Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi - IVDD Update: 1 Month

Yesterday it was one month since Ziggy's surgery for a ruptured disc.

Last week I was really not feeling optimistic about Ziggy's progress.  This week, though, things are looking up.

I found a vet about 1/2 hour away who does acupuncture, and Ziggy had treatments (is that what acupuncture sessions are called?) on Wednesday and Friday.  The vet also suggested some additional physio/rehab work for me to do - to help with proprioception and nerve regeneration. 

I've incorporated these exercises into his routine (4-5 times daily at 5-10 mins a time) so now I do:
  • Standing - we put place his hind legs in a standing position and allow him to support as much of himself as he can.
  • Range of motion exercsies with the hind legs - bending and extending hocks and stifles - 10-15 times per session
  • Pinching between the pads of his rear legs - not enough to injure him but enough to get a "pull the foot away" reaction.  This is to help w/ nerves/feeling and builds a bit of resistance when he pulls the foot away.
  • Skin massage - I grab 2-3" of skin along his back and down the ribs and gently pull up and massage with my fingers for a second or so. This is to help w/ nerves/feeling and I hope it feels good to him, too.
  • Massaging his rear toes. Nobody told me to do this, but I noticed that his rear feet are curled up a lot when he's laying or sitting, and it makes me feel better to gently straighten and massage the toes.

  • Here's The Husband helping Ziggy with his standing.
    I usually try to have his pasterns more upright, but as he gets
    tired, he sometimes sinks back like this.
    Note the look of concentration on Z's face.

What have I noticed this week that is making me optimistic?
  • He is able to stand with much less support.  Yesterday afternoon, he stood with no support from me for approx 5 seconds.  After that I had just gentle, one-finger support on one hip.
  • He is stretching out his back legs when I pick him up from the crate - just like dogs often do when rising from sleep (!)
  • I'm noticing much more reaction to my toe massaging and between-the-pads pinching.
  • The Husband has noticed Z "paddling" a bit more when he's walking in his sling in the yard (the hind feet are off the ground, but moving a bit).
  • Last night on the sofa Ziggy was having a good doggy dream and his right hind leg even moved a little.
I know that correlation does not equal causation, but I think that the acupuncture sessions really helped!  We're planning to continue these on a regular basis.  Right now the vet is recommending 2x a week.

Two early milestones we're still waiting for are  for Z to wag his tail (we're told this is a very positive sign) and  for him to urinate on his own (though I read this usually happens around the time a dog becomes ambulatory again).

Hopefully I'll have good things to post in next week's update!

Anyway, a week of good progress for Z.


  1. I am so happy this week is looking up! Hooray! It sounds like you found a great acupuncturist. I love healers that are willing to share their wealth of knowledge and give you suggestions like the ones you mention in the post. My chiro is like this and it makes her invaluable to me and the dogs. Keep on keeping on, Ziggy!!!

  2. I am so glad to hear that you are seeing progress, even if it is small. Patience definitely is a virtue when it comes to this type of recovery it seems.

    Has your new vet mentioned anything about cold laser treatments? They seem to do alot of good for Wilson's issue, but of course I don't know if they would/could help Ziggy.

  3. I am so happy to hear of Ziggy's progress~ even if they seem like baby steps at this point, once he starts showing even small progress, the improvements will start coming very fast!

    It seemed like a long time before we saw any improvement in George post-surgery- but once he started having deep pain reflex and his tail moved-- its like he took off in the right direction at top speed!

    The things that worked the VERY best for George were Hydrotherapy and Cold Laser Therapy. We did all of the massage and ROM exercises at least 3x a day--- but the first real breakthrough followed a Cold laser and then Hydrotherapy session...

    Keep up the good work-- Ziggy is constantly in our prayers!!


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