Image maps are pretty cool. You can turn any image into a link on a web page, but an image map allows you to have different links depending on what part of the picture someone clicks on. On the covered bridge web page, I had an image map of the United States with links to each state that had a covered bridge web page. I found the picture and code on another site and then modified it for my use. That way I didn’t have to program in the shape of each state since they were there already.
I have been using commercial antivirus software for a while. I don’t know that it is necessary to do this because Windows has some decent protection as part of Microsoft Security Essentials or Defender or whatever they are calling it. Plus there are some free tools that are pretty good. But Fry’s always has antivirus software that you can buy and then get a rebate for the entire price, making it free. So far I have always gotten the rebates, but twice I had problems, once with Kaspersky and once with Norton, where they told me I didn’t fill in the submission correctly. However, after I complained they sent me the rebates anyway. Sometimes I will get a couple of products the same year just to try them out. I had written about past experiences a few times already. Right now I like Norton the best because it only scans when I am away from the desktop whereas McAfee takes 8 hours or so to scan on my laptop (better than Kaspersky which I gave up on after the scan took many days).
Recently Katie has had a hard time walking. Indoors her back legs will slip and sometimes she will collapse. Outdoors we went for a walk and her back right foot would drag a little, causing a scrape on the top of her foot. I don’t think she is in pain since the damage seems to be neurological, but falling down and getting scrapes can’t be good either. I do think the exercise helps. I had some of that tacky stuff that goes underneath area rugs to keep them from slipping so I put some of that underneath towels and comforters so she could get some good footing in places. But I couldn’t do the whole house. The comforter in the living room has become almost like a pen that she doesn’t want to leave. When I come home she stands up and stands at the edge, waiting for me to come pet her.
I took Katie in to a veterinary specialist today to see if they could figure out what is wrong with her back legs not working. I had guessed that it might be degenerative myelopathy earlier based on symptoms, but knew that it could be something like a slipped disk too. The neurologist asked me about what was going on then checked out her eyes and facial nerves. Then tried all four legs and then palpated her spine, finding a very sensitive spot about halfway down her back. Then we walked her outside and he watched her walk around. When we came back in he gave me his thoughts.
He feels like she has something wrong in one of her disks or maybe a tumor pushing on her spine. He said it isn’t just her back legs, but her front legs look like they are acting a little funny as well (though not nearly as bad). He then outlined a series of tests that could be done to pinpoint the exact problem. One of these is a myelogram where they put dye into the spinal cord and take an x-ray which then might show what kind of damage there is. Plus bloodwork, anesthesia, etc., the tests were going to be about $3,200. One of the possible problems he mentioned was Wobbler Disease, which is some kind of spinal cord problem which is usually associated with disk damage or something like that. I looked it up in my copy of Wikipedia while I was waiting for them to take x-rays of Katie and it said the treatment is usually either surgery which may not be effective, or steroids, which is what he was recommending anyway. On the bill, the steroids were $9. So we’ll see how that goes. He said the x-rays showed some arthritis in her spine, which is typical for old dogs and may put pressure on the spine. They didn’t see any tumors, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. And they couldn’t see disk damage because the disks don’t show up without an MRI or CT scan.
Meanwhile I hope to get Katie’s sneakers in the mail which will give her better footing indoors (I put some comforters and blankets down in the house with no-slip things that go under rugs and she has quickly learned to stay on those) and keep her from getting her feet scraped up when she drags them on walks. For disk damage I need to cut back on her walks, rather than keeping up with the walks as therapy for myelopathy. I may order a doggie wheelchair if her back end doesn’t get any better. Everything I see on the internet is for dogs who got wheelchairs and then died later because the dogs are usually pretty old by the time they get a wheelchair anyway. The good thing about these nerve-related problems is she isn’t in much pain and is otherwise pretty alert and normal.
I never watched the TV sitcom Big Bang Theory, but recently Channel 17 (used to be TBS but is now WPCH, Peachtree TV, and has different programming than TBS) has started airing two episodes a day Monday through Friday. With a DVR it is easy to get every episode and WPCH has been very considerate by airing them in order separated about halfway through the four season run. I have been watching for a month but can’t possibly keep up with so many episodes, thus filling up my hard drive. But there are less than 100 shows so it only takes 9 weeks of recording to get everything. I am getting pretty close, and I have been able to delete one of the timers since it has caught up with the shows I recorded with the other timer. Plus the show is still airing on prime time so I get the most recent season once a week.
It’s a pretty good show, about 4 science geeks and a normal girl. It is usually pretty dumb with it’s oversimplified exaggerated portrayal of nerdom, but occasionally brilliant. And it comes up day-to-day, with a person at work pointing out a parallel with a group of us who eat lunch together at designated places for the day of the week, which the nerds do for dinner (and you have to admit that it is pretty geeky to do that for dinner).
Several episodes have included the song “Soft Kitty” which the weirdest science geek, Sheldon, likes to have sung to him when he is sick (in one episode, the girl offers to sing the song to him when he is sad after feeling betrayed by his friends, but he points out that “Soft Kitty” is only for when he is sick, and there is no song for when he is sad, concluding “I’m not a child”).
Soft kitty, warm kitty
Little ball of fur
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty
Purr, purr, purr
I looked this up on some wikis about the show. They pointed out (I don’t know how they know things like this) that the song is real, though it is called “Warm Kitty” and reverses the kitties in the first and second lines (“Warm kitty, soft kitty” and “Sleepy kitty, happy kitty”). Maybe the writers of the TV show changed it to avoid copyright problems (don’t know if that would hold up, since it’s still obviously the same thing), but I do think they improved it. “Soft kitty” is a much funnier name for the song and it seems appropriate to end on “sleepy kitty” if the idea is to put someone to sleep.
Lately Katie has had more trouble walking than usual. She has been arthritic for a while and had two knee surgeries, but things have gotten worse. A couple of times she has just fallen down. She doesn’t seem to be in a lot of pain, her back legs just don’t seem to work correctly. I took her to the vet today and they ruled out a couple of things and said they would try increasing the dosage of an anti-inflammatory that she takes already. They also said it could be neurological rather than arthritis and they could refer me to a neurologist, but the tests get pretty expensive. I asked would there be that many treatment options after going through all the expensive tests and the vet wasn’t sure. Katie is 12 years old, which is getting pretty old for a black lab.
Later I was reading about a condition called degenerative myelopathy. It is a disease of the spinal cord and nerves in older dogs where the myelin sheath of the nerves starts to degrade and disrupts the communication of signals from the brain to the muscles. It isn’t painful like arthritis, but it does cause dogs to fall down and affects their back ends usually. The degenerative aspect means it gets worse and worse and the back legs of the dog can be completely paralyzed in months and even spread to the front legs. If Katie has this, it is not good. But the decline has been pretty sharp lately making me think it isn’t just arthritis, though it could also be a ruptured disk. I am thinking that if I take her to the neurologist they may be able to narrow it down quickly or maybe just start treatments as if she has the condition and see if that works, skipping the expensive tests and hoping the treatment isn’t that expensive.
In the meantime, since her legs don’t work that great, I thought I’d get her some shoes and my vet recommended some good ones from neopaws.com. These will give her better traction on the floors indoors and can protect her feet if she drags them while we are on walks (I got the summertime/indoor type instead of some of the cold or wet weather ones). David helped me trace her foot so we could order the correct size. They cost about as much as my shoes, but I am only getting them for the back legs. Exercise is actually supposed to help slow the effects, so if it helps her exercise that will be good, even though it won’t do anything for the overall weakness and collapses. They also make those wheeled carts for the back ends of dogs that could work, including one that lets them still walk but the wheels keep them from collapsing. Fish oil tablets, which I would give her sometimes anyway, are also supposed to help, along with Vitamin E (3V Caps is a brand of fish oil tablet for dogs that has Vitamin E added). Changing her flea and heartworm medication may also help, and the brand Revolution is recommended by one site, so I may order some of that.
Once we got back to the car, I showed him the box. Not only are these two things that David can’t eat since they have gluten (and an extra sore point is that people with Celiac disease tend to agree that pizza is one of the things they miss the most), but the idea of combining two things with so many calories that are so bad for you in one box is just amazing. David was suitably outraged. We imagined there must also be a Saturday morning ad campaign to go with this product, telling kids to go ask their parents for Pizza and Cookies for dinner. What a product.