Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi IVDD: Ziggy's MRI

I published a couple of posts last week regarding an MRI.  We decided to go ahead with MRI, so we would be better educated about how to proceed with the Z.

Last Wednesday morning I left early, stopped by Starbucks, and hit the road for a 9am appointment in Ames at the ISU vet school.

The Day

When we arrived at the school, Ziggy happily marched is way into the building (walking in his sling), and started to head back to the rehab center.  This made me feel better about the time he spends at rehab, as he didn't seem upset about where we were going.  He was confused, though, when we went to the waiting room instead of heading right back to rehab.

We saw the neurologist and vet student around 9:30.  They did a neuro exam, then explained the MRI to me, confirming that we still wanted to have it done.  We then discussed what to do if they found something that required surgical intervention.  The options were to go right from MRI to surgery, or consult with me first.  I opted for the "consult with me first" option, as I really wanted to understand what was going on.

With that, they took Z back to wait for anesthesia and the MRI.  This was shortly before 10am.  They figured they would have some news in 2 hours.  I found out where the nearest Starbucks was, and went to have a coffee and read a book (not such a bad way to spend a day off).  I stayed at Starby's for an hour or so, then decided to go have some lunch.  I found a Panera, and ate lunch and read my book my book for another hour or so. Still no call from ISU.  So I went to Best Buy and wandered around.

Still no word, so I went back to the vet school.  The vet student came out and explained that things were backed up because of emergencies, but it should be any time.  It was a nice spring day, so I decided to go for a walk.  I walked for an hour or so.  Still no word.  So I sat in my car for a while and did some work email.  I went back inside when they finally called to tell me Z was headed into his MRI (around 3:30pm).

The MRI plus analysis took about an hour and half (I read more of my book).

Finally, they called me back to discuss results.

The Results

The MRI found nothing that would indicate surgical intervention.  No new disc material was found in the spinal cord, and they didn't find anything else that would be causing compression on the spinal cord.

What they found, basically, was a healing spinal cord.  They did not see any signs of permanent spinal cord damage.  Well, there's always some damage when a disc ruptures, but nothing out of the ordinary was found.  They did find that many areas of the spinal cord were still healing.  The neurologist explained that some dogs just heal more slowly than others, and Ziggy is definitely on the slow end.  Nothing was found, though, that would change the prognosis for him walking eventually.

I was relieved that things seem to be normal, but slow.  I would really prefer normal but fast, or normal and normal, but there you go.

It's funny, though, because the neurologist expressed his regrets (almost apologized, really) a few times that Ziggy didn't need surgery.  I can see where he's coming from in that no surgery means no "easy" fix, but I'm ok with that.

So What Now?

The neurologist's recommendation was that we continue with acupuncture and physical therapy.  He did suggest upping the amount of PT Ziggy gets.  The longer a dog isn't walking, the more chance that their body won't stay in good enough condition (strength and flexibility) to walk.  He's seen cases where the spinal cord and nerves finally heal enough to allow the dog to walk, but the dog is physically no longer able to walk.  He also suggested we get Ziggy out in the cart more often, and allow him to move quickly enough that he starts to pump with is hind legs.

So now The Husband and are I trying to make the "more PT" thing happen.  Ziggy is a funny dog, and after 5-10 minutes of physical therapy, he just quits.  Sits down and (if he's on the floor) scoots himself away.  How do you push a dog to give you just a few more reps??


  1. I'm glad that there aren't more serious things going on and that his prognosis is still pretty good. Wish I had some ideas for making him work harder at PT! LOL

  2. He won't follow around some extra tasty treats? I am sure you need to worry about his weight now, but maybe some food he finds really amazing. Raw tripe would do it for my guys...


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