Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rip: The Host with The Most

It's the holiday season and many people are traveling, or preparing to travel.  Hospitality is of utmost importance, so I would like to share with you why Rip makes visiting our home so truly special.

 He is The Host with The Most!

Before you arrive, he will prepare your suite.

He will greet you at the door.

He will warm up a place for you to sit.

He will call you to the sofa when the movie starts.

Depending on how the night goes,
he will party with you...

...or snuggle down to keep you warm.

He's a great drinking buddy.  No drinking alone with Rip around!
(p.s.- lest you think I'm a bad dog owner, Rip did not drink this glass of wine,
but he will stick his tongue in your glass if you're not watching)

He will ensure that your socks are properly aired.

No need to bring an alarm clock!  
He will wake you up with a leap and a lick!

He will even bring you Starbucks!
Well, sort of.

Wanna read the paper after breakfast?
No problem, he's "saving" it for you.

And after you've gone, he'll clean up anything you've left out.

And THAT, my friends is why Rip is The Host with The Most!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi IVDD 1 year anniversary

Ziggy moving on his own now looks odd to me.
And I miss it.

December 3, 2011
The incision the day after surgery.

Moving in the sling.
We've now progressed to hind end movement, too - 
but still in the sling.

Today it has been one year to the day since Ziggy went in for IVDD surgery.

If you're a regular reader of the blog, you know that Ziggy is still not yet walking, but continues to slowly progress.  Z had quite a few inches of his spinal cord impacted by the ruptures and corresponding hemorrhage, and nerves heal quite slowly, so we are still optimistic.  As long as Ziggy is making progress we'll continue to work and hope.

This has not been the easiest year in my dog-owning life, but I've learned a lot about IVDD, canine rehab, and the special/crazy commitment so many people have to helping dogs with this disease.  I've also developed some opinions on IVDD that some may not agree with.

Here are some of my thoughts:

I believe IVDD has a strong genetic component.
  • Both of my dogs that have had the disease also have very close relatives who have suffered from IVDD.
  • Though no genetic marker has been found, a study of family lines in dachshunds found that while overall prevalence in the breed is ~19%, in some families it was 62%.
  • I believe we should be honest and transparent regarding dogs that have IVDD, or have had an IVDD "episode," so smart decisions can be made in breeding.  I've used to do this for both of my dogs who've had IVDD - it's recorded in the "notes" section of their profiles.  

IVDD isn't caused by bad care.
  • I keep my dogs lean and fit.  
  • I provide them with sofa stairs and ramps.
  • I try to keep them from doing stupid things -- which is often impossible :)
  • I believe that if a disc is going to go, it's going to go.  Yes, good preventive care is needed to help protect long-backed dogs, but preventive care won't prevent a disc from going.  Ziggy's disc went when he was out in the yard for his before-bed pee.  No roughhousing, no craziness.  Just walking in the yard.

The people at Dodger's List are a godsend.
  • If you have Cardis, or another breed with a high prevalence of IVDD, you NEED to go to this site.  Now.  Before something happens.
  • At a minimum, read the FAQ's so you have some grounding in what to look for and what to do if something (heaven forbid) happens.
  • They also have a survey to collect information on affected dogs.  They include Cardigans, and I submitted information on both my dogs, in hopes that some day we can have statistics on IVDD in Cardis.

In Cardigans, we need to take this more seriously than we seem to be at the moment.
  • At the 2011 National Specialty, one of the leading experts in IVDD treatment gave a lecture.  Hundreds of Cardi people were at the specialty.  Around a dozen people attended. 
  • I attended and what I learned helped me tremendously in the first few post-rupture days with Ziggy.
  • Through my Facebook friends, and following blogs, it seems that quite a number of our dogs are having problems, yet I do not often see this mentioned as a problem in the breed.

Dogs will heal on their own timeline.
  • Right after surgery, our surgical vet predicted Ziggy would be walking by the New Year.  I guess he didn't specify which new year...
  • A few nice Cardi people whose dogs had been through disc surgery emailed me, assuring me that it took their dogs a few months before walking.  Ziggy missed that memo, too.
  • Cardis are bigger and bigger boned than Dachshunds and this impacts healing time, so much of the "time to heal" info that's out there doesn't apply to Z.  
  • It was the Dodger's List folks who have kept me hoping.  In reply to my posts on their list, they assured me that many dogs take longer than expected, and reinforced that as long as progress is being made, there is still hope that a dog will walk.

The cost and effort required to help a dog with a disc rupture are tremendous.
  • The initial decision about what to do after a disc ruptures is not easy, and, after living through a year of Ziggy care,  I will not judge the choices other people make.

Please contact me if you ever experience something similar with your dogs.  I am happy to help, support, and share as much as I can.  I know that it's an extremely emotional and difficult thing to go through.  I can relate, and hopefully I can help.
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