Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's Scheduled

Well, I couldn't take it anymore.  I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with a vet at the same place where we took Lexi before.  I guess technically she's an ortho vet (not sure?) but her specialty is rehabilitation, so I think it will be helpful.  She was also recommended by a couple agility people around here, so I think that's a good start.

I would love to start Lexi on a rehab program, but I'm frustrated because we don't even have a diagnosis!  Sure, "muscle injury" but I don't even know what muscle.

I'm sure my boss is just loving all my "sorry I'm going to be out/late/leave early because of a vet appointment" excuses. 

Also, really loving the whole mashed-up-healthy-things in Kongs idea.  Yesterday both dogs enjoyed some mashed up banana and kibble in a Kong.

Went out to do some agility with Bentley and took Lexi in the yard.  She worked uber-boring things like stays, heeling, and more stays.  Speaking of which--any tips on getting her to NOT bark when she's working?  For instance, she barks when released, she barks when asked to do something (like get into the heel position).

Bentley got to run twice before our neighbors let their dogs out.  Poor guy.  Thinking of entering him in a couple events at the end of the month.  But, we have a long way to go so we'll have to play it by ear.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Musings from a sad sheltie

Jokingly, we've always said that Lexi's outlook is that she wakes up and every day is the best day of her life. It's partially true!  She's happy and enthusiastic from the minute she wakes up.

And now, I say she says every day is the worst day of her life!  She's pathetic.  She's bored, she's whiny, she barks constantly...it's terrible.  I feel awful for her, but she's also being a bit of a brat.

Before she would bark once before going outside, before getting her leash on, after being released (from a sit etc...) and now it's an onslaught of barking.  She doesn't get fed if she's barking and the other night we waited 20 minutes for her to stop barking/crying for 30 seconds!

She's still getting daily walks, but no running or playing or being on the furniture.  Because she's so excitable I can't really even work on tricks with her because she throws herself around so fast that I'm afraid she'd inadvertently hurt herself.

So, she's really miserable is the moral of the story.

She's gotten really sweet, though, when we get in the x-pen with her.  I sit with her in the x-pen several times a day and she crawls into my lap.  It's adorable! 

To catch everyone up on how she's doing, she seems fine.  Diana was nice enough to share her experience with rehab vets, and I decided that would be a good way to go.  I searched high and low and got a recommendation from two people.  And both people recommended a woman who works for the man that we took Lexi to see last week!

So, we decided that we are going to give her a month off from exercise, and then take her back in (our appointment is the first week in September).  Our appointment is with the main vet there, so hopefully he can give us some more information, and then tell us if he thinks rehab is the way to go with her.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lexi's Injury: In Detail

Caution: This is a long, detailed post about Lexi's injury.  It's likely quite boring to everyone (including me).  I plan to use it as a reference in case it's needed in the weeks/months to come.

Does she look pathetic, or what?!

The whole story…

I want to write everything down so that in the follow up appointments (crossing my fingers that there aren’t any!) that I have a good record of exactly what happened.

Two weeks ago in class I made a poorly timed rear cross and Lexi slipped while turning to her right.  Her left rear leg went out from under her and she immediately lifted it up—non weight bearing.  I picked her up and put her in the car.  Went back to check on her a few minutes later and she set had set her foot down.  When we opened the crate she walked out—no more limping. 

We put her on crate rest for two days.  No walks, no jumping, no running.  She seemed fine (incredibly bored) so we started taking her for short walks to see how she’d do and she had no trouble.  Walks were increased, though we kept her from running, chasing or any agility for the entire week. 

The following week we took her to class and decided to see how she would do.  She was tugging like crazy (pushing off her back legs like she always does) so we decided to jump her at 12” just to keep an eye on things.  The first sequence she did great.  She was running at her usual speed, turning like normal, etc…The sequence included the dogwalk as well.  The second sequence was much more difficult.   Again, I placed a last minute rear cross (this time turning to the left) and she immediately slipped and came up lame on the same leg holding it up in the same way.  We put her right in the car (where she set the leg down) and we left.  45 minutes later we got home and she walked around outside with no more limp.

The following morning we went to see the orthopedic vet.  After the physical exam the vet found nothing.  A very slight movement in the left patella (slightly luxating) but was not able to manually displace it.  Several months ago our veterinary chiropractor remarked the same thing—that she was able to move the patella just slightly, but not much.  We then took her to a vet familiar with agility who confirmed the same sentiment—slight movement but not even a grade I.

Lexi showed no discomfort on the physical exam though she did show slight hesitation when he tried to move her patella on both knees. The vet commented that this is likely uncomfortable for all dogs, so not necessarily an important indicator.  There was also no inflammation or heat coming from anywhere.  The vet mentioned that her hocks were very stable.

He then attempted to get her to run (to try to recreate the limp to examine exactly at the time of injury) but she was too worried about the environment to run.  I was a bit surprised that she wouldn’t run for him, but he had her in the small exercise area out back with other dogs and she was more interested in sniffing the ground.  The vet student did mention that she jogged a bit and limped slightly—but the resident we spoke to did not confirm this.  He only said that they brought her back and both he and the orthopedic specialist re-examined her and found nothing.  Again, neither were able to luxate her patella at this time.

I did ask the resident if he thought it would be helpful to take an x-ray.  He said that he was happy to do it, but did not think it was necessary at this time.  He said that x-rays are more often used to confirm a diagnosis, and in Lexi’s case—there was no diagnosis other than muscle injury/soreness.  He said that an issue with the patella would be difficult to see on an x-ray because she is at rest, and based on her physical examination there is nothing wrong with her while at rest—only exercise induced (and specific exercise at that).

I specifically asked about a CCL or ACL injury and he said definitely not—that all of that was stable and good.  That’s a big relief.  I also called him back to ask if they had checked for luxation of the superficial digital flexor tendon and he said that they had.  He said that she would have shown pain or heat on manipulation in that area and she did not.  He said that it was possible that it was tendonitis of some kind, but the prescription for that would be exactly what he recommended to us at this point.

His conclusion was to recommend a month of limited exercise (walking on leash only) because she is so active.  He hopes that with a re-introduction of exercise and sport that she will be fine, but admitted that we could be seeing them again in a month for the exact same symptoms.

I honestly am at a loss.  Some people have suggested a second opinion, but honestly these are some of the leading veterinarians in the field of orthopedics (this is at Ohio State’s facility).  I am not even sure what the next step would be. 

Part of me thinks it’s something other than muscle injury/soreness.  I feel like that would present differently—possibly limping every time she is exercised.  But I also know from Bentley’s injury that that isn’t the case.  He has (had?) a confirmed muscle injury, but we only saw him limp on 2 occasions.  I guess it’s possible that the muscle could only tweak when she turns a certain way (a rear cross would indicate maybe her head is turned looking at me while her body is turning the other way, and her leg slipped causing the twinge of pain).

Another part of me thinks that the luxating patella fits.  A luxating patella fits because it’s said that it is only painful as it luxates over the bony ridge.  Once it is displaced (or replaced) it is no longer painful.  Dogs often present by immediate limping, and a low grade luxation will just pop right back into place and the dogs are good to go again, which fits 100% with her limping symptoms.  But, the fact the 4 vets could not manually luxate the patella doesn’t fit.  Even the lowest grade definition of a luxating patella reads “the kneecap can be moved out of place manually but will fall back into its natural position once the manipulator lets go”.  That doesn’t fit at all since no one can manually displace her kneecap.  And only a grade II luxating patella could potentially require surgery, and that’s defined “kneecap does not move back to its normal position when the manipulator lets go” and that definitely doesn’t fit.

I wish I had insisted that we get Lexi moving, running and turning to try to recreate the injury/limp.  Now we are sitting on a month of crate rest with no definite diagnosis.

But, I feel like right now there is no other option we can take.  I don’t think a second opinion would help, and we’re already seeing the best vets around (and several of them, at that!)  We have a re-check scheduled for the first week in September.  I’m hoping that that will give us one week to get her back into exercising and we can see if there’s any residual limp or any issues.  If not, we’ll cancel the appointment.  If so, we’re back to square one which means x-rays, possibly MRI, and any other diagnostic test we can think of.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sad, Disappointed and Frustrated

Lexi is hurt. I'm afraid it's something serious (remind me not to do internet research--I assume the worst).

I'm calling the orthopedic vet this morning, but it could be a while before we get an appointment.

Anyways, I'm borderline too upset to even talk about it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We're Getting There! (Bentley's Recovery)

Bentley has now been on a restricted exercise regimen for 7 weeks.  The vet recommended 6, but we are trying to be very careful.  He has been able to be walked, and in the past week or so we've increased the length and intensity of his walks knowing that that was the first step to rehabbing him back to agility.

It's so hard to say if he is "ready"--though he certainly thinks he is!  But we haven't seen any signs of soreness or limping since the trial the first weekend in June, and his vet appointment where he showed some soreness was 3 weeks ago.  Since this weekend we've been jogging for 15-30 seconds at the end of his walks and gauging his body language.  He really is loving it and again, no signs of soreness or stiffness.

Last night we decided to take it to the next level.  He's been allowed to chase Lexi and Bimmer around the house for a few seconds here and there, and that combined with the running in the evenings, I wanted to get him in the yard to do some agility-like exercises.  I took all the bars out, and just did some easy handling to the tunnel.  He was in HEAVEN!  I was so pleased--he was a happy boy.  I know that he can be very stoic so I am watching him like a hawk.  He is still taking a Rimadyl in the evenings, but I massaged him when we came back in and again, he seemed fine.

I am so happy to see him out and running again. I really hope that this is the end of his muscle issue, but only time will tell.  We're going to keep going with the light running/swimming plan.   Tonight we're going to take him to class and let him run (no bars) in between classes to see how he holds up.  Hopefully our trainer can take a look at him and see what she thinks--I'm crossing my fingers!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Troubled Tuesday

I try really hard not to complain too much on my blog.  I don't want to be negative so I usually don't post on the nights that I'm feeling down.  But tonight, I have to get it out.

I'm having a crappy week.

First, work is incredibly stressful.  I'm working on a couple huge projects and not getting any direction from the people I'm working for.  Also, my contract is up on the 28th, and no one will tell me if they're going to re-up it or not.  I've given up asking because they won't tell me.  But that's super stressful.

And then earlier this week a coworker of mine said something really snarky to me.  I admit, I'm very sensitive...but it was unprofessional.  She is a bully and no one does anything about it.   I know I should just grow a thicker skin and get over it, but I can't.  I feel like I've been on the verge of tears all week.

Bentley has been on crate rest for about 6 weeks now.  He's being such a good boy, but I know he is really bored.  He's been so much more reactive both in and out of the house because he has no outlet for his energy.  He's been getting some long walks around the neighborhood which I know he enjoys, but it's just not the same.  I always said that I would retire him from agility when he got his ADCh, but now I know that he would be sad.  He really likes working along side us.

And now, icing on the cake, Lexi is hurt.  I'm praying that it's nothing serious, but I'm a worrier and with the way my week is going, I just don't know.  We were running a sequence in class and I put in a really late, crappy rear cross.  Because it was so poorly executed she turned late, and her rear left leg slipped out from under her.  I noticed right away she was hurt, though she didn't yelp.  I picked her up and we were done.  At first she wouldn't put any weight on it and was holding it up.  And then she at least would put it down.  We came home about 45 minutes later and at least she was walking on it (to go to the bathroom).  I gave her one of Bentley's Rimadyls (geez, now the whole family has had a few of 'em!).

 I thought I might cry.  Why do I keep hurting my dogs?  I feel like they are on a good diet and exercise regimen and now they are both hurt.  I feel so terrible.

I always prided myself on loving my dogs a ton, but knowing that they are dogs and not kids.  But laying in bed looking at Lexi in the crate (she hasn't slept in a crate in our house for almost 2 years now) I feel like a monster!  She looks so sad--my heart is breaking for her.

Is this terrible week over yet?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Vacation (And a trial, of course!)

We had a really fun time this weekend with our agility friends.  Jonathan starts his job on Monday, so we took a mini-vacation to SC.  We needed it after our few days sans power (keep an eye out for a blog on this!)

Dogs didn't seem to mind the new crate set up much.

 On the 4th we had a wonderful cookout with our friends at Low Country Dog Agility (check out their blog!)  It was so nice to catch up with everyone as it has been a while!  We also ran a Standard course and it was so fun to see how everyone has progressed since we saw them last.  (Bentley just watched--but seemed to enjoy all the attention and treats that he got!)  Lexi looked good, but is getting a little odd about the weaves.  More to come on that below...

We ate some delicious seafood while we were there!

The dogs pretty much spent the rest of the trip in the hotel room or in a crate in the car.  We broke the trip up and instead of driving for 11 hours at once, we stopped halfway coming and going.  It was nice for us, but not so nice for the dogs.  They aren't allowed to play (= barking) in hotel rooms, and it was WAY too hot to walk them!  Needless to say, both were a bit amped!

On Saturday we were entered in the CPA trial in Raleigh, NC.  We had so much fun catching up with agility friends we haven't seen in forever.   Originally Bentley was supposed to run as well, but he was on week 4 of crate rest, so poor guy had to watch.  Lucky for him our friend Erin wanted a dog to play with a bit before running her dog Jefferson.  Bentley loved it--and got to eat a lot of steak, too!

Lexi was entered in 5 events on Saturday, and had a blast.  Attached are the videos...

Masters Gamblers

I really liked the opening here.  Lexi was responsive and I had a fairly decent plan!  I even changed it last minute (usually a frightening decision!).  Of course I had way too much time and stood around for awhile and was out of position when the buzzer went off.  D'oh!  You can hear Stuart tell me "send her now!" at around 43 seconds.  Even if she hadn't dropped that bar I don't know if I could have gotten her out to the final jump.

Masters Pairs Q:

You can really see her weave issue here.  I don't know if the entry was "too hard" so she didn't feel like trying, or if she worried over it (this issue started after Jonathan's Snooker run at Incredipaws last month), or maybe it was because I wasn't right there with her.  This is something we'll really need to work on.

Masters Snooker Super Q:
This was an AMAZING run.  And I was so worried and watching so intently that you can't see anything in the video.  Darn it!  She had beautiful collection in a few places, and really looked great.  She was one of the few dogs to complete the course. (Jonathan did two 6s and two 7s). 

Masters Standard:

Another almost!  I told my husband after I walked the course that the approach to the a-frame was one of my biggest concerns.  I wanted to accelerate to make sure that I pushed her out over that double (she has a tendency to knock doubles) and it was not a straight line.  But, I was afraid if I did that that she wouldn't make the turn.  And she didn't--but totally my fault.  After that I had zero stress and was very proud of the rest of her run (I made her hold her a-frame and teeter, but quick released her dogwalk.  Loved them all!)

Masters Jumpers:

Again, almost.  Despite her lack of Qing, I again was so happy with her.  Not only did she have a great time (as usual) but so did I!  We felt really connected and that's an awesome feeling.  I'm not sure why she dropped the bar in this run, but I felt like it was a tough course, and full of things that are Lexi's weaknesses (sends and post turns!)  At 15 seconds she lines up and perfectly takes that jump headed towards the straight away.  Sounds easy, but usually she just launches over jumps at whatever angle!  If you notice at the end she turns and barks at me and backs into the wall.  She started limping right afterwards (oh no!) and is resting the next couple days (though she seems totally fine now, I think it was just bruised).

Lexi is worn out!  Bentley wants to run!