Posts Tagged With: wrist

…and we’re back!

My poor tortured dogs during walk in Russi

My poor tortured dogs during walk in Russi

Last week we went to Ravenna to see dr. Piras. (Thank you all for nice wishes!)

This was the longest trip I ever took with Ruby and Java – about 5.5 hours each way. They did surprisingly well, settling down and not making a peep for the whole journey. I thought we would be hearing some complaining after two hours, especially with no stops. I remember going for my first two hour drive with Ruby and how impatient he got after just one hour of driving. We stopped at a rest stop, I let him out, he discovered it was freezing outside and was very happy to go back to his crate 😛 Well, there was no complaining this time. Maybe it helped that it was freezing cold in Ljubljana and they figured they would rather be in their crates than out there 😉

By the time we got to Ravenna they had enough, though. They were so happy to be out of their crates and we even had some time to take a walk. Not so happy when they discovered we drove all that way to see a vet of all people, but they were good patients nevertheless.

We found out that Ruby’s toe that gave him the most trouble in the past has become unstable – in other words it moves around too much 😦 Apparently there is nothing we can do about it that would stabilize it for good, so it needs to be buddy wrapped with the next toe to fixate it whenever he runs – forever. I have been wrapping it since we came back and I think he is driving from the rear more than he did before. Maybe I’m just seeing things that I want to see, but it really looks to me like he’s using his rear legs better.

I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t understand Java’s diagnosis very well… By the time of our appointment I was very very tired (driving in a car is very taxing for me for some reason), I slept only 4 hours that night and I think only half of my brain was still awake at that point. I *thought* I understood what dr. Piras was saying, but by the time we got back to Ljubljana it was all a haze.

Well, after calling Piras ten times a day all week I was finally able to get him on the phone yesterday and this time I was able to process the info 🙂 Here it goes: Java sprained the medial collateral ligament when she fell into the ditch and then some scar tissue formed. The ligament is doing OK. The swelling we see is a result of scar tissue pressing on the tendon sheath. The fluid in the tendon sheath is pumped up when Java runs, but because of the pressure from scar tissue doesn’t flow back down. It helps if I massage it or guide the joint through it’s range of motion.

He advised using DMSO on it, therapeutic ultrasound and to keep wrapping the wrist for a long time to help with proprioception and therefore stabilization. Just like in humans, sprains have a tendency to repeat, so it’s best to be careful… but he said she can run and even do light agility. Ahhhh… I feel so relieved that she doesn’t need a surgery or another 6 months of rest!

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Vet Time Again

Two weeks ago Java’s wrist swelled up after being trouble-free for more than four months. I guess the vet was wrong when he said that it should heal on its own in 6 weeks to 4 months. We were very patient and yet… Here we go again 😦 It makes me so sad to have to restrict Java’s freedom again even though she is a good little patient. She does very well with walks on leash, even with other whippets running around which seems to fascinate other whippet owners to no end. The only thing that really gets to her is if someone is throwing a ball to said whippets. Then she starts screaming her ALL! BALLS! ARE! MINE! song.

Last Sunday there was a Canine Sport Medicine Seminar in Croatia and Alessandro Piras, an Italian vet who works with racing Greyhounds and sport dogs of all breeds, was presenting topics on sport injuries. He came highly recommended from several friends, so I went. I brought Java with me and she was a demo dog for physical examination. Piras thinks something is up with her medial collateral ligament. Tomorrow we’re driving to Ravenna to have it checked out. Fingers crossed that he will find the real cause of Java’s swelling and that she will soon be able to run free.

I am also bringing Ruby along as I’m really curious what Piras will say about his fat toes. It bothers me that he has two fat toes next to one another on his hind foot and the knuckles rub together, irritating the skin. It doesn’t seem like it will work long-term. For those not familiar with sighthound foot injuries, a “fat toe” is a toe that has been sprained and then developed a lot of scar tissue to strengthen the joint, so now the joint is bigger than it used to be.

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Our Vienna Adventure

After visiting the vet at Vienna Veterinary Faculty Java’s wrist remains a bit of a mystery. We went to do the ultrasound and as soon as the vet saw Java’s wrist she said it would be a waste of money to do it because her wrist isn’t swollen (not even a little). She did say that from X-rays I brought her it looks like it could be a tendinopathy on the flexor of the 1st toe. If there would be a persistent lameness a part would have to be severed surgically and that would solve the lameness. She would be able to run and do agility afterwards. But she isn’t lame and the only time she was limping was right after running into the ditch.

But there is also good news: I let Java run free in the park and also did some agility with her and her wrist was just fine 🙂 I guess it’s also possible that it’s healed by now (it’s been four months), but I will try to keep her from sprinting for a while.

The One Mind Dogs seminar was awesome! It was information overload for me, but I didn’t mind, as long as something stays in my memory I’m happy 🙂 I tried to write down as much as possible, but of course there are many things that slipped by me. I learned that Slovenian English accent is easily recognizable because so many people know Silvia Trkman’s English and apparently mine is the same (well duh – we’re from the same city). Someone even asked me if I was related to Silvia and didn’t look entirely convinced when I told him I wasn’t 😀 Though in Slovenia we sometimes joke that everyone is related to everyone else because the country is so small, so I guess in a way he was right. I just wish those genes would show up in my handling 😛

Java relaxing while other dogs run agility

Java relaxing while other dogs run agility

I loved Janita’s and Jaakko’s style of teaching. It seemed really logical and well thought through. No two people think exactly the same, so it was also interesting to listen to one and the other explain course choices and focus on slightly different things. While those who had working spots were running the course I was alternately listening in and going back to Java to keep her quiet for longer and longer periods of time. She wanted in on the action, and when she wants something she can be really loud, but with occasional treat she did really well (I used differential reinforcement of other behavior to stop her from barking and whining). The day was very hot and I didn’t want to leave her in the car even with door open, so I kept her in a shade by the course. Luckily there was water for dogs to cool in so I took her there periodically. The first time she was a little skeptic about jumping in, but afterwards she started pulling there as soon as she realized we’re heading for the water 🙂

By the end of the second day Java was really fed up with just hanging around. When the official training was over I warmed her up, lowered the bars to 20cm and did short obstacle sequences on Jaakko’s course. It was very challenging for us, but apparently it’s possible to learn something by watching, because we did things we could never do before 🙂 Java was barking like crazy and flying through the course. I even asked Jaakko to handle her for a sequence, and he did! He had a hard time keeping up with her because she didn’t send to obstacles as well for him as she does for me and those little 20cm jumps were not slowing her down much. That was fun to watch 🙂

In short, Vienna was great. We met wonderful people, made new friends, learned a lot, my health held up, Java’s wrist was great, and we did some agility after a long time. Perfect four days!

Time for bed now. I will write more about the seminar in the next blog post.

Java calmly watching ducks at the park! Success :)

Java calmly watching ducks at the park! Success 🙂

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