Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good News Continues

I took Seven to Georgia Veterinary Rehabilitation, Fitness, and Pain Management for some additional insight and help with Seven.  I thought the appointment went well and Dr. O had some good suggestions.
A thorough orthopedic exam revealed medial shoulder instability in her left front.  Basically, if you were to spread apart her front legs.  The left leg can be pulled further outward than the right one indicating that the soft tissues have been stretched.  It is a very common injury in sport dogs.  There was no pain associated with the shoulder at this time and no pain in any other areas including the carpal joints.  Dr. O noted the arthritis in her wrists, but without pain does not read much into what her x-ray shows.
Since everything was quiet upon exam (no pain), she said to continue to work Seven and to keep doing what we are doing.  The day before her appointment she participated in agility class and the day before that I biked her two miles with a mix of trotting and galloping on dirt.... so if she was going to come up sore for the doctor, she definitely should have been sore for that appointment.

All in all, I still have no idea what caused the lameness a few weeks ago.  I still believe it was the carpal joint since I could get a pain response to flexing it, but it is unlikely it is due to her arthritis alone.  It was acute and could be as simple as twisting the carpal joint and causing a flair up.  We are not sure if the shoulder is related or incidental.  It probably was not the cause of the recent lameness since Seven was lame on tight left turns and the shoulder would actually have problems on tight right turns.  And other than in the last month, Seven has been sound as a dollar for 2 years.  She has never had any apparent problems so maybe the shoulder happened a long time ago in her other life.
Dr. O gave me some bicep, tricep, and hip extension stretches to do with Seven and recommended getting her a peanut and teaching her to do the exercises given on the "Get on the Ball II" DVD.  Also gave me some other exercises for strengthening  and to help tighten up the shoulder.  And showed me how to do carpal joint rotations and tugs to open up the joint and to bring joint fluid into the area to help lubricate.  Seven has also received her 7th Adequan injection and has been on joint supplements and fish oil for several weeks now.  I imagine all of those should be kicking in now.
We both agreed to not play fetch with Seven anymore.  When she returns the toy to me she really thunders to me at full speed and puts a lot of force on her front end as she brakes.  I used to use fetching to finish up our agility training to burn off more energy.  So I am going to try doing some obedience training instead which Seven should like better than fetching anyway.  The girl likes to work!  I have not pursued it before because she has a terrible sit.  She can sit square (above picture) for brief moments for heeling, fronts, and finishes, but I am not sure she can physically do a 1 minute sit stay let alone a 3 minute one required at the open level.  So I have been playing around with cuing Seven for a sit on a rolled hip and I think she is doing pretty well and understands the difference.  The true test will be to see if she can learn to hold it for 3 minutes.