Monday, September 9, 2019

UPDATE: Athena

Watch out world!
Athena Pupdate
For the past few years- we've noticed and remarked on Athena's back leg issues.   As it's been documented here, we've been aware of her weak legs and possible contributing factors.

Last November, when she began having the severely noticeable issues, we took her to the vet.  He took x-rays and determined she has severe arthritis AND her knees and hips are shot.   Again, not surprising as again this goes along with her suspected history.    

She's been on meds, soon going on a year.   She has some really good days and some really bad days.  We have talked about getting her wheels for the past 6 months.    FINALLY she received them on Friday.   
While there has been some slow "realization" of what she can do in them, she's quickly learning.  She got to play with her siblings in the back yard yesterday. She's going to enjoy being able to be part of the pack again.   

HOWEVER, this morning I found some very sad, yet not surprising news.  In trying to research how long she can safely be in the wheels, I stumbled on some not so surprising, but sad information

Degenerative Myelopathy
"Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk. The clinical course can range from 6 months to 1 year before dogs become paraplegic. If signs progress for a longer period of time, loss of urinary and fecal continence may occur and eventually weakness will develop in the front limbs. Another key feature of DM is that it is not a painful disease."

The pictures associated with this disease are what caught my attention initially. They were a perfect representation of Athena. 
EVERY SINGLE description of this disease's symptoms are Athena.   

I'm not saying the vet misdiagnosed her.  We took her immediately when she began having issues and with her history of weak legs. She does have arthritis.   What we didn't have was all the "symptoms" yet.    

Unfortunately breeds affected by this disease

How do we treat degenerative myelopathy?
There are no treatments that have been clearly shown to stop or slow progression of DM. Although there are a number of approaches that have been tried or recommended on the internet, no scientific evidence exists that they work. The outlook for a dog with DM is still grave. The discovery of a gene that identifies dogs at risk for developing degenerative myelopathy could pave the way for therapeutic trials to prevent the disease from developing. Meanwhile, the quality of life of an affected dog can be improved by measures such as good nursing care, physical rehabilitation, pressure sore prevention, monitoring for urinary infections, and ways to increase mobility through use of harnesses and carts.

Symptoms of degenerative myelopathy
DM symptoms progress slowly over the course of months to even years. From beginning to end, DM affected dogs typically remain alert and animated. The symptoms typically progress as follows:
  • Loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind legs
  • Dragging the hind feet causing wearing down of the toenails.
  • Hind end weakness (difficulty climbing stairs, jumping up into the car, going for walks)

  • Knuckling of hind feet (weight bearing on the tops of the feet rather than their undersides)
  • Difficulty supporting weight with hind legs
  • Inability to walk without support
  • Urinary and/or fecal incontinence
To come:

  • Paraplegia (paralysis of hind legs).
  • Weakness in front legs.

Although this degenerative process is not painful, affected dogs can develop discomfort because of overuse of other body parts attempting to compensate for the hind end weakness.

So essentially, it's not a great prognosis.  Considering she's in the intermediate stage, we don't know how long she'll stay here.     SO essentially we are going to be giving her the best life we can with what she's got left in her.    
We'll be sure to keep you updated.

Monday, August 19, 2019


This has been the worst time for me.

I lost my father in July.  Not even a month ago.  I'm heartbroken and angry. 

In the absolute middle of all of that, I was dealing with the "negotiation" for the sale of my house.

For the past 4 weeks I have been in non-stop go mode.   I have not had a moment to just breathe. Part of me is afraid to as once I do, I will cry and not stop.

Moved into my new home over the past 5 days.  That did not go well.... I'm just burnt out.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

June Checking in

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DUCHESS: Duchess, while showing signs of slowing down overall, continues to thrive at Play Care.  She has quite a few males she loves to flirt with and play with.    We joke "hussy" but it's really wonderful that she has such a great time. 
She got used to staying at home with me while I was home working during medical leave.  She'll get over that as I return to work tomorrow.

ATHENA: Athena in spite of her declining ability to walk normally, is quite happy.  If she's in pain, she doesn't let it show.  She can move when she's motivated (like taking off to greet someone).   She goes to day care once a week and has a blast.    

It is quite hard to assist her up stairs.   My knees are bad enough and add a 50# dog to the mix and it's tough.   One of the many reasons we'll be moving to a ranch later this year.    I foresee things getting easier for the both of us.      

She's still quite happy and doesn't let the handicap slow her down at all.

If she's not been "exercised" or "socialized" enough, she tends to sneak off with Mommy trying to catch up.  She just had her annual the other day and while we're waiting for blood work, she is doing well.

PERYN:   My baby boy. I love this dude.  He is quite the same.  STILL obsessed with fetch or tug.  Has to have a ball or some toy in his mouth at all times.    Loves his family, but loves his cheezburger more.   
Still BFFs with Lada.

This dog has to play with something almost 90% of the time he's awake.   Lada is his favorite play mate and they are often seen tugging on whichever ball or toy is in play at the moment.

LADA:  Still Mommy's co-pilot on long trips. Still loves everyone. Has her crew at day care.   Still a hyper ball of fur. 

There really are no changes with her.  Still hyper. Still jumpy. Still loving.    Still picks on big sis.   Still jealous of sharing.  She's best behaved on our trips to Tenn.

Still can jump over the walls at daycare...

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Monday, February 18, 2019

Lada and her crew...

Hey there!   So quick update on Athena before we move on to the subject of this post.

Athena is doing better.   So much so that she has returned to play care. We're taking her once a week and she's doing great. She still has mobility issues, but she's adjusted to her ailments. 

She's  really doing fabulous!    This is today's picture.   Isn't she looking beautiful?    She really loves being back at play care. She loves the people (Jen especially) and loves being with her pack. 

She still has some "bad days", but she powers through and it doesn't stop her one bit.   

We still have some minor problems, but it's not something she can control.          We'll keep you posted.

LADA-miss social butterfly.

SO, Lada seems to love play care. She has her "crew" that she hangs with when she's there.   Additionally, one of her buddies from her days before she started going to doggie play care (Part of our husky group) attends the same play care.  

The Day Care where they go is fantastic.  I love the staff and the dogs love them as well.  There is a great group of dogs there and it's completely open play.  The staff go above and beyond for their clients.   
We got really lucky finding them:   The Canine Club Daycare and Grooming. 

The crew

Her bud Cilla

oh hey


Must you take another pic?

They love the ramp

Meeting time

Who's in charge?


Oh Hey.

Woo Hoo!!

The crew

What you smelling?

Don't hate us cause we're cool!

Wrestle Mania


It's great to see the two of them play when they're there together.      

Lada & her buddy Akira


Having Fun. 

Come down here and say that!

We're having fun

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year!!!

2019 is here!     Sheesh, so hard to believe we're done with 2018.
For those of you who have been following Athena's progress, I apologize for the delay in updates. I'll get to her in a moment or so.

The fur kids are doing well overall.  Happy, mostly healthy, and full of energy.   And absolutely annoying.....

Peryn & Lada -hyper and happy as ever. These 2 will never stop.  They're regulars to play care. With Duchess only going once a week and Athena no longer going, we have been able to squeeze in an extra day here and there for these 2 crazy kids.   

Duchess--she's been holding back on going to play care. We don't know if it's her age creeping up on her, she thinks she's missing out on something by not staying home, or that she misses her sister...she just stays home most of the time on days it's time to go to play care.

Athena--- I guess overall there is vast improvement to those initial days and weeks. However she is no longer walking "normally" .  She has issues that change daily. Whether it be from her hips or her knees or even her knuckles rolling under--something keeps her from walking normal.   Some days it is barely noticeable and other days it is painfully obvious.  
She'll steal the spot the fire --EVERY TIME!

Athena hanging out in her favorite bed
EVERYTHING else about her is the same.  She still tries to play with the younger 2, she still will take off to visit with another dog or person.....  Her legs are the only real issue.

We also have noticed an increase of upset stomach issues. We've added pumpkin to her diet to try and straighten her out

We're still planning on getting her wheels. It's been pushed back due to some funding issues out of our control.   
Once that is straightened out....we're getting her them ! 

She'll be unstoppable..    I can't wait to see that!

I am beautiful

What a year!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Athena --week 2a-4

Well, overall it was a better week.   She's still no where near 100%.   

We received the harness on Monday and it has definitely helped us and her out.   Getting her up and down the stairs and up from the floor when she slips is definitely much easier with this harness.

Never realized I started a post and didn't complete it.

We're going on week 4 of Athena's ...convalescence. SO for all this time she has not been at playcare, not been to the dog park, and has not "played".   It really is hard to say if she's doing better? I think whatever happened to her may be permanent.   

Not once has she walked 'normal' for her.  She either walks with her body bent at an angle or she can barely lift her body up.  The few times she stands right, her paws fold under her.

My biggest concern is her mental well being.   I'm afraid she'll become depressed from inactivity or stimulation.
We've taken her up to day care to say HI and she's been quite happy.   However otherwise, there isn't much else.  She does interact with her siblings, so that is good--but overall I fear she's not living life.  

Our vet has indicated she is a good candidate for a new therapy.  T-Cyte injections. However, as of right now we cannot afford $125 an injection.   Maybe after the holidays.

Her current regime of meds:

    200mg of Gabapentin
     50mg Rimadyl

1ML 250ml of Cannabidiol

      200mg of Gabapentin
     50mg Rimadyl