26 August 2013

SMKC and Kiba

First, SMKC: Strafe did pretty well, I didn't bother to get video. 4 Q's out of 6 runs, didn't hit any bars till the last class on Sunday, picked up 95 points towards Nationals and his 4th QQ.

Kiba: Took her in to my vet today. She has arthritic changes in some of the joints of her toes/foot

I have added the circles and text to show where the changes are. If you look at the neighboring toes you can see what a nice clean joint looks like, then look back at the affected ones and you can see how they have jagged edges and small protrusions, and even how the skin seems to be sticking out like it is swollen.

Her toenails are every which way because we took the x-ray with her awake and she was trying to hang onto the slippery table surface, don't worry, they don't usually stick out like that!

So... nothing really helpful. But at least I can explain all the little things I've been seeing over the past year that I've only now added together in my mind. I hadn't realized they were all connected until the chiropractor said something about the little "swelling" and flattened look of her foot.

Here's what I've seen, with slowly increasing frequency over the past year:
Last summer her shoulders got inexplicably tight.
Last fall she was lame on her wrist/foot for a few days, seemed to resolve.
Over the winter I noticed that occasionally after jumping off the bed she takes a few lame steps before walking out of it.
Licking her feet and wrists obsessively after dinner every night. (I chalked this up to her being weird, which she is)
Just generally looking slightly "off" up front, on occasion, even when the PT can't find anything.
And then of course limping again the other week, leading up to the chiro's comment and my decision to shoot x-rays.

What will I do? I'm not sure. I think I need to run her in a little bit of agility to see whether it makes her sore or not. I will probably need to test how she feels before she runs, after she runs, and at night several hours after she's finished running.
I will cut back her training considerably. Not that she trains a lot anyway, but our days of practicing aframes or weaves are done. We probably won't exceed 1 or 2 in a session, and only to practice for an upcoming trial.
I will keep turning over jumps in training to a minimum, as the vet said this is usually aggravated by lots of digging in for tight turns.
I will put her on a slightly higher dose of joint supplement, just in case that helps.
And if she is sore, she will get a painkiller, since there's not much else I can do.

If running agility consistently makes her sore, I will stop. If it seems to have little to no effect, we will persevere for a while.

I also wanted to mention that I have a theory that dogs without dewclaws have a worse time of it regarding toes and arthritis. Dogs are meant to use dewclaws to dig in around a corner, and when that foot tries to dig in, and the claw isn't there, it just makes sense that added torque is added to the foot. I am glad my 2 younger dogs have their dewclaws intact, as I'm hoping that will lessen their chances of arthritis in their feet and toes.

Kiba in Brussels last year with our travel buddy Tiki

1 comment:

onlyonewoof said...

I use something called Phycox with Mer; it is somewhere between an NSAID and joint supplements like omega3s and glucosamine/chondroitin (which she is also on), in terms of both risks and benefits. I spoke with the manufacturer about the risk of microcystin contamination, and was satisfied with their answers. I *have* started to give her a low dose NSAID on long trial days only, and she gets Phycox daily. I don't know how long this will allow her to remain comfortable, and she isn't as hard on her body/I don't really ask her to perform at the level that Kiba is capable of. But at least she seems comfortable for now, and maybe she'll get to do the thing she loves best for a few more years.