Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Holidays

Mickey continues to do SO well. We are actually having problems with allergies more than anything this year, probably because it's been warmer than usual. When it snows and everything is thoroughly frozen he's definitely happiest.

It's been about 8 months since the Gold Bead procedure, can you believe it? I couldn't be happier with the results. It's funny, I still haven't stopped watching him like a hawk, waiting for that too-good-to-be-true moment and for him to regress back to where he was. I worry that something else will go out in his body, something I won't be able to fix. It's so crazy for me to think that way, but it's almost like I don't want to let my guard down for fear of being devastated again. There just isn't anything rational about loving these guys.

But it's the holidays, so I should be thinking happy thoughts. For one, I am forever grateful for those of you out there who have stuck by Mickey and me throughout this extremely difficult ordeal. It's such a cliche, but during these last few months it has become abundantly clear that I am blessed with some truly incredible friends. People whom I have never even met in person have offered their love and support, whether we needed it right then or not, and no matter how unpleasant or tough the situation has been, you were always right there.

To me, a person's ability to be so incredibly generous with their time a spirit is the ultimate measure of their integrity and humanity. It's so easy to withdraw, not that I look down on those who do. Standing tall for yourself is difficult enough, to do it for others is only for the truly strong. If I have learned anything this year, it's understanding even further the kind of person I want to be, and the kind of people I want to surround myself with. I am not an easy person to stick by, I know that. I can be thick-headed, insensitive, selfish and downright bitchy, but please don't ever doubt that I wouldn't be there for any of you in a heartbeat. It doesn't take much to get me to pull my head out of my ass, a gentle nudge will do. :)

So to all of you out there, have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and Cheers to those of you who celebrate other things. 2007 is going to be an incredible year, I can feel it!

The Boy's Aunt Kristi sent some presents to us, this is Mickey playing with his favorite of the bunch.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mick LOVES his Auntie Mandi!!!!

Mickey and Java finally got to meet my bff Mandi this weekend. I cannot believe how much Mick adored her!!!


Nothing like being pinned to the couch forced to endure Great Dane kisses! :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Pictures!





Here are some pictures I took this weekend on our walk....





Happy Birthday Mickey!

I'm a day late, but yesterday my baby boy turned three years old.

I am so proud of him for hanging in there, and making it this far.

Buddy, I know life has been tough for you, and I know there has been a lot of pain. But your dad and I love you more than anything, and we appreciate that you always had a tail wag and a kiss for us, no matter how bad you were feeling. I love you Mickerson, so much it makes my eyes tear and my heart swell. Thank you baby boy for hanging on, and trusting that I was doing the right thing. Now I see you running and jumping and doing all the things I never thought you'd be doing at three, and I thank my lucky stars that you are here with me.

Happy Birthday Mickey!!!!

Mom, Dad and Java

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

October Update

Hi Everyone! Thank you all so much for your patience waiting for updates on Mickey, work has been horribly busy and in this case, no news is GREAT news! Mick is doing incredibly well, some days it blows my mind to watch him move. Here's a video of him going down the stairs, I swear 6 months ago he absolutely could NOT do this:

The first half is sideways, just tilt your head to the left. :) The second half of the video is Mick ignoring my attempts to get him to say "hello" to all of you...

I started Mickey on a new supplement called Dog-Gone Pain (DGP) four days ago, and I swear to you I am already seeing improvement in his movement! In addition to Wobblers, Mickey has severe Spondylosis (osteoarthritis) in his back, which I imagine causes him a lot of discomfort. DGP is a herbal supplement designed to reduce pain and support healthy joints. Here's a list of the ingredients:

Ingredients: 600mg per chewable is a proprietary blend of Feverfew, Celery Seed, Wheatgrass, Boswelia, Bromelain, Papain, Corydalis Root, Cayenne, Turmeric, Shark Cartilage and a Proprietary Blend of Native Australian Herbs.

Dog-Gone Pain contains the following:
Feverfew: Anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
Celery Seed: All-around calmative and anti-inflammatory. Mild diuretic.
Boswellia: Strong anti-inflamatory and analgesic.
Bromelain & Papain: Digestive aids.
Corydalis: Tonic for the circulatory system.
Cayenne: For gastrointestinal health.
Wheatgrass: Rich in nutrients and minerals.
Turmeric: Potent anti-inflammatory and digestive aid.
Shark Cartilage: An excellent dietary source of chondroitin sulfate and other glycoaminoglycans that rebuild cartilage.
Other ingredients: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc and other bone building minerals; a Proprietary Blend of Native Australian Herbs.

Precautions and Warnings:
If your dog is already on medication, discuss using DGP with your vet before using. The enzymes it contains have the potential for altering the rate of absorption of medications, such as antibiotics, anticoagulants, and NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs). Also several ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties that could possibly enhance the blood thinning properties of anticoagulant drugs. And keep out of reach of children.
DGP is produced under the strictest pharmaceutical guidelines at an Australian government-approved facility. Batch-to-batch bioassays guarantee consistency and effectiveness.

In the last few days, he has started fully stretching out his body while standing, whereas before he would stretch, but never this far. His overall demeanor has improved, he's normally a goofy boy, but he's definitely even more so now. And when he takes off to run, I used to see a pause where he seem to gather himself before moving, yesterday he took off after Java and there was no pause or hesitation.

It seems way too soon for me to be seeing this great of a benefit, but I hope and pray that what I am seeing sticks around. Whether it be the DGP, or the gold beads continuing to do their job, I don't know, but I don't plan to stop giving the DGP any time soon.

And lastly, here's one of my new favorite pictures of Mickey and Java:


Friday, September 15, 2006

How handsome is he???

I took these pics this morning of Mickey and thought they were stunning, so I had to share!



Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm a bad BAD Blogger!!!

Boy, it's been a looooooong time since I have posted any updates! It was brought to my attention that people don't want to ask about Mickey because they're afraid something bad has happened.

He's doing VERY well, I swear!

He's now doing the stairs every day, and not just sliding down them, but actually walking down them.

I will take some pictures soon and post them.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Back on Pred

Mickey had a bit of a setback on Saturday, he got really wobbly after his weekend walk in the field and was slipping on the floors a bit. I gave him 5 mg of pred on Sat PM with dinner, another 5 mg Sunday AM, and then 5 mg tonight with dinner. He's doing great again!

I wish I could think of some event that may have caused this, but I can't. I'll probably finish out the week giving him pred every day and a half and see how he does next weekend. If he regresses again I'll put the neck wrap on for a week or two.

I guess it's like anything else, there are good days and bad days.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Response to Teresa

Teresa, I got your note and tried to respond, but it bounced back as undeliverable. :(

Here is my response, I hope it gets to you...

Hi Teresa! I'm so glad you found Mickey's blog, I had created it because I myself was so frustrated with the lack of "real life" information out there. :)

Now I have NO veterinary experience, so I am giving you advice based purely on my own research and observations.

From the information you gave me, I would guess your girl has either Wobblers or has had a minor stroke. It is unusual for a dane to get Wobblers so late in age, but certainly not unheard of.

The first thing I would do is contact Dr. Terry Durkes, he has probably seen more Wobblers dogs than any other vet. I can't find his e-mail, except for an outdated one on the web, but here is his phone #: (765) 664-0734

Dr. Durkes would be able to refer you to someone in your area who could help diagnose and treat your dane if indeed she does have Wobblers.

I will be thinking healing thoughts for your girl, please keep in touch and let me know if you get a hold of Dr. Durkes. He is a wonderful man, I think you will be quite pleased.

Best Wishes,
Ericka - Mickey's Mom

Saturday, July 01, 2006

SO how's Mickey???

I know, I know, the videos are cute and all...... but get to the point! HOW'S MICKEY???

He is doing GREAT!

We took a nice long walk last night, and he handled it like a champ. Toward the end he got tired and was dragging his feet, but there's certainly an improvement over the days where a walk around the block would literally weaken him to the point of falling. He no longer falls on the wood floors, and he maneuvers the stairs so much better too!

There's nothing I can attribute this improvement to other than the gold beads. I'm not sure I ever would have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Anyone out there contemplating the Gold Bead procedure for their Wobblers dog, PLEASE waste no more time! Get the procedure done before there is permanent damage to the spinal chord.

Here's a pic of me snuggling with my handsome boy on the couch. I am SO lucky!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Deco and Java sing the blues! LOL!

Here's a video of my friend Tiffany's dane, Deco, responding to Java's "Where's Mommy" video. If you listen closely, you can hear Java's voice in the background.....

Happy Burfday Dad!!!

We Ruv You!!!!!!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Bend over, close your eyes and brace yourself, it's monday morning.

I'm not one to endorse products, god knows we're bombarded enough in our e-mail luvin', TV watchin', internet surfin' lives. Have you noticed that now they even show commercials DURING shows? Last night I was watching a TIVO'd movie, and they kept showing some annoying little ads for a new show in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. WTF? I got TIVO so we didn't have to watch commercials, and well, they've certainly foiled THAT plan! Bastards!

Back to the point. For those of you who don't know, Danes do not have double coats. So unlike a labrador, you will not normally brush them and get handfuls of dead hair coming out. But there has to be an exception to every rule, and that is, of course, the crazy Harlequin. They shed, sometimes they shed a lot. I've heard this is because white hair has a shorter lifespan than pigmented hair, therefore it is constantly regenerating itself, but whatever, it is what it is.

So Mickey has started to shed all of a sudden, as evidenced by my white furry palm every time I pet him, and being a woman, there's no other reason for me to have a furry palm. Just recently I had invested in a special comb called the Furminator. Now aside from being the COOLEST name for a dog brush, it's supposed to be the KING of pulling out dead hair.

Folks, I can tell you this, it works!

This is a pile of hair I pulled off of Mickey's ass after just a few minutes of brushing. Now remember people, this is a Great Dane we're talking about, NOT a Husky.

I got the medium sized Furminator to more easily get around the neck and legs, and it is perfect.

So all of you doggie owners out there who are ready to shave their dogs clean, invest in the Furminator. If you're tired of shooing mini hair tumbleweeds under furniture when you have an unexpected guest, get the Furminator! And if you have annoying teenage kids who need to be punished, get a Furminator, borrow the neighbor's German Shepherd, and make your little darling de-shed that dog until not a hair falls loose from it's body. Not only will your heathen be busy for approximately 20 hours, but you'll be able to borrow beer from the neighbors guilt free.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Help me write an article...

As many of you know, I am a moderator on Leans N Slobbers, yup, you guessed it, a Great Dane discussion board. The owner of this board is also putting together a comprehensive web site on our beloved breed, and though I am no writer, I volunteered to write an article on Wobblers. What was I thinking??? Just kidding K!

I know I have some regular readers out there, and I am seeking you out for input on this. Do you remember the first time you heard about Wobbler Syndrome? What did you want to know? When your dog was diagnosed with Wobblers, what questions came to mind?

My objective is to not just provide another technical description of Cervical Vertebral Instability, but to offer a clear picture to owners out there as terrified as I was when my boy Mickey was diagnosed.

I think I have spent so much time and energy looking forward, that I have difficulty looking back, and I am not sure I'm ready to force myself to relive what I had hoped to never worry about again. I know some of you will understand that. I want to believe that we are on the road to recovery, never again will I have to consider how few options there are for those of us faced with treating this disease.

So there has to be someone out there who can give me the kick in the ass I need to get this article started. Give me a starting point, something to spur on the genius writer I have hidden inside of me. (yea, right!)

Please send any suggestions to Mickeysgoldbeads @ gmail . com (take the spaces out)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What happens when Mommy leaves?

These are good, the hubster took them one day after I had left the house.

Where's my Mom?

Boy, she's been gone a long time....

I'm soooooo tired, when is she gonna get home????

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Video of the boys!

This is fun, it's my first video, I promise the rest will get better.

The boys are a little camera shy! :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gold Beads are Amazing!

Mickey is still doing wonderfully! I did give him 5 mg of pred after our walk last Saturday, he seemed a little "mushy" in his movements. An occasional 5 mg seems to make him more hungry (if that's possible!), but other than that I have seen no other adverse side effects.

Last night I was so excited, Mickey got up on the bed and walked in a circle twice around Java without falling over. We have one of those cushy pillow top beds, and normally Mick has a lot of trouble keeping his balance walking on it, but last night he moved around like a champ!

I remember before the implants Mick would have problems just getting up on the couch, his back end would give out before he could get it up there. He would fall all over the hard wood floors, and he'd be afraid to walk any expanse of tile without a throw rug down to keep his footing. It makes my heart soar to see him move around the house without the trepidation he once had, and to see him once again initiating play with his brother. His energy level has gone up, and I can see the puppyness in him returning. It has been so long since I have seen that!

I really was skeptical, even though my dogs are treated primarily holistically, I didn't think these tiny bead implants could help a 190+ lb dog overcome this horrible condition. Well, you can add me to the list of believers now, even if he doesn't get any better then he is today, I still feel like I was able to bring him back to a lifestyle close to what he should have been living in the first place.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The neck wrap is off.....

Gosh, I can't believe it's been three weeks since my last update!

Getting right to business, Mickey is doing great! I took his neck wrap off a couple of weeks ago, I believe he had it on for over six weeks. I didn't see any immediate changes in his movement after removing it. After his last reaction to Pred now I only give him 5 mg if he is doing poorly instead of every day, and he seemes to handle that just fine.

I took Java and Mick up to Door county for a week, just a little get-away with my boys. It was the week before Memorial Day, so blessedly quiet up there. The weather was gorgeous, only two half-days of rain, sunny and in the 60's the rest of the time. Mick did exceptionally well, I think walking up and down hills and our long walks in the woods were perfect physical therapy for him.

The best news is, Mickey has not had any prednisone for almost two weeks now, and he is happy, moving well, and generally doing better than I have seen in a long time. I have been hesitant to post here about this, I think I am afraid of jinxing the whole thing. Logically I know that is silly, but my heart doesn't tend to follow logic very well.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Hello Mickey's friends, hope you all are doing well! I'm finally here to give an update, but there is no big news, let's stay positive and say YAY, there's no bad news!

I sent an e-mail update to Maddie's Mom Caylin, so I thought it would be easier just to post that here. Hugs out to Maddie, bit mooshes from Mick!

Hi Caylin!

I have been a lazy bump lately! LOL! Mickey is doing fine. I took him off the pred Tuesday last week, and finally gave him one Saturday AM because he was slipping and falling. Actually, I only gave him 5 mg. He handled that fine, and he's still doing very well today, so hopefully that's a good sign.

I'm going to call Dr. D tomorrow and see if I can take off the permanent neck wrap and do a temporary one during the day only. He desperately needs a bath and I know it has to itch under there! It's been six weeks, gosh, I can't believe it's been that long!

I'm just going to post this e-mail in the blog, thank you so much for keeping an eye on us!

I'm so glad to hear Maddie is doing well, isn't it nice to see them playing again??? You can also just stop at Target or the drug store and get some athletic wrap, that works nice because it's self-sticking.(FYI, Maddie's neck wrap is getting grungy looking...)

Keep in touch......


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bark in the Park!!!

This post isn't related to Mickey's condition, but instead devoted to my beautiful boy Java and our fun at the Chicago HSUS Bark in the Park yesterday.

It was amazing to see thousands of doggies and their people out helping this great cause. Dawn, Loki and I hit the road at 7AM to head downtown. We checked in and I got a cozy fleece blanket as a prize for earning $610 dollars!

Our friends Louis and Figment (Mickey's 1/2 sister) joined us with their people Renee and Cyndi. We did the 5K walk and stopped mid-way to have a romp in Lake Michigan.

The weather could not have been more perfect, and all the dogs were so wonderful.

We also got to meet a lot of our online buddies, that was really cool!

Here are some pictures, enjoy!

Left to right are Renee and Louis, Cyndi and Figment, Dawn and Loki, Java and me.

Here are Java, Loki and Figment meeting a new friend in Lake Michigan

At the bottom of this one is our BPO buddy Sampson, we got to meet him and his mom Kristi. Sampson just had disc surgery on his lower back and is doing wonderfully, YAY Sampson!

Lastly, I thought this one was pretty with the buildings in the background.

Thanks to everyone that participated and donated to this much needed cause, we had a GREAT time!!!

Bad reaction to the Pred

Mickey had a bad reaction to the Prednisone on Friday. He was breathing fast and heavy after I gave him his pill at dinnertime.

I called Dr. Durkes, he said it was either a reaction to the Pred or pneumonia. I was pretty sure it wasn't pneumonia because he was active otherwise, eating fine and didn't have a fever. Dr. D instructed me on how to loosen his neck wrap, and once I did that he was much more comfortable.

I held off on any more medication yesterday, and gave him 1/2 of a pill this AM. We'll see how he does with 10 mg and go from there. It's strange, he went the first round of Pred just fine, I don't know why this time he would have troubles.

Yesterday was a great day though, after Java and I got back from Bark in the Park we spent a lot of time in the backyard "helping" (hehe) their dad plant some trees. The boys had a fun time playing a game of keep -away with their Dad's roll of string, Mickey was running like he was not hurting or uncomfortable at all.

I will keep you posted on how he does today.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Back on the Pred......

OK, I know it's been too many days, but I've been a little busy and a little down. Monday was my b-day. That's the good/busy stuff.

Now the bad stuff.

Mick's sliding down hill again, yesterday he seemed depressed and just wanted to go to bed, I know this mood all too well, he's definitely not feeling well. BUT, I also have concluded that he is allergic to chicken, which I just started feeding him again last week for the first time after the procedure.

I talked to Dr. Durkes today, and he agrees that the allergy flair-up could be aggravating the inflammation and causing him to backslide. So no more chicken for Mick. He will now be eating beef and pork.

We're going to do another week of Pred and see how he does after that. If he stays up, we can THEN think about taking off that darn neck wrap. Poor Mick, I can't imagine how much it must itch under there.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mickey continues to do well

Just wanted to update everyone even though there is no big news here. It's been four weeks and two days since Mickey had the procedure done. He is still wearing his neck wrap, and I imagine he will wear it for a few more weeks now that he's done taking the Prednisone.

He continues to be more stable, of course this may be a side effect of the medication, but I hope not. He hasn't had any pred for two days now and he still looks good, no major setbacks so far.

His hair is still growing back, it seems like it grew really fast at first but now it's taking it's own sweet time.

Mickey's handsome brother Java

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We had a nice walk...

I took Java and Mickey for a walk after work today, it was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon!

Here's a pic of Mickey giving me the eye while I was trying to take his picture:

And one of Java and Mick having fun in a puddle:

Look at that BIG blue Midwestern sky!

Mickey is definitely getting stronger and has more endurance than before. He handled this walk really well and had plenty more energy to play when we got home. I don't know if this is a sign of him improving, or if he's just energetic today, but it is really nice to see! :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Good Luck to Maddie!

Mickey and I want to send good thoughts out to Maddie who is having her gold beads done tomorrow by Dr. Durkes.

Please everyone think good thoughts for them!!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

No news is good news

All's stable here on the front, Mickey continues to do great on the Pred, but his appetite is still out of control. I had two pills left tonight, I think I will split each in half to taper him off a bit and finish up in the next four days.

He's still wearing his neck wrap, I'll ask Dr. Durkes how much longer when I call him after the pred is gone.

Other then that nothing new. Blogger has been up and down the last few days, so if this continues my posts may be spotty.

Have a GREAT week everyone!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Now he's hungry ALL the time!

The Prednisone must be making Mickey hungry because he has literally been begging for food for HOURS! I feel so bad, but he needs to stay thin to keep the load on his spine as light as possible so I don't want to feed him too much. I did give him an extra meal of scrambled eggs tonight, I couldn't stand it anymore.

We only have a few days left of the medication, I hope the inflammation stays down on it's own after it wears off. I guess time will tell...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Prednisone update

Mickey is still doing well on the Prednisone. He's not "all better", but he almost never knuckles over or falls anymore. He still drinks and pees a lot, but it's not as bad as the first few days.

I am concerned that when we take him off it will get worse again, but I try not to think too much about that since I really don't know what's going to happen. PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE! I know my Dad is laughing right now because he knows that patience is NOT my best virtue. :)

Mickey's new harness

Mickey got a new harness, it's made by Ruffwear. I'm impressed with the hefty construction, and dually impressed that it actually fits him.

The top has a handle that helps to steady him or hold him close to me. Since the halter also goes around his waist it's very strong and really gives him support. I highly recommend this halter for any dog!

I also put some athletic wrap over his neck wrap, the white was getting really dingy and gross looking. Also, at the bottom cotton was coming out everywhere. I used the Nexcare brand, bought it at Target, it's self sticking so no tape or pins.

You can see that his hair is growing back nicely, it's still pretty thin but at least he's not bald anymore. :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Just another Monday

Hi All, I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Weekend! We managed to get some yard work done on Saturday, it certainly was gorgeous here in Chicagoland.

Mickey was a VERY good boy at his Grandparent's house Friday night, he got plenty of lovin's and lap time with his Grammy and Grampy!

He continues to improve from the Prednisone, even my Mom said he seemed much more stable on his feet. He still gets sloppy when he gets tired, but it's nowhere near where he was before the surgery.

I wish I had something exciting to share, but we're just going along status quo.

On a side note, through this blog I have been able to connect with other dogs owners dealing with Wobblers, and I have so enjoyed talking to each and every one of you. It's amazing the amount of knowledge I have gotten through comparing notes with others.

Everyone have a GREAT Monday!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Prednisone Day 2

I tell you, it's a shame that this stuff has such bad side-effects, because it is really amazing to see the progress Mickey has made with just two doses.

This morning he got me up to potty, usually it takes a while for his limbs to start moving smoothly, but this morning he hopped right out of bed to go out. I noticed that on his way in while he was walking on the sidewalk he wasn't shuffling his feet or dragging on his nails. I cannot tell you the last time I actually saw him pick up his feet while walking!

He still has to pee all the time, and he drinks water like it's going out of style. I noticed that he pants a lot now too, but it's actually been in the 80's here so it could just be the weather.

Hopefully at the end of two weeks all of the inflammation will have gone down, and the beads will take over and do their thing, that's the theory anyway. Keep your fingers crossed, we really need this to work!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Mickey got his first dose of Prednisone last night with dinner. He only got 20 mg, a fraction of what a full dose would be for a dog his size.

Last night he got me up TWICE to potty, Mickey is usually the one I am rousting out of bed to go potty in the morning, he does not like to get out of bed. So even that small of a dose has side effects. He also wants to drink water all the time now, I don't want him to be thirsty, but I also don't want him peeing all over while I am at work. DH said he would stay home as late as possible this morning and I will go home right after my 2:00 dentist appt., so hopefully he can hold it for 6 hours or so.

I haven't posted any pics in a while, so here's one of my favorites from when Mick was a puppy. It was his first trip to the dog park, if you look closely you can see he's sitting under his big brother Java for protection.

And here's one of Mickey rolling in the grass with his 1/2 sister Figment, I call this one "Giggles"....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Anti-inflammatory the natural way

On one of my discussion boards there were rants and raves about the natural anti-inflammatory properties of a supplement called Serrapeptase.

I would love to hear if any of you have tried and/or heard of this supplement, and what effects it had on your pet.

Here are some links to information:

I have orderd some to try on Mickey, I'll start it after we are done with the prednisone to avoid any confusion over what effects each drug is having on him. I believe that improvements from Pred should be seen fairly quickly.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Day 12

I talked to Dr. Durkes about Mickey's rear-end weakness worsening again, he thinks Mick might have jerked or bumped his neck and that caused some inflammation to come back.

We are going to put him on prednisone for two weeks to see if that helps, he'll only be getting 20 mg a day, so side effects should be minimal.

Here is some information on Prednisone:

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid used for many conditions in both human and veterinary medicine. Its anti-inflammatory activity is approximately four times that of hydrocortisone. Corticosteroids are extremely effective anti-inflammatory drugs because they affect the inflammatory process at so many different levels. Prednisone is rapidly converted to prednisolone in the liver and in most instances, these drugs are considered to be roughly equivalent. Corticosteroids have strong beneficial effects but a definite potential to cause negative side effects if abused. Prednisone may be given by injection, orally or topically.

Side Effects
• Systemic side effects to corticosteroids are generally dependent on dose and duration of treatment. Short-term use of prednisone is unlikely to cause adverse effects. Adverse effects are more common in animals on immunosuppressive doses.
• Side effects seen in dogs include polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, poor haircoat, GI disturbance, diarrhea, vomiting, weight gain, GI ulceration, pancreatitis, lipidemia, elevated liver enzymes, diabetes mellitus, muscle wasting, and possible behavioral changes.
• Polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia may be seen in dogs even on short-term therapy.
• Although cats are less likely to develop side effects than dogs, occasionally polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, weight gain, GI disturbances and behavioral changes occur.
• Corticosteroids can cause or worsen gastric ulcers.

• Chronic or inappropriate use of corticosteroids, including prednisone, can cause life threatening hormonal and metabolic changes.
• Adverse effects due to corticosteroid treatment usually occur with long-term administration of the drug, especially when high doses are used. Alternate day therapy with short acting preparations is preferred. Animals who have received long-term therapy should be withdrawn slowly by tapering the dosage and prolonging the interval between doses.

• Corticosteroids suppress immune response. Animals receiving systemic corticosteroids may be more susceptible to bacterial or viral infections. Systemic corticosteroids can mask signs of infection, such as an elevated temperature.
• Systemic corticosteroids are contraindicated in patients with systemic fungal infections. (The treatment of Addison's disease may be considered an exception.)
• Prednisone must be converted to prednisolone in the liver. Animals in hepatic failure should receive prednisolone rather than prednisone.
• Corticosteroids should be avoided or used very carefully in young animals both because of immune suppression and the risk of GI ulcers.
• Corticosteroids should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Large doses in early pregnancy may be teratogenic. Corticosteroids can induce labor in cattle and have been used to terminate pregnancy in bitches.

Drug Interactions
• When amphotericin B or diuretics such as furosemide are given with corticosteroids, there is an increased risk of electrolyte imbalances due to calcium and potassium losses.
• Digitalis and potassium levels should be closely monitored in animals taking prednisone.
• Corticosteroids may increase insulin requirements. Estrogen may potentiate the effects of corticosteroids.
• Drugs that may cause drug interactions with prednisone include salicylate, phenytoin, phenobarbital, rifampin, cyclosporin, erythromycin, mitotane and anticholinesterase drugs such as neostigmine and pyridostigmine.
• The immune response to vaccination may be reduced when corticosteroids are given at the same time.
• The risk of GI ulcers may be increased if corticosteroids and other drugs prone to causing ulcers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are given at the same time.

• Short-term administration of even large doses is unlikely to cause serious harmful systemic effects due to adrenal suppression. Problems associated with long-term administration of prednisone relate to suppression of normal adrenal function, iatrogenic Cushing's disease and metabolic crisis due to abrupt withdrawal.

Drug information compliments of

Monday, April 10, 2006

Days 9-11

Yikes, it's been a few days since I've updated you all on Mickey, sorry about that. Now that the weather is getting nice here we've been out working in the yard and going to the dog park. Well, Java got to go to the dog park, Mickey got to hang out with his dad at home.

I've been massaging Mick for 30-45 minutes a day to work out some of that soreness. It really seems to be helping and he's much more willing to let me do stretches with his legs than a few days ago.

He still seems weak in the rear though his muscle tone is better than ever. He's also been a little more stumbly the last few days, I'm going to give Dr. Durkes a call to see what he thinks about that. I know the key to this whole thing is being patient (right Anne?), but darn it I want to see my baby doing better!!!

His neck wrap is already starting to look gross, and it hasn't even been 2 weeks. I don't even want to think about what it will look like in a few more. I do have some pretty blue horse leg wraps that I can use to cover the white tape.

Oh, and I am the worst mommy in the world, Saturday I put their beds outside to enjoy the sun while I was working in the yard, and poor Mickey got a sun burn! Duh, his back is shaved and he has no pigment, sunscreen is a MUST now. I usually put it on his face when he's out in the summer anyway, so I don't know why it didn't occur to me that his poor naked back would need it too. So I've been giving him coat after coat of aloe to soothe the burn, and he really seems to enjoy that.

That's all I have for now, have a great Monday everyone!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Day 8 and more Q&A

Sorry for being a day behind, but the boys and I were wiped and went to bed at 8:30 last night.

Let's see, yesterday I took Mickey to the chiropractor for stretching and adjustment. She couldn't do much with the neck area, but she found his back legs were extremely tight and sore. Here's my theory, with the back problems Mick would pull himself with his front legs everywhere, never really pushing off with his back legs. Now that he's had the gold beads, if he's using his back legs more for power, they probably feel like we do after a weight lifting session.

I will do stretches with him every day, our next appointment is a week from Saturday, hopefully she'll see some improvement.

Mick was feeling pretty good yesterday and wanted to run and play with Java. I feel so bad yelling at them to stop, but I know it's for Mick's own good. This is a critical healing time and I don't want to mess it up.

I got some more Q&A that I'd like to share:

Q: Did you restrict Mickey from playing even with your other Great Dane once CVI was confirmed (in your case by x-rays)to the time you went to see Dr. Durkes?

A: No, I let Mickey do what he felt comfortable doing. We did cut down on actual walks on a leash, instead I opted to take him somewhere where he could run and sniff at his own pace.

Q: How much does Mickey weigh?

A: Last I checked Mickey was 186 lbs., but he's afraid of the scale so it's a chore to get him on there. :) If we hide it under a towel he'll sometimes lay on it, good tip for all you out there with "brave" danes like mine. ;)

Q: What do you feed Mickey?

A: I feed Mickey a diet of raw meat, bones and organs from various animals, usually whatever is on sale at the grocery store. :)

Q: If you do a natural diet, did you change anything prior to the GBIs or did you increase Vitamin C? Any other supplements?

A: I've never been big on supplements, normally Java and Mick both get Flexicose for joint health and that's it. Mickey's Acupuncture Vet did try putting him on LigaplexII to see if that would help improve the neurological performance, but I didn't see a big difference so he's not taking that anymore. I don't believe that giving dogs excess amounts of Vit C gives any benefit, dogs product their own Vit C, and since it is water soluable the excess just empties right out of their body.

Q: How long are you supposed to keep your two danes separate?

A: I only seperate them during the day when I am not home, though Java sleeps right on the other side of the gate from Mickey during the day. He does that even with free access to a king size bed in the other room, isn't that sweet? I think it would be more stressful to try to keep them seperate than just to let them do their normal thing, my boys are extremely attached and love each other's company. If you have a dog that is going to physically push the once with CVI, it is best to keep a close eye on them though. I wouldn't let any roughhousing go on until Dr. Durkes gave the OK.

Q: What activity restrictions does Mick have right now and for how long?

A: Dr. Durkes said to just keep him quiet. I don't believe that completely cutting off exercise is a good thing, it is very important that CVI dogs keep their muscle tone up. As I said before, I would be comfortable letting them run and explore on their own with no forced exercise. Once Mickey is less sore and a few weeks have gone by, I will discuss starting some physical therapy with Durkes. Walking stairs and going over ground poles will help him build up more muscle tone and keep the extra weight off.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Day 7

We've made it a whole week! Last night was good, I gave Mick a couple buffered aspirin after we went to bed because I could tell he was uncomfortable. After that he slept the whole night through.

DH was sweet enough to set up a Mickey Cam for me to watch my baby during the day. How freakin' weird are we????? HA!

Here's a pic from the cam, the only time I've seen Mick lift his head all day.

It's not great quality, but it's just one of those cheapie cams you usually put on top of the monitor.

If you look through the gate you can see Java's back, they never like being very far apart.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Day 6 Part 2

Mickey is in GREAT spirits tonight, he must be feeling much better and recovering from his infection nicely. He's trying to play with his brother again already, so I am going to have to keep a close eye on them.

I kept Java and Mick separated today, and I will until Mickey's wounds are all recovered. Java tries to be such a mommy and keeps licking Mick.

It's pretty cute, Mick is almost like a puppy again, he's wide awake and playing one minute, the next minute he's completely crashed out on the couch.

I took more pics of his back, his hair is growing back amazingly fast. He loves when I reach under his collar and scratch his neck, it must be really darn itchy under there! I'm grateful we had this done while it is still pretty cool outside, he'd be really miserable if it was summertime temps.

Mick is still moving much better than before the procedure. He still sways pretty dramatically in the rear, but his feet are much more planted and his turns are SO much more graceful than before. He's becoming more acclimated to the collar, it seems less tight too. I am going to make an appointment with the chiropractor soon and get her to adjust his rear end. I spoke to Dr. Durkes today and he said that nothing should be done with his neck. We are going to put him on an additional three days of antibiotics just to make sure the infection is completely kicked.

Here are the pics of his back, you can see the redness and bruising has gone down considerably:

Day 6

Mickey's face looked so much brighter today, I can tell he's feeling better.

I'm actually back at work :( , it's hard not being home to take care of my baby.

I don't have any updates on his movement yet today, I will post more later after I get home and walk him a bit. Hopefully now that the infection is going away we'll see even more improvement with his walking.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Day 5 and some Q&A

Last night was rough, for some reason none of us slept very well. Mickey was having a hard time getting comfortable and I kept trying to help him readjust.

I think he's still got a bit of a fever and was shivering, so I would cover him and then he'd get too hot and want to move again, I have a bad case of mommyitis!!!

Movement-wise Mick is definitely doing better than before the surgery. He isn't falling all over the place and slipping as easily on the wood and tile floors.

I got some questions so here's a little Q&A:

Q: Did you know that Mickey had both conditions? or did Dr. Durkes find that in his examination?

A: I did know he had both conditions. The Spondylosis was diagnosed by Dr. Becky at Tops Rehab Clinic in Grayslake, IL. She does Mickey's acupuncture and is a WONDERFUL doctor.

Q: Also did you have xrays or MRI results that you took to Dr. Durkes?

A: I had x-rays that I sent to Dr. Durkes, he was able to confirm the Wobbler and Spondylosis conditions with those. An MRI would have been $1600, so I was ready to do that only if necessary.

Q: Was it double the cost with both conditions?

A: I am working on an itemized report of all costs associated with the trip. Specifically the gold bead implants for Wobblers is $700 and the Spondylosis was $550.

I added the itemized expenses below, down four entries.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Day 4

Mick continues to improve, no fever this morning and a lot more tail wagging!

He and I were discussing the rain this morning, and this is the face he was giving me, have you ever seen anything cuter??? I love how the neck wrap pushes all his skin forward and makes his face all wrinkly.

I'm still waiting for him to poop some more, and I am sure the rain isn't going to help matters any. He'll have to put on his raingear, a target bag with a hole in it that slips over his head to keep the neck wrap dry. Now that's high fashion for ya!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Update on the fever

YAY, Mick's fever is down to 102.2, looks like the antibiotics are doing the trick. He still seems a bit stiff, but I guess that' s to be expected after what he's been through.

Dr. Durkes says...

Keep giving Mickey his antibiotics and call him tonight if it's not going away.

My poor baby, you can tell he's just

It can't all be good...

We've had a bit of a setback this morning. Mickey has a fever of 103.7 and is obviously lethargic and unsteady on his feet.

He did actually poop a bit this morning, but not nearly enough to account for all he's eaten.

We are waiting for Dr. Durkes to return my call right now, I will update on what he says.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Itemized Expenses

Here's a report for expenses incurred during our trip:

Veterinary Expenses


Baytril Chew Tablets

Office Visit-Comprehensive70.00
Anestesia - Gen Inhalant75.00
Anestesia - Extended210.00
Gold Implant - Spondylosis550.00
Gold Implant - Wobblers750.00
GOLD Hospital50.00

Travel Expenses

*Gas, 1.5 tanks @ $2.80/gal

*Misc trips for snacks and supplies100.00

* Approximate costs

This will be updated as I remember new things, I am sure that I am forgetting something.

Home Again

We're finally home from our journey. The first thing the boys and I did was to lay down and take a two hour nap! :)

Mickey is resting comfortably on his spot on the couch.

Mickey is happy to be home!

Mickey is still showing much more steadiness on his feet then before his procedure. He hasn't pooped yet, I wish he would, I think he may be a little uncomfortable with the neck wrap.

He's barking at noises from the wind outside, so he must be feeling OK.

I'll post more with news on his recovery and any changes I see that would be related to the Gold Beads. Thanks again to all who have been following Mick's story.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mickey's friends Deco and Lance send get-well wishes too! (We love you guys, thank you!!!)

Mickey and his get-well ducky from Tracymom

How is he NOW?

I cannot believe how well Mickey is doing. There is some minor swelling on his back below his neck, but other then that everything looks good. We were given some Baytril (sp?) to keep infection at bay since he did bleed so much during the procedure.

Already he seems to have better footing, he's able to go up and down curbs and get off the bed with little if no help.

Right now he's passed out on the floor, I think the bed is a little too mushy for him right now.

Java's been a great big brother, he's been along for the whole thing. DH and I took Java over to visit his breeder during Mick's procedure, she lives in the next town over. He got to visit with his Mom, Sister and half sister. I can tell you, he was in heaven with all those girls around!

Java and his Mommy

Java's sister Noel - yes, the jowles do run in the family!

Surgery and After

My little boy pulled through like a trooper! What an exhausting day we have had.

To summarize the day, we got to the hospital at 8:00, they had us in a room by 8:30. Micky has been really wobbly since we got to Marion, and fell about three times before we got him in the building. It's easy to know you're doing the right thing when that happens, I knew he could not go on for much longer down that path.

I expected Mickey to instantly dislike Dr. Durkes like he does with most male vets, but amazingly he was calm and tolerant of his touches. Dr. Durkes felt up and down his neck and spine while feeling the pulse in his own temple. Unfortunately, they don't allow people to view the procedure anymore, Dr. Durkes felt like too many dogs were having to come back for another treatment, I think it interferes with his concentration.

They wheeled a hydrolic table into the room and DH and I lifted Mickey onto it, he was given a sedative and within 10 seconds was already falling to sleep. I begrudgingly let my baby go and turned him over to the very competent hands of Dr. Durkes and his staff.

Western Ave Animal Hospital

Finally at 1:00 we went back to pick Mickey up, literally, we had to pick him up. He decided that he wasn't going to use his legs. In order to get him to the car we had to put him back on the hydrolic table and wheel him out, I had no idea how we were going to get him from the car to the hotel room, but I was prepared to sleep in the car with him until he was ready!

It was quite a shock to see Mickey, he had been shaved from the back of his head to the base of his tail. Micky has spondylitis in addition to wobblers, so Dr. Durkes did the procedures for both conditions. Based on the amount and color of the blood, Dr. Durkes assessed that 60% of the problems Mickey had with movement are due to his back, not the wobblers. According to the doctor, we should expect to see improvement with the back issues in a week, and improvements with the wobblers in about three. :)

I would love to give more information to anyone who wants it, so if there are any questions out there please leave them in the comments section and I will answer as best I can.

A very groggy Mickerson

Implant sites on shoulders - each one of those dots is where the needle was inserted to inject the beads.

Mickey's back - I haven't counted the dots, but I am sure there were literally hundreds of injections.

The neck wrap

THE morning

Well, it's here, THE morning. I am nervous as all heck! Breakfast is raisin bran, coffee and OJ, I don't feel like eating a bite, but I know I will need it.

Last night was resless, even Mickey who normally sleeps like a rock was up and down all night. I finally got him to settle down by holding him close to me and massaging him to sleep. I know it may be a little melodramatic, but I find myself wondering if this is the last time I'll be able to do that. Kiss that cute little spot on his temple, take him for a walk, wipe that impossibly long "hanger" from his jowles... :) I LOVE all those things.

One thing I do know is that if Mickey has a chance to a long productive life, Dr. Durkes and his team are the key to that. I am anxious for the months ahead to see Mickey gain his confidence back.

Think strong thoughts for my Mickerson today.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Marion, Indiana

Well, here we are, safely to our destination, Marion, IN. I have to tell you, I LOVE living in the Midwest. BUT, driving anywhere in Illinois or Indiana has got to be the most boring thing to do ever. If you like looking at farm, after farm, after farm, AFTER FARM, you'll love this drive. Otherwise make sure you have some good tunes and a driving partner to keep you focused.

Of course the boys knew something was up as soon as I got up and dressed. I had packed most stuff in the car last night, and while throwing in some last minute things I was greeted with this sight:

Come on Mom, we're ready to go!

At about 6 PM checked into the Comfort Suites in Marion, they give a discount to people going to see Dr. Durkes. Our room is pretty nice (see below), it's roomy. Be aware, they give smoking rooms for people with dogs.

Comfort Suites

There's a nice grassy area behind the hotel and we're on the first floor so no tangling with stairs or elevators.

Dinner was steaks from the Icehouse restaurant, they were pretty good.

Comfort Suites serves breakfast so at least we won't have to worry about running around first thing in the AM. Our room also has a coffee maker, microwave and mini-fridge.

The blog entry tonight is courtesy Comfort Suites internet and DH who so kindly brought the wireless router so we could both sit here and surf the net. :)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My hansome boy

The Adventure Begins

Mickey is my 2.5 year old Harlequin Great Dane. Mickey has been diagnosed with Wobbler Syndrome, or Cervical Vertebral Instability. On Thursday, March 30, Mickey will be visiting with Dr. Terry Durkes, DVM to have the Gold Bead Implant procedure done.

A nice summary of what Wobbler Syndrome is:

The Gold Bead procedure involves implanting gold plated magnets under the skin with a special needle. The procedure is based on the ancient art of Chinese acupuncture which follows the philosophy that certain points on the body can be stimulated to restore balance to the body's energy force, Qi or Chi(pronounced Chee).

From "The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi or Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Imagine rivers that flood and cause disasters or an electrical grid short-circuiting that causes blackouts. Acupuncture works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy".

Here is some information on Gold Bead Implants, including a paper written by Dr. Durkes:

Another good summary on Gold Beads:

And here is my favorite Wobblers success story about a Doberman named Sylvia who with Gold Bead Therapy was able to compete in agility once again:

So this is just the beginning of our adventure. I will take as many pictures as I can, and give daily updates once surgery day is near.