Petunia was the runt of her litter and we believe that is why her spirit is especially strong. Since the day she came home with her brother Ruben, she has made it very clear that she is the alpha. Although she may be tiny, she has always gone out of her way to prove that she is the ruler of the roost. It is especially humorous since Ruben and the rest of the animals could not care less.
At her very first vet visit, the doctor warned that she was a ‘lemon’ and she should be returned to the breeder. Obviously, this was out of the question. Shortly after several consultations, she was taken to Los Angeles at just 3 months old to have surgery on her heart. The procedure was very successful, reducing her heart murmur significantly. We were so relieved and Petunia’s new strength was remarkable. Growing up in Sunny San Diego, the two Frenchies frequented dog beaches and parks; playing fetch was their favorite thing to do! Petunia was fast and coordinated, bounding to get her ball. Unlike her brother who often tumbled and fumbled the ball — he usually held on to it for dear life, knowing Petunia would happily have both balls to herself.
It was not until Petunia was 9 years old that she showed a change in her gait. At first it was just once and a while, when running full speed for her ball, that her hind legs would go limp. She hardly seemed to notice and would still propel herself for the ball. After several similar occurrences, we decided to have her seen by a neurosurgeon in Northern San Diego. After examining her, it was predicted that she had bulging discs in two parts of her spine. An MRI would confirm if surgery was even an option, knowing that surgery would only prevent more damage from being done, but would not reverse any of the immobility that she was already experiencing. With Petunia’s heart condition and age, anesthesia for the MRI was not encouraged, let alone for the intensive surgery that may follow. The doctors noted that any pain she was experiencing was not affecting her attitude or eating habits and that we should proceed by minimizing her exertion at the park and try some anti-inflammatories to see if that may relieve any pressure in her spinal column. She tested out some mild steroids with little benefits.
Meanwhile, a move to Boston was in process and soon she met with the doctors at Angell Medical Hospital. First she saw the neurosurgeons and heart specialist, seeking second opinions and advice on how to proceed. At this point she was becoming more and more wobbly in her hips- coined as ‘drunken sailor’ movement. Her spirit was still strong, but she was not able to move like she once had. After concluding that any operation was too risky with no guarantee of positive results, she went to see Dr. Lisa Moses for acupuncture. After Petunia’s first visit with Dr. Moses, she was noticeably more comfortable and showed strong action in her hind quarters. She found relief from pain and reduced inflammation immediately and it seemed like a miracle. As almost two years passed, Petunia’s condition did continue to worsen, as expected. She tried out water therapy and was fitted for some wheels. Still, it was obvious how much she rebounded after acupuncture. Her relief was visible and her love for Dr. Moses was palpable.
When Petunia moved to the Syracuse area, Dr. Moses recommended the VMC and Dr. Fleckenstein. For almost a year now she has been working with Dr. Fleckenstein and Lis. For the first time she was given exercises and stretches to work on at home. She started taking Chinese Herbs and has minimized her steroid intake, with positive results. She looks forward to her weekly visits to see Dr. Fleckenstein, Sue, and our other lovely assistants. With ample treats and comfy bedding always set up, Ruben enjoys almost as much pampering when he comes along to accompany his sister. Together, we are all forever grateful for their tender and thoughtful care. We simply cannot thank you enough!