Update on Buster — May 30, 2006

This article was written by Wendy. 

At this time Buster is making great strides, literally. As last week drew to a close he started to push himself around the floor more enthusiastically. As anticipated, his rear end is stronger than the front (which we expected due to the location of the injury, which is right where the nerves controlling the front legs attach to the spinal cord). By Saturday he was righting his rear end by himself and shoving forward on his down front end in sort of a ‘commando crawl’. He has progressed to being able to support his weight on all 4 feet and taking a few halting steps before the front end gives out and he tumbles over.

He has plenty of strength in all 4 legs, but the problem remains in the proprioception, which is knowing where one’s body parts are without looking at them. This is always the first thing to go and the last thing to return in this sort of injury due to the way the associated nerve tracts are positioned in the spinal cord, so we are encouraged that it is beginning to come back to him at all. In humans, we lose proprioception not only when we have traumatic injuries like Buster’s, but also when we drink too much; hence the “drunk test” of touching your nose with your eyes closed. It’s why we stumble around after too many beers… we just don’t know where our feet are without seeing them anymore. So at this point it is honest to say that Buster’s movement is like a VERY drunk person’s… he is strong but terribly uncoordinated.

Buster rolls over the tops of his feet and can’t bother to place them correctly on the floor (pad side down), so he tumbles over. Fortunately, he’s rather low to the ground to begin with, so a tumble is not a major trauma. After a few good steps (usually to escape his own waste or to get to food) he falls over and gives up and lays there until someone comes to fetch him.

He is eating well but still has some loose stools, which I attribute to the high doses of Vitamin E he has been taking to help his nervous function. We have stopped this tonight as he is progressing so well and we are hopeful his bowels will firm back up soon. Overall his spirits seem to be pretty good. You can tell he gets frustrated when he wants to do something he can’t, but mostly what he seems to want to do is eat and sit next to us on the couch, and those things are currently within his reach.

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