Wednesday, May 19, 2010

12 Years Young

Katie turned 12 years young on Monday. Older dogs often get shaky hind legs if they do not work on maintaining strength. Walks around the block are often not enough especially if they lack challenging hills and natural terrain. Katie works extra hard at it because she has some neurological weakness in the left hind leg. Strengthening exercises are important so her leg remains functional. We had a very wet winter so I had to be creative indoors, but I'm so pleased that our backyard has finally dried out and is usable again. Here are some of the exercises I do with Katie.
Lastly, keeping weight off your dogs is another important factor to maintaining health and function. We all know that staying slim is healthier for everyone, but each unnecessary pound makes achy joints all the more painful. Adding 5 pounds of fat to Katie's frame may look more pleasing, hide those arthritic ribs, and fill in areas of muscle tone loss, but it would do nothing to aid her in staying strong.

Katie had a chest x-ray about 2.5 years ago and it was interesting to see the bony changes in her ribs. They are very pointed and jagged so they are more prominent than they used to be. The picture above was taken about 8 years ago when her sides were smoother. Happy Birthday, Katie!