1-3-05  New blanket

She goes on the underwater treadmill twice a week. Even though she has short hair and the therapist dries her off with a towel, I was worried she'd get cold in the carrier on the way home. I got her a fleecy blanket to drop over her for the ride home. It was a *great* idea--she loves it. :) 

Fleece blanket in pet carrier

1-12-05  Walking without the scarf

In October she had a mastectomy for a tumor, then a few weeks later she was spayed. I quit walking her with the scarf because of sutures from the mastectomy and then I couldn't after her female surgery because of more sutures, so she has not walked with her scarf since October. I didn't use a sling under my dog's abdomen until about 5 weeks after her spay and she didn't like it then so we never did it again. 

I put her scarf in the top of the hall closet and we continued carry-walk exercises with set-downs, where I would set her down and she did her walking on all four feet.

1-12-05  New way of walking

She continues to go to PT twice a week, and the therapist was working on trying to teach her to sit properly, as she does not bend her knees when she sits but rather sits like a doll with her legs straight forward. If she would sit with her knees bent she could stand more easily.

About 6 weeks ago she began to develop a new manner of walking. Her usual way is mostly reflex and consists of quick flutter kick steps with her knees straight and her toes touching the ground lightly. Her new way, which showed up when she began to learn to walk in grass, seems to be "real walking" because she puts a lot of weight on her back legs and takes big cross-country strides and bends her knees. When she started walking this new way, it seemed like she suddenly doubled the amount of muscle in her back legs overnight.

Using her short steps she can walk the length of a long shopping center on cement in 15 minutes, so that when you look back you can barely see where you started, it's so far away. Using her new steps she walked the length of a football field last week and wanted to keep going.

Sunset Ridge shopping center

1-12-05  Third surgery in 3 months

On Thursday I came home to find something lying on the towel of my dog's pen. At first I thought it was a claw...but she had all her claws. It was part of a tooth. I dropped it in an empty pill bottle and Stuck My Head In The Sand because she'd already had 2 surgeries since October, and they even extracted a tooth when they spayed her 2 months ago.

She seemed to be fine for several days. Then Monday she didn't feel like walking, and she couldn't eat her dry food. Monday evening she couldn't settle down. She'd try to lie down then sit back up. I knew she couldn't sleep like that so we went to the emergency vet. He couldn't find anything wrong except the tooth so he gave her a shot of Torbugesic which zonked her out.

Tuesday the vet looked at the tooth (she wouldn't let him look in her mouth) and said it was a slab fracture and he'd probably have to extract the root from the gums, so she'd have to be sedated. So yesterday she had her THIRD SURGERY IN THREE MONTHS. And while he was extracting that tooth, he discovered (THREE, I THINK THEY SAID?) others around it that were loose so he pulled those, too. I need to call them and ask how many teeth she has left. ???

1-16-05  New way of walking (2nd description)

We are 15 1/2 months post-injury and she is still improving. About 6 weeks ago she suddenly made another big advance in usage of her back legs and the amount of muscle seemed to double overnight.

I saw virtually no improvement for about the first 9 months with my dog. She was injured on September 23, 2003. She walked 4 feet outside for the first time the end of June 2004. We worked to develop that ability.   Then suddenly, as I just said, she began to advance some more about 6 weeks ago, which would be at about the 14 month point.

1-17-05  New way of walking (3rd description)

About 6 weeks ago, at about the 14 month point post-injury, she suddenly developed a new and better way of walking where she takes bigger steps and bends her knees more and puts more weight on her back feet, and the muscles in her legs seemed to double overnight.

Now at 15 1/2 months she can walk the length of a football field in the grass, and she can walk a long way on pavement--maybe a quarter mile or more?

1-29-05  Mats

My dog has trouble on slippery surfaces because she had to learn to walk again following rear end paralysis. I bought mats for her to walk on. The kind I like best are the commercial entry mats like you see going into stores. They have a black rubber border and low pile carpet in the center, and they don't move around. I have one for her to walk across the foyer (Saltillo tile) and one for her to walk into the bathroom (ceramic tile).

1-30-05  Going to PT

She doesn't happen to like to swim, but she has learned to love the treadmill. She squeals when we are driving into the parking lot at the PT facility. :)

2-3-05  PT is king!

PT is king!   My dog had a spinal fracture and spinal fusion, no deep pain sensation and no bowel/bladder control. She is walking again and PT has helped SOOOOOOO much. The surgeon says she isn't supposed to be able to walk. I think that may be because many veterinary personnel are still learning how much can be accomplished with patience, perseverance, and PT.

2-7-05  Mule kick

With my dog, when I first put her in her sling (harness) to exercise her, she would try to use her legs which amounted to straightening them and extending them both back at an angle. This also made it difficult to put her into a cart. My dog also does this briefly when I begin to express her--extends both legs straight back at an angle like a momentary mule kick, then relaxes.

2-9-05  Seat cushion to level the carrier

I take my dog to PT twice a week, 40 minutes each way, so 2 hours 40 minutes for her in a carrier. I put carriers in front set with seatbelt through the handle for safety. Big carriers have to face forward, but the medium carrier I wedge into the front seat sideways so the pet is thrown 6" against the side of the carrier instead of a foot forward in an accident.

ANYWAY, since the seat slopes, the carrier rides at a slant unless you level it, so I've been using a chair cushion all this time. Finally bought a seat riser from a mail-order catalog so my pets can ride in comfort.

2-11-05  Description of walking

My dog did the very same thing and will still revert to it on rare occasion now. I call it her Table Legs walk because it reminds me of when you have a 4-legged table and you want to move it across the room so you pick it up on one end and drag it on 2 legs. She stays standing and drags her 2 back legs in a standing position without bending them. The good thing is, it doesn't seem to hurt her toenails because she is on her pads. :) 

Even now, my dog's main walk is without bending her knees. She *can* bend her knees and will do so nicely in the grass for short distances, but her regular walk on pavement is straight-legged like a ballerina on her toes.

2-13-05  One leg weaker

On my dog, her back right leg is weaker than her back left leg.

2-19-05  Crossing

My dog is relearning to walk, and her back legs cross and trip her up too. Either she uncrosses them or I uncross them for her, and off she goes again. Many a time I have run after her yelling "Uncross! Uncross!"
Even though she's walking, I still rub her feet because I think she's still healing, and it's been 16 months.

2-24-05  About time and the healing of nerves

Then at about 14 months she suddenly improved some more so that she could walk in grass, and the muscle mass in her legs seemed to double overnight. We are now at 16 months and I don't know if she'll continue to improve much more or not, but I've heard of dogs improving for up to 2 years or longer. Right now, she can walk the length of a football field in grass. She can follow scent trails and enjoy herself. If it never gets any better than this, it's good enough.

3-9-05  Four Fur Feet

This poem continues to have meaning for us, because the part about "never made a sound-o" is significant. She is learning to walk without dragging her toes. You hear a lot of tssk-tssk when they are relearning to walk.

3-12-05  It takes more time than you expect

At 9 months she walked 4 feet outside. She now walks pretty much everywhere she wants (with sits to rest).