Monday, October 8, 2012

Optimistic, But Guarded

Seven's appointment with orthopedic specialist, Dr. Corse, went well.  He looked at her x-ray and noted that she indeed did have arthritis in her carpal joint.  He then did a thorough orthopedic exam, but found no pain in the carpal joint.
He said that the carpal joint is a forgiving joint and dogs can have ugly x-rays and show no clinical signs of joint disease.  The truth is that Seven did not develop arthritis two weeks ago.  She probably developed it during her racing days and has since done agility on the affected joint for the last two years without any signs of lameness.
So what caused the lameness over the last couple of weeks?  We do not know. It could be an unrelated injury, but an arthritic joint is more prone to flaring up if it gets tweaked which is easy to do if the individual is living an active lifestyle.
Dr. Corse told me to put her back to work and see what happens.  He needs to see her lame in order to diagnose it.  He did not want to do more x-rays of the wrist because again they just do not mean anything to him if they are not accompanied by clinic signs of the joint also being painful.
He thought keeping her on Adequan, joint supplements, and fish oil for life is a good idea.  He did not think I should scale Seven's training schedule back at all... but I am going to.  Since Wednesday, I have been easing her back into work.  Walked her the first day.  Then an easy half mile gallop on Thursday.  Friday, we walked again.  Then on Saturday evening we did an agility course.  She was sound that night and the next morning.  Yesterday, we just did some obedience training.  So we will see...

I did get one nasty comment about my last post about Seven.  Sometimes a comment is nasty just to be mean, but other times it is a valid misunderstanding and if one person posts it, ten other people are thinking the same thing. Brad, I think your comment was a little of both, but in response, I am allowed to complain.  If your greyhound eats your favorite underwear*, has separation anxiety, or gets cancer, it is okay for you to hate all of those things and still love and appreciate your greyhound.  I would even listen to you complain with a sympathetic ear because I understand things like that can be frustrating, disappointing, and/or sad.

I am not a bad person just because I complained about things that affect whether or not my dogs could "perform". In fact, you disrespect my dogs by suggesting they "perform".  They are not circus animals.  My greyhounds are my partners, my teammates.  Your comment implies that agility is one sided and for my amusement only.  Agility is a dance and mutually beneficial. When we are flawless, the feeling is awesome.  It is addictive, but it is addictive to my hounds also.  Yes, I'm disappointed when one of my hounds retires early, but I will probably live another 50 years and there will be other dogs in my lifetime.  But I am especially saddened that early retirement is a life sentence for the dog.  Seven loves agility and I do not wish to keep her from it for the next 8 years.  To suggest that Seven only needs love is insulting to the clever, busy, hard working, tireless dog that she is.

*The underwear reference was an attempt at humor. Thought I would point it out, Brad, since you missed the humor in my "drama queen" reference.

16 comments:

jet said...

I know how arthritic joints can affect a pooch - they are like us, they get frustrated if they can't do everything they used to do.... I hope she stays mainly asymtomatic for the next 8 years!

What Remains Now said...

Hoping this is something that won't give Seven a ton of problems. Your response to the comment is clear and to the point. You have taught me a lot about dogs. They are our partners and we don't honor that enough.

Team Zero Gravity said...

Fingers crossed she continues to stay sound. And well said Jen about the negative comments fomr Brad. It amazes me when people make negative comments about people and situations that they only read about and do not have first hand knowledge of. I know YOU and YOUR dogs (current and some of the previous). I know that Seven LOVES and NEEDS to work and train to be happy. Brad doesn't know you or your dogs. He probably does not understand that you choose your dogs based on their drive and work ethics. Your dogs are not "couch potatoes" nor would they be happy doing that. Blaze is the same way. He drives me crazy unless I keep him busy. Cori is pretty much that way too-- just not as intense. So her diagnosis of her irregular heart beat was a huge blow--not because I can't compete in cardiac type of sports (agility/lure coursing), but because she's a dog who loves to run, jump and be very active. Her heart vet and I had to reach a compromise that in order for her to have the quality of life she needs and deserves, she still gets to do some activities on a limited basis--with me ubderstanding that it might shorten her life. Do you know how hard it is to tell a somewhat high drive greyhound to stop running?
Keep up the good work. You do EVERYTHING you can to keep your hounds happy and helathy. Keep up the good work!

Greyhounds Aren't Grey said...

That's good news that she may be able to continue her second "career." And yes, you are allowed to be disappointed when one of the pups may not be able to fulfill all the promise you see in him or her.

Sylvie and her greys said...

Hello Jennifer, I've been a specialized orthopaedic «human» physiotherapist for the last 26 years ( and started another specialty in canine rehab)I've seen so many people with TERRIBLE X-rays doing all sorts of crazy sports stuff and doing great WITHOUT symptoms. Your vet seems to have good judgement and the most important point is the one you mentionned: the structural change in her joint has been there for a while and wasn't bothering her. I agree with him. The X-ray findings may have nothing to do with her recent lameness which could be due to a little sprain and with progressive return to activity she most probably will do very well. The worst thing for a joint(and for an active body no matter how many legs they have) is inactivity... As you know Seven will tell you when she is ready to stop. Until then continue to amaze us with her beauty and grace! Sylvie from Québec ( starting agility with my retired racers :)

gyeong said...

I can barely understand flaming in a political forum thread, but on a greyhound blog, with someone who obviously loves her dogs? Hope Seven's arthritis can be kept in control.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Thanks for all the good thoughts everyone. Sylvie, I love hearing about the human patient perspective and appreciate what you shared. Kathy, totally agree about compromising and what you are doing with Cori. There are risks when living the good life. I am definitely scaling Seven back. I would much rather she do agility once or twice a week for more years than to use up all of her miles by over a shorter period of time. We will find some other things to do to stay fit while still enjoying healthy doses of agility. And gyeong... I know. Really? There are very cruel people out there and even if you disagree with me, I will never understand why someone would waste the time trying to stand up for my greyhounds.

Kathy Kail said...

People who don't do dogsports just don't get that the dog half of the team wants to do it at least as much and usually more than the human half does. I had a dog diagnosed with an odd heart condition (odd for his size and breed) and maybe he would have lived longer if he had been fully retired, and maybe not. But what didn't happen was him having to watch me leave the house with the other dogs for training/trials and him left behind, maybe for years.

My sweet boy died of a heart attack in March two days after his last event. It still hurts so much, but I know I did the right thing for him. Seven's condition isn't life threatening and she can stop any time she feels she needs to. Brad just doesn't understand.

jcp said...

Sounds pretty promising regarding Seven competing! I couldn't see Brads post so I think you must have 'filtered' it. darn.. I so like to get wound up when someone is being a self righteous windbag :)

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Thank you, Kathy Kail. Very touching story. JCP, comment is still in FB under the "Seriously?" post.

John said...

Have you ever considered treating her arthritis with enzymes? I'm not a pro on how and why they work, but I can tell you that in the 6 months we've been giving them to our hounds we've seen real improvement in overall health in them. One of ours has pannus, and I swear his eyes are much clearer than they were when we got them. Google "nzymes" and call and talk to Stan, he's very knowledgeable on this stuff. I just thought I'd share because I know there's lots of people like me out there who don't want to give our pets, or ourselves, drugs every day.

houndstooth said...

I am sorry you got negative comments on your last post about Seven. Whether I agree or disagree with someone's decisions, I wouldn't openly criticize them unless I felt they were doing something harmful or dangerous. I am sure that you will listen to Seven and let her tell you when she's had enough of agility, or needs to switch tracks, and I also know that you will find something else to do with her if agility isn't an option. It would be a terrible waste to let all her intelligence and drive go to waste, and I know you will channel it all somewhere.

I also think that it sounds like you've found a vet who's got a good approach to treating her, which makes a ton of difference!

Claire Krigbaum said...

Oh, really great news!
I had problems with Amber when she was about 4-5 years old with lameness on and off on her front leg. We eventually did some acupuncture and that totally cleared it up.
I don't understand Brad's comments at all. I think a dog is happiest when they get to DO something. I love having agility to burn off excess energy after work.
Your greyhounds are appreciated for their essence, their beauty, their soul, and their brains.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

John, thanks for the nzymes recommendation. I am still playing around with supplements so I will check it out!

Sylvie and her greys said...

Me again with my human physiotherapy and sports references. More studies have been done with human than with dogs but we have a very similar mechanical strucutre so we can easily extrapolate. Contrary to beliefs, studies show that long distance runners will show thicker joint cartilage than leisure joggers meaning that joints normally adapt to the stress they are put through. Injury comes from one bad event or most frequently from inadequate training programs. Running on a ON/OFF basis has been shown to be more detrimental than running following a progressisve loading program with a minimum of 4 to 6 times a week. For a human it can take up to 8 weeks to go back to a full 30 minutes non-stop run but then sky is the limit. Being regular ( 4 to 6 times a week) seems to be the key to success. Loading the joints irregularly is more detrimental. If Seven had a cardiovascular disease we might be taking another course of rehab but joints need to be loaded regularly to undergo loading with success. I would go a little almost every day and see how far she will go. Seven's X-rays are not that bad. You have to be careful since her diagnosis is not clear yet but I've seen much worse on humans triathlon knees coming in for pain elsewhere...knees are doing fine. You enjoy agility and Seven enjoys it too. Go for it while you keep an eye on her signs and symptoms... Use it or lose it! Being too careful might be the problem preventing her to going back full level. I would love to be close enough to treat such a beautiful athlete. Sylvie and my physiotherapy two cents

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Sylvie, you make so much sense! I will definitely give this a lot more thought. I need to be careful not to treat her like she is fragile. But just be smart about it. Thank you for your thoughts.