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, June 13, 2006

Goya's fun morning ("camping out", grazing, and playing ball)

It's been a long time since I posted, but Goya has been getting better and better. He can now walk with assistance. We got took the hoyer lift back to the medical supply rental store, and put the cattle sling in the garage. He now uses "walkabouts" which are a set of neoprene vest and pants with handles for us to help him. (You can find these harnesses at He hardly needs any help with his front legs, but his back legs are still weak and have to be kept rather high (little weight on them) in order for him to be able to right them without knuckling. But this is great progress. We are sure we'll get those back legs strong enough to support himself sometime!

We finally got a rain-proof awning for the back porch and the weather has been warm enough that we have moved most of our living out to the back porch. This means we could take Goya's catheter out and let him remember how to urinate like a real dog (and we can always hose off the slate porch if it takes him a while to do so).

We set up our 4-person tent on the porch for sleeping. We put a twin-size blow-up mattress in it for a human (Gary, Liza and I will take turns sleeping with him) and a baby pool for Goya to sleep on so it can catch any accidents he might have in this transition phase without soiling the tent floor. We put blankets in the baby pool so he isn't losing a lot of heat to the slate porch floor. Goya and I slept out there last night for the first time. He didn't wake me up at all (though I woke up a few times myself because I was too cold but too lazy to actually get inside the sleeping bag). He turned over all by himself and seemed to sleep very well.

This morning, after I had walked him out to the grass to eliminate, he ate his breakfast heartily. Then, instead of putting him back on the porch, I decided to take him for a short walk further into the back yard. There are some weeds on the side that he always used to like to munch on when he was mobile and I thought he might enjoy some grazing. At first he was happy to walk, but got lazy before we got to the weeds and I had to drag him a bit. But then he seemed to understand that I was taking him to his beloved weeds and youi should have seen the tail wag as he took the last few steps and began to munch.

After a little grazing, I noticed that his indestructible ball was under a tree from last fall. I dug it out and rolled it to him. He had a BALL (literally) pushing at it with his nose and his front feet, and scooting along the ground and rolling over to get it when it was just out of reach. I am sure this was great exercise for his head, neck, front and especially those weak back legs. Yeah Goya!


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