Archive for March, 2010

Photos from my visit with Cory last night

March 31st, 2010 4 comments

Last night around 9:30pm I decided to visit Cory. He’s in an animal hospital about 25 minutes from where I live, so I took the drive out there, feeling both nervous and excited at the same time. I had visions of him walking over to me, wagging his tail as soon as he saw me and burying his head in my hands during a joyful reunion. Unfortunately, my expectations were far too high.

I waited in a small examination room for them to bring Cory in. After about a half hour, a man brought Cory into the room, carrying him in his arms, and he laid Cory down on a pillow in the room. I stayed for about 45 minutes as I got down on the floor to pet him, talk with him, and tell him about all the fun things he can look forward to doing.

His body stayed motionless the entire time; he was only able to move his eyes. Twice he tried to lift his head but was only able to move it about an inch. He was heavily drugged on pain killers and extremely sedated, but he stayed awake and looked at me while I talked to him.

I noted that when I mentioned some of his favorite words like “go to the park,” “go for a swim,” “play,” and “mommy and daddy,” his eyes lit up, became wider and his eyebrows lifted. So I know he was listening and I definitely had his attention.

I called Jay and Sandy and put them on speaker phone so they could talk to Cory. He looked at the phone and listened intently, then peacefully fell asleep. I waited with him for a few more minutes, then told the staff that he had fallen asleep. They took him back to his bed and I went home.

I felt a mixture of emotions; sadness and satisfaction. It was very difficult to see Cory in such a state, but I also think he gained a great sense of peace from my reassurances that everything would be better soon. It’s going to be really tough to get through this difficult time but we are looking ahead to the summer when Cory has his hind legs back. The doctor says he’ll be able to do the things he loves to do again by summer time.

Here are some pictures from the visit last night. I told him about all the words of encouragement and love from you all, and he wants you to know that he’s a fighter and will come through this.

Cory after surgery

Cory after surgery

Cory after surgery

Cory after surgery, from farther away

The incision along Cory's spine

The incision along Cory's spine

Surgery Successful, Cory on the Road to Recovery

March 30th, 2010 No comments

I haven’t talked with the Vet, but Sandy and Jay have, and we were overjoyed last night to get news that the surgery was successful! Rather than remove the herniated disc, the doctor determined that the best course of action was to insert a spacer between the discs, keeping them off and away from the nerve which was previously causing Cory to lose control of his hind legs.

Cory is awake, but they are keeping him on the IV to keep him sedated so he doesn’t move. They want him to be absolutely still for as long as possible to allow the screws, spacer, and everything to set.

Sandy sent me an email this morning with this news:

“I called the hospital about an hour ago and they say that Cory rested comfortably last night. He is still on the IV for pain, but they intend to wean him off of it by this afternoon, and they will offer him food then. We expect that he will need to stay in the hospital until Friday or Saturday.”

I just learned that Cory is not interested in food right now, but that they are being very attentive to him while he recovers. It’s shocking to me to hear that he isn’t interested in food, because that has always been his greatest weakness. Let’s all hope that he regains his appetite soon.

Thank you so much for all the comments, messages, emails, tweets and facebook fan page comments! We really appreciate the outpouring of love and compassion while Cory endures what’s probably one of the most difficult times of his life. We’ll be sure to tell him how much you all care about him =)

I’ll keep you updated as I learn more.

Categories: Cauda Equina, Updates on Cory Tags:

Cory went in for surgery today

March 30th, 2010 4 comments

Sandy and Jay took him to the Vet for surgery today. He’s going to have spine surgery to repair/remove the herniated disc that’s causing him trouble controlling his hind legs. I visited him this weekend and he was really happy to see me but I sensed that he was embarrassed when his hind end suddenly fell while he was standing in the kitchen. I called him over and massaged him for a little while, which he really enjoyed. We are all nervous but also excited, because we are very hopeful that this surgery will give Cory back the ability to do things he so badly wants to do. Summer is approaching and we want him to be able to swim, catch tennis balls, and just generally be comfortable and happy.

I’m waiting for more news from Sandy, which I’ll post as soon as I get it. Keep your fingers crossed… the road to recovery is long and difficult, but we hope that this will give Cory at least one or two more years of happiness and mobility. He’ll need to be immobile for about 2 months after surgery, and he’ll be spending the next 3-4 nights at the Vet. We aren’t sure if we should visit him or not, because when he sees us he’ll surely think it’s time to go home. We don’t want to get his hopes up and then leave.

What do you think? Should we visit him, or just hold out until we can take him back home with us?

Categories: Cauda Equina, Updates on Cory Tags:

How to Keep your Epileptic Dog off the Counters and Away from Harmful Foods

March 24th, 2010 No comments

Over the last 13 years or so, we’ve learned a ton of useful things for dealing with canine epilepsy. One of the most important was learning how to keep our ever-stealthy yellow lab from eating food off the kitchen counters. Seizures can have many various causes, including abrupt changes in your dog’s diet. That’s why it’s important to keep his meals scheduled and routine.

We tried many elaborate tricks and traps to keep him off the counters, but what finally worked for us was—-drumroll—Mouse traps.

Mouse trap

This is the type of mouse trap we use

After Cory’s nose had its first meeting with one of these little snappers, Cory never went near them again. We would simply arrange them in an array around whatever food items we wanted to protect on the counter, and voila—Problem solved.

The good news is that these things are really quite harmless. They don’t hurt at all, even if you deliberately snap your finger in them. They couldn’t harm a mouse, much less harm a dog.

Plus, they provide great entertainment value to see the looks on your friends’ faces when they come over and see the kitchen armed with mousetraps everywhere, immediately assuming that your whole house must be infested.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your epileptic dog away from harmful foods (or any dog, for that matter), look no further than these simple, handy, cheap little snappers.

Have you found something that works even better? Do you have any stories of when your dog got something he wasn’t supposed to get? Tell us in the comments!

Categories: Dog seizures Tags:

The Goal: Get Cory back to What Cory Used to Do

March 23rd, 2010 No comments

We’re in the process of scheduling Cory’s surgery, which will likely take place next week. It’s going to be a long road to recovery thereafter, but we hope that it results in him being able to enjoy freedom from pain for the rest of his life. We can only imagine how much he’s dying to get back into the water.

Cory in the water

Cory playing in the water

Categories: Cauda Equina Tags:

Cory has Cauda Equina Syndrome

March 19th, 2010 No comments

Here’s a link to show exactly what Cory has and how it is fixed.  The young doctor in the photo (who did the surgery while he was a resident at WSU) is the same guy that will do Cory’s surgery, (Dr. Sean Sanders) – only now he has 10 more years of experience.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

Categories: Cauda Equina, Updates on Cory Tags:

Cory’s MRI

March 18th, 2010 2 comments

Yesterday morning we took Cory to the clinic in Kirkland, about an hour’s drive from our home in Seattle, for his MRI.   We were told that he was next in line after a poodle, who was undergoing an MRI at the time we brought Cory in, and they estimated he would be done between noon and 1 p.m.    We went to work and called in throughout the day, only to be told that they had not taken Cory in until around 3 p.m.  Jay and I went there to get him after work last night and they said he would not be ready until around 8 p.m.,  so Jay and I found a nearby restaurant and had dinner.

We got a call on our cell phone (while having dinner) about 8 p.m. and the doctor said he wanted to keep Cory overnight in order to be sure he was fully recovered from the anesthesia.  We went to pick him up this morning and it took forever to get him discharged due to  administrative issues.

The findings of the MRI show that Cory’s right shoulder pain is not due to a rotator cuff tear, as was expected, but rather to osteo-arthritis.   He may be helped with an injection into the shoulder (we have to ask the bone doc about that).  The cause for all of the rest of Cory’s symptoms is a herniated disk toward the base of his tail, which is impinging on the nerve cord.  The doc believes that it is fixable and gives us chances for complete success in the 90 percentile range.

We were on the moon with happiness until we got Cory home, and found how much he has gone downhill in the past 24 hours.  His entire hind end is partly paralyzed now and extremely weak and uncoordinated.  I called the vet tech and she said she was surprised to hear that as she had walked Cory this morning and did not witness this.  The vet put these words right into the written report….”This is not a life ending condition.”

Based upon their assurances that Cory does not need to be crated if he is kept in a small confined area where he cannot climb onto furniture (or navigate stairs), we put him into our bedroom with a big bowl of ice cold water and opened the sliding glass door onto the deck so that he can get fresh air.  Luckily it is a beautiful sunny day.  Cory will be kept in this room pretty much all the time unless one of us is right with him, and I suppose he’ll have to have his life jacket on when he is out of the bedroom so we can help him stay upright to take him outside.

We now need to consult with the bone doc to see if he thinks the injection into the right shoulder will be of much benefit, and how long the benefit will last.  Depending on that answer, we will then schedule Cory’s surgery to get the disk fixed ASAP, (we’ll need to coordinate to have it all done at once if we decide to do the shoulder at all).  So we are waiting from a call from the shoulder doc to get answers before we can move forward with scheduling the surgery.

It creates quite the emotional paradox to be given such hopeful information while seeing our boy go downhill so quickly.

Categories: Cauda Equina, Updates on Cory Tags:

Cory’s Story is now on Google Buzz!

March 18th, 2010 No comments

Hey everyone, I know you’re waiting on news about Cory, but I’ll let Sandy make that update since she has more information than I do, but I can tell you that it’s great news =)

But for now, I wanted to let you all know that Cory’s Story now has a Google Buzz profile, so if you want to stay easily updated on Cory’s Story but you’re not a big fan of Twitter, Facebook or RSS feeds, you can connect with us on Gmail! You’ll also notice a new button to the left of every post, which you can click to easily share Cory’s Story with your friends on Gmail. We have zero followers right now, so it would really make our day to connect with some of you on Gmail Buzz!

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Cory is undergoing diagnostics right now

March 17th, 2010 No comments

Sandy and Jay took Cory into the vet today for diagnostic testing. We’re all hoping that they tell us that whatever is causing Cory pain and loss of control in his hind legs is repairable. We’re also aware that general anesthesia for an old dog is more risky than for younger dogs, so we are a little nervous. But have to do what we have to do. I’ll keep you updated as I get more news.

Categories: Cauda Equina, Updates on Cory Tags:

5 Ways to Deal with Canine Epilepsy

March 16th, 2010 6 comments

We’ve learned a ton of things about dealing with canine epilepsy through the years with Cory. Here are some important ones that work:

1. Carry Rescue Remedy with you at all times. It’s an herbal concoction that’s supposed to provide immediate calm and relaxation when placed on one’s tongue. We bought 3-4 bottles of the stuff and always made sure it was available in case Cory had a seizure. Sandy carried some in her purse, and we kept some ready in the kitchen cabinet, as well as bottles in the RV and the car for when we were traveling with Cory. You can get a bottle for about $7.

The moment your dog begins to have a seizure, apply a few drops inside his mouth. This seems to lesson the severity and duration of the seizure.

2. Turn out the lights and be quiet! It’s difficult and often impossible to predict what caused your epileptic dog’s seizure, but one of the main causes is too much of an outside stimulus such as noise or light. Have you ever seen those epilepsy warnings on movies that have strobe effects? Strobe lights are known to cause seizures in epileptic humans for this very reason. It’s brain circuit overload! When you dog begins to have a seizure, some people may become frightened (especially if it happens in a public area like an off-leash dog park). You need to tell bystanders and onlookers to be quiet, leash their dogs and keep their dogs FAR AWAY from your seizing dog.

Dogs have an instinct to eliminate weak members of a pack since they pose a threat to the survival of the pack. So when a dog has a seizure, other dogs (even the nicest ones) may attack the seizing dog by instinct. Sandy and I were horrified when this happened to us during one of Cory’s seizures at an off-leash dog park.

If you are indoors, turn out all the lights, be completely silent and instruct anyone else around you to be quiet as well.

3. Shield your dog from injury. During a seizure, your dog will lose consciousness and his body may convulse uncontrollably. During the convulsions, it’s up to you to ensure your dog doesn’t injure himself. If you are near stairs, put yourself between the dog and the stairs. Cradle your dog’s head in your arms so he can’t smack his head on the floor. Keep your dog on his side and let his saliva flow out of his mouth so he doesn’t choke. Check your dog’s tongue to make sure he doesn’t bite it and that it doesn’t block his airway.

4. Apply ocular compression. Here’s an excellent write-up on ocular compression. Here’s the description of why ocular compression works (from

“OC is simply an application of pressure on one or both eyes. This pressure stimulates the Vagus Nerve which in turn releases GABA and glycine into the brain. GABA is an inhibitor that serves to shut down ‘messages gone out of control’, i.e. seizures, and restores balance in the brain.”

5. Comfort your dog after the seizure. When the seizure is over, your dog will regain consciousness and will be extremely disoriented and frightened. After a seizure, Cory’s tail would go straight between his legs and he would need to be held and comforted, just like a human would. Be there for your furry friend and give him the love, attention and compassion that he needs. Remember, dogs live in a world in which they can’t communicate with humans about things such as seizures, so your dog has no idea what has just happened, and this is very frightening.

I’d love to hear more tips for dealing with canine epilepsy! Did I forget anything? Do you have any more to add? Please leave a note in the comments!

Categories: Dog seizures Tags: