Monday, February 27, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi - IVDD Weeks 10-12

I haven't done a Ziggy update for a while, so here's what he's been up to the past few weeks:

The week before last, Ziggy spent another week at the ISU Vet School rehab center to do underwater treadmill work, etc.  On his first visit there, I recorded one of his underwater treadmill sessions, and I'm really glad I did.  The folks at ISU recorded him on the treadmill this time, and the improvement is nice to see.  In this video, he's reaching much more with his right hind (which is his "good" side), and even starting to reach forward with the left!

Last week we went to see a rehab vet here in town.  She's been a "regular" vet, and has done acupuncture and chiro work for years, but is just now setting up a rehab-only practice.  Ziggy went for an acupuncture session, which we'll be continuing every week.  It's really nice that her location is 2 miles from our house.  She's also very nice, and Z seems to like her, which is a bonus.  

During the first session, she gave us some ideas of stretches we can begin to do for Ziggy's front end.  Needless to say, his shoulders are getting quite muscular, and we don't want him to lose flexibility.  She also said that he's maintaining good muscle tone in the rear.  I can tell he's lost a ton of muscle mass, so it's good to hear that relatively speaking he's doing well.

Her best guess is that Ziggy will walk again, and she estimates 6-9 months from the surgery date.  This is a similar number to the estimate we got from the rehab specialist at ISU.  Nice to hear, but that means we've still got 4-6 months to go.  

We continue to do daily physical therapy with Ziggy, and we do hydro work in the basement with him a couple of times a week.  He seems more comfortable in the "pool" now - probably thanks to a constant stream of bil-jac treats. 

Overall progress continues to be slow - but at least it's progress!  He's starting to move his right hind quite regularly when in the sling outside and in the pool, and he's even tried to stand a couple of times by pushing himself up with the right hind.  He's also started to bark a lot more which I guess is a good thing?  Or at least it means that some things are back to normal!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Note from Rip: Humans are so confusing

Rip wanted me to post something for him...

In the wintertime, a mouse moves into our air conditioner outside to bed down for the winter.  This drives my brother and I crazy.  Since my brother now isn't walking, it's up to me to watch the mouse.  Here's kinda what he looks like:

Vexatious little vermin!

Well, a couple of weeks ago I caught him!  I was so excited.  I carried him around for a little while.  Then I put him down and he ran away.  I guess that means I can continue to look for him.

My dad saw me with the mouse, and was not happy that I let him go.  Something about me needing to kill mice because they cause problems.

Now, I'm a smart dog and I like to do things that make humans happy (like licking them, for example).  So I was determined not to make the same mistake again.

A couple of days later I heard mom talking about her new mouse.  Mouse!!  That caught my attention!  Perhaps I could help!  And help I did.  Let me show you:

See!  I got that mouse!  And I killed it.  I chewed up the front really well.  I was so proud.  I just knew that this would make up for letting the other mouse go.

But did it?  NO!!!

The humans were not happy.  Kill the mouse.  Don't kill the mouse.  Humans are so confusing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi - IVDD Weeks 8 & 9

So here's what's happened to Ziggy over the past two weeks:

Last week Ziggy spent 3 days at the ISU rehab center.  He got to do more swimming, hydro-treadmilling, and lots of PT.

The rehab specialist there said she noticed improvement:  more activity in his hind end on the treadmill (they didn't have to help him as much), moving his legs to pee and poop, and more strength when doing his standing exercise.  All good things!

Ziggy also had one session of acupuncture with the vet here in town.  We seem to notice more activity in the days following acupuncture, and we're trying to get this done once a week.  Our schedules just don't allow for much more than that, as the vet is 40 mins away...

We also talked w/ our vet and the rehab specialist at ISU to figure out a mid-term plan for Z.  We're planning to have him spend 5 days at the ISU rehab center every third week.  During the weeks he's at home we'll continuing his PT daily and acupuncture weekly.

This week we've added some brand new madness to the equation in the form of in-home water therapy.  Yes, you heard right - we want to continue his pool therapy at home between visits to ISU.  We're taking the "do everything we can manage" approach to his rehab, as we'd hate to leave something out and always wonder...

But back to the in-home water rehab.  Ziggy is a big Cardigan (12.5" at the withers & 37 lbs when he's lean), and our bath is small, so we knew that using the human bathtub wasn't going to work.  So, last Sunday we loaded the family in the mini-van and went to look at stock tanks at the feed store.  The guy at Farm and Fleet was very helpful - he upturned lots of stock tanks so we could compare size, etc.  We finally decided on one that's 80" long,  24" deep, and 36" wide at the base.

To give you some perspective, 
here are the human boys standing next to it.
It's a big stock tank!

It barely fit in the mini-van, and barely fit down the stairs into the basement, but we made it work!  We're still in the "trial and error" phase of our new in-home hydro-therapy, but here's what we've learned so far:

  • A stock tank this big hold LOTS of water
  • It takes 2 water-heater-fulls of hot water to get 10" of nicely warm water.  This takes approx. 30 minutes.
  • We fill the stock tank using a hose attached to our utility sink.
  • We empty the water from the stock tank back into the sink using a pump The Husband bought a couple of years ago when our sump pump hole filled with water and pushed water back INTO our basement (that was a wet year!)
  • This task requires 2 adults.  One in the tank w/ Ziggy - the other outside the tank w/ treats and the leash.
  • This task is hard on the humans' backs, but hopefully helping the dog's back.
  • Ziggy is not entirely fond of our new tub - but I'm hoping the regular stream of really good treats that we give him while he's in the tub will help change his mind over time.
Once we get the kinks ironed out of our hydro-therapy routine, I'll post more about what works.

The big news in progress over the past two weeks:

  • Ziggy took a few steps on his own in our at-home hydro pool yesterday 
  • Today Ziggy wagged his tail when I had him on the table - he had just stretched, and I had him working on the stand.  I started scratching/rubbing his sides and hindquarters and he gently wagged his tail back and forth a number of times
  • Both are little things that seem really big to us!
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