Thursday, December 4, 2008

Good news for the corgi family...

I had already had Teddy tested for DM, and he came back as a Carrier, which means he cannot get the disease. And hooray, today Candy came back as a Carrier, and Jack as clear, so neither of them will get it, either. That leaves just Janine and we'll wait a bit to see if she survives IMT before testing her.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good and bad

Merlin walks over the carpet and I can hear step, drag, step, drag as he goes. Walking slowly, he doesn't lift one foot high enough and I hear the drag.

Then I take him and Janine for a walk and he is so happy he skips and runs, and feet seem to work fine for a little while.

But on the way home (after six blocks) he is getting too tired and needs help up over a curb.

I think this stage is hard for him and hard for me. He isn't ready for a cart but he isn't as mobile as he used to be, either.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another seizure...

Merlin has been going just under three weeks between seizures. (Twenty days.) Maybe on Dec. 8 I'll give him a Valium and try to head the next one off. The weird thing this time was that he acted pre-seizure last night but not this morning when he actually had it.

The DM is progressing, too, he has a lot of trouble especially first thing in the morning. His T&T boots are getting remade as they were too short for him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New boots

Merlin's new boots from Tammy and Teddy's arrived and fit just right. They appear to stay on though we haven't done much with them yet. I'll put them on for his next walk and see if they stay on okay. We tend to go there and back again so if he loses one I can find it on the way home.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Front feet

Merlin has a sore on the top of his left front foot. The vet thinks he is hitting it on the stairs or the curb- maybe so, but I never see it. Or maybe it is on the dog door, I didn't think of that. I may have to put boots on the front but I can't see him leaving them on. He was much more cooperative at the vet's than he was as a puppy when he would scream and holler if they as much as touched him. I had them muzzle him up until about three years ago as I didn't want him to bite anyone. But today he was very good except when he was barking for food.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Seizure again...

Merlin had a seizure. He has been going about three weeks between them so it was about due. They do not seem to be DM-related, could be a brain tumor, or could just be late onset epilepsy. He's had them for just about 13 months now. It's pretty routine for me now though I sure prefer it when it doesn't happen. Mainly I get upset because I don't like not knowing what is causing them and if it is going to shorten his life faster than DM.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I measured Merlin for his boots. He didn't want his feet measured, and in typical corgi fashion, refused to cooperate. He would not stand still and let me put a tape measure near his foot, would not let me lift his foot, and would not keep it in the shape I needed. So my measurements were guesstimated and if the boots don't fit it won't be MY fault!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Knuckling under and booties

Merlin was standing in the kitchen this morning with one back paw turned upside down (knuckled under) so I was worried about his ability to walk outside. I checked my stash of dog boots but the closest fit would not stay on his foot. On the recommendation of Corgis on Wheels members I am going to order some booties from Tammy and Teddys. Their boots are custom made for corgi feet.

As it turned out he was fine on our walk. Walking straight ahead seems to be easier for DM dogs than standing or turning, and he placed his feet fairly well on a four-block walk. But I can see that the day is not too far ahead when he will need his cart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Merlin can't do

A year ago Merlin was just starting to slow down. He was still doing agility but having some trouble climbing the A-frame.

Now he has trouble coming in through the dog door. He can't get onto the bed without a ramp. He can't stand up on slippery floors. He has a great deal of trouble climbing stairs. And his bark is getting hoarse.

The good thing is that there is no pain associated with DM (physical pain, that is) and he doesn't seem to get very frustrated.

Introducing Merlin

Merlin is an eleven year old Pembroke Welsh corgi. His birthday was actually two days ago. Merlin has a disease that is called Degenerative Myelopathy (DM.)

Although Merlin is shown here in his cart, he does not actually use it yet. He is still walking. But DM will gradually cause lesions to form on his spinal cord, and as it does, he will use the use of first his back legs, then the front legs, and finally, if he lives long enough to experience it, his ability to breathe. DM is similar to ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in humans.

Right now Merlin can still walk and run, but when he stands still he doesn't know that his legs are crossing or sliding out from under him. He will fall trying to stand still or trying to turn. He can barely stand up to pee. He will soon need to start using his cart for walks as he is now dragging his toenails and when they wear out he will be scraping his feet. I bought him a cart from K9cartsWest. Other companies that make good carts (wheelchairs) for dogs are Eddies Wheels, Doggon Wheels, and K9carts (east.)

DM is a genetic disease. Not every dog that has the genes for it gets it, but every corgi that gets it has the genes for it. Nobody knows (yet) why it affects some corgis and not others. It may be another gene or an environmental factor. There is a test available from OFA for the genes, and by testing and selective breeding, we hope that in the future DM will not be a problem.