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Monday, March 14, 2005

Devastating News

Monday morning, President's Day, came very quickly, and so had yet another snow storm. Tinker was to have an MRI done. Thankfully the AERA was already transporting another dog to the Veterinary MRI and Radiotherapy Center in Clifton for an MRI. Otherwise we might have had to do the transport ourselves - no easy task. We both worked from home that day while we waited to hear from Dr. Hunt on the results of the MRI. First a radiologist would read the MRI, create a report based on his findings, and then review it with Dr. Hunt.

Finally, about 3:00 that afternoon, we received a call from Dr. Hunt. It was not good news. The MRI report from the radiologist read that Tinker suffered from a rare condition called "Ascending/Descending Myelomalacia" - a condition that destroys the spinal cord. We could see the heartbreak in each other's eyes when Dr. Hunt said doing surgery was "pointless". He said that Tinker, aided by a cart and/or other devices, could still lead a viable life.

We hung up the phone, completely stunned. As long as Tinker's quality of life was going to be good, we knew there was no way we were going to put him down. The thought of it, even now, makes me ill. We spent the rest of the day in a fog, trying to figure out what to do next. Tinker would still need to spend some time recuperating at the AERC. What would come next?

We contacted some of our closest "Beagle friends" as well as the webmaster/owner of Murphy's World . Murphy, another beagle, had suffered 3 disc herniations several years ago, and his owner, Joe, had documented Murphy's injury, surgery and recovery from IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). Murphy originally needed a cart, but now only needs to use it when he's tired after a long walk.

Harriet Digney of SOS Beagles helped talk us off the ledge that night. She insisted we go get a second opinion no matter how dire the circumstances seemed. Normally we would have gone for that 2nd opinion without thinking twice about it; but we were mentally fried and not thinking clearly. Dr. Hunt's word, "pointless" seemed to be reverberating in our ears.

Friends of ours got in touch with a veterinary neurologist they knew and had previously contacted for a problem with one of their Beagles. Dr. Eric Glass is a neurologist at the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, arguably the finest veterinary facility in the state. Dr. Glass asked us to get the MRI sent to him for his review first thing Tuesday morning.

We went to sleep Monday night hoping for the best.


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