Friday, April 30, 2010

Wall-e is finally back (mostly)!

I've been giving Wall-e a semi-rest ever since I discovered his injury on April 3. When he stopped showing signs of lameness, I started to do agility again, but very low-key. Only straight lines and only using jumps at 6", the plank raised at a 1-foot-high angle, and weaves set in a channel wide enough for him to run through without bending. We've had less than 10 sessions this month (and each session was short). I wanted to give his body (whatever it was) time to heal, and I didn't want something like quick turns to cause him to become lame again.

Well, today I finally let him train on an exercise with a TURN! It was a 4-jump exercise from the 2009 FCI Worlds Individual Medium Jumping course. It involved a threadle and an almost-270 degree turn (Wall-e hasn't seen a lot of these yet). I set the jumps at 6" because I didn't want to add too much at once (I didn't want to add height in the same session that I added turns). Was this boy ever fast.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Awesome vet appointment

Wall-e had his vet appointment (routine exam) on Wednesday this week. I thought it was last week, but turns out that I was thinking a week early.

Every time I go with either Mika or Wall-e, I appreciate what a great vet we have! We're lucky to have a vet who really takes the time to explain things. We always have interesting discussions. Our vet has mostly a holistic approach; not fully holistic, but mostly. Being a holistic fan and follower myself, I think that's great.

The vet felt Wall-e's knees and hips and didn't see a problem; she said that they felt great, actually. He hasn't been limping or showing any other signs of lameness since I posted last week saying that he was sound again.

We had a long discussion on whether or not to give him a parvovirus vaccine. I take a more-is-not-always-better approach to vaccinations and am constantly reading about the alternatives, short-term and long-terms side effects, and pros and cons of vaccines. In the end, I was convinced that the vaccine would do more good than harm in the long run, so Wall-e was given a modified live parvo vaccine and received a dosage of a homeopathic detox afterward. I gave it to him again yesterday and he'll be getting more today, and then he's done. (Luckily for him! He hates the taste and makes a big face after it goes in his mouth!)

Finally, he got his heartworm test, which was definitely negative. He has the yellow wrap (with a heart on it!) around his leg because that's where they took the blood.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone for your encouragement when Wall-e was lame! I was really worried at the time. I'm so glad that it looks like it was only a soft-tissue injury and nothing serious!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mika Trial Apr. 18, 2010

I'd say that this trial was probably better than our last one back in March! Fun :) At first I thought Mika was slow, but after watching the runs many times on video, she was actually pretty fast. We got the first sends into the tunnels in both gambles. I was really happy with the second gamble especially. She sent into the tunnel and then got the jump after it too! In the second gamble, I left after getting the jump because I would have had to send her onto the DW. Mika doesn't know how to straighten herself before going on a DW from a sharp angle and if she tries, she slips. Didn't want my girl slipping on the entry and possibly falling off the up plank. (That happened at Nationals last year and, although she was okay, I don't want it happening again.) Anyway, that's why I called her to me after the jump and we left the ring for a nice reward of sausage.

(First run, I gave cheese; second run, sausage; third run, fish. Just thought I should mention that, heh.)

Mika got a really nice off-side entry on the weaves in the first run. Most of her dog walks were nice in terms of speed, but she did miss the contacts. We'll be training 2on2off on the dog walk and A-frame in May and will probably be keeping it until after Nationals next year. (At least, we'll be keeping it on the DW; I'm not sure how Mika will do with a 2o2o on the AF.)

Ahh, I had such bad timing in the last run and I was SO SLOPPY! I try to handle smoothly, but once stress starts (in this case because I thought Mika was stressed), the sloppiness really kicks in.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A lame Wall-e update

Wall-e is no longer lame; woohoo! As of Saturday, he is no longer putting his weight on his right leg, and yesterday he wasn't limping either. We have a vet appointment on Wednesday, so we'll see if our veterinarian sees anything. I've increased his exercise to a daily 30-minute walk.

I've also started training him regularly again. This morning we worked on lefts and rights. He always gets his lefts, but his rights are still at about 50%. Still, he was really enthusiastic, spinning like a top!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dozing away

This only happened because Mika went in first. No way would Mika voluntarily CHOOSE to sleep next to HIM! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soundess test

This is the soundness test I do with my dogs. After reading articles about different soundness tests, I came up with this little routine. I never really planned it out and I don't do the steps in a certain order; when I first started checking my dogs I just did one of these steps at a time, but then eventually found myself doing all these steps in one check.

1. Stand your dog in front of you -- you don't have to formally stack him -- and lift up each of his legs. Note if one leg is harder to pick up than the other. Go to the other side of the dog and repeat because many dogs lean away from you as you enter their space. (Just realized this today, actually.) This is the step that led me to discovering Wall-e's lameness.
If one leg is harder to pick up than the adjoining leg (in Wall-e's example, the right rear leg felt heavier than the left rear leg), then pay close attention to the leg that feels lighter for the rest of the test.

2. Look at how your dog is placing his weight; look at his front feet and his rear feet and notice if he's shifting his weight to any of them. Also notice if he's placing one feet behind or ahead of the other one (for example, if he's putting one rear foot ahead of the other rear foot). If he is, remember it for Step 4.
If your dog is putting more of his weight on one leg than the adjoining leg (Wall-e was shifting his weight to his right rear leg and putting less weight on his left rear leg), pay special attention to the adjoining leg.

3. Gently flex each leg through its natural range of motion. Make sure not to stretch past what the dog could do himself.
If your dog is showing any signs of resistance or pain in a leg, pay attention to that one.

4. Release your dog and then reset him after a few moments. If he was placing a foot behind or ahead of the other one in Step 2, notice if he is doing it again.
If your dog is always putting one leg ahead of its opposite/adjoining leg, that could be a sign of lameness in that leg. You can't really use this step without using the other steps, but it can help clarify lameness if you weren't quite sure before.

5. Walk and trot your dog down a hallway. (Don't formally heel the dog.)
I find that taking a video of this really helps (well, video helps with everything!). Note if there's any abnormality in your dog's gait; limping, carrying the head too high or too low.


Wall-e is still lame, unfortunately.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wall-e is lame

I try to do occasional soundness tests on my dogs, so I can catch anything before it gets bigger. Until this past weekend, I never caught anything, but on Saturday as I was picking up each of Wall-e's feet, I noticed that it was harder to pick up his right hind leg than his left hind leg. I looked at his back legs while he was standing and yep, he was putting less weight on his LH and more on his something was up with the LH. He was also slightly limping, so slight that I definitely would not have noticed it if I hadn't noticed his offset weight transfer.

Hm. Well. I really really hope it's not something to do with his CCL (cranial cruciate ligament). I know it could be anything really, but he's been lame in that left rear leg since Saturday and reading the CCL articles in The Agility Advantage by Chris Zink, I don't think that's a good sign. He has gotten better and is placing his weight a bit more evenly, but I can still see him putting more weight on his other rear leg. He has to have an annual vet check-up soon anyway, so while we're there, I'll mention it. We have a good vet who has a holistic approach and she tends to notice things really well, so I'm sure she'll be able to see if it's anything we should worry about.

I'm giving him low activity for a week and moderate activity for the rest of the month.

Ignorance is bliss. If I had never known that it's good to do soundness tests on agility dogs, I would never have started worrying and wondering if Wall-e has a partially or fully ruptured CCL! Then again, if he does, we can
catch it and take the necessary actions before it turns into arthritis.

I always make too big of a deal out of everything, hahaha.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Earth Hour

This was taken on Canada's Earth Hour last week. I'm not sure if the U.S. (or even other provinces) did it too, but everyone turned off their power for one hour in the evening. The dogs didn't mind!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sleepy Wall-e -- cute!

How can you resist that expression...