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Munequita is a Canine GME survivor with disabilities

Orthopedic/Arthritis: Problems associated with joints, bone, and connective tissue, and CH (cerebellar hypoplasia), or brain damage.
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Moon_and_Stars
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Munequita is a Canine GME survivor with disabilities

Post by Moon_and_Stars »

Hello, we're new here. Our little girl, Munequita, is a 4 lb chihuahua who first contracted Canine Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis - Meningitis in 2017. She spent 3 days in intensive car with a neurologist and recovered with a small vestibular disability. She relapsed 13 months later despite her maintenance medication - neurologist doesn't know why it happened, has never seen anything like it. This time was a lot rougher. She had cluster seizures, she spun in circles, she went into a coma. She kept recovering and relapsing. She would lie there twitching and spasming despite 3 different seizure medications. We had one horrible weekend when the coma happened where the neurologist had the euthanasia formula written on the board in back to be drawn up, but saw our faces and gave her one more night; and when she drank a little water in the morning, he gave her the weekend, and by Monday she was awake and walking around. After that, no one gave up on her - especially her - and everyone pulled together and it took more than a year before she was out of the woods, but Team Munequita got her through it. She also has an utterly brilliant neurologist; she's lucky she lives 20 minutes away from two senior world-renowned veterinary neurologists, both retiring now, but there when she needed them.

Today, she is still on seizure meds and maintenance prednisone. She has some facial twitching over bathroom stress, but that's pretty much it for seizure activity. She's got healthy systems and healthy little limbs, but lingering brain damage which makes her body a little difficult to control. Her facial nerves are all fine, but there's something whacked that that makes it difficult for her to coordinate chewing, so we mix her food into a slurry and help her eat. Her balance is also whacked - she's dizzy which makes it hard for her to stand stable, so she needs help eating. She can walk somewhat, a little ataxic, but mostly she has vestibular damage so she can only go in circles to the right. She has nystagmus in both eyes, though it's improved a lot and comes in mostly with stress. She needs constant supervision because of a history of cluster seizures and because she is just mobile enough to hurt herself.

It's been a year since her last flare up, and she's improving. She's turning to the left sometimes with great concentration, and she's working on doing some straightaways. Munequita is happy, in good spirits, and she remains confident she'll get better. She keeps practicing her walking and essentially giving herself physical therapy. We spent a lot of time crawling around alongside her, supporting her and helping her go straight. She's our little fighter and we're so proud of her. We've been looking after her for several years now since her disease struck, whatever her current needs happen to be, and will continue to do so.

We do get caregiver burnout sometimes. Our life revolves around Munequita. She can't be left alone, so we can't go anywhere or do anything unless she can come along. She's 4lbs, tiny and easy to care for, a naturally quiet demure little dog. She rides in a carriage or is carried, so a lot of the time she flies around the radar with people thinking she's a baby, and when she is busted she usually gets a pass for being tiny and cute. Basically, we've been on our own for a long time caring for her, and we're looking for a support community of other pet caregivers. We're not sure if this is the place for that - the posts here don't seem that recent. If it isn't, would anyone be able to refer a more appropriate forum?

We're also very much interested in hearing from humans who have vestibular issues or nystagmus - for whom the world also spins - who would be willing to speak from Munequita's perspective so we can understand her world and maybe pick up tips on things that help.

Thank you.
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CarolC
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Re: Munequita is a Canine GME survivor with disabilities

Post by CarolC »

Hi Moon_and_Stars,
:welcome:

That's cute about putting her in the stroller and if someone notices her, they let her go. :lol:

I can understand wanting to always keep an eye on her with seizures, and I don't have an answer for that. The issue of her being just mobile enough to hurt herself might be solved with a baby playpen. A playpen is a safe, soft way to contain a little dog. I am not sure what you would do about the water bowl, as you probably need to be sure she can't accidentally fall in the water. You may already have ideas on that based on experience. Usually I just use a tip proof bowl, but she might need one that is both tip proof and elevated so if she falls onto her side, she will not be able to have her face in the water. Here are 3 different examples of a baby playpen for a small dog, if you just get a safer water bowl. The one with the smaller blanket would probably be more appropriate.

Katie_sitting_sm.JPG
playpen-pink.jpg
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When a dog with neurological issues is having trouble walking in one direction, it may help to let the dog do Figure 8's in the difficult direction for practice.



I'm not sure what other groups might be available. I used to know some of the Yahoo groups, but since Yahoo groups closed down, the various groups transferred to many different platforms. There used to be a Canine Epilepsy group on Yahoo but I'm not sure where they migrated to. Looking...I think this is their new home.

https://groups.io/g/k9epileptics

There is a UK-based canine epilepsy group on Facebook. I don't know anything about either group.

https://www.facebook.com/annemorley.21/

People here completely understand the issue of caregiver stress, whether they've dealt with a seizure dog or not. We've all been there and done that! Big time! You may find more information on the special issues related to seizures in one of the specialty groups, but you can always come here for support for stress, brainstorming ideas, or just to be with others who are caring for special needs pets.

:gang:
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critters
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Re: Munequita is a Canine GME survivor with disabilities

Post by critters »

:strobe: Wow! I'm on my 4th brain damaged permakitten, most of whom are/were quite severe, most with multiple disabilities, and I can't say that I've ever had quite the constellation of wonkiness y'all have. Frankly, that's saying something! :mrgreen:

Baby, who is the poster child for the "Wanting to Adopt" board was quite severe and went all kinds of places with me, usually slung over my left shoulder like a sack of flour, that being her favorite spot. God forbid the right shoulder!

Ares, my current wonker, is a more generalized mess, although he isn't as retarded as I'd thought. He's still NO genius, and he's the weirdest cat I've ever met, which is also saying something. :hysterical:

Do you know about the Facebook dog cerebellar hypoplasia groups? While your baby isn't technically a CHer (neither is Ares), brain damage tends to be brain damage. One I showed on search is https://www.facebook.com/groups/1770440379934681/ andhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/966380903376136/ . I personally don't know anything about either.
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