He is terrified of the vet, so when we got there he was shaking and it took three vet techs to lift him out of the back of my SUV. But, good news was, he walked into the hospital and was not limping at all (we believed this was due to adrenaline taking over and masking the pain).
So very long day and story short: he does not have a fracture or anything else wrong. It's much worse. He has a degenerative spinal disease. His vertebra in his neck are growing more bone, squeezing his spinal cord and blocking/pinching his nerves (particularly the one that goes to his left leg).
He needs an MRI and surgery. BUT surgery could also end up paralyzing him and making him worse. OR it could cure him. OR it could relieve the pressure for a few years until the bone starts closing in again. I don't know what to do. While he is young and healthy and a good candidate for surgery, he is also incredibly sensistive, and I think surgery would take an enormous toll on him that he might not fully recover from. Yesterday (after going through general anesthesia -- tube down his throat-- so they could take all kinds of tests and X-rays, he had a very difficult time coming out of it. Once he was well enough to go home, he still was having a hard time. I couldn't get him out of the car. He was crying and shaking and kept collapsing when he tried to sit up. He had to stay in the back of the truck for 3 hours, before he was well enough to get out, and once he didn, he immediately collapsed in the driveway and we had to sit there for another 15-20 minutes before he could stand again.
He cried all night.
If he had surgery, he have to be in a sling b/c he wouldn't be able to walk unassisted for a while. His neck would be in a brace. How the hell am I going to lift a 120lb Great Dane in a sling? The only other option is not having the surgery and hope that the disease progresses slowly and we would manage the episodes of pain with medication. The thing is, right now, he is happy, otherwise healthy, and is always in good spirits (minus the vet thing). So, I'm afraid surgery will do worse than good. But then I'm afraid of letting it get any worse... Ugh!!! I'm going to talk to the vet again today about options and alternative treatments and outcomes...
Today he is doing great, and he seems to be pain free for now -- until he moves a certain, random way and that nerve gets squeezed . . .
Here he is with his Christmas present:
And as a pup before going to my daughter's soccer game: