Alfie had his MRI last Thursday evening (13th Feb) which successfully diagnosed that he has a rare problem which is a large arachnoid cyst in his spinal cord. There are so few reported cases of this condition that making a decision as to what to do next is a challenge.
We have been informed that there is a 75% chance that the cyst can be drained successfully which sounded like great news to us. We then learned that as for the other 25% of cases, there is a risk that the dog can be in a worse state afterwards and off the 75% successes, the dogs will never regain the full movement they once had and in half of these cases the cyst will refill in the medium term.
In addition Alfie will need to stay in the vet hospital for 3 days and he was so distressed staying in for one night after his MRI we had a call early in the morning to come and get him as he wouldn’t eat or go to the toilet so this will be really stressful for him. He will also be on a month’s bed rest (any tips on how you explain that to a dog is welcome!). Did I also mention that it is one of the most expensive vet operations going? (Please see http://www.embracepetinsurance.com/health/arachnoid-cysts).
We are currently weighing up the options as to what will give him the best quality of life. Right now he is managing well on his pain relief and steroids and he has some little boots now to stop his feet bleeding when he walks as he drags these behind him but in himself he is the usual loving little soul he always is. We would love the chance of some extra years with him so the surgery is so appealing but that isn’t necessarily the best option for Alfie.
If you have had any similar experiences or can offer any advice we would love to hear from you as this is the first time we have ever had to make such a decision for any of our pets. Thank you again to all of you for your support.
Alfie is the most perfect dog in the world! In his very young 7 years he’s always been full of scamp and character - he loves chewing his toys, running on the beach, doing tricks for treats and being cuddled. Everyone who meets him falls in love with him and he is the most gentle soul with other animals and children. Alfie is everything you imagine a pug to be – playful, affectionate and snores like a bear!
Alfie fell ill at the beginning of December when he started having trouble walking around.We took him to the vets straight away who gave us some anti-inflammatories and painkillers. He was getting worse and by mid- December we had x-rays taken which didn’t show anything conclusive and he has been on a constant stream of medication since. The x-rays have showed something on his spine, but an MRI is needed to see what this is.
He hasn’t been able to go out for a walk since early December, when we realised he was dragging his feet and cut the tops of his toes open on the pavement. Watching our dog who we once couldn’t keep up with on the beach walking so badly is heartbreaking. You can see a snippet of his walking taken today on youtube here.
As our insurance policy expired on the 12th December and we had to renew on the 13th, because we took Alfie to the vet as soon as we noticed his walking, he is now classed as having a pre-existing condition and our insurance won’t cover any costs of his medical care. We’ve already paid hundreds of pounds for x-rays and medication.
The cheapest quote we’ve found locally for an MRI is £3,210 with SCVS. Until we know exactly what’s wrong with Alfie, we don’t know what will help him.
Our lives would not be the same without him and our other dog Missy would be lost if he wasn’t here. If you can donate anything, no matter how small you will be making such a huge difference not just to Alfie’s life but to all of us who know and love him.