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!


  1. Your dedication and effort to Z's rehab is amazing!

  2. I love reading about the progress. I know it's not fast enough, but it is improvement and that's what counts.

  3. I love the improvements that Z is making. You are to commended for everything that you're for Z

  4. Love that Z is improving. You are a great dog mom! :)

  5. Sounds like he's doing GREAT. I really applaud you for all that you and your family have been doing for Z's rehabilitation. He's a lucky guy!

  6. Have you thought about a tank heater? Like we use to keep our stock tanks from freezing... Maybe if you did that you wouldn't have to refill it every time...

    1. Mandy -
      Thanks for the suggestion. We did think about that, but we want to empty the water every time anyway (with 2 cats and a kid in the house, having a big tank full o' water in the basement would make me way too nervous) so we're just going with the drain and refill.

  7. Lani - My vet recently got a K laser for her practice and is using it in conjunction with acupuncture with good results. Might be another path for you all to explore w/Z. You are doing an AMAZING job with his rehab. Keep it up!

  8. I've been keeping a hopeful eye on this journey with Ziggy's recovery. The level of care you are providing for him is inspiring, and so is his progress (each small step). You all continue to be in my thoughts. :)


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