Sunday, February 6, 2011

Three month checkup day!

The VMC in winter.
When we arrived back at the Veterinary Medical Center around 7:30am Friday morning Dr. Pluhar brought Rilley up to the front to see us before the physical exam. We took Rilley outside for a stroll around (not to mention the prerequisite doggy potty breaks). As we were out, along came another very important person involved with Rilley's case. Jessica Bedi had come by to meet us and bring along Rilley's sixth and final vaccine. Yes, he did end up receiving his final vaccine at the univeristy, so no more worries about shipments, over zealous customs brokers, etc! As Dr. Pluhar so eloquently put it in an email..."praise the lord"! ;^)

Anyway, if you've been following along, Jessica is an important member of Rilley's team at the University of Minnesota because she is responsible for navigating the international vaccine shipping mine field. Thanks to her due diligence, Rilley always received his injections on this side of the border on time. Thank you Jessica!
Jessica Bedi and Rilley
Then it was on to Rilley's follow up examination. We started with the usual...getting Mr. Stubborn on to the scale. Well, the scale is recessed into the ground, so it was more of a fight to get him to sit still. It's almost as if was trying to hide something from Dr. Pluhar. Perhaps this spoiled little pooch isn't really so little after all. Well, once the scale settled down it seemed to find that this beagle weighs in at a hefty 47 pounds! Unfortunately, we can no longer blame medications and such, so he will need to be kept on a strict diet that does not include sympathy scraps from the table.

As we had hoped, and somewhat expected, Rilley is continuing to pass his neurological exams with flying colours, Dr. Pluhar couldn't find anything wrong with him! In that sense anyway.

It wasn't all roses though. Some concerns have arisen due to his blood work. I don't understand it all, but from what I can gather Rilley is producing too many red blood cells. This could be a result of a number of things but we are hoping that it is due to some slight dehydration as a result of the long car ride. Although we managed to shave an hour off of our trip there, it still took us a good fifteen hours and Rilley didn't seem to take much of an interest in drinking his water.

After his exam we sat with him to await his MRI which had been booked for 11am. During the wait Rilley had some time to get himself into mischief, so he decided to pose for a photo on one of the dog stretchers.

Rilley hamming it up for the camera.
It was the time for the moment of truth, has this radically new form of cancer treatment worked? The anaesthesiologist came to take Rilley in and we were left to wait for about an hour.

After Rilley's MRI Dr. Pluhar let us know that the scan was clear. There were absolutely no signs of any cancer cells anywhere! When his original post op MRI was done, there were a few "white spots" remaining on his dura. These were some tumour cells that they weren't able to remove during surgery. However, even at the time, the medical staff were not concerned about them as they were convinced that the vaccine would help his body to take care of them. As it turns out, they were 100% correct! Thanks to Dr. Ohlfest's revolutionary new form of treatment Rilley has beaten the cancer!

As for Rilley's blood test results, we discussed that during his stay at the Veterinary Medical Center, Rilley's eating and drinking returned to normal and he was given I.V. fluids during his MRI; this should have normalized his hydration. So it was decided that his blood work would be redone on Saturday morning just before we would pick him up for the ride home. However the results would not be available until after we have returned home. We will be receiving these results tomorrow and we will update the blog with what we have learned.

We will be posting some more stories from our trip as well as some of the new MRI images for everyone to see in the days to come.

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