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  • Writer's pictureDr Steve Osman-ToddHall

Dr Steve's Puppy: Mogwai Dax ("Moggers")

Myself and Wayne have four dogs, the youngest of whom is just 13 months old and is a huge 72kg Merle Mantle Great Dane called Mogwai Dax.

Moggers recently started to show signs of 'wobblers'- a condition whereby a problem in the neck (cervical spine) causes spinal cord pressure and thus affects the back legs and the swing in the trunk- just like it would in humans.

Wayne and I don't want children- we have four big indoors dogs, and that is quite enough! Mogwai was bought for me a year ago when I was not at my happiest- and he has truly added so much joy to our lives.

I can not overstate how much I love my babies- and would do anything for them. If you are reading this and have children- simply consider if your child had a bony pressure on its spine, requiring risky spinal de-bulking surgery. That is what we have been working towards until last week, and it has affected Wayne and myself deeply.

First, Mogwai had a myelogram, which rendered him extremely incapacitated in terms of toileting, walking, moving around the house, etc. Remember that he is 72kg! I have had to cancel some surgeries to be at home and care for him through that. Then he had his C4/5 dorsal laminectomy and de-bulking of ligaments surgery with a vet at the new QVS at North Lakes (an off-shoot of the QVS at Stafford, both 24hr emergency vets). Jason Beck is the Veterinary Surgeon with orthopaedics speciality. This chap has gone the extra mile and then a few more for us. He is damned good, thorough and sensitive to our situation. I can not recommend him highly enough!

Unfortunately, at the major neck surgery on Tuesday 20, the problems revealed when the surgical exploration occurred far surpassed what was expected from the imaging. Jason again went the extra mile- and hours- and did his best. Remember that the spinal cord is close by and indeed ends up being manipulated during surgery which carries substantial risks. I had booked the Tuesday off and was to work Wednesday instead, but after a call explaining the major risks due to the nature of the surgery I had to cancel my consultations for Wednesday. Then came the call that he was up and about and doing great- but having gone to work on Thursday 22 I received a call that he had majorly deteriorated and was now unable to walk at all, or stand up. Very upset, I finished appointments for the morning but had to cancel my afternoon. That was a harrowing visit to the vet that day. We went back to sit with him after midnight, into Friday, and he was just dreadful and distressed. I got no sleep and we cancelled my Friday consultations.

The latest news is that he showed improvement on Friday but is still catheterised and not walking, and he may yet need further explorative surgery sooner rather than later, especially if he again deteriorates.

The best that I can do is to thank you for your patience, and of course to apologise for any inconvenience caused. My puppy is my baby. He is seriously ill and serious decisions are having to be made on a daily basis about what is best for him. He needs me- and I am certain that I wouldn't be able to carry out my job to my usual standards and without constant anxiety and tearfulness whilst he is doing badly. My first duty must always to be my family, and my duty is also to attend work in a mental state fit for that.

I will assume that patients who know me well enough will understand Hopefully having love for family and cherished pets, and living up to core duties and responsibilities, will never be a cause for upset or resentment in others. If anyone does have a problem with this, however, as unfortunately we can hear that people do from time to time, then again my apologies- please see a colleague if you can't wait to see me, and understand that until my puppy is hopefully better this is how things are if you wish to remain with me as your usual Dr.

Best wishes, Dr Steve

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