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Saturday, October 29, 2011

On to the next hurdle

OK, so Nathan can consistently walk the entire distance of our long walks, wobbly at times, but he's got the endurance now.  So, check that off the recovery list.  One thing he still struggles with is the way he puts his back feet down.  He still does a little upside down foot stride before his foot turns to the proper upright position.  Its just for a split second, but its enough to scrap one toe on each foot, more so his right foot, which is the weaker side.  Before each walk, I wrap a little fabric bandage around that toe on each foot.  I had stopped for awhile to see how severe the drag was and I've had to start again.  Its been about 2 weeks now.  Hopefully, we can test it again in another couple of weeks. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

He earned a chewy stick tonight!

I'm not sure what's going on this last 2 weeks, but Nathan's walking improvement is crazy.   Tonight, he walked 85% of our long walk, which is close to a mile.  It's almost 60% more than just yesterday.  You can see his confidence growing.  You can see his excitement at being able to go where he wants to go.   Its so strange after 7 months of slow and steady improvement, to see this spike is the opposite of what you would expect.  I keep hearing about the dreaded "plateau", but it doesn't appear to be anywhere in sight.

I don't think this is going to be a hard-candy Christmas!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hiding under the bed, again!

It's the simple things.  Before Nathan's injury, every night before going to bed, he had a ritual.  He'd run around the family room couch, then dart into the guest bedroom and hide under the bed.  Last night, for the first time in 7 months, he did a little run around the couch and then ran under the bed.  I use the word "run" loosely, but he did walk very quickly.  It's a big step that he is making decisions to walk instead of scoot around the house.  Although he walks outside on the sidewalk, he still scoots in the house.  But over the last week, I've seen a big change.  He tries to walk instead of scooting.  

The last 10 days since his last acupuncture treatment have brought marked improvement in his walking stability and endurance.   He also appears to be more confident that he can walks, so he tries harder.   He is consistently able to do 1/2 mile walks outside.  I'm really feeling that by year-end, he will be fully recovered in his walking. 

Unfortunately, he did poop in bed this morning  :(

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crash & Burn? No!

So, Monday came and as I feared, Nathan's 4-day acupuncture high was gone.  He was back to his strength from the prior week.   Tuesday, same thing.  UGH.  But, as it turned out, it was just a couple of days of needed rest.  Tonight, on our walk, he was a fireball!  He was practically running.  He set a new distance record by a bit.   He's even starting to choose to walk in the house sometimes instead of just scoot. 

It's much better now that the temperatures are getting cooler here in Florida because its so much easier on him when he's not overheating.   I'm sure this is helping us quite a bit.  Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Special Thanks!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who had sent such warm wishes for Nathan's recovery!  Each one is so touching and inspirational.

After each acupuncture treatment, Nathan usually has 3-4 days of amazing strength.  Then, we typically see a bit of a decline from that high.   So, it will be interesting to see where we land tomorrow.  As for today, I am absolutely thrilled at his progress.  He now can walk the entire length of our shorter walks.  No more having to carry him home.  In addition, he's is walking slightly more than halfway on our longer evening walks.  Since we live in hot Florida, we reserve the longer walk for the evenings.  Nathan wears out much faster in the heat now, so we don't push as hard during the midday walk.  The shorter walks take about 15 minutes in total.   We do two of these a day.  This is the first time I've felt really confident that he will be able to fully recover his ability to walk.  We don't have full potty control yet, but I'm hoping that with strength in his legs will come better control to hold in poops and empty his bladder.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Acupuncture Day!

I love acupuncture day! I can always count on super-Nathan after his treatment.  Tonight, Nathan walked a full 1/2 walk distance unassisted for the first time.  This was about 20% further than yesterday and about twice as far as about a month ago.  Walking at normal speed, 1/2 walk is about a 10-minute walk at a good clip.  Of course, it takes us about 20 minutes now, but who's counting!  Now the acupuncture vet wants to move his treatments from every 2 wks to every 3 wks.  We've done a total of 7 treatments over 10 weeks so far, along with using the chinese herbs I previously mentioned.  As the Monkees once sang "I'm a believer"! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back to using the sling

Although Nathan's walking has become steadier over the last 2 weeks, his endurance has not increased much.  He has a set distance he is able to walk before he wears out.   So, we are testing going back to using the sling to supplement the length of the walks.   Once he appears to be unable to walk unassisted, we put the sling on and see how he does.  We tried this for the first time last evening.  He was SOOOO excited to be able to motor along.   I could barely contain him.  When I picked him up to give him a break, his little feet were still moving like crazy in the air.  The sling (which as I've mentioned is just a thin scarf) just barely supports him, but that 5 or 10% of support allows him to really walk.   We are going to test this for a week or so and see if it increases his overall endurance.   Fingers crossed....  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A slow week

It's been a slow week for progress.  Nathan is walking a bit further and a bit steadier, but definitely not a banner week.  Today, we went to the dog park.  This is the only time Nathan actually empties his bladder.  He's overcome by all the smells.  When we first got there, he literally did a normal squat and peed for a long time.  It was so strange, because it looked like a normal pee that a healthy dog would do.  But, at home, he has yet to do that.  He peed at least a dozen times at the park, marking everything in site.  I wish I could take home those smells to my front lawn!   His best friend (other than Frankie, of course), Apollo, was at the park today and they played for quite a while.  When Apollo saw Nathan from across the park, he came running over.  Nathan was sooooo happy!  They are just like children.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do Chinese Herbs work?

This is a question that I've tried to research over the internet over the last 6 months.  There is little in-depth information on these as they pertain to dogs.  Double P II was prescribed for Nathan at the time of the injury by the vet who was doing the acupuncture at that time.  What little research I found on that drug suggested it was toxic over time.  So, I did not use it for more than 1 week.  The vet who is currently doing Nathan's acupuncture prescribed Ba Ji San, and on this most recent visit, Hindquarter Weakness.

With all the therapy going on at the same time, its impossible to isolate the impact of these herbs.  That being said, Nathan has been on the Hindquarter Weakness herb for almost 5 days now.   I do see some improvement in the strength of his weaker right leg.  His gait is steadier now than it was a week ago, although his overall endurance has not increased measurably.

In any case, the boys are both ready now for Halloween!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another new therapy to consider?

Nathan may not like his acupuncture visits every other Thursday, but I do.  He always is a bundle of energy afterwards and walks like a maniac. 

At this Thursday's visit, the vet told me he discussed Nathan's case with another acupuncture teacher and neurosurgeon in our area.  This doctor is leading the way on platelet/stem cell treatment for animals (using their own platelets).   As doxsie owner himself, he told my vet that if it were his dog, he would do the treatment.  He has had good results in situations like Nathan's, esp. where his recovery is hindered by one leg being weaker than the other.  The treatment is done on the weaker leg.  My vet said he would do it too, if we aren't were we want to be in another 5-6 weeks.  So, need to begin considering that treatment.  I've read very good things about it on the internet in treating arthritis in animals.