I apologize for not updating sooner. I've been waiting on test results and coping with yet another disaster, and I am averaging about 2-3 hours of sleep a night and not thinking clearly or functioning well.
The test for Neospora is negative. This is not parasites. We have one last round of test results pending.
The neurologists' visit has provided some answers: MRI showed Ash's spinal column to be perfectly normal with no compression at all. At this point this is no longer being considered a neurological problem, parasitic, or autoimmune. That rules out a wide range of diseases. It is now thought to be metabolic: What was found from x-rays was that the bones were much thinner than they should be, and several fractures (not breaks) were evident. Fractures are non-separating cracks like you would see in an ice cube. Breaks are separate pieces of unjoined bone. This is consistent with a condition known as rickets. The suggestion made was to switch the puppies' diet to a commercial feed, which we have done.
Rickets generally results from one of several causes, and we are looking into these now.
Last night we reached the limits of pain management with Mini the little red peanut, who collapsed yesterday. She was screaming in pain all night despite being provided with the maximum amount of pain medications. Her radiograph also showed the same bone characteristics; her spine was irregular and not straight, which I assume is the result of a hunched posture for several weeks due to pain. There were other characteristics which were puzzling. I am not optimistic about her chances and I think it's best to be realistic. I would be overjoyed to be proven wrong.
I found out several other things today: When my regular vet took her radiographs several weeks ago, he never bothered to send them in to a radiologist to have them read; he failed to provide a vitamin D test I asked for at the same time, and he has done no research about this issue nor has he attempted to consult with anyone despite his assurances that he would, any of which would have given me an early warning that all this was happening. e was out snowmobiling today, and the vet standing in for him was "not comfortable" with providing Mini pain medication because she "didn't know the case", and suggested the use of a pain medication that I had to point out was fatal in puppies. I have switched vets as of today to one I had used previously but whose fees are very high. At this point that no longer makes a difference. I don't want to dwell on this vaccine wielding, tick-pulling jackass or how he has completely betrayed my trust. I only mention this because it has delayed us getting to a cause and a solution.
I will know in several days if the new diet has had any effect, and I will hopefully have the results of the latest tests soon. We now know everything it isn't and we have a clear indication of what's going on, but we don't yet know why. Once we have those we can begin to narrow this down to a cause. In the meantime the puppies should not have this they are being treated, and hopefully it will resolve quickly without any lasting effects. You have all been so very patient, and I am asking for just a little bit more until I have a concrete answer as to what is going on and why. As always, anyone expecting a puppy wishing to back out has only to ask me. We are very close to an answer, and I will not give up if there is even the slightest chance this will resolve or can be fixed.