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.