a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: New Year Follow-up and Back to Tika's Back

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year Follow-up and Back to Tika's Back

SUMMARY: Had a good time; Tika not better.

I had a lovely time with my 200 miles of driving on New Year's Eve/Day. Got a chance to visit a bit with friends whom I seldom see and talk to some interesting new folks. Plus eat tons of really good food everywhere I went. Sigh. Time to get out walking--really--

Took Tika to class last night. She started out, during warm-up, enthusiastically playing tug and then suddenly backing off of it and looking concerned. I ran her around a bit, put her over a couple of low jumps, then 22" jumps, then a couple of 26", and she looked OK. But when I actually ran her on a course, she was slow (for Tika) and looked like she was jumping oddly. The next course, I asked instructor J to please watch her. He said that she sure looked like she was jumping carefully, and it looked to me like she was sort of throwing herself over the jump and landing heavily on her front legs, taking all the weight in her shoulders. And usually she's a very smooth, lightly landing jumper.

I ran her in one more exercise at 16" instead of 26". She moved pretty quickly, but her turns were still slow and she was slow through curved tunnels.

We did almost no training until after Christmas, after she last came up sore on Dec 20. But in the meantime she ran full out playing fetch and tug in the yard. And we've been for walks and she's been her usually cheery pulling-at-the-leash self. Then, when I've cautiously done some work over the last few days, she looked fine to me, even going over a couple of full-height jumps.

I am in a bit of a funk over this. Because of her panic attacks at the vet's, I need to give her a sedative before going over there, and if I want x-rays--which I think I do--she's going to have to have anaesthesia probably because I doubt that they'd ever get her to lie still enough. Which then means staying there at the vet for half a day probably. And all of this is going to cost me. Argh. My poor doggie, I want to know what's going on, but since she's never gone out and gotten a job, it all comes out of my pocket.

Out next trial is supposed to be a one-day Masters-only USDAA, Jan 26. I've been assuming that she'll be fine for that, but now I don't know. Bleah.


  1. Sorry to hear about Tika's continued troubles. Could I offer one piece of advice: if you do take her to the vet's, try to get the "off" stuff on video beforehand since chances are she won't replicate it at the clinic, especially being sedated. I did that once for one of my animals (a cat with a strange cough) and the vet found it useful. Could come in handy for a diagnosis, and if not, at least you have it for your own records.

  2. Oh, that's a good idea. I didn't have my video camera with me last night and I just don't see it here in my yard. I'll have to see about doing that if I can't get a diagnosis otherwise.


  3. That's tough when you can't figure it out! Happened to JoJo a year and a half ago - he'd be running fine, playing in the yard, then all of a sudden he'd come up lame on one foot - then 5 minutes later he'd be fine again. Took him to three vets and nothing - then at the third I demanded an xray. Poor thing had a dislocated toe. I sure hope it's nothing serious and that you find out what it is! That kind of stuff keeps me awake at night.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading my year in review. We'd love to read yours, when you get it done :)

  4. So sorry Tika's still not well, poor thing.

    I usually don't bother with regular vets if I suspect an orthopedic problem, I go straight to an ortho specialist. Regular vets are useless at that stuff. The last time I went to the ortho vet he did most of the exam in the parking lot. Maybe you could find a vet willing to do that if Tika is too freaked out to go inside a vet clinic. Sometimes they can diagnose ortho problems through sedation but it makes things more difficult since the dog isn't likely to show pain through the various manipulations. They should be able to sedate to get x-rays though, rather than using full on general anesthesia, and you should be able to take her home straight away. Cody had sedation to have his shoulder injury diagnosed and even with x-rays I'd say it took no more than 1-1 1/2 hours.

    Might be worth it to get a blood test done anyway, esp. since she's 7 just to make sure it isn't Lyme disease or some other non-orthopedic illnes. I think they can do it while she's sedated but I'm not sure.

  5. I probably will get in touch with an orthopedic vet now. My vet thinks that the pain is in her neck, from my description of her behavior and the fact that she whined each time he turned her neck to the left. Recommendation was Rimadyl and 2 weeks of rest. Since they'd want to do anaesthesia with her for x-rays (she was throwing herself against the door trying to get out--she's a little stressed there--and that's after I gave her a tranquilizing tablet), I'll see whether someone else will give it a go without full anesthesia.

    We discussed a ton of other things that it could be. He doesn't think from the symptoms (or lack thereof) that it's an autoimmune thing or tick-borne illness, although you don't know without a blood test, which I also didn't request.


  6. I had a Toller that passed away unexpectedly from Addison's. She always had a "hitch in her giddyup" that no single vet/specialist could figure out. I spent hours and tons of $$ trying to figure out what was wrong. It was only when she had her Addisonian's crisis that I learned what was going on. I would get bloodwork done an look for the indicators of Addison's...just to rule it out. It was a shock to us all when Rysa went into crisis...and never came out of it.

  7. Oh, I totally understand your "funk." It's never fun to have our team-mates (and best friends, most importantly) not feeling at their best. Please keep us updated!

  8. I like to take the conservative approach to these very non-specific, on and off again types of things. I'd really rest her (on leash walking only, no playing with the other dogs)and give her Rimadyl for the inflammation for 2 weeks. Then bring her back into work over about a week or two and don't do any tugging or free playing with the other dogs. More than likely it's arthritis which probably won't show up on an x-ray anyway.

  9. You just about quoted my vet's summary verbatim! Although some arthritis would show up on an x-ray.

    I'm not a perfect nurse; I hate keeping my dog in a crate or pen for 2 weeks, so I've got her loose in the house, which means she was playing with the other dog for a while, and I didn't take her into the yard on a leash, so she did run along the fence after a squirrel. But it's been pouring rain with high winds and I just wasn't in the mood.

    Bad owner.

    I also need to dig out the harness rather than attaching the leash to her collar.


  10. You might consider having Wendy Wallace take a look at her. Intermittent issues can be so maddening.

    Best to Tika and to you.


  11. Is Tika any better? Because I am particularly drug averse, when I see a change in my dogs gait or willingness to execute something that they previously had no issues with, I go straight to my chiropractic vet. She sees my dogs with some regularity (every 1-2 months) so her familiarity with their bones and their pain responses really comes in handy when they are hurt. She has great hands and she isn't one of those canine/equine chiropractors that thinks that you have to have your dogs adjusted every week.

    One thing you might do, if you haven't been to another dr yet, is examine Tika's limbs for atrophy of the muscles. In her legs (triceps and quads) they will feel stringy, rather than a mass of muscle. That can help you figure out where she hurts.

    I hope she is better already.