The Cooper story
For the past three weeks, I’ve been staring at Cooper.
It’s getting to the point, I think, where he’s ready to move out. “My lady is WEIRD,” is what he’s thinking. Because I felt like as soon as I took my eyes off of him, something bad would happen.
I am, in fact, aware that I’m neurotic.
Anyway! If you missed the last Cooper story, here’s the summary: He has horrible, painful, fur-falling-out allergies. We put him on an antihistamine. A few days later he started convulsing. We took him off the antihistamine. He kept convulsing.
Which brings us to last Thursday.
He had been off the antihistamine for long enough that it was definitely out of his system, yet he was still having episodes of tremors. His blood test and urinalysis from the initial exam came back clean. His vet decided to repeat the urinalysis and do a neuro exam.
So here’s where we need to pause the story for a quick aside: She’s doing some eye test where the lights are off and she’s examining his eyeballs with a bright light.
“Oh,” she said with a slight hint of surprise. Since I was already on edge, I had another cardiac arrest at her “oh.”
She flipped on the lights. “He has a hemorrhage in his left eye,” she said. She goes on to say something about the blood vessels are a good sign or something as she put drops to see if it had ulcerated. (Vets, I’m sorry. I’m probably getting these words wrong. I was very busy hyperventilating and only caught one or two out of five terms.) Then she said, “Does he crash into stuff?”
Um. Yep. So anyway, that’s unrelated to the allergies, unrelated to the tremors, but we did get an antibiotic ointment that we need to smear on his eyeball three times a day. So that’s awesome.
Anyway, he passed his neuro exam and his urinalysis was fine, so our vet called a neurologist to consult.
Throughout this whole ordeal, I kept saying over and over again, “This is serious. This isn’t nothing. Your head doesn’t shake uncontrollably for no reason. It’s not nothing.”
Well, turns out it’s nothing.
You know that saying that goes something like when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras? We were, of course, operating with that philosophy. He started a medication –> he got head tremors —> probably it was the medication.
The neurologist went through his info and came back with a different diagnosis.
Idiopathic head tremors.
Of course, “idiopathic” is just another way of saying “we don’t know what’s going on here.”
But it’s a genetic situation. It’s common in bulldogs and dobermans. It doesn’t have anything to do with brain function, organ function, disease, etc.
It’s a muscle thing. It just happens.
So after all that…. it’s nothing.
His vet doesn’t want him on the antihistamine anyway, which I’m totally on board with because it sort of makes me wonder if this genetic situation wasn’t latent, and then the drug kicked it into gear. I don’t know?
So unfortunately, he’s still suffering with his allergies, but now on top of it we have to smear eye ointment for another week. And I’m still watching him very, very closely.
He had one other bout of head tremors on Saturday night but hasn’t had another since.
I think that every single time it happens, I will have a heart attack. We’re going to monitor the situation really closely, and we have a great vet who’s reading up on the literature about the condition.
For now, though, I’m starting to slowly get used to taking my eyes off of him for short periods. I don’t want to stop watching for even a second, even to blink, because I’m still worried, though I’m also a little relieved.
Lastly, I chose to include all these cute pics of Cooper sleeping not because he sleeps a lot… He does, in fact, crash a lot as he rips around the house, wrestles and plays with the big boys, pummels bugs in the backyard, and so on. When he does rest or nap, I photograph it as evidence. So these four pics are the four naps he’s taken over the last week or so!