Monday, September 21, 2015

Ziggy the Cardigan IVDD: Clinical Trial Update

It's been a few months since I've provided a Ziggy update, so here it goes.  Ziggy continues in The Clinical Trial for Paralyzed dogs.  He has been to ISU for his second and third visits, and is scheduled for his fourth and final visit in late November.

We still don't know if he received the placebo or the treatment (we'll find out on his last visit), so we're now just guessing.  The Husband believes strongly that we're seeing more movement in Ziggy's tail and hind legs.  I am still playing the role of skeptic, but even I must admit that there seems to be something going on.  He is flagging and raising his tail more than usual, and he seems much more intentional with his hind legs.  I haven't seen a paw dragging in a long time.

We got some video footage of Ziggy moving last week, so you can see how things are going.  He's going at a slow pace, which is where we used to see the most foot dragging.   The Small Human served as videographer so it's not the most steady video you'll ever see and there's a little added "music", but here's the Z:

Ziggy continues to be happy and healthy -- he's still barking (lots, and at inconvenient times),  doing therapy dog visits to the hospital with The Husband, and he's gone months without a UTI (touch wood) -- so things are good with Z.

Here's one of my favorite Ziggy pictures from this summer:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ziggy the Cardigan IVDD: We're In the Clinical Trial for Paralyzed Dogs!

When I last posted Ziggy had been accepted into the Clinical Trial for Paralyzed Dogs at Iowa State University.  After a bit of consideration, we decided to have Ziggy join the trial - more for the greater good than for any expected direct benefit to Ziggy.  Ziggy is now Dog #31 in the trial - and one of only two corgis so far in the trial.

Ziggy at drop off day last week 
with Dr. Hu and Brittany, "his" student for the week.

We've taken Ziggy for two of his four trial visits.  During each visit a number of tests are done to assess neurological function.  (Thanks to the team at the Clinical Trial for giving me this info to share.)  These tests include:

  • Neurological exam to assess neurological function
  • Treadmill gait recording which measures gait using sensors and cameras (if you go to the Clinical Trial's Facebook page you can see Ziggy on the treadmill.  It's not his favorite thing.)
  • Cystometry to measure bladder function
  • Electrodiagnositcs to assess spinal cord conduction
  • Urinalysis to check for UTI
  • Rehab therapy & evaluation

Ziggy on the treadmill.

On the first visit, Ziggy got an injection - well one injection at two different locations along the spine.  Since it's a clinical trial, we don't know if he received the placebo (control group) or the chondroitnase (treatment group).  We're pretty sure he got the placebo - but that's just because we're pessimistic when it comes to Ziggy.  We've learned to become pessimistic when it comes to Ziggy - it makes things less disappointing.

Even though we're convinced Ziggy is in the control group, we can't help but see "new" activity - he seems to be wagging/flagging his tail more, and paddling his hind legs harder.  But it's probably just wishful thinking.  

Ziggy has two more visits - one in August, and one in October(ish).  During the last visit, if he was in the control group, he will receive the chondroitnase.

So far, Ziggy has received reviews that he's a stellar patient.  The student who was in charge of Ziggy last week said he was the best patient they have.  And Ziggy is a patient, patient, kind dog, so I'm not surprised they like him!

Ziggy back at home after his first visit.
He and Blossom the cat missed each other.
His reverse mohawk is due thanks to site prep for the injection.

If you'd like to keep up with Ziggy and the Trial, I recommend visiting (and liking) their Facebook pages:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Ziggy Visits Iowa State University Vet School - Chondroitinase Clinical Trail

Ziggy in the waiting room - a Corgi has to know what's happening

Ziggy and I made the three-hours-one-way trek to the Iowa State University Vet School in Ames, Iowa on Friday to see if Z can participate in a clinical trial for paralyzed dogs.

We heard about the trial on the Wheelcorgis Yahoo! group, and since we're (relatively) close to ISU, I wanted to check to see if Ziggy could participate in a trial that might some day help other dogs (and even humans!) regain function after a back injury.

The trial is testing the enzyme chondroitinase to see if it can be effective in breaking down scarring tissue left by a back injury, allowing nerves to regenerate.

We contacted the Veterinarian running the trial, Dr. Hilary Hu, to see if Ziggy might be a candidate.  Since Z had been to ISU many times (for PT and for an MRI) they were able to review his files and confirm that he was indeed a potential candidate.

Z resting between evaluations

Our trip on Friday was for hands-on evaluation to see if he met the criteria to be accepted into the trial.  The good news is that Dr. Hu and Dr. Jeffery confirmed that he could indeed be in the trial.  They did issue us a word of caution, though.  Since Ziggy has pain sensation and bladder function, he does have something to lose.  And while long lasting negative impacts aren't expected, it could happen.

The Husband and I thought about this, but in the end decided that the benefits to cart dogs outweigh any potential risk.  And heck, Ziggy might even benefit!

We're now corresponding to see when Ziggy can start the trial.  I'll post more when I know more.  In the meantime, if you'd like to know more about the trial, here are some links:

ISU website:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Millie the Border Terrier 360 Review Part 2: The Cats Share Their Views

In the previous post, The Cardi Boys shared their views on Millie.  This is all part of Millie's personal (or is it pupsonal) development.  This time, the cats have weighed in with their opinions of Millie.

BLOSSOM'S Feedback for Millie:

Strength = Snuggling

There is no question that snuggling is Millie's strongest point.
Here we are snuggling on Mom's lap.

And here in a back to back snuggle on the bed.

We snuggle many different ways.  
Millie is a great snuggler.

Weakness = Destruction!

(photographic proof of my claim)

I love to play with toy mice.  I carry them around and bat them under things.  
Before Millie came along, the mice were a CATS ONLY toy.
Now Millie destroys them.  
Mom says it's because she was meant to kill vermin.
She must not be very smart, though, because these aren't REAL vermin.

SUMMER's Feedback for Millie:

Strength = She does not chase me

(this is the disdainful look the dogs deserve)

I had a very hard time thinking of a strength for Millie.  
Mom said I had to come up with one, so I guess I like that Millie doesn't chase me or bug me.  Sometimes the boy dogs get "in my whiskers" but Millie keeps her distance.  
She must be the smartest dog.

Weakness = She is a Dog

This is where I like to stay to keep away from the dogs.
If they get near me I must hiss at them.
Dogs are nothing but trouble.  
Except when they are sleeping.  Then they are ok.  I guess.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Millie the Border Terrier 360 Review Part 1: Ziggy and Rip Share Their Views

Millie has now been with us for more than half a year.  This is ample time for her to settle into the pack and reveal her true nature.  And it means that it's time for her first 360 feedback review.  This review will help Millie learn more about her strengths and weaknesses as recognized by those who spend the most time with her, allowing her to develop a personal improvement plan.

The first do to their reviews were the Cardi boys.  Here's what they have to say:

Ziggy's Feedback to Millie:  

Strength = Snuggling

Millie and I often snuggle together.  
She sometimes even cleans my ears.

Millie can fit into tight spaces, which enhances her snuggling ability.
I really like this about her.

Weakness = She doesn't play with me

Here I am at the bottom of my ramp waiting for Millie to play with me.
She only plays with Rip, because this is all he will allow.
This is a big weakness.  I wish she would play with me.

Rip's Feedback to Millie

Strength = She plays with me!

Here we are playing.  
We are having fun, and Millie likes to play A LOT.
I like this about Millie.

Weakness = She plays WILD (and sometimes it scares me)

Look at those teeth!
Much too big for the size of her body.
Sometimes her giant teeth scare me.

And she has very slappy paws.
They slap my head, and sometimes this scares me.
In this picture I am being brave and not turning away from the frenzied paws.

And look at this!!
NOW do you see why she scares me sometimes?!?

Next post:  360 review from the C*ts

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Meet The "Terror Her" aka Millie the Border Terrier

After nearly a year of having a only two dogs, we decided to add another one to the pack.  And when I say "we" I really mean me.  The Husband agreed, but did not encourage.

I decided to add a new breed to the pack (variety is the spice of life, right?), and after much careful consideration landed on the Border Terrier.  I like that Border Terriers are a sane and healthy breed.  They're trainable (for terriers), loving, and portable.  They're also built for agility.

After deciding on a breed, I went on a search for a good breeder.  I found one in Harriet Hayden of Sunkist Border Terriers.  Harriet had an agility prospect that she was considering placing -- a young female who is well built, bold, energetic, has a great attitude, and even likes cats!  Plans were made, and Millie joined our pack in July, at 10 months of age.  Millie's official name is Sunkist Spot of Bother.  That should have been a clue.  Her new nick name (given to her by The Husband) is the Terror Her.

Millie has now snuggled her way into our home, and I have great hopes for her future as an agility dog.

So I guess it's time to meet Milie:

Yes, the Terror Her's head fits through stair rails.  
And such a cute face!

Millie LOVES to play, and retrieves much better than the Cardi boys.

Millie is always on the go, and on the lookout for vermin.

…or trying to dig out vermin.

…or running after vermin and/or engaging Rip in play.

Millie is a bed dog, too.  She came this way, and resistance was futile.

Life with a Border Terrier is certainly different than life with a Cardigan.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Summary: Changes

2014 brought a number of changes to the furry family.

In July we added a new canine to the pack.  Her name is Millie and she is a year-old Border Terrier.  She has forever changed our lives - though we're still not sure whether or not this is a good thing.

In December, after the loss of our dear cat Gloria, we got a new cat - Summer.  She is lovely and snuggly and fitting right in, though the dogs call her "The Spitty One."  She is gradually warming up to the dogs, but they aren't her favorite.

Here's the Pack - less Summer.  
She's not up for group snuggling quite yet.
From left to right:  Rip, Millie, Ziggy, Blossom

Ziggy, Rip, and Blossom continue to do well.  Rip is working in agility, Ziggy is still a Therapy Dog with TDInc., and Blossom snuggles with the dogs on a daily basis.

We all had a great summer at Wagmore, and got a lot of work done on the property.  We've planted well over 200 trees, and reclaimed many of the fences from the blackberries and other bushes.

In other 2014 news, my work responsibilities expanded quite a lot - contributing to my lack of posting in the latter half of the year.  

I'll share more updates in 2015, and plan to add a title or two to the dogs' names.  Happy New Year!

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