At the beginning of 2017, our daughter Jessica became the proud owner of a sweet and loving Great Dane named Peka while stationed at Ft Sill in Oklahoma. When she took this wonderful pup, she had no idea that she would deploy about 6 months later. When we got the news that she had orders to go, we hooked up our camper and made the 1700 mile journey to help her pack up her home and take Peka with us to Connecticut for the duration with very short notice. There was no hesitation on our part at all. We have an elderly beagle named Molly and a cavapoo puppy named Lincoln at home already, and we knew that a third pup in the house would be tough. We also knew that the most important thing we could do for Jess was to make sure her pup would be well taken care of while she did her job overseas. We didn’t want her to worry at all about her girl for a minute. We figured the trip was too much for Molly so we left her in good hands and brought Lincoln with us on our adventure to Lawton and our boy fell in love with our grandpuppy immediately. They are all the best of friends!
A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday morning, something seemed off with Peka. She had breakfast and did her business in the yard but when she came into the house she was just not stable on her legs. She laid down and wouldn’t get up. We called the vet and got an appointment for later that morning. After being examined, her vet suggested that we take her to another vet – a neurologist - for further diagnosis as she found weakness in her legs and suspected she had a case of Wobblers. We made an appointment at Pieper Memorial Animal Hospital and during this extensive exam, the neurologist saw the same weakness in her legs and suggested an MRI be done the following morning. The next day when we came to pick her up and go over the findings, the doc confirmed that Peka has a ligament compressing her spinal cord at C5 and C6. This is Wobblers. The diagnosis was frightening. The first step was medical treatment to try to reduce the ligament swelling with prednisone and to be rechecked in about 10 days. We weren’t sure how we were going to tell Jess that there was really something wrong but we told her the truth as hard as it was. We all hoped that the prednisone would help but it didn’t and news of the next step of treatment got worse. Since she didn’t respond, the doc suggested that Peka have surgery sooner rather than later to give her the best chance of stopping the progression of the spinal compression. Another horrible call to Jessica… but we were grateful that the doc made time to speak to Jess directly and explain all of the things that were happening and what the surgery would entail and the hopeful prognosis afterwards. This was not an easy call when the doc and Jess have a 13 hour time difference and especially when the news is not good. If there is a tiny bright spot, it is that the MRI showed that the rest of Peka’s C-spine looks great. The issue she has now is mild but has the potential to lead to paralysis if left untreated. She can walk and she can play now and the goal of surgery is to stop the progression so that she does not get any worse. The MRI has already cost over $2400. And the surgery is estimated to cost about $4000. What we believe is that by the time we are done with her immediate care this will drain Jessica of at least $6500 but probably more. We are not sure yet what additional costs there will be with her treatment. She decided immediately that she wants Peka to have her best chance at a long and happy life and we have scheduled what is called dorsal laminectomy surgery for September 14th.
A diagnosis of Wobblers Disease is always a shock and comes with hard choices that need to be made quickly. When your human mom is deployed it is a million times worse. She can’t be with her pup during this diagnosis, surgery or recovery period and that is very frightening. We are committed to taking care of her during this deployment but none of us had a clue that that care would also be getting this sweet dog through this tough surgery. If all goes well she will be able to greet trick o' treaters this Halloween which will be her 2nd birthday. We will take very good care of her and we will get her literally back on her feet while Jessica is in South Korea but with the additional burden of emptying her savings that she was counting on using to get a car when she gets home, it is financially devastating too. We would be very grateful for any donations that can go towards this necessary care to help Peka and Jessica. If we can pull together and take the financial part off of this crisis for Jess we can just focus on taking care of this amazing pup. We will post all of her updates as we go along.
We can't wait for our grandpuppy to jump all over her momma when she gets home!
Thank you for your help.
Jennifer, Rob (proud grandpuprents) and Jessica (fantastic mom and proud 2LT US Army)
- Donna D'Amico
- Donna D'Amico
- Donna D'Amico
- Beth Coogan
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