**See end of post for frequently asked questions**
Winston has always been a wobbly puppy, his back end swinging greatly when he walked and very uncoordinated. John and I thought nothing of it since he's the first big dog we've had and just a puppy.
Once he hit a year he started having strange fears of house plants, floors and door frames and our trainer explained that his fear might be because something was wrong. We took him to her vet in August and he thought that he might have wobblers, but we'd have to do an MRI to confirm.
We hoped that Winston would stay stable, but over the next few months he become clumsier and had a hard time standing up after lying down. The final straw was when we tried to take him hiking on a trail we've done a number of time and he almost rolled off the mountain while turning around. Luckily a tree was very close to the trail, but it spooked me enough to know it was time to look for some answers.
A friend who has many years of being a vet tech under her belt spoke with top surgeons in our area about operating on wobblers, they all said that they wouldn't do the surgery and to go to Colorado State University. The trip to Colorado wasn't a concern of mine, but after researching the costs and how long recovery from the surgery takes John and I decided that that just wasn't the option we wanted to go. We didn't want to give up either so I started researching other options and came across Gold Bead Implants and I started deep research in that, even emailing gold bead owners to get personal information.
90% of the people who got the treatment done went to Dr. Durkes in Indiana and after talking with him on the phone we set up appointments to our vet to get confirmation X-rays done on Winston.
I sent the X-rays to Dr, Durkes when we got him and he called 20 minutes later confirming that it is wobblers and with just looking at the X-rays he thinks Winston would have a75% chance of success.
We'll be renting a car and driving to Indiana for his appointment on the 29th.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is wobblers and what causes it?
In layman's terms it's a neurological disease that affects their spine, usually in the neck. In Winston's cause his spinal cord is being compressed. If not taken care of they will become paralyzed and eventually have to be put down because they can no longer walk.
They aren't fully certain to what causes wobblers, but do believe it could be genetic, rapid growth rate nutrition or a combination of these.
2. Why aren't you staying in Utah and doing surgery?
The vets we talked to said that they wouldn't do the surgery and they'd send us to Colorado. The surgery could be $5,000.00+ and after reading what the recovery from the surgery is like I just didn't want to put Winston or us through that.
3. Gold Beads...really?
After reading about the surgery (and bawling my eyes out) I started researching other options. The gold bead implant treatment kept coming up so I looked into it.
The doctor will inject multiple gold beads down the dogs spine on his neck which acts like permanent acupuncture. Pretty new agey to me, but the dog's owners that I've talked to and the few I've read of have had good results and the dog living years after the treatment. They all said that they'd do it again if they had to.
The treatment is a one time thing and will be a quick procedure.
4. Why Indiana?
Well for one it's because that's where everyone I talked to went and I figure I might as well go to the same place. Dr. Durkes has been doing gold beads since 1976 and having good success so I feel comfortable with him. He has also answered all my questions promptly and made me seem like he had all the time in the world for me.
If you have any other questions you'd like answered please ask them in the comments and I'll try to answer them the best I can.