Saturday, October 13, 2007

Terrible Injury :-(

It is Saturday morning and a lot has happened over the last 3 days. Wednesday night we were in Chattanooga at the Play Dog Excellent facility for Travis' indoor agility practice (preparation for the invitational). I had already set him up and put him inside the building and was just going to drain some of Katie's energy before bringing her into the building. She was fetching her toy for probably the 10th time when Katie lost traction on the grass and did the splits with her hind legs. She immediately pulled herself into a sit position with her hind legs laying out straight and to the right and she was screaming in pain. I ran to her and cupped her face in my hands and asked her to quiet down. I asked her to lie down, but she refused. She wanted to maintain this awkward sit position. She was leaning far back and roaching her back so that she was sitting far back on her haunches. I'd never seen her sit anything like this before. I was afraid she was going to fall over backwards, so I got behind her and squatted down to make sure that didn't happen.

Luckily, someone was still in the parking lot (Melodi, I think) and she asked if I needed help. We talked and tried to figure out what was going on and what to do. I knew she needed to get to the ER. There is a good clinic in Chattanooga, but I wanted her closer to home, so I opted to make the hour and a half drive to Cherokee ER clinic. I lifted Katie to her feet and it was obvious that the hind legs weren't responding like they should. Melodi got a towel out of my van to put around her waist and we let her back to the van. The left hind leg was dragging and knuckled over. She couldn't do anything with it. The right leg seemed to be a little better off.

I didn't want to put her in a crate in the van because I was afraid I might not be able to get her out again. I made a flat, supportive bed between the crates and the side doors. I felt that would be the easiest way to get her in and out of van. We placed her in the van and she really wanted to keep sitting. I sat with her while Melodi ran inside and rallied the others to bring out my stuff, break down my crate, and bring Travis to me. I called Stephen and told him what was going on. We loaded everything and Travis. Katie managed to lay down on her right side propped up against the door.

I, of course, wanted to drive 200 miles an hour, but didn't want to jostle her around either. So I took it easy for turns, braking, and accelerating (a few years of horse trailering experience came in handy). Chattanooga, of course, has to have curvey highways, so we still had to keep speed to a minimum initially. Once on open interstate I pretty much drove between 80 and 90 MPH.

I believe I arrived at the clinic a little after 9 PM. I had warned them that I was coming and Stephen arrived about 10 minutes before me to fill out paperwork. A tech carried her away and we were placed in a room for well over an hour, I think. We brought Travis in eventually for a little pet theraphy. I can't sit idle, so I brought in some bills and things I needed to fill out just to keep busy. I tossed away a show & go entry for Katie. I knew we weren't going and that she had retired a couple of hours ago. I finally told Stephen to go home since he would need to go to work the next day.

Finally, a vet came in to talk to me, Dr. Grasso. He had evaluated her, but wanted to know what had happened. He was nice and explained a lot of details. Probably a little too much information. He felt it was a ruptured disk, but listed some other possibilities (explaining them much too thoroughly for me to remember at that time) and wanted to start her on a treatment of steroids. He warned me about surgery and quoted me a price.... Yikes! He also wanted to take x-rays to rule out any fractures in her back. This clinic closes during regular business hours, so we decided to transport her to the 24-hour clinic - Cobb Emergency and Referral Center. At about 1 PM in the morning, I transported Katie to the other facility where they took over her care.

I knew I was not going to work the next day..... or probably the next, so I ran by the office to pick up a few things since I can work from home. I think I finally crawled into bed around 3:40 AM.......