Thursday, May 15, 2008

Caleigh's Surgery

We totally neglected to update the happy news: Caleigh was adopted by her foster home Debby last year. She just couldn't let Caleigh go.

Update on Caleigh, my failed foster.

For some time, I have been tracking what I thought
was poor vision in Caleigh. I thought maybe she
was myopic (near-sighted). She bumped into things,
especially at night. At the dog park, she had a
very hard time finding me. I would call her, and
she would stop and look for me, but I would have
to wave my arms around until she spotted the
movement. This would occur even when I was only
20 feet away from her.

In December, I took her for her annual checkup,
and Caleigh was diagnosed with early-onset
cataracts. She was referred to the veterinary
ophthalmologist at the University of Minnesota
Veterinary school. Today we had that appointment.

Caleigh has a pretty advanced cataract in her
left eye. It is so cloudy that the vets cannot
see her retina at all. It is sufficiently
advanced that it is causing inflammation of the
other eye tissues. One of the vets said that she
is probably completely blind in that eye at night.
The cataract in her right eye is not as advanced.
They are able to see most of the way back to the
retina, but cannot see all the little blood
vessels of the retina that they are supposed to be
able to see. This eye is also inflamed, but not as
severely as the right eye.

The ophthalmologist says that if the cataracts are
not removed, her eyes will continue to get worse,
and she may get to a point where surgery is no
longer an option. Between the cataracts and the
damage caused by the inflammation, she could become
completely blind. Waiting is ok for now, but not for
a long time.

The post surgical care includes giving her eye drops
around six times a day - not an option while I am in
the middle of a semester. I just can't be home enough
to do that. So I'm thinking maybe next summer.
The ophthalmologist thinks that summer will be ok, but
wants to monitor her again in 3-4 months to see if it
is progressing faster or slower than she has predicted
for now. She says that it might even be ok to wait till
the following summer, but that is much less certain.

The projected costs are around $2650 to 3350. The prices
are going up, but these numbers include the increase.

Prognosis is pretty good for surgery. About 95% of dogs
do extremely well, and get their vision back. The other
5% have complications, or never regain their sight, or
lose their sight altogether.

She is being put on anti inflammatory eye drops as of
today. When (did I say when rather than if?) I decide
to do the surgery, she will need about a month of very
aggressive anti inflammatory treatment to prepare
her for the surgery. So it's not something I can decide
to do on short notice.

It's an interesting surgery. They make a cut in the lens
of the eye and remove the cloudy protinaceous liquid that
is blocking the light.
Then they replace it with an artificial lens made of a
folding acrylic. Once it's inside the lens, it unfolds
and liquifies, serving the same function of focusing the
image that a normal lens with non-cloudy liquid would do.

Poor Caleigh was a champ for the exam. They tested her tear
production, did a pressure test to be sure she did not have
glaucoma, put fluorescin dye in her eyes so they could see
if the lens had any lesions on it (none), and dilated her
pupils to give them the best chance at seeing all the way
back to the retina (still not possible at all on the left).
They also dimmed the lights and gave her an obstacle
course to get back to me. They wanted to see how well she
did in various levels of low light. When the light got low
enough, she had a little trouble, but she found her way.

The vet said that English Setters with poor genetics
(puppy mill) are prone to early onset cataracts.
It's a crap shoot. There is no indication of any other
underlying cause.

I have attached some pics of Caleigh for those who don't
know her. On the couch, he head is on her GSP sister
Savanna's butt.

I hope the pics come through.

Debby

Friday, May 25, 2007

Caleigh's big adventure March 27, 2007

Dear IBR dogs,
I had the best adventure yesterday! My (skin) nanny, Kaye, took me and Jeremiah and Savanna for a walk and when we got back, she let us into the yard. Imagine my excitement when I found that the gate was open at the other end of the yard! Naturally, I took advantage of this fabulouse opportunity! I understand from talking to Savanna and Jeremiah later, that they followed me out, but Kaye called them back right away. They are good dogs, and they returned right away. I am also a good dog. However, I did not hear Kaye call me. Could this be because I was already blocks away in about 2 seconds flat??? I am FAST!
I had a GREAT time! The weather was so warm, and I ran and ran and ran! I think that Kaye might have worried a bit, but I was really too busy to worry about Kaye's worries. I did see her once in my travels, but I blew by. I was too busy to stop and chat. After a LOT of fun, and rolling in something that was deliciously perfumed, I circled back toward home. I was thinking about getting a drink of water before I headed out again. However, when I got there, Savanna was there with my (skin) cousin Leah, and my (skin) aunt Becky. Leah grabbed my collar, and my adventure was suddenly over! Kaye came back in her car and let us all in the house. She SAYS she was looking for me, but I bet she was just enjoying the beautiful day, like me.
Savanna and Jeremiah were worried about me. They are silly. I wasn't worried at all! But I spent the rest of the afternoon in the crate - BORING!
Mom was someplace boring called "work". Mom has really boring days and never comes home smelling like my perfumes. I will have to show her where to find this great stuff. Maybe she would have more fun in her life if she rolled in perfume like this. Maybe she could attract a mate if she wore perfume like mine. For some reason, Mom gave me a bath after she got home. I don't know why. My perfume made the whole house smell nice!
Today we went to daycare. There wasn't any perfume there, but it wasn't boring, either.
Hey, I hope you like the story of my adventure. If you get a chance, you should try your gates, too. Maybe they will magically open, and you can find some of that great perfume that I found! I look forward to meeting you all and playing and playing and playing and playing. I would be willing to bring my fur foster brother, Jeremiah and my fur foster sister, Savanna. They're pretty good at playing, too. But as you already know, they aren't as fast, or as clever as I am!
love,
Caleigh

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cute Caleigh!


Caleigh gets to go to doggy daycare---and boy is she quite worn out at the end of the day.


Isn't she a beauty---she's waiting for her forever family to whisk her away!!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Tired of the Snow?

Not little Caleigh. She enjoys to finally be allowed to romp around....
...and show off her little green winter coat.
Doesn't she look adorable?
...then it goes back inside for a little nap and cuddle with Savanna, her foster fur sister.

Caleigh's Tubby Time!

Since her more active life can now begin, Caleigh got a bath for starters!

Caleigh's Big Announcement!

Caleigh went to the vet for her heartworm check.

Just thought you'd like some pictures of this sweet little heartworm NEGATIVE girl! What a champ, too. She voluntarily swapped crates with Jeremiah. He's so much bigger than she is, and he was in the smaller crate. I wasn't even going to broach the subject with her, since she's been using the big crate since she came here. She just walked right into his crate and he walked into hers. She forgot at one point, though and went back to the big crate - boy did he let her know she was in his new territory!
Caleigh is such a sweetie. Jeremiah is working out his territory issues in other ways, too, but she doesn't hold a grudge. Even after he growls or snaps at her, she still wants to play with him. She will be a huge help to him here. Savanna watches him claim toys from the sidelines - aghast that he thinks HER toys are his. But even Savanna is finding him fun once in a while. For the end of the first 24 hours, I think they are all doing FINE with each other.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

She doesn't appear to be afraid of loud noises. There were firecrackers going off last night at midnight, when we were out for her last pee of the night. She was a little distracted by them, but was not afraid.

Caleigh is ok with cats. She is fascinated by them as if they were poisonous snakes. She makes a bee-line for the cats and then stares at them trembling. Then she proceeds to jumping up and down from the bed to bark at them.

I just had to see what was out there!!