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Adjusting

Charlie is in his second week of adjusting to normal life. Dr. A. had indicated at Charlie’s last appointment that he needs to progressively get back to a normal life over a two week period. Usually when cavaliers have decompression surgery, they need to be confined for several weeks, but not Charlie. I’m thinking it’s because Charlie is handicapped, so he cannot overdo in the same way that a healthier cavalier could. He can’t jump on/off furniture or climb a flight of stairs, etc. Additionally, his muscles are weak and underdeveloped, so activity such as walking around is good for him, and we just let him do as little or as much as he wishes. Everything he does is at his own speed with no pressure from us.

Dr. A. had told us that the compression on Charlie’s brain and upper spine was by far the worst he had ever seen, and that Charlie is not at all a typical case of SM – he’s in a “class of his own”. Charlie’s skull malformation is such that it is not round, but more long and narrow in shape. Part of his decompression surgery also involved his upper spine.

Charlie isn’t house trained yet, so we’ve been managing him like a puppy. I don’t know if it will be possible for him to be house trained to the degree that our other three cavs are. Immediately after weeing outside, we let him have the run of the kitchen, living room and foyer for 90 minutes. I also let him follow me into the bedroom, bathroom and laundry room, but he is monitored closely. We’ve found 2 hours is too long for him to be loose – he had an accident on the kitchen rug. He’s still on Prednisone this week, and we’re hoping it will be easier for him after it is stopped. He doesn’t ‘get it’ that he needs to let us know when he has to go out, though; he seems to just wee without thinking. We were told about this problem before we adopted him, so we put a piece of vinyl flooring over the laminate floor where his pen and crate are, making it worry-free and easy to clean.

I’m planning to schedule Charlie a vet appointment for next Saturday to discuss physical therapy and how his progress will be measured, etc. Also, we need to explain about Charlie and how he can only do things when he feels well. It makes him a bit unreliable and people need to understand that about him. For example, some mornings he can go out and wee at 6:00am, but other mornings he cannot go out until 8:30am if he isn’t feeling up to it. That will make it difficult to make it to physical therapy appointments; I hope they are understanding!

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Thank you!

Thank you so much Nancy, Denise, Kendar, Kerry, and Cathy T. We appreciate your generosity – this will help with Charlie’s medical expenses. I wish Charlie could know how many kind, caring people are thinking of him and wishing him well!

Another package!

Another package was delivered for Charlie – this one came all the way from Scotland! Charlie has a lovely new blanket to snuggle with – thank you Nicki and family. Here he is with his favorite fleece blanket:

And snuggling it during his nap:

Our happy boy

This evening we gave Charlie a pedicure so he wouldn’t slip on our smooth floors. He was very well behaved having his nails and the fur between his foot pads trimmed. Here he is on the left – smiling! He enjoyed hanging out with Geordie, India and Chocolate watching Colin cook. Then he went to bed at 9:00pm and is now totally zonked out.

Thank you

Our heartfelt thanks go to Lisa, Judith, Bruce, Mary Lou, Barbara, Marilyn, Phyllis, Barb and Les who sent donations through Cathy T. to help with Charlie’s surgery and medical care.  Thank you so much, Carolyn, for your help with Charlie’s medical care.   

Balancing

Charlie’s regular vet had wanted us to lower Charlie’s Amantadine dosage because of his diarrhea/colitis, so we did lower it for two days. But we quickly realized that he really needs the full dose, so now he’s back on his 40mg dose. The combination of Flagyl and Benebac is working now, and he’s getting back to normal. I’m phasing his regular food in little by little with the chicken and white rice.

Charlie’s doing well, and doesn’t need 24/7 care any longer. He’s active in the morning and evening like his fellow dogs, and he prefers to nap the day away with them. This weekend we went shopping and running errands; it felt good to have some freedom!

This week we’re going to trim Charlie’s nails and the hair between his footpads, then give him more freedom in the house if he doesn’t trip and fall on the smooth floors. I may try using some of Geordie’s paw wax on him to give him a better grip. (I used to put paw wax on Geordie’s feet so he wouldn’t slip on the agility contact equipment.) If Charlie falls, I’m going to keep him in his x-pen and crate for his own safety until he has some physical therapy to make him stronger. He gets plenty of exercise walking outside where the grass is soft. We’ve noticed that his pain episodes seem to be related to falling, so we need to avoid that.

One month

It’s hard to believe we’ve only had Charlie for one month, but yesterday was our one month mark!

Yesterday I took Charlie to the vet because he developed colitis or something very similar. He has an overgrowth of Clostridium in his intestines, so we were given a bottle of liquid Flagyl and some Benebac to give him twice a day, along with several small meals of white rice and chicken. His vet thinks the Amantadine may be causing an upset in his system, so we’re supposed to try 20mg rather than the 40mg dose. If he starts to show any pain, we’re supposed to move him back to his full dose.

His Prednisone is being cut back to every other day for the next 2 weeks, and we’re hoping he does well with that.

We’ve had lots of rain lately, and the dogs were getting too muddy in the backyard, so yesterday was bath day for all four. Charlie loves water and was very relaxed during his bath. My plan to keep the dogs (and house) clean is to walk them in the neighborhood until the backyard dries out or freezes. So yesterday Charlie had his first walk. I let him go at his own speed, and he spends most of the time sniffing the ground. We walked two houses away, then I wanted us to turn around to return home. Charlie likes walking as long as he’s in control; it’s easy to get him out but difficult to bring him back. I actually had to carry him back to our house. I’m going to take boiled chicken bits with me to see if I can start training him to be a better walking companion today.