Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recycled computers and gimpy dogs all in one fell swoop

Ever regret those spur of the moment decisions?  I got an email on Thursday from an agility friend and Lola's former physical therapist that the vet office she works next to is having a big 'Recycle your hard to recycle crap and get your gimpy dog evaluated and some barbecue for free' party on Saturday.  The vet is keen on promoting green veterinary practices so he's throwing a party for the community to promote recycling.  Or something.  I've got a computer and an ancient air conditioner thingy (belonged to the previous home owner and I don't think we ever used it) and some other crap that will otherwise cost me money to recycle and Lola was hitching her rear leg up while running hard at the Rez the other week so this opportunity is too good to be true.  Somebody also noticed her lifting her rear legs slightly while walking on Sunday morning of the USDAA trial a few weeks ago.  So subtle that a normal person wouldn't notice it but she's had her share of orthopedic issues with her own big dog so she has a keen eye for the slightest of gait issues.  I've been burying my head in the sand about this, fearing a cruciate tear and not wanting to drive an  hour to Loveland to have my wallet emptied to be told to take 2 Rhymadil and rest my dog and, oh yeah, she needs surgery.  But she has 3 trials scheduled next month, a heavy schedule for her on a good day and a lot of money for me so I'm thinking that a 20 minute drive for a free evaluation by someone who knows her and did an awesome job treating her for a different injury is too good to pass up.  I'm fairly certain there's nothing seriously wrong but I'll feel terrible running her and finding out the hard way if she's truly injured.

So I go and take Strummer along as well.  He also hitches his rear leg up when he runs but he's always done that.  Probably a kneecap tracking issue but who knows, maybe I can get him evaluated too.  Plus I get to get rid of the last bit of expensive to dispose of clutter in my house for free.

Antke takes a look at Lola's gait then does a physical manipulation exam and determines that Lola has pain in her knees when she tries to extend her rear legs.  Good probability that it's a cruciate tear.  She'll need rest.  And oh, maybe surgery.  She gets the fancy pants orthopedic vet to do an exam and he comes to the same conclusion except he's even more gung ho for surgery.  I'm thinking maybe next time I need to recycle a computer I'll fork over the money to the recycling center.

I pulled Lola from the trials of course.  One of them is closed but she was only entered for 2 runs and I paid a portion in worker's coupons so I'm not out very much money.  I'm not signing her up for surgery any time soon.  She's 9 years old, I really really really don't want to do that to her.  My plan is to restrict her activity per Antke's suggestions for 2 months, do some x-rays soon to see if she does indeed have a tear then again after the 2 months to see if she's getting better or worse.  I'm only going to opt for surgery if I feel the injury is causing that knee joint to degrade to the point where she'll be in pain doing normal dog things.  The feeling is that if there is a tear it's probably small so it's good I caught it early. 

Lola can't do any off leash running so the bad news is no trips to the Rez which is about her favorite thing in the world but the good news is that she can go running on leash with me so I can at least keep her fit and she enjoys it so she won't be completely miserable.  It could be nothing of course but I'm not thinking that's likely.  The x-rays will confirm things but I'm going to wait a couple of weeks because I'm so busy with this work project and I need to work every last hour that I can.  This is hardly an emergency so it can wait and treatment is the same either way.  Even if it's not a tear I'm not going to put her in a trial if her knees are sore and I'm going to restrict her activity. 

And then there's maggot ball!  I knew maggot ball came into my life for a reason.  Antke said maggot ball would be good for her and gave me some exercise suggestions and tips.  Actually Antke was grossed out that I was calling it maggot ball but I've been saying it so much it doesn't feel right calling it anything else.  I'll also be having a physical therapy session with her when Lola goes back for her x-rays and she can check to make sure I'm doing the exercises properly and give me some more.  I found 2 issues of Clean Run that had exercises so we'll work our way through those.  I'll try to get some video up for those who might be interested in exercise ideas but it may take a couple of weeks.

After all that excitement poor Strummer never got his turn.  This is probably the best for my mental state anyway.  Perhaps we live in blissful ignorance of whatever special injuries he might be harboring for a little while longer.

At least you could have gotten me some barbecue.


  1. Oh poor Lola! I hear you about how sometimes we bury our head in the sand on this stuff...I've got a benign lump on one of the boys that needs to be removed and I suppose if I wait for the perfect time it will never come *sigh* Hope all the rest does her good!

  2. As you know, I recently went through a CCL tear and surgery with Griffin. (He just turned 7 April 13). It's a BIG deal, and hideously expensive. I fully support your decision to restrict Lola's activity and keep her comfortable, esp. at 9 years of age. Can she swim for exercise, if she likes to do that? Not sure if swimming would hurt or help a possible cruciate tear. Looking back now, I am sure Griffin had a slow tear he dealt with for years. I just wasn't experienced enough to recognize the small signs I saw.

    I look forward to any videos you post of theraball exercises. I've slacked off with Griffin, but Emma does them regularly.

  3. Yeah, Cody had shoulder surgery that wasn't nearly as big a deal as a CCL repair and I don't regret it but it was not fun and it was close to a year before he was back to normal and he was 3 or so at the time.

    Lola hates to swim. She went through swim therapy for her bicep tendonitis and by the 4th or 5th week she was shaking at the mere sign of the life jacket. I've tried taking her into the Rez with me and she'll have none of it. Her P.T. thinks running with me on leash will be o.k. for now to keep her fit. I can't imagine taking away a year of life from a 9 year old dog for surgery and rehab unless the joint really starts to degrade and she's going to be miserable anyway. And it looks like both knees are affected so I'm supposing she'd need 2 separate surgeries.

  4. Wow, that is a bummer, although that's nice that she can still at least run with you on leash. At least you run (my dogs would be doomed)!

    Hope she heals quickly without any surgery.

  5. that sucks. poor lola- and poor you!

    i too have been putting off taking boone to the vet about his hitch....reading about lolas cruciate made me break out into a sweat...

  6. Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss. But a hitch can mean several things so hopefully Boone's isn't as serious.

    For those unfamiliar with cruciate tears, they pretty much don't heal on their own. It's either surgery or limit activity and hope the joint holds up and doesn't get too horribly arthritic. Either one spells the end of Lola's agility career. Her only hope is that it's not a tear but that's not looking likely. The x-rays in a couple of weeks supposedly will tell me if it's a tear for sure.

  7. Ooph. I'm sorry to hear the knee news. As you may recall, Ginko blew both knees when he was 3. We've done that huge surgery TWICE, and it's NO fun at all.

    Fingers crossed that "conservative treatment" works. I could swear I read somewhere that it's making a comeback as a viable option.