Monday, January 16, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi - IVDD Week 6

On Friday it was six weeks since Ziggy's back surgery.

Since my last post on Z, he spent a week at the ISU vet school rehab center.  The main reason for his visit was hydro therapy.

Twice a day he did the underwater treadmill.  The goal is go build strength and get him connecting with moving his legs again.  The vet student or therapist who was in the treadmill with him would get him started by moving his legs for him.  Then they would let him do it on his own.  He had more reach forward on the right hind than the left.

Ziggy in on the treadmill with one of the vet med students.
The students do a 2 week rotation in the rehab center.

Here's a short video of Zig.
Apparently he didn't whine when I wasn't around, 
but Z wanted to keep me in his view at all times.

Ziggy also got to swim in the pool once a day (with a life preserver, of course).  He swam early in the morning, so I didn't get to see this.  Apparently, he paddled fine with his front end, but just let his back end hang.  Of course, Ziggy had never been swimming before the accident, so he wouldn't have any "memory" of how to move when swimming.  I'm not sure if that matters, but....

They also did range of motion and standing with him a few times a day.  The therapist did a little different range of motion than we were doing, so we've adopted the new method:

First, flex the joints - 
slowly moving the joints into position and holding for a few seconds.

Next extend the joints slowly and hold.  
She has her hand on his stifle here.

Finally, stretch to the side & hold. 
Hand under upper thigh.

They also added a "sit to stand" exercise.  This is to help him build strength and learn to push up from his hind end again.  A couple of times he even took a bit of a step forward.  

This exercise requires two people:  One behind him putting him in the sit and helping stabilize when standing.  The other person in front luring him forward with a treat.  

He starts in a tuck sit.  
Notice that his hocks are flexed and under him.
This is to make it easier for him to push up.
He never really liked to sit this way when he was healthy,
so it's sometimes a bit of a challenge to get him into position.

Then he's lured forward into a stand.
Sometimes he needs a little help getting into the stand 
with hands gently on the haunches or stabilizing using his tail.

While there Ziggy also got 3 acupuncture treatments - one on Thursday, Monday, and Wednesday.  

At ISU, Ziggy continued to do standing exercises regularly.  They had him standing 5 minutes at a time as often as they could.  We're doing this exercise after every trip outside (5-6 times a day) - for as long as Ziggy can stand - usually 3-5 mins at a time.

What progress has Ziggy made?
  • He is (mainly) peeing on his own!  The therapist decided to let him go as much as he could on his own before expressing his bladder.   We are now expressing his bladder only before bedtime to ensure that it's completely empty.  This is a BIG deal for us, as it means I can now take him out for potty time (I never really got the whole bladder expression thing figured out).
  • He is steadier in the stand - though still not able to stand on his own very often.
  • There is more going on in his hind end:  he is paddling his legs right before he goes poop (we don't know why - my guess is that he's trying to get into a crouch), he is moving his legs forward sometimes when standing, and when he dreams his paws move more than before.

Home again!
Ziggy seemed happy to be home, 
and Rip and Maggie seemed happy to have him home.  
We let him hang out a bit with Maggie on one of his favorite doormats.


  1. I am really happy that Z is making some visible progress. Sending the very best thoughts for you and him.

  2. I am so happy Ziggy is showing so many signs of improvement. Slow and steady!!

  3. The not having to express the bladder is a Big. Deal. I got good at it, but still it ties you and the dog down so much to a schedule. I wish I was closer - no strike that - I wish you and Ziggy were closer - and I might have given you some hints as I got good at it.

    Keep working it, Zig!

  4. It seems he's made good progress. Isn't the peeing for himself one of the big steps?

    Keep up the good work, Ziggy!

  5. ALL positive improvements!! We are happy for his progress- and I am sure you are too!! Keep up the good work!! We did hydrotherapy at home in our bathtub... it was messy and challenging... but such a difference in the dogs progress!!

  6. When our Sparkey ruptured a disc, she recovered to a point. She became what the surgeon called a "spinal walker." He gave us a journal paper about spinal walkers. I have lost it, but you might be able to track it down, if it is of interest.


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