iliopsoas

We finally got Lu to the rehab vet guy last night. He had come highly recommended by some friends so we drove the hour + out of town to the very fancy vet practice. He asked what was going on and I told him: “Nothing really, just a feeling. She walks funny, doesn’t seem free of movement, jumps weird, pace-walks often, Oh, and I noticed recently that she can’t bend.” 

So we walked up and back in their rehab area, and went in and out of some cones (and can I say, her FOCUS for this was incredible??? I didn’t have food on me, we were in a completely new place with so many distractions, and I was basically asking her to heel… and yet, she was prancing along, nipping my sleeve, jumping and bouncing… she probably thought I had treats so hopefully wasn’t too disappointed when I didn’t provide!), and then they laid her on her side to check her out (and she HATES being forced onto her side). Then BAM – found a SUPER sensitive, super painful spot.

“Typical iliopsoas sprain,” the vet says. And I instantly remember reading that these take at least 6 weeks of rest to recover. Great.

So he says we can either do laser therapy twice a week for 2-3 weeks, and rehab stretches and exercises, or do a longer period of rest and anti-inflams. I’m all for the ‘get it stronger for a permanent solution’ so I’m going rehab and laser. In the meantime, I have to try and avoid her bending – so, no wrestling with Loki, no running around off-lead… Nice on-lead walks only. Oh boy. But the stricter I am now, the faster it will heal, and given that we’re moving house in a little under a month it’s actually probably the ideal time to have to do this as I can dedicate weekends to packing or driving to the new place with stuff rather than training. 

Not that we’ve been training anyway. As I thought about it on the way home, I figured out that we’ve probably had 2 good weeks of training since January. Because she got sick in January- then had about 6-8 weeks recovery before we started anything. When we started it was only backyard stuff and only weaves. When she was able to do courses again, I sprained my calf muscle so we had about another 4-6 weeks of only light/no training. Then my calf got better and the ground has been so soggy and slippery that we haven’t been able to train very much/at all, OH! And then she got desexed so was out for a couple of weeks there, and now she needs another (???) weeks rest off. Yes, I’ve been going to the training club some Saturdays but I hardly think that once a week running a sequence once or twice and doing a dogwalk a couple of times counts as training. So, oh well. What the hell is another 6-8-10 weeks hey? Might as well try and see out the year at this rate! 

But at least now there’s something to work on – I don’t expect it will fix her jumping style, I have a feeling that’s just how she is structurally, but it should certainly help her be able to turn easier, and move freer (that’s a weird word, just saying) and maybe therefore run faster and weave better! Maybe that’s why she was having so much trouble with her weaves, too!! 

And I’m glad I wasn’t just paranoid or seeing things that weren’t there, too.  Time to do some research and take these dogs for a nice on-lead walk (except Loki, who needs to RUN daily).

on the plus side

I hate the world and everything in it and I'm never leaving my crate ever again. Ever.

I hate the world and everything in it and I’m never leaving my crate ever again. Ever.

As I mentioned, Lu was getting (and did get) spayed on Monday. The operation went very well and I picked her up Monday afternoon wobbly and tired but happy to see me. Being Lumen, I knew instantly the effect that having a shaved stomach with stitches in would have on her so we got her home, set up a crate with a nice soft comfortable bed, and in she went. And she slept, and slept, and slept so deeply I worried she wasn’t waking up, but she woke up. And she ate with a big appetite. 

The next day she was not so wobbly or tired, and I took her into school. She slept in her crate and hardly lifted her head. 

The thing that I find funniest about her is that she’ll be fine, right, happy to be walking around, tail wagging, normal girl- and then suddenly, her stomach gets ‘activated’ and she twitches, spasms and dives for the nearest soft thing- whether that’s a bed, a blanket, a towel, a couch, a cushion, and she’ll curl up in the smallest ball and look so sad and worried. When she was sick last time she must have been feeling much worse because she was hardly up and about by this point. But we’ve been doing some games and training and went for a walk in the morning (which seems to take her mind off it)… And then this morning I took the paper tape off the incision and we’re back to 2 days ago where I have to take her harness and guide her off her bed and almost straight away she’ll spasm and be desperate to find somewhere to curl up again. 

So, on the plus side – keeping her quiet to heal is very easy because she’s quite content to curl up in a small ball and not move for a few hours. 

Loki on the other hand is going to be a real pain because he’s going to feel fine by day 2 and want to run around VERY FAST and play with Lu.

Ok, fine, but this is as FAR out as I'm coming. Now bring me food, right to my mouth. I'm not going to get up to eat or drink.

Ok, fine, but this is as FAR out as I’m coming. Now bring me food, right to my mouth. I’m not going to get up to eat or drink.

Lu just wants to be on something very soft and in a very small ball. 

big news (not really)

Crazed-dog lick attack. Post training, she was pestering me with her Christmas Flea toy, and then climbed on me and licked me.

Crazed-dog lick attack. Post training, she was pestering me with her Christmas Flea toy, and then climbed on me and licked me.

Weaves have been set up in the backyard! They only just fit! I’ll be throwing her toy into the garden! We did too many reps tonight! I have to remember to do only a few! I told her she was good even for the failed ones! It was very warm out there! She’s now very puffed! Maybe she’ll be weaving in a couple of months!!! Though, I can see her thinking so so much about getting those entries that she slows right down, but she’s so long that I can’t expect her to sprint in AND be able to get around tight enough so maybe it’s ok.

Another photo

I don't know why she looks so dopey. I don't look so bad considering it's week 1 of school and therefore week 1 of new preps.

I don’t know why she looks so dopey. I don’t look so bad considering it’s week 1 of school and therefore week 1 of new preps. Let me just say that I feel a lot more shit than I look. Or maybe I look shit, too, but I just think I look ok. That’s a possibility. 

 

 

probiotics

When Lu first got sick, before we knew what was wrong with her, my friend Kim suggested giving her some Protexin- a probiotic for animals.

I didn’t worry about it for a while because I read some sites which said not to give it to them while on antibiotics but decided to look into it today. Something prompted me to google “probiotics and helicobacter” (which is the spiral-shaped bacteria she has which the antibiotics may or may not have killed off and which cause me to be paranoid now every time she drinks a puddle or eats a bone because bacteria could interact with the helicobacter and make more ulcers) and I found this article, which is an actual journal article, not something someone’s typed up in their bedroom and posted on thebenefitsofprobiotics.com because you know how if you ever want to find something out, there’s people from one camp (take raw feeding for example) who’ll say it’s either the best, or the worst thing, and yet finding actual research is really difficult.

Well, this article’s abstract seems to suggest that taking probiotics “could present a low-cost, large-scale alternative solution to prevent or decrease H. pylori colonization”. Which is excellent, since the vet said they’ll probably never go away completely, or that they won’t ever know if they have gone away. The article also says: “animal studies demonstrated that probiotic treatment is effective in reducing H. pylori–associated gastric inflammation”. Which is also excellent!! Because that’s what she has!!! So, I went and bought a kilo of this stuff which goes on her food, so not only will it help get all her guts back to normal after being pumped full of medication and antibiotics but it could mean less helicobacter and therefore less chance of stomach ulcers in future. Yay!!!

Anyway, I’m not reading the rest of it because it gets very long and scientific and I like to stop reading before I get to the “… but” because then I don’t have to know that it won’t work.

 

(Almost) the saddest dog ever, beaten only when forced to wear a cool-coat.

(Almost) the saddest dog ever, beaten only when forced to wear a cool-coat. I think she looks quite skinny and athletic, no? Maybe I should make her wear underpants more often.

In the meantime she’s sulking cos I’ve made her wear underpants because she’s leaking everywhere from her season and, y’know, it’s kind of gross.

enthusiasm, drive, intensity

Super-focused and ready to heel!

I’m trying really, really hard to see the good things coming out of this situation with Lu- I have a new one.
I’ve been doing lots of trick shaping with her for her 3 meals and I’m noticing more and more the intensity she’s bringing to this training. Not her normal serious intensity, but tail-wagging, happy puppy, throwing herself into the session with speed and enthusiasm.
It’s so, so awesome. I love it so much. It makes me laugh, and then she does something even cuter.
I just so hope that this enthusiasm carries over to when we start agility again. I’m hoping that we’ll have a stronger ‘working’ relationship and more fun between us and this will come out in agility too. Because if she’s this cute and this funny when we’re doing agility, it’s going to be so sweet.

rehab plans

Spoke with my vet-acupuncturist today and have formulated a bit of a plan for the next couple of months.

She suggested no full-on A-frames and that kind of stuff for about 3 months so I guess that pushes back our agility debut by another month or two, sigh. In the meantime, the plan will be:

Next week or 2: stretching exercises, involving side to side motions like weaving through legs, hip-touches, hip-touches on wobble board, etc. Need to help her stretch her abdomen so she has some more elasticity since she will have lost some of its natural elasticity when the skin was cut.

Building up to walking in the bush- she suggested this was actually a really good thing to do a week or two from now as climbing over logs and all that stuff will help stretch her as well.

Swimming.
Tracking! We had a tracking lesson from a friend who owns her brother today. It was very easy, and fun. We can definitely do that almost every day if I want. Very low impact and a great way to feed her her dinner or breakfast! And given how well she’s sleeping just now, a good way to wear her out, too!

Rally-O training. Taking our heeling to the park, working on stamina, actually setting up a course. Still need to talk to someone in person who’s done Rally and get them to see how we’re going and make suggestions but all the stations are very doable at this stage, she just has to be able to hold attention for long enough!

After 2 weeks:
Jumping grids for a couple of weeks on low heights. This is good- I’m happy about this, means I have a really good reason to do grids, which I wanted to do anyway. I was thinking of joining Ann Croft’s jumping skills class– a high level competitor with a great dog took it and I don’t know if they knock bars as much now… She said it was a lot of jump grids but they were adjusted to suit what the individual dogs needed. Anybody know much about her? Heard any feedback? My vet friend said grids would again help her stretch out her internal stitches, giving her a better range of motion as she heals. (I’m so glad I spoke with her about this today actually, because I wouldn’t have thought she’d need to stretch like this, but if I didn’t know, I could have really lost some of her length of stride or ability to turn because she just wouldn’t be as flexible!). Also low set-point etc is fine. This is all excellent news. Not only will she get stretchy but she might learn some stuff about jumping

By this point she should be allowed to run a bit more as well so I’ll do some tunnel games.

And depending how her leg-weaving and side stretching as gone (and it should go well!) – weaves. This is the same motion as leg weaving and should help! Ha! Perfect excuse to do weaves! Particularly since they’re channel, she said that would be perfect, and as I close them she’ll get more stretching. Now I’m wondering if I can set them up in my little backyard. 😉

 

And then I guess give her two months or so and work back up to full height jumps… I’m not that worried about an A-Frame if I get it for free through RC training, I should have had a good solid month or two to close the weaves since I’ll be allowed to (ha ha!), I don’t think there’d be any issue with her doing a see-saw… So really, it will just be about getting her nice and flexible, get her stamina back (she was so fit before so I don’t think it will take too, too long) and getting her back to running full speed and jumping… remind her about dogwalks, get her on an A-frame and we should be good to go… Maybe we’ll get in the ring by May.

jump cups & frustrations

2 completely separate, unrelated topics in this post today.

Firstly, Lu went to the vet today to have her stitches out, but turns out they’ve all dissolved and fallen out anyway so they didn’t have to do anything. Left me wondering why I was back there, but hey. The worst news is that Lu isn’t allowed to run for another two and a half weeks. No off-lead walks, just gentle exercise. For another 2 weeks. Are you kidding me? One site I found said that dogs with her operation should have 3 weeks rest from the surgery so I’m thinking I bring her timeline forward by about half a week (which means gentle exercise for another week and a half) but even so, for my girl that seems like so, so, long. I definitely think we’ll start doing some Rally-O stuff outside, since heeling happens beautifully inside at a very slow indoors pace, and… not so beautifully outside. 😉

Does she look sick? She could be sick. And if she's sick, it's my fault because I let her run around too much when she should be crated..

Does she look sick? She could be sick. And if she’s sick, it’s my fault because I let her run around too much when she should be crated..

But in the meantime I have this feeling of frustration, I guess, and constant worry. The worry I only really noticed just now when Lu was acting a bit ‘off’, sleeping a fair bit, and then had a strange look on her face like she was going to vomit and I thought for sure she was either sick again with more ulcers for some reason, or she’d torn her internal stitches not half an hour after the vet had told me that they take longer to heal and then in the backyard she takes off running to bark at something near the fence. So now I get to keep my eye on her all day to make sure she’s not bleeding internally or something which would be so my luck, and exactly what I need to have happen. She ate her lunch quite happily, so as long as she’s continuing to eat, drink and poop, she should be ok.

And the frustration is like this deep, brooding anger that I can’t take out on anything or anyone, or blame anyone or anything or even myself for this because there’s nothing to blame- so I just want to be angry that this bullshit has happened at all and turned my summer holidays into a 3 week stress-fest which is excellent because I get to start Term 1 feeling like crap and then have to slog through 9 weeks of new preps and summer heat before I get a break again. I’m frustrated and jealous, too, that my friends get to go to the beach and train their dogs and I’m stuck in here staring at her wondering if she’s going to die any minute because maybe that time that she jumped off the couch has ruptured her stomach or something. And it’s not their fault so they can go and have fun, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be here feeling sorry for myself. Plus I haven’t been sleeping well so that’s also helping me feel really wonderful.

 

Also, I started selling jump wings and I actually got some orders, too (should pay for some of Lu’s vet bill anyway) except I don’t have jump cups and it seems impossible to figure out a design that’s affordable, easy to make en-masse, removable, doesn’t look hideous and will hold up a bar. I’m going to have nightmares about these things. I hate them.

 

 

 

 

Fucking jump cups.

 

Lu’s recovery: phase 3

So this photo has nothing much to do with anything except that she looks like a dork who is rapidly going insane. Which is actually pretty accurate.

So this photo has nothing much to do with anything except that she looks like a dork who is rapidly going insane. Which is actually pretty accurate.

I’ll dub this phase the: Seriously, why can’t we run around now?  phase of her recovery.

Which is to say, she’s very much fine. Too fine. I now have a fully recovered (as far as she’s concerned) working dog on my hands who hasn’t stretched her legs for nearly 3 weeks. Which isn’t to say we haven’t been on walks. We have. But they’re walks, on a lead, for only about 20 minutes each time.

I am now seeing the dog I would have, if I wasn’t incredibly active with her. It looks like this:
Chasing the cat

Picking up any contraband and carrying it around (hand lotions, socks, paint brushes)
Trying SERIOUSLY HARD to engage Mal in a game of keep-away when I wasn’t looking and they were in the backyard together.

Some super awesome speed and amounts of eagerness when playing with little handling bits on the flat (I have to get this energy out somehow!). I love this- this can stay!!!

Getting into everything (more than normal)

Lots of bouts of barking at random stuff (cars driving by, people’s voices, when the people in the music were going “YEAH!”)

Chasing the cats.

Breaking out of her dog fortress room by smashing the baby-gate when I wasn’t home.

And just generally being a pain in the butt.

I don’t know what happens when stitches come out. I seriously hope the vet is all like: Yeah she can totally run around and jump now (not agility jumping, I get that I’ll probably have to wait another couple of weeks to start this again) and just build up to long walks and don’t throw the ball too much… at which point we’ll go WAHOO!!! And race to the park and let her and Mal have a good long romp together. And maybe I’ll take the tunnels down and so some high-speed tunnel games.

But more likely he’ll be all: “Just keep doing gentle exercise for another week, then she can have short runs” to which I’ll look at him and reply: “You realise she’s a working dog, right? You know, one of those dogs that people recommend get an hour of exercise daily? Gentle exercise is NOT cutting it!!”

The area around her incision is still hanging down weirdly – a vet friend said there’s liquid in there that should go away on its own but I don’t know if it’s getting better. Possibly she’s meant to be doing less exercise than she is but I seriously think she’ll go on a rampage if I try and keep her calmer. The only things keeping us both sane right now are the short little handling games we’ve been playing (and part of that is celebrating everything, or, incorporating another wrap around the lawn-chair to try again, so she’s not wrong, ever. It’s fantastic. I need to remember this when we’re back to sequencing (and it’s so logical, but you just forget in the heat of the moment) – if she messes up do the next obstacle you see and reward her, or do a loop and come back to that part so you can try again. But better would be to do the next obstacle I see or can get to and reward her, then try again. Cos then, she never fails, but she still gets another chance to try again especially if it was my fault for handling that something didn’t work. So, little handling breaks are awesome, our short walks are pretty good, and our shaping sessions are very handy too, though there’s only so many tricks we can do, so that’s the challenge. She’s getting very good at putting a spoon in a bowl and a bowl in another bowl and I’ve been working on getting her nose under her paw for ‘shy’. This is a hard one!

recovery update

A quick update on the cone-headed terror. Yesterday she had another acupuncture as she seemed to respond quite well to the first one, which given that she’s supposed to be resting, isn’t necessarily the best thing. While I was there, we removed the last of the paper tape covering her incision and saw that there was a nice red rash underneath – much like the rash underneath the first section I removed. I suspect she has an allergy to whatever the glue is in the tape.

So, while she has been feeling much, much better, and getting back to her normal self, this rash has floored her.

Luckily by this afternoon it seems to have mostly gone. I actually took her to the vet who said it was probably her internal stitches getting pulled as she starts getting more rowdy because she’s feeling better, to which I would ask: why then, on Friday morning, was she completely fine, and then once we took the tape off, she went crazy? It’s not like she went for a 5km run in between, all that happened was the tape coming off.

 

Anyway, her cone is off now. I’m definitely noticing lots more ‘pent up energy’ behaviours, which is a bit of a problem. I’ve been doing a couple of sessions a day shaping but even that’s difficult because I have to think of things she can do that don’t involve her body, and since 90% of what we do is strength, conditioning or balance-type tricks, or tricks that involve her sitting up, that makes it difficult. She’s almost a pro at putting a spoon in a bowl now though! I’m shaping the more ‘purposeful’ attempts, as sometimes she just throws the spoon in the direction of the bowl and it miraculously goes in. Which is bloody cute, but not as precise as I’d like! I’ve also just started doing some heeling and different kinds of heeling things and she’s very switched on to that. You can tell she’s just BEGGING for some movement and action, but we have to keep taking it easy. Wednesday isn’t that far now, kiddo.

Tomorrow we’re going to go visit an agility trial that’s nearby so she can (CALMLY) say hello to people and hopefully that will tire her out some. She’ll have to be either in her harness or on her halti though because I can’t see Lu being a calm pup at a trial after 2 weeks being cooped up. There’s another one next weekend too so hopefully I’ll make it to that, bring some toys along and just do some ring-side tricks, focus and play. Stitches will be out so we should be able to play a bit more by then (I don’t think it would be a good look if I whipped out the tug toy and started throwing her around while she’s still sewn up!!!).

Lu’s recovery: phase 2

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed!

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed!

We have entered phase 2 of Lu’s recovery. It’s not an actual ‘thing’, just how I’m marking the changes she’s going through. Phase 2 is: Lu feels pretty normal and is ready to get back into long hikes and running around.

Yesterday she slept most of the day, and moved between looking sad and in pain and being closer to her normal self…

Today, I think I pretty much have 100% ‘normal Lu’  back, with a bit of a defiant streak that I think comes from being given pills and having the cone put on every time she comes near me.

This morning I took her into the yard to have a wee, and she wanted to zoom around and tackle Mal, and picked up the most mundane twig and was all like: CHECK OUT MY FULLY RAD STICK ISN’T IT THE BEST STICK EVER LET’S PLAY WITH THE STICK! HERE I’LL JUMP ON YOU SO YOU CAN PLAY WITH ME AND THE STICK LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO!!!!!”

At this point I called the vet and asked if it would be ok if I could pretty please take her for a nice calm on-lead walk down at the park or she will go crazy. Luckily he said yes. Off we went. Of course, I should have put her in her harness or halti because she’s using her full strength to pull me from smell to smell. I’ll remember that next time. I think they were both very glad to be out.

Another really interesting thing I’ve noticed is how much of a momma’s girl she’s become- she’s either been sleeping on her soft blanket or, when she’s in pain or unsettled, she plonks herself directly on my lap, or pushes herself so close against my leg that her bones dig in. So comfy. Usually at night, she hops on the bed down at my feet until I turn off the light, then she gets off… Last night she was on the bed pretty much all night, either between Nic and I with her head on my legs, or curled up as my ‘little spoon’. Keep in mind it was about 27C in our house last night so… yeah, warm times.

 

But everything looks good. She’s having bowel movements, she’s peeing, she’s drinking (though not as much as I’d like. They now have a little faux chicken stock in their water which they had a big drink of earlier), she’s eating (I still have to keep the meals small and start building them up. This morning’s was probably a little large so hopefully it’ll be ok) and she’s bright and alert most of the time. We’re back to the vet for a checkup tomorrow morning, and then off to a friend (who is also a vet) who does acupuncture. Her dog had stomach ulcers once and she now wonders how much better she would have recovered if she had used her acupuncture skills. I’ve never been much to believe in acupuncture but apparently even the World Health Organisation says it can be an effective treatment for a whole list of conditions , which I find quite remarkable. I’m looking forward to picking her brain, as a medical-science-oriented person about how it all works.

 

Completely unrelated but Silvia said this on my final Foundations video and comment: Can’t wait she starts trialing, you’ve done such a great job with her!

Awww, Yay!