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.