Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Retirement - Riley

So Riley is retired now. I got my signs.

The first sign was a husky sound when she was panting hard. It was kind of off and on over the last few months, but definitely becoming more consistently heard more often than not. The problem is that if I took her to the vet, he would not hear it since she would not be panting. A veterinarian friend mentioned laryngeal paralysis. I read about it. It sounded plausible, but there is not much you can do. It was not bothering Riley or slowing her down so I was not in a rush for a diagnosis.

Then a couple of weeks ago, we were at a trial and got our second sign. I was speaking to another veterinarian friend and mentioned the husky sound. She told me to google "geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis" and "polyneuropathy". Polyneuropathy sounded very much like Riley. A nerve disorder that causes muscle wasting and shakiness, lose of strength and coordinated movement and is often paired with laryngeal paralysis.  This is what I was seeing in Riley.
My dogs do lots of core, balance, and strengthening exercises on the peanut and balance discs, but Riley was getting weaker. I had noticed over the last year that her abilities and number of repetitions were lessening without explanation. I could not put my finger on it. My greyhound, Katie, who had a neurological injury at age 9, recovered from paralysis in the left rear, and rehabbed to regain about 80% of her mobility and she was never shaky even at age 12.

Then my vet friend was able to hear Riley pant after an agility run and she felt certain it was laryngeal paralysis. She felt I was catching it early, much earlier than most pet owners. As it gets worse, you eventually have to take precautions to keep them cool and calm as it will interfere with breathing and can be very distressing.  It will be a concern next summer.

And then the third sign, Riley sprained her hock. The next day, Riley was starting her usual zoomie/play session prior to the trial. She slipped and came up dead lame on the leg she had fractured 5 years ago. I had to carry her off the field because it was that bad. A friend's RV was nearby and I let myself in. Thankfully her German Shepherd knows us and welcomed us in. We were at a local trial, so Stephen came and picked Riley up so she could go home and rest.
I knew that regardless of what the injury was, it was going to be career ending. She would need time off and she would never come back from it. She was going to lose more strength and coordination and I would never feel comfortable putting her up on a dogwalk ever again.

And it is okay. It really is. Despite all of the injuries and rest periods, Riley ended up having the longest career. She always fully recovered and surprisingly did not develop much arthritis. Jumping 24 inches at 10 years and 4 months is really awesome and not very common. I just cannot complain.

I had Riley's hock x-rayed and the surgical screw from the hock fracture was as it should be. A little bit of calcification had grown over it, but otherwise the joint was very clean.  The tendons running along the inside of the hock were swollen and painful. Thankfully, the lameness disappeared within a few days.  There is still some swelling.  Typically, I would give her 4-6 weeks off, but I'm afraid she was lose too much muscle and coordination in that amount of time.  I only gave her one week off and have started her back on long walks, balance work, and am allowing her to climb stairs and jump on the bed.  All looks good thus far.

So welcome to retirement, Riley Greyhound.

Riley's second to last agility trial:
Riley's last agility runs:
And for fun, Riley's first agility trial.......... so funny how she would fling herself over jumps! :-)
Oh so shiny and new!