Today we speak with Kindel about life with Edna. Edna has cerebellar hypoplasia which is a congenital disorder in which the cerebellum (the part of the brain responsible for coordination) does not fully develop. In Edna's case her cerebellum is almost non-existent.
What is a regular day like with Edna?
On weekdays we get up early. I lift Edna out of the playpen that she sleeps in (yes all 55lbs of her!) and everyone goes outside to go potty and get some energy out with a lap around the yard.
Edna is able to walk on her own so she will do her business outside. When she's ready she walks back in the house, has a drink and then sits by the kitchen sink while I make breakfast. Edna eats Honest Kitchen food which is dehydrated human grade food which takes a few minutes to mix and prepare. Once made, I place Edna back in her playpen with her breakfast and I get ready for work and head out.
On my lunch break I come home for an hour or so and let Edna and the rest of the crew out to play. When I leave she is placed back into the playpen. Once a week Edna and her siblings go to doggy daycare and play for the entire day, which she LOVES and comes home exhausted but happy.
Once I return home for the evening everyone gets let out again to play outside. I let Edna play inside as long as she has a diaper on. She tends to drink a lot once she comes in from playing so the diaper helps to avoid any accidents. At the end of the day I make Edna's dinner (similar to her breakfast) and place both the food and Edna into her pen and we call it a night.
Weekends are spent similar to weekdays although we're home a lot more so there is more playtime during the day. Sometimes we have youth soccer games to attend as Edna's dad is the coaching. If it's a nice day, and a home game, we will bring Edna to visit with everyone. She loves the attention!
What tips would you recommend for other dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia?
I would highly recommend a rehab plan early on if at all possible. A full body harness can be helpful in the beginning as well to help assist your pet with walking. Another tip I'd offer is a lot of large cushioned area rugs or mats for your dog to play on inside so that they don't fall and hurt themselves.
Have you tried physical therapy? Did it help?
Edna did therapy for several months at the University of Florida's small animal hospital. She started off using a dog wheelchair to learn the forward movement and help keep her legs moving in the right direction. Once she progressed she moved on to using and underwater treadmill to help build her muscles and work on her gate. She's also trying acupuncture as well.
What advice would you offer someone who has a dog with cerebellar hypoplasia?
The biggest piece of advice I could offer someone with a dog in a similar situation would be to socialize their dog with other dogs frequently. Edna has been close with my blind dog Gertrude since day one and they've played non-stop since meeting. Edna was always trying to follow Gertrude and in the end, I think the best therapy Edna has had is Gertrude playing with her and encouraging her to follow.
Also, try not to baby your dog too much. Yes, they will fall and yes they will get back up again. If you encourage them in a positive manner and offer only little help when necessary, they can handle a lot more than you think