A few weeks ago Max, our nearly 6 year old Coton de Tulear was diagnosed with Granulomatous meningoencephalitis or GME for short. He spent a week at The Cornell University Hospital for Animals (Thursday July 10 – Wednesday July 16, 2014). Last week I gave a detailed progress report.
This week’s update is much shorter. Max has gone from stuperous to a real dog in under two weeks, and we cannot believe the progress that he’s made!
Since last week, Hubby and I have noticed changes in Max’s behavior and personality. In the past, Hubby always called Max a “cat that barks”. Max has always had a lot of cat-like tendencies including the need to be the leader (let’s face it, this is also small dog syndrome), no interest in food unless it meets his culinary standards (which were a lot higher than mine), and his ability to sleep a long time and play at his schedule, not ours.
Many of these tendencies seem to be changing. Oh not, the “alpha” struggle. That is still going strong. But he’s suddenly become food motivated. Max is on prednisolone which is a steroid. Side effects include hunger, and believe me when I tell you Max is now hungry. When he went to rehab Friday, they wanted to lead him over a series of low bars, but knew Max didn’t respond to food. I suggested they give a treat another try since Max has become food-interested. Man did Max perform for that dog treat! This would have been unheard of prior to July 4th.
This past week, in addition to several days of rehab, Max also had a bath. Since he isn’t allowed to be near other dogs, the groomer came to our house. It took her three hours to get him (mostly) dematted, washed and dried.
It was like a different dog when she finished!
Not only was he clean and purdy, that bath seemed to energize him, and tire him out. That evening and the next day, Max got more on track with his sleeping. He hasn’t slept well since he returned home from the veterinary hospital. It seemed like his bath made him feel more Max-like, and he slept well that evening! He also took several hour-long naps the next day.
Hubby and I had been very concerned that Max wasn’t sleeping enough, and what sleep he was getting wasn’t very restful. Since he seemed to do better with his coordination when rested, his fitful sleeping was a great concern to us. For whatever reason, his grooming seemed to make him feel better/more himself, and he has been getting better rest since he was groomed. It could be as simple as his knots were causing discomfort, and with them gone he felt a lot better. I honestly do not know.
Max had his first non-crate ride the other day when Hubby took him with him on a short errand. Max could balance in Hubby’s truck, as well as see and respond to walking dogs, joggers and bicyclists. This again told us he is getting “back to being Max”.
His walks are still very, very short. The rehab-vet told us he lost a lot of muscle mass, so we are to build him up slowly. That is fine. He can make it to the end of the block right now. I am hoping around the block comes soon, and then we build from there!
Max’s bark is now deeper. Thank goodness for small favors because man he had a yappy, high-pitched bark before that could really hurt my ears. Now he sounds almost like a real dog!
And something else that has definitely changed (at least for now), is I am his favorite, not Hubby. You have no idea what a big deal this is in our house. Max has always suffered me, and vied with me for alpha. For now at least, he prefers me to Hubby, although he still vies with me for alpha.
Max returns to Cornell in two weeks for more chemo therapy. Unless something happens between now and then, I will make this my last update until that chemo session. I will have a new health and status update at that time. For now I will say we cannot believe how improved he is, and continue to hope for more improvement as the treatment continues.
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