a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Boost Visits the Orthopedist and Tika Goes For a Hike

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Boost Visits the Orthopedist and Tika Goes For a Hike

SUMMARY: Boost looks good but there's work to do.

We drove wayyyyy out of town this morning--about an hour and a half--to the current favorite dog sports orthopedist, up in Marin, north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. A long way from home.

And there in the lobby was an agility friend who lives a few blocks away from here, picking up her dog. Small world.

Dr. S did a quick physical exam and said that nothing seemed amiss, except that she didn't want to extend her rear legs but that could be pain or it could be that she just doesn't want to extend her rear legs. So he agreed that x-rays of her pelvis would be good to eliminate anything structural.

We left Boost to be sedated and x-rayed and went in search of the Oakwood Valley Trail in the Tennessee Valley. (I thought that was farther away than Marin, but what do I know?)

It was a lovely day for a hike, we found the trail easily, and I thought we had a couple of hours, so we set out briskly. It was muddy in spots, but otherwise the trail was wide and comfortable with a slight uphill grade.

They had told me that this was a dog-friendly trail, and indeed the only people I saw on the trail were five other lone women with their dogs (three black labs, a husky, a golden retriever, and a black and tan coonhound I think). No men, no dogless people. Interesting. And for some odd reason I didn't take photos of any of the dogs.

Tika behaved VERY well, met each of them fairly comfortably. No shrieking and throwing herself at the end of the leash. Odd.

We were about a mile out when my cell phone rang to tell me that Boost would be available an hour earlier than estimated, so we turned and went back. (I'll load more photos of the hike later.)

Dr. S showed the x-rays, and said that she could be the poster child for excellent OFA hips. Nice deep sockets with the leg bones well-seated. However, when he pulled on her legs, he can none-the-less feel that they're loose--the hip moves slightly out of the socket and back in again.

This might not be a problem; there are apparently many many loose-hipped border collies that never have any issues. Or it might be a problem; some of those border collies develop arthritis. There's no sign of that in Boost at this time. So Dr. S. said that he sees no reason why she can't do everything normally.

Then we did the physical therapist. She ended up doing a thorough and deep massage to be sure there were no soft-tissue issues, and indeed she found that Boost reacted with discomfort to pressure on a couple of small, deep muscles under her rear legs, and a bit on the shoulders where she said that she'd expect a dog to be compensating with her shoulders for soreness in the rear.

Boost, after initial misgivings, really relaxed into the massage except for raising her head and glaring when the sore spots were hit. Didn't hurt that there was still a lingering bit of sedative.

Then we talked at great length about exercises to strengthen and tighten her hips, abdomen, and lower body in general. I have so much homework to do! I have a video now, too, that explains some of the exercises.

I didn't get home until after 6 this evening, so gone for 9 hours. A long day. I'm tired. Glad there's nothing serious with Boost, but the physical therapist suggested a couple of weeks of rest with no intense, driven running. Just lots and lots of hiking. Ack! More time that I don't have! And that's just NOT going to burn off the energy!

Well, we'll see what we come up with.


  1. Glad Boost is physically OK though..even if it means way more hiking for all of you!

  2. Well, spring is coming--there'll be lots of beautiful weather for hiking! I'm glad to hear Boost's hips are in good shape. I hope a few weeks of hiking will make her right as rain.