Coonhound Paralysis

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Goya goes to school

Goya is in the middle of a very active day. Gary is out of town, our daughter, Liza, is at a HS graduation party, and I have to teach all day. So Goya gets to go to school with me. He is mobile enoug now that Liza and I can lift him into the back of the car (no different than when he goes to physical therapy). So Liza drove us in to school today and Goya has been walking from room to room as I have meetings with student project groups and class. He's a little puzzled about what he is doing here and where he should go (he's never been to this new building before), but since each meeting or class takes an hour, he finds a place to lie down, pants for a few minutes, then settles down for a nap. Except for an occasional snore (ALL mastiffs snore), he doesn't disrupt meetings or class at all. Despite his size, even the students who are wary of dogs don't mind because he obviously can't chase them. He is getting more attention and exercise than he has had since December. This is really good for him, both physically and, I think, mentally.

The floors are carpetted in short industrial carpet, so it it probably the easiest surface for him to walk on. It doesn't slip like the slate and tile and cork at home, and he is doing really well. He isn't knuckling in the back very much and when he does, he works at it until he rights his foot. He seems to be getting the hang of taking some weight off the knuckled foot and flipping it -- at least that's what I deduce must be happening, although the weigh shift is too subtle to see. But he is successful more times than not, so that must be what is happening. Also, he has to get up and change rooms every hour, which is much more getting up and down than I have been doing with him at home. This sort of exercise is exactly what the physical therapists tell us we need to do with him every day.

The only drawback is that the building is on a city block with no grass at all in sight. Goya only elimnates willingly when there is grass. When he's mobile, he lasts all day from the time we leave for work until the time we get home, but he's less active than he is today. Hopefully his mastiff will and muscles will not fail him and he'll have no accidents (he'd probably be banned from the building if he did have an accident).

This is working so well, I might bring him in more often.


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