Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Whidbey Island

Merlin is definitely happier up here on Whidbey. He goes for a long walk on the dike each morning, and gets to sleep out in the car during the day (his favorite thing) and is sleeping much more at night as a result of being more active. He is quite willing to use his cart now. He's pictured here with his new beach wheels which make going out on the sand easier (still not really easy, though.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Merlin and I went over to his birthplace for Mother's Day dinner. Now, I've been watching Merlin's ability to walk disappear over time, but his breeder's family only sees him on occasion, and as I took him out of his cart during dinner, they were quite upset to see him barely managing to crawl around. I forget that what has become normal to me is devastating to them.

When they bred Lily they of course had no way to know that she carried the gene for DM, and neither did the stud's owner. If they had, that breeding would probably not have been done, even though, as it was probably carrier to carrier, it was a better breeding than many are doing. They couldn't know.

Breeders today CAN know, and those that don't have their big Ostrich heads stuck in the sand do know, and can do something to prevent this heartache for future corgi owners. If you are looking for a corgi puppy, ask the breeder what the DM status is. If the breeder isn't testing, or tries to tell you testing isn't important, look for another breeder. Unless you want to have a dog that can only drag himself around, that is. Remember that that cute little puppy that you fall in love with today, you are going to love 100 times more in eleven years when he starts to show signs of DM.

Day at the Beach

Yesterday two friends with DM dogs and I took our dogs to the beach near Santa Cruz. The dogs had a ball, and the three of us spent a lot of time explaining about DM and IVDD. The usual reaction to seeing a dog in a cart is "Does he have hip dysplasia?" so it is a good chance to educate about DM and explain about genetic testing for it. It's also good for people to see the dog in the cart- later, if their dog ever needs a cart, hopefully they will remember the image and instead of euthanizing, look for a cart. We also hope that if they buy a puppy of a breed that has a lot of DM, they will ask for evidence of testing.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


No, this isn't a post about diagnostics. It's about which disease is preferable. We would all rather corgis got neither- or at least, that's what I would have said before I found out how many corgi breeders are unwilling to test for DM. I am sure when the test for IVDD is available they'll be equally unwilling to jump on that bandwagon, but for now they argue that DM is a disease of old dogs and that there are other, more important problems (such as IVDD.) So read the following and make your own decisions. These are from emails I received today.

From the owner whose dog has had surgery for IVDD:
Maggie had another physical therapy session last night. She walked on the underwater treadmill for 25 minutes and she was walking with her back legs!!!! Her right leg is stronger than her left leg, but she pretty much hit with her paws each time. She didn't knuckle like she did last week. I was so excited at how much she had improved since her last session. The PT was pretty excited

And from another corgi owner:

My Pembroke has DM. She always loved her walks in the park, but with one leg cooperating less and less, she barely wants to walk more than 30' from the car.
Can you please advise me as to when I can determine that she needs a cart? She does wobble and the leg goes under her causing her to lose balance. Should I wait until the other leg is not fuctioning too? This is such a heartbreak, but I'm determined to work through this as we love her so.

You be the judge. Why is owner number one happy that her dog can barely walk and number two is heartbroken when hers is just barely knuckling and can still walk?

DM robs dogs of more than their ability to walk. It takes their stamina, their strength, their youth, their independence, and ultimately, their life.