Happy belated Fourth of July! I am still in Mongolia and doing well. Today I wanted to share the story of SiSi. SiSi is a 12 year old poodle who belongs to a family from Russia. They are well to do among the Mongolians, and when their little dog began to have trouble walking, they asked to see the visiting foreign vet. SiSi has slowly been losing control of her back legs, getting weaker every day. One of our Mongolian veterinarians had taken x-rays of her spine and they were normal. I looked at SiSi and the radiographs and agreed that the films were normal, but SiSI had a definite problem in her spine. I explained to the owners (who fortunately understood my English) that there were several possible causes of SiSi ™s problem. She could have a ruptured disc, a tumor, an infection in her spine, or even a tapeworm cyst – these occur in Mongolia, but are rare in the states. In order to make a diagnosis we needed CT or MRI, a spinal tap, or a special dye study of the spine called a myelogram. None of that was available in Mongolia – we could try the tap and myelogram, but the available equipment would not give us much information. Additionally, she probably needed surgery if we diagnosed a treatable condition, and that was not available. The best that I could offer SiSi was anti-inflammatory medication plus muscle relaxants. She has improved a little bit.
Pet owners often balk at the expense of providing high quality veterinary care. We should be grateful that we have advanced diagnostics and treatments available – at least in America we have a choice for our pets. Come by and visit us at Animal Care Clinic.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP