(Added 11/18: It appears Vethab was trying to get in touch with me yesterday while i was off in cell phone no man's land seeing the holistic vet. I still haven't talked to Dr Sherman in person but at least there's been some effort there. Added even later: They got in touch with me and Dr. Sherman wants to see Zac, so i'll run him over there friday. More to come...)
Today i got Zac in to see our holistic vet/chiropractor. I've been wanting to get him to her for an educated opinion on what's been going on these last 2-3 months with rehab and all. I'd actually wanted to get him to her before starting the rehab but it just got too rushed - she's almost 2 hours away and it can be hard to get an appointment without waiting a few weeks. This evening, i'm wishing i'd been patient and had made that happen.
She feels that physically, Zac is fine (remember, this is the same thing the orthopedist said back in July before we went to Vethab). Her feeling is that there is something neurological going on, some disconnect somewhere telling Zac to skip, with no real physical reason for it. I could see the frustration i've been feeling over this on her face as well, when she was saying she wished there was some way to just get the message from the muscles to the brain.
We took Zac out for a nice long walk, up and down hills, and he cooperated very nicely by skipping exactly as he would at home, just a few steps here and there, and a bit on the left leg as well as the right. After the walk, we went inside and she did a very, very thorough exam, adjusting his back just a little bit, and said all of his toes on the one side were out, indicating that leg had been worked pretty hard. The only reaction she really was able to note on exam was muscle spasm in both pectineus muscles when she was really hyperextending his leg and hock, and that was just for an instant as it stopped immediately on letting off the extension. We talked about a little something the orthopedist had seen on Zac's spinal radiograph and said was nothing to worry about, and she asked that i send those films to her to review as well, just in case. I think she hates a mystery almost as much as i do.
We went back over the whole history, starting last fall with the original injury (when last she'd seen him), the re-injury this spring, all the way through the problems this summer with his liver and urinary problem, up through the shockwave treatment, rehab and the business with the boots. She was very interested in the whole process and tied a lot of it together (guess that's why they call it "holistic" :-) She did a prostate exam just to make sure that was all okay and we talked quite a bit about the liver issue and possible relation to doxycycline. We talked a good bit about the recent rehab and treatment, and well, let's just say it was very telling to note when she'd get very quiet. I asked about doing acupuncture since this is a sort of "disconnect" problem and acupuncture is supposed to work by establishing flow, and she thought that was a good idea so did that along with some B12. Ultimately, she said everything is even and strong and healthy and he should get back to working.
I was pretty disturbed about one thing she said. I mentioned the left (good) leg skip and that it had started when Zac was wearing the boot and had continued when i took the boot off last weekend. I've been thinking that it would probably go away with a little time but she said she wouldn't count on that, that it may continue on along with the right side. This bothers me greatly and i hope it doesn't end up happening. It's one thing for him to end up basically where he was before starting the shockwave treatment and rehab, i can handle that, if it just didn't work. But if the subsequent business with the boots and bells and stuff has created an additional problem, i won't be real happy, let's just put it that way. Dr Sherman made a note that he saw Zac skipping on both back legs the last time i took him in, on October 27, and prescribed 10 more days wearing the boot to "really get him comfortable on that bad side" by keeping the good side uncomfortable. If that backfired and ended up teaching a new skip, that seems like something he should have foreseen.
So, i'm really wishing i'd gone with my instincts and consulted this vet before starting the rehab. I guess if i hadn't done the whole rehab process and Zac was still skipping that i might be sitting here wondering if it would have fixed it. BUT, i'm pretty upset that it seems the whole rehab process didn't just not work, it seems Zac is actually worse, if you consider skipping on both legs rather than just the original skip worse (I certainly do). And, i have a big fat credit card bill to deal with on top of it. I'm still trying to give Dr Sherman a chance to make this right somehow, but i'm also sitting here with 2 calls and messages to him over the last week unanswered. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.