collies can tend to do, Milo was very stoic for his exam.

Today, Milo was referred for a neurologic evaluation from

the Complementary Medicine service due to slowly progressive hind limb weakness.

No notable findings were seen on physical exam except decreased muscle mass overall.

Summary of Neurologic Exam:

Examination of Milo's cranial nerves and fore limbs revealed no abnormalities. No pain was noted on

palpation of the back or neck, or on neck flexion. In the hind limbs, the conscious proprioception test

(flipping the feet over to see if Milo knows where his feet are) was decreased to absent on the left side but

normal on the right, leading to a diagnosis of left pelvic limb monoparesis. Patellar reflexes were normal in

both hind limbs.

At this time Milo's neurologic signs localize to spinal cord segments between the third thoracic vertebrae and

the third lumbar vertebrae. His signs are mild enough that the lower lumber can not be excluded. The

primary rule outs for him include:

1. Intervertebral disc protrusion: Material from the intervertebral disc protruding into the spinal canal causes

compression on the spinal cord and results and neurologic symptoms. Depending on the location of the disc

protrusion, one or both limbs could be affected, which fits Milo's presentation today.

2. Lumbosacral Stenosis: This disease has many causes, but all result in compression of the nerve roots in

the lower spine near the tail and pelvic area, or cauda equina. Symptoms seen at this disease are similar to

those shown by Milo.

3. Neoplasia (cancer): A tumor on or near the spinal cord or vertebral column could cause symptoms like the

ones seen with Milo today, however this is very unlikely given the length of time with out lots more weakness.

Treatment options:

We recommend that you continue treatment as previously discussed with the Complementary Medicine

service and contact us if his neurologic signs worsen. Further medical imaging such as MRI to localize

and/or diagnosis a causative lesion is a possibility, but is really only useful for guiding surgical decisions in

this situation. The treatment option chosen today was to continue with previous treatment and monitor for

 further signs.

At their request, I sent some video of Milo walking at home to demonstrate his challenges with walking at times and his slope backed stance.

Milo - video one

Milo - video two

Milo - video three

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Seeking answers

22 June 2014

I realize that it has been a very long time since the last update about Milo which has a lot to do with too much work and a lot to do with the fact that he's been not doing very well physically with mobility.  Not sure why he's been declining but have been giving him supportive care with massage, chiropractic and acupuncture.

We are going to the U of MN Vet School tomorrow to see the neurologist and hopefully get some answers for our boy.

This is a photo from late May where Milo found a cool and picturesque spot to hang out in the shade.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pain in the neck

7 May 2014

Milo's appointment today with Dr; Choi went really well. We discussed the concern over Milo's weak hind end including the fear of this being neurological. She also suggested the an MRI or CT scan might reveal disc problems. Several manual tests were performed at the start of the appointment. Turning over the toes on the hind feet was once of them. His response time to right the toes was very slow.

We also discussed his diet and Dr. Choi determined that the protein he's been on - fish - is not right for his disposition which is damp heat.; So we will add duck and turkey.

Then Milo was given acupuncture which he tolerates very well. He is always up for being touched. He had a bit of anxiety about 1/2 way when the electricity was added. Electroacupuncture provides a tiny current to the needles so they are more effective.

Following the acupuncture, Dr. Choi gave Milo some tui na massage. She determined through manipulation that Milo is having some neck problems and acupuncture may very well do the trick for him. She will also order more custom herbs for him.

 After the exam Milo rose much easier and the manual test with flipping his rear toes was again administered. His response time was immediate. It was really great to be able to help him. He looks more alert already. We have another appointment next week for more accupuncture and Dr. Choi feels that this may do the trick. We can hold off on MRI and CT for now.  Oh, and he immediately pooped when we went outside. I guess he really did feel good!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Back again

29 April 2014

On Sunday Milo, Sabrina and Leo visited our friend Kathy the canine massage therapist with Canine Massage For Movement.  Kathy has been instrumental in helping Milo and Sabrina with feeling more comfortable and able to move more freely and comfortably.

She worked on Milo first.  He was very happy to be touched and massaged.

Milo has had a pretty rough week. The relief he was receiving from the herbs prescribed by Dr. Choi at the U of MN was evident when they ran out and he was demonstrating a great deal of discomfort with standing and walking. He began having accidents in the house and found it too difficult to keep up with our strolls around the yard. He has been my little shadow since the day he arrived so this change in behavior was very startling.

After his massage therapist discovered that his sloped posture seemed to be generated from his caudal sacral area two vets suggested that an x-ray of the area would help diagnose the issue. Yesterday at the U of MN he was lightly sedated and given a pain injection for the imaging procedure. He had a really rough time with the drugs and could barely walk even into the late afternoon. Last evening he was still "drunk". I was relieved that by this morning he was back to himself.

The x-rays revealed that his pelvic skelton is normal. So... we know he is in pain but we don't yet know why. Dr. Choi wants to see him next week. In the meantime, I am giving him 81 mg baby aspirin AM and PM which seems to give him some relief. So frustrating.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Life's full of ups and downs

22 April 2014

Last week Milo accompanied Sabrina for a visit with Dr. Choi at the U of MN Vet School.  Milo was getting close to finishing his herbs and is still very weak in the hind end and doing a lot of "sloping" when standing.  More and more it has become difficult for him to keep up with us at the dog park and people have been asking if he is an old dog.

Dr. Choi had several sophomore veterinary students observing her appointments for the morning and both Milo and Sabrina took full advantage of their attention.

Milo's blood work shows that his monocytes although still in the normal range are at the very high end of normal and have risen significantly from his last test.   Dr. Choi did not like that he did not respond the way that she had hoped with the herbs to help his back.   Another round of herbs is being developed for Milo. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Milo Montage

1 April 2014

Some photos of Milo (and friends) out and about over the last couple of weeks.

At the park. 
In the back yard

Nice ears! 

2 collies who need attention.  Now. 

Milo and Mao napping. 

Nice sky at the park.  A little weak in the hind end.  

Leo tastes like chicken! 

Nice sun at the park. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Electric blue

18 March 2014

Milo visited with students and one of them had lovely BLUE nails.   He enjoyed himself immensely and took his first ride in an elevator.  Head tilt at the "ding!" sound.   Handled it like a pro. 

Just touch me! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Vicious news circle?

14 March 2014

Milo is in the news and you can read it here.

The circle is that the news article links up to this blog in some places - so don't get dizzy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


8 March 2014

Milo came home from a particularly busy day at the dog park smelling like..... perfume!

He made many new female friends and (apparently) received lots of hugs.

Good dog!


26 February 2014

Last week was a wild one.  We got snowed in.

The driveway from inside the garage! 

Snow so deep that even the intrepid Leo doesn't jump into it!

 In addition to a major snow "event", our little pal Zoey - and sometimes houseguest - got out of her yard in St. Paul when some workers left the gate open.  Zoey's more than 24 hour adventure was a pretty stressful for a lot of her people.

Zoey with lots of collie friends on a HOT day last summer.

Zoey was FOUND and is safe at home with a new GPS collar!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Milo got mail!

27 February 2014

This week there was a large package at the front door addressed to Milo.  Inside was a very festive and colorful crate mat and matching bag - along with a very nice donation check for collie rescue.

What a lovely surprise!    Thank you Nancy!  We are so sorry that the bad weather prevented us from getting together over the weekend.  Hopefully there will be another opportunity to try it again soon.

More on our weekend adventures very soon.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine...

14 February 2014

We received some good news today! Milo's blood work is normal for the very first time - the low end of normal but we'll take it! Dr. Choi at the U of MN is cautiously optimistic that things will continue to improve more fully into the normal zone. She is prescribing another round of herbs that are less potent than the last batch, but will add some herbs to help his back issues. Yay! 

When we arrived at our appointment today, both the veterinary student  - same one as last week - and Dr. Choi remarked that he was much less "sloped" in his posture.  He had more acupuncture today as well for his back.   Milo has been starting to trot with the jaunty bounce that makes those gorgeous tipped ears bob with each step.  I love it!  

Cautiously optimistic is due to fact that last time Milo had a break from the herbs his CBC took a significant step backwards with regard to platelets and monocytes - so we will have to keep an eye on that.   

I'm quite relieved!

Milo at his appointment with Dr. Choi.  She is demonstrating to the veterinary student some diagnostic points in Oriental Medicine.  You can see how weak his back was before the acupuncture.  

Milo and Leo in June of 2012

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wired Up

9 February 2014

On Friday Milo went to his appointment with Dr. Choi at the Univesity of Minnesota for the issues he's been having with his back.   Dr. Choi found that his rear left leg is very weak and the muscles in that limb are much less developed than on the other side.  Not sure if it is due to an old injury, but he has been compensating by using the other hind leg much more.  Dr. Choi provided electroacupuncture for him which he enjoyed very much.  Dr. Choi didn't think that an x-ray at this time would show much since she feels that the problem is soft tissue and/or tendon related.

I need to get him in for a blood test so she can look at where his monocytes are after finishing his latest round of herbs.  I tried on Saturday, but wasn't able to get a tech appointment to do so.  Once we have a blood panel she can prescribe herbs that may help his leg as well as his white blood cell levels if needed.

Dr. Choi wishes to see Milo again next week for more acupuncture and have made an appointment for Friday.  Hopefully I will be able to bring along a blood panel for her to see.

I asked her if I should restrict his activity, but she said it really would not matter at this time.  She is concerned that he may be developing arthritis.   He is young-ish for this to occur, but the severity of his condition may be aging him prematurely.  We have no idea how long he was sick and fending for himself before he was rescued.

Milo was pretty blissed out during the experience.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rock your world

1 February 2014

Milo had a very big week last week.  And he did not enjoy it.

I picked up a young collie in need of help because his family lost their home and brought him back to the house.  Milo did not approve in any way, shape or form.  He demonstrated this in his actions; he didn't finish his meals, he began having accidents in the house and some of his fearful behaviors re-surfaced.   The puppy was here for one day before I sought assistance with finding a different for home for him.

The photos below demonstrate how sad it made Milo to have this "interloper" in his life.  

Milo's world is now back to normal and he is much relieved.  No more sad eyes. 

Milo had a trip to the canine chiropractor for an adjustment.  This week he has been doing some trembling at certain times and I'm not sure if it is related to stress or the subzero temperatures we've been experiencing.  He did a bit of the trembling at the beginning of the appointment, but seemed to relax a bit following the adjustment.  

We have an appointment on Friday to see Dr. Choi at the University of Minnesota to see if we can help him with some acupuncture and maybe some herbs.  He finished the herbs he was on for his monocytosis on Thursday, so we'll see what his blood levels say about his overall health.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Feels So Good

20 January 2014

Yesterday Milo went for some massage work with our friend Kathy to help him loosen up his back and spine.  He really enjoyed it.  

He is moving much better after the massage, but will see the chiropractor again next week.  

I spoke with Dr. Choi about his back and because the herbs he is currently on for his monocytosis are so very strong and concentrated it is not safe for him to take anything for his back until he finishes those herbs.  I'll be making an appointment for him to see Dr. Choi as she can give him acupuncture to help his back.  

Poor guy!    I'm not sure if this is a muscle issue or a skeletal one.  He had no muscle tone when he first came to me because his body had metabolised everything due to starvation.  I've always been worried about his muscles, but his blood values had recently eclipsed that concern.  Will be seeking answers so we can provide the best relief for him.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back again

18 January 2014

Milo has been having more back problems.  His back end is very weak and if you run your hand down the length of his body he sinks into a sit.  I brought him back to the doggie chiropractor and she proclaimed that he is so tense and "guarding" that she couldn't really do a full adjustment for him.  So... we are going to take him for a massage tomorrow and follow up with the chiro about a week following the massage.   I talked to Dr. Choi about this in case some herbs would help him, but the herbs he is currently taking for the monocytosis are so strong that he can't take anything for his back/spine issues right now.  If the massage and chiro don't do the trick he'll need acupuncture.   Poor guy.  I think he's been in pain but is very stoic about it as collies tend to be in my experience.

I snapped this photo the other evening before we went to the chiropractor.   What a face!


This morning Milo was using Leo as a pillow.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to status quo

6 January 2014

We have spent the last 10 days puppy sitting for a little terrier mix friend named Zoey.  Wild collie Leo and Zoey are great pals and spent much of the time running, running, running and wrestling.  Sometimes wrestling while running.  An example:

Leo!  You have a terrier on your neck! 

Milo was not so impressed.  He has been very disgusted that this unruly little upstart usurped the attention of his pal Leo as well as my affection.  The experience seemed to be quite difficult for him and he seems to be quite pleased that Zoey has returned home and things are back to normal.