Monday, January 23, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi - IVDD Week 7

Ziggy had just at-home physical therapy this week.  It was a crazy week for me at work, so I wasn't able to get him any acupuncture. 

So, I thought I'd share something that has made taking Ziggy out MUCH easier.  At Iowa State, they used a sling for Ziggy's hind end, and it makes moving Z around much more comfortable (for both parties).  Prior to this, we were just using a towel to help him along.  The rehab therapist really likes the sling, as it's positioning seems to put less pressure on the dog's back, and it's easier for a dog to go to the bathroom (boy dogs especially).

Here are some pics of the sling (sans dog):

This is the side that goes toward the dog's skin.

It's made of neoprene, and even has a little cut-out for male canine comfort.

Here's the other side. 

It fastens with velco and a snap-close (like on a dog collar) fastener.  It also has a handle on each side.  They fasten together with a neoprene hold for comfort.  Since I'm taller than the average human, and I have a short dog, I would like the straps to be about 6" longer.  It would be easier on my back and shoulders.  But hey, this is MUCH better than a towel!!

The brand is Walk About.
Z is a size medium (this size would fit all 3 of my Cardis).

Here's the sling in action.

We keep Z's feet off the ground just enough that they don't drag.  We also use a collar and leash, which helps w/ steering and brakes.  The collar helps prevent having Ziggy drag us through the bushes, and helps slow him down when he decides it's time to move...

Here's another shot - with a stationary Cardi.

I try to put Z's hind legs in a standing position when he stops.  I figure this gives him a little "informal" physical therapy, and gets him used to standing when he stops once again.  It's also easier on my back if he's holding himself up.

So what progress have I seen this week?  It's still all very slow.  We are inching our way along. 
  • This week, though, he has started to put his hind legs back when he stops to pee. 
  • He is also reacting more to the pinching (gentle) on his pads.
  • He will push back a little with is right hind when I put upward pressure on it (when he's laying down, for instance).
  • He seems more "opinionated" about where his hind legs are - sometimes pulling them away from me when we're doing his range of motion exercises.
The rehab specialist guesses that it will likely take Ziggy about six months to walk again. She bases this on other dogs she's seen with similar trauma to the back (his rupture impacted 4 vertebra) and of similar size. This makes me feel a little better about his rate of progress. I often wonder if the slow progress means that he won't be ambulatory again. It's tough not knowing, but I'm trying to be "zen" about the whole thing. Maybe a good life lesson for me in here? ;)

On the not-so-great side of the equation, Ziggy had his second bladder infection this week, so he was given another course of antibiotics.  Apparently, this isn't uncommon in the situation.  At our vet's recommendation, we're now back to expressing his bladder 2-3 times a day instead of just once.  We still let him start and go pee all he wants before expressing, and we don't express every time.  The Husband is pleased to report that Z has been emptying his bladder completely - or almost all the way - for the past couple of days.

Ziggy is back at ISU for 2 days this week.  Our current plan is to try and bring him back every other week for a couple of days, and work from home the rest of the time.  We just couldn't seem to work the coordination out with the rehab center closer to our house.  They were not too keen on having Ziggy spend the day, which was a must for us in order to make it work. 

So I put the thought in the rehab specialist's head - to see if we can make it work to visit every other week and for us to be a bit more involved with rehab at home - perhaps expanding beyond the work we've already been doing. We'll discuss it in more detail when I pick Z up on Tuesday.


  1. What about the vigorous and slightly manic paddling just before, er, #2? Hoping that's a good sign even if it's more of a reflex at the moment.

  2. Hopefully slow and steady wins the race.

  3. I remember that "manic paddling" with Juneau. Though he never regained enough use of his legs to walk without his cart. After as much recovery as he got, he would "walk" with his hind legs when he was in the cart but they would not support him for more than a few steps.

    Be religious about expressing the bladder more often than once per day.


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