Sunday, February 7, 2010

Travels with Blackstar

Blackstar is our Newfoundland dog who we got from a breeder in Texas when he was two. He had been given back to the breeder a month before we got him and was only 100 pounds. She added another twenty pounds. When we opened the crate at the airport he looked like an Afgan hound.

Eight years later Blackstar is 168 pounds. He is the best dog, the real gentle giant, with loads of personality. Unfortunately, Blackstar hasn’t been dealt a very good hand. He is allergic to about 25 things that have been identified and didn’t have much luck with allergy shots. Now he is on cyclosporine and ketokenozale to suppress his immune system and keep him from scratching and going bald. He had a botched cruciate surgery at 7, ended up in ICU, recovered from the infection and the removal of the surgery and later had a TPLO surgery to correct the cruciate.

After the surgery we took him to Aldergrove Animal Hospital, which is about 45 minutes away from where we live. Blackstar was virtually paralyzed when we took him there but by having laser therapy and by working on the underwater treadmill and swimming in the salt water pool, he started to walk again. By this time we discovered that he was neuoropathic in his hind legs and probably always had been as he always scuffed along when he walked.

We take Blackstar to Aldergrove once a week to walk and swim. He does this with Lisi, who was a vet in Brazil and now does rehab with dogs and one cat. Lisi stands behind Blackstar and moves his hind legs on the treadmill. He walks for about ten minutes, does some interval training, swimming for almost a minute while Lisi holds him, has a rest and does it again. This is what keeps Blackstar going; although his progressive mylopathy is getting worse and his walking at home is deteriorating. Blackstar also worked with Tiffany, who is now on maternity leave. After the swim he gets an underwater massage and then we blow him dry.

Dr. Jeff Bowra’s Aldergrove Animal Hospital in an amazing place.

Here is Blackstar in rehab yesterday.


Country Girl said...

Wow, he's been through so much. I think it's wonderful that you have access to the best care. That hospital looks awesome.
A friend of mine in NYC has a cat that has been operated on to remove the thyroid after it was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Apparently, it's quite common in cats. Well, she's been in the cat hospital for a week and my friend can check her progress via a webcam in the cat's little room. It's pretty cool.

Eleanor and Seamus Nesling said...

It's amazing what they can do for pets now. I know that at one time they tried pacemakers out in Newfoundlands before people.

Jenny C said...

Blackstar looks so friggin' cute in the a big black bear!!

Lisiane said...

He is a fantastic dog and patient and I love swimming this Big Black Bear, "my Blacky"!!!