Coonhound Paralysis

This blog talks about our experience when Goya (our 150lb English Mastiff) came down with coonhound paralysis (also called acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Goya sat up today by himself

I just watched Goya muscle himself from lying on his left side to lying sternally (like the sphinx). A position that really isn't "sitting", but we call it sitting relative to lying on his side. When we help him do it, we give the command "siddup" (as opposed to "sit", which he knows from his mobile past).
Anyway, this is the first time he did it on the mattress in plain view of people (Gary thinks he did it in the middle of the night two nights ago, but Gary was too sleepy to be able to attest to it and distinguish reality from a dream).
Yeah Goya!

Wait -- he just went back on his side, and then he sat up again! It's not a "one time wonder" movement. He must feel so much more in control, being able to shift his position without barking for us to help him. Yeah Goya!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Veterinary rehabilitation center near Pittsburgh!

I just got a call from Sally Woller at the Twinbrook Animal Clinic not too far north of Pittsburgh. She found out about Goya through the TOPS veterinary rehab clinic outside Chicago. I had called them because they were the only rehab center I could find on the web and their doc said she would put a call out for help on a discussion list she belonged to for veterinary rehab specialist -- and I got the call! We really do live in an age of information and communication.

Anyway, Goya has an appointment for next Tuesday. We'll see how that goes (and blog about it of course).

Here's the link to Twinbrook (near Pittsburgh) and TOPS (near Chicago).

Veterinary rehabilitation centers

It is amazing that it has taken us 4 months to discover that there are rehabilitation centers for dogs, but I just found some things on the web since I've been Goggling our blog with "coonhound paralysis" to see how high it was on the list of returned sites.
None of the rehabilitation centers are near Pittsburgh, but we are considering trying to take Goya to one near Gary's parents' house in Virginia.
Here's a link that has a list of centers around the US (about half way down the page)
This page also has links to physical therapy special interest groups of professional organizations and lots of other information that we haven't looked into yet. They seem pertinent now that Goya has some control of his limbs again.
I wonder why the several vets we have contact with never mentioned this subfield. Maybe its because there isn't a facility near Pittsburgh and they need so much special equipment? I dunno.

Goya takes "steps" - 4 apr 06

Another "baby step" in Goya's recuperation.
He "righted" his front feet two days ago for the first time. Today I wheeled him a few feet forward, with his front feet just touching the ground, and as I rolled him he took "steps" along with the forward motion. That is, instead of dragging his feet, as he always used to do if we didn't raise him up enough, he picked his feet up one at a time and put them down ahead of the motion just as if he was walking (but he's not supporting any weight -- the livestock sling is supporting him). I did this for about 3 feet, maybe 6 "steps" before he got tired and started dragging his feet again.
Yeah Goya!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Goya "rights" his feet - 2apr06

Good news. When Goya was "hanging out" in the livestock sling this morning, he "righted" his front feet as I was lowering him down to get into position to defecate. All previous days, as he was lowered, his front feet would curl back towards his chest and his weight would be on the tops of the foot instead of his pads. We would have to take each foot and place it into position. The vet said this would be the last ability to return to him as he gets more and more control over his extremities.

Later, I had him hanging next to me near the flowers while I read the Sunday comics. His feet were was touching the ground, so his legs could be out straight and he could get the feel of some weight on his feet, and he moved his feet appropriately for a few "steps" to deliberately move his body closer to mine to put his head on my lap. They didn't turn upside down, but kept the pads touching the ground. Good boy!

I'm sorry that we haven't had time to type in all the precursors to this progress -- like how we use a livestock sling to get him outside. So readers might not have any idea what I am talking about. But I also want to enter progress (and set-backs) as they happen so we get an accurate account instead of vague months-old memories. So this blog will be a combination of real-time events and reminiscences.