Recovery for Buddy

Thank you for continuing to follow Buddy's recovery.  We would never be this far along without all of you. That is a fact.  Surgery went better than expected. Thank goodness.  It also cost more than Dr. Glass estimated.  We were able to cover the balance.  The total cost so far was $2300 for the MRI (this was his second MRI), $6800 for surgery; now X-rays are next, then a rehabilitation program.  I will keep you all updated.  We ♥️ all of you so much.  The kindness, support and generosity around helping Buddy has changed his life (and ours) forever.  We are sincerely grateful.  Love to you all and your awesome doods.  We are so lucky to share our lives with the best dog breed ever.  They are beyond special. Buddy deserves to live a happy pain-free life! I will do my best will all of you to make it happen. ✨✨✨

We ARE moving forward with Buddy's surgery! 
After careful consideration and lots of love, prayers and support from the ALD owner's community, we are moving forward with Buddy's surgery.  I have to say that I am skeptically optimistic but I will do what it takes to help Buddy to get better.  I am waiting for Dr. Glass to call me back with a date and time.  I will keep you all posted. 

Right now, I want him to rest and to make sure he does not injure himself more than he has already. 

Buddy came to us unexpectedly but we love him just as much as we love our other ALD (Charlie, his brother).  My biggest concern is not letting him suffer.  I will need everyone's support and ideas in helping me to make his life better. 

Love to you all.  If you want to read more about Buddy's journey, see below! xoxo

Surgery for Buddy Update 
I feel “sadness” and “hopeful” for Bud. Below is an update.

The Sadness! Dr. Glass believes that Buddy has an Alantoaxial Luxation that is caused by trauma. That makes me sad. He was shipped to us from CA at 4 mos. old. Immediately, we noticed he would often try to scratch the area on the back of his neck which indicated to me that there was something bothering him in that area. At that time, I asked the vet about it and he thought it could be related to flea/tick or allergies. I plan to check the records. I wonder if something happen to him while he was being shipped? The breeder does not feel that anything happen while he was under her care. My mother-in-law that had him for six months after that does not recall any trauma that took place aside from the collapses that he experiences from his condition.

The Hope! Dr. Glass believes that he may be able to stabilize that area through surgery. He would like to send it out to his network of top neurologist (34 doctors) in the country for their review. He is confident in his prognosis but sends all of his cases out as a rule of thumb. He wants to make sure no one see a malformation. We will speak on Monday afternoon to discuss surgery further.

This is what I found online about Atlantoaxial Luxation and Surgery. Treatment - Surgical stabilization of the C1-C2 joint is considered the best long-term treatment. Surgery involves fusing the atlas to the axis with surgical screws and bone cement. Surgery is successful about 90% of the time, however, when complications occur, they are typically severe. Nonsurgical management involving six to eight weeks of crate rest and placement of a body splint has about a 50% success rate. Unfortunately, recurrence rates are high (40%), and complications from the bandage are possible Prognosis is typically very good for patients that are treated successfully with surgery.

The How! I have to get the surgery for Buddy ASAP. He deserves to feel better. The alternative to surgery would be medical management and the doctor feels that it won't be long until it is so bad that he will need to be put down. I am willing to spend a decent amount toward the surgery but we cannot afford 6k. If something happen during shipping on Delta, the breeder said it is too long ago to put in a claim. The breeder is willing to chip in $500. She feels that he left healthy and that she already returned his purchase fee that was paid directly to the first veterinary hospital that did a MRI and spinal tap and gave us no diagnosis. I am curious to see if that hospital will reimburse us a portion of the money spent there being that they did not run a thorough MRI and charged us 4k. That hospital missed a series of pictures that would focus on the area of interest and that would ultimately give us a diagnosis a year ago. This would have saved us a lot of suffering, stress, time and money. I also plan to ask RBVH to do the surgery with some cost considerations or if there are options in these cases.

That is all I have for right now. This is Buddy walking this morning. He did GREAT for his first day out of anesthesia. His appetite is good and his bathroom situation is healthy and regular. His bloodwork came back normal. What a crazy situation this is. I never experienced anything like this. I feel like I am in a tough position but need to keep reacting. I am so happy to have answers now and that I know what is wrong with him and that it could potentially be fixed. I pray the rest will fall in place. I will continue to put my best foot forward and let God take care the rest!

Suggestions and ideas are welcome. I appreciate if you read this far. And I thank you all for pushing and helping us to get an MRI for Buddy. It was the way to go!! I have tears in my eyes. I honestly would not be in this place if it was not for the members in the this group! How special ALD owners are! 

We got the MRI!!  Thank you so much for helping us to make this happen!!  xoxoxo
Buddy is one of the cutest and sweetest pups I know! We love him very much. He needs an MRI and we need help to get it for him.  Dr. Glass with Red Bank Veterinary Hospital said that is the only way he can determine if surgery will help him.  (

The Back Story:
We picked him out for my mother in law from a breeder in CA. We live in NJ. Our MIL loved our Australian Labradoodle (Charlie) and wanted one. She never had a dog and is in her mid 70’s. We thought it would be a good therapy dog for her and he would work at the preschool she owns. Well, God had a different plan for Buddy. He has been living with us (my husband, me & Charlie) for the last year. We love and care for him as our own and will be two years old in May.

Long long story short, it seems that Buddy has a flap/bone missing in the top of his spinal cord. The first neurologist that we went to conducted a spinal tap, MRI and X-rays. She found a white spot on the top of his spine, but her findings were inconclusive. At that time (March 2017) he went on prednisone that seems to help him. He is still on prednisone, which is not good for long-term use. We paid $4000 and received no answers as to his condition. The breeder reimbursed us at that time to help with the medical cost.

His symptoms are: hunched back and neck with tense muscles, sloped back, difficulties walking, unwillingness to jump, pain and weakness in rear legs, sudden collapse that seem like a seizure, muscle spasms when he collapses, limited activity. We try to maintain his daily walks to keep him moving. He loves food and will push himself at dinnertime to get out of his bed. We definitely make the most of his condition, but the collapses are happening more frequently.

The second neurologist (Dr. Glass which is suppose to be the best in our area) said that it is most likely is C-1-5 Myelopathy, Abnormal Neurological Findings. He gave us 4 options. 1) Euthanasia because people don't get dogs to do this 2) stay on the prednisone until it stops working then go to option one.  3) more x-rays ($600) but will only give us a guess 4) a clearer MRI / rescan ($2600) then possibly surgery ($5000).

Unfortunately, it is becoming too difficult to care for him. We have been trying to have children  for almost four years which has consumed all of our savings.  Before I let him go, I would like to be sure that there is not something that can be done for him.  I would like to take him for the MRI.  I can not afford the entire cost on my own.  I have an appointment to bring him Tuesday 3/20 for admin then scan & results on 3/21.  

The Australian Labradoodle Owner's Group has been amazing and suggested I try this first.  I am willing to do what it takes to see if Buddy's condition can be improved.  If it can not then at least I know I tried everyting.  

Please no judgment or criticism. We have tried our absolute best to give this him a good life. He gets tons of kisses and belly rubs everyday.

Thank you for reading this far.


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Frances Gregos Leone 
Fair Haven, NJ
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