Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dog Lollies

Lola had to go to the vet yesterday so she got a nice pig ear for being a good girl.

She tore her ACL for keeps last spring and after much agonizing and debating we decided to treat her conservatively rather than go through surgery.  She'll be 13 in December and doesn't tolerate anesthesia and pain killers very well.  She had a cortisone injection into her shoulder for bicep tendonitis many years ago and I swore I'd never do that to her again.  Until I did.

She was doing really well up until the flood.  Scar tissue had formed and the joint was stabilizing.  She was at a point that she'd be at roughly 3 months after surgery if she had had it.  Then something happened and I'm not sure what.  The first night we spent with friends when we evacuated from the flood she was struggling to walk.  I put it down to their hardwood floors which she's not used to.  I'm not sure if she re-injured the knee trying to walk on the floors or if it was all the extra walking she had to do since we had to walk her every time she went out rather than just send her to the yard or whether she'd done something earlier and all of that exacerbated it or what.  In any case, after the dust cleared from the flood I noticed she wasn't tolerating walking nearly as well as she had been.  Got tired quicker, started walking funny sooner.  When I finally had the vet come last week to give her a laser treatment she told me the knee was back to square one, scar tissue was gone, joint was unstable again.  Big Le Sigh.

So I finally agreed to some experimental injections that my vet friend recommended.  This involved a much dreaded drive up to Wellington which I always think of as being near enough the Wyoming border but it's not quite and only took me about an hour 5 minutes rather than the anticipated 1 hour 20 minutes.  Anyway, I spent the morning doing breakfast and coffee and shopping in Fort Collins while poor Miss Lola endured anesthesia, pain killers and 2 injections into her knee.  I felt like a traitor when I left her but I so don't want to put her through surgery and I can't stand to let her linger as she is.  She's depressed not being able to run and only getting leash walks.  One injection was a steriod, the other some kind of joint lubricant.  If she's not better in 6 months we can try some kind of platelet injection.  Hopefully it won't come to that.

Poor girl is whiny and fussy today.  Not sure if she's in pain or she's anxious from the procedure or still coming off the meds or a combo of all 3 and I'm hoping the pig ear will cheer her up.

In other news I finally went out to the practice field to get Strummer on some contact equipment.  Our last trial was a dogwalk and weavepole disaster and this has become too much of a theme.  There was a naughty teeter or two as well and he even missed some A-frames.  You know you need to something when the judge stops judging your Standard run early on because it's already headed so far south and then asks you, during your run, how old your youngster is and you have to reply, '8 1/2 years old'.  I had to laugh because what else can you do at that point?  He was pretty good at practice today though, worked on weave poles, teeter, a short jump exercise and of course the dogwalk.  That was a bit more iffy even with the stride regulator.  I ponied up the money for a running contact DVD from Silvia Trkman and in just the first 1/2 hour there was a lot of good stuff to think about.  There was nothing like this when I started my training so there's quite a bit I had never considered.  Only trouble is she uses a thrown toy as part of the training and I hate throwing toys for the dogs to chase.  See above as to why.  It's a great way to get an ACL tear either from chronic overuse or an acute injury.  Either way I'm not sure there's a way to modify her training to avoid this.  I had used either a remote treat dispensing gizmo or a stationary toy on the ground.  I did a little bit of experimenting with throwing years later but not much, again because I think it's risky for them physically especially if you have a dog that slams on the brakes to get the toy.  Ugh, makes me cringe just thinking about it.  I shot some footage today of him just running chasing a moving toy and after 4 reps I had to stop and I was making a terrible face as I returned to the video camera to turn it off, grimacing and muttering bad words to myself.  I may do a separate post once I process the video and think about it terms of what I now know or maybe I'll spare you all.


  1. Ahhhh poor Lola... that really sucks. I can sort of relate as Walter has had a mystery front end lameness going on for a while. It sucks not letting them get the exercise they want and need. I hope the injections do the trick and keep her going for a good long while.

    I stopped throwing tennis balls and other similar toys for Walter years ago for similar reasons, but I love love love the holee roller toy. Dogs will have different styles of course, but for Walter the holee roller is up high off the ground enough, and easy enough to grab, that he doesn't need to stop or massively slow down to pick it up -- he just scoops it up and keeps running in the same direction until he wants to turn. Sounds like Strummer's pretty intense though so might not be a good option for him.

  2. Poor Lola, that really blows! We were in the middle of a dog medical issue when the flood hit and it didn't help us much either…thankfully finally past that. I really hope her treatment works!

  3. Great idea! I just bought a large Holee Roller a few weeks ago and it's not his favorite which is perfect because the toy you throw is supposed to be low value. If he performs the behavior correctly he gets his high value toy. So this just may work, thanks for the idea.

  4. Oh, cool! Hope it helps!

  5. Anonymous8:20 PM

    I've a friend with an aging husky with an ACL tear. She's in a brace and it seems to really work. I've got a query in to Ann as to what brand she uses.


  6. This is well tolerated by her older dog.

  7. Thanks so much Jenn, I'll check them out! She's doing a lot better these days but the vet that's been treating her did recommend a brace. I'll see what she says about these. Thanks again !