Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Seven's Career

At times I wonder if Seven's agility career is in the final chapter. Her left carpal joint has always been a problem although manageable, but now she is having problems with her shoulders and the surrounding muscles.  Her exams used to uncover minor chiropractic adjustment needs, but now they periodically expose significant shoulder pain.  Our working theory is that she is compensating for the bad wrist and injuring other areas in the process. We had the lattisimus dorsi strain on the right side a few months ago and more recently there was pain just in front of the left shoulder and then near her withers.  Now the pain seems to be underneath the shoulder and against the rib cage.
For awhile, Seven was limping... a lot... especially in the evenings.  I even x-rayed her shoulder for bone cancer just in case.  So now she is on Deramaxx daily.  I figured eventually it would probably be that way. The Deramaxx has helped a lot and her limping at night has almost completely ceased.... even after training sessions.
Agility is mostly the same.  Seven LOVES it and I dread ever having to tell her no more.  It is her favorite thing in the world. She runs fast, clean, and sound. My agility friends probably think I am crazy because they never see her take a bad step. She frequently places high in her classes and she double qualifies all of the time. She never runs like there is a problem.

We recently attended a two day agility trial.  She never took a bad step at the venue, on course, or at the hotel, she ran clean four out of four runs.... and then she limped when we got home Sunday night.
The most recent visit with the rehab vet exposed pain underneath the shoulder somewhat up in the armpit. We discussed whether to really rest her for 2-3 months and try to knock it out or would that be a waste of time. If it is a compensation injury, she is just going come back and continue compensating for the arthritic carpal joint.  Plus she would be very difficult to rest. She is a terrible crater and would be even worse with no exercise.  She would probably do more harm to herself spinning and trying to get out.  And 2-3 months of rest turns into 4-6 months out of commission simply because you have to take time to get them back in shape.  My philosophy has always been to rehab for as long as they rested.  So if they have 8 weeks off, you take 8 weeks to bring back to the prior fitness level. With her being almost 8 years old, I am not sure I want to attempt resting her when she is closer to retiring than not just due to age. So we will probably keep doing what we are doing unless something gets worse.

Seven really has been an interesting journey. It is such a shame that the carpal joint has been such an issue for most of her career, but has it really?  I've learned so much about core workouts, warm ups, cool downs, strengthening exercises, supplements, exams, and treatments.  So much of that benefits the current and future dogs. And through it all, she is still the #1 greyhound of all time in AKC agility, the only greyhound to earn 3 agility championships (soon to be 4), and she the most consistent AND fastest greyhound I know of.  So with the letdowns, there have been many more triumphs.