Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Spot Signs of Injury Early…

Recently Marco and I were at an agility trial (his 3rd trial ever) and he did really great except for one pretty important thing. Every time he went to do his weave poles he couldn’t get the entrance, popped out in the middle and then again at the end. It seemed like he had no balance.  I was quick to think it’s a training issue since he’s a young dog and honestly I didn’t do enough of the foundation 2x2 work that really proofs the entrance. But the strange part was he never does this in practice… maybe he misses an entrance once in a while or pops out at the end but to miss the beginning, middle and end each time was just strange.  Lots of people were happy to tell me that just because he does it in training doesn’t mean he will do it a show but I just felt uneasy.

The next day I took my bouncy, happy Aussie to the park to play with Ari. Marco went for a quick sprint and then started limping and crying. Marco is by far the biggest cry baby I’ve ever met but this was strange even for him. So once again I was thinking that something wasn’t quite right. To add to that feeling my older Aussie Tank had torn a cruciate ligament a few years ago and I still feel guilty that it went undiagnosed for several months before we went for surgery. So in an effort to be proactive and knowing we have a rally trial in a few weeks that requires him to weave 6 poles I booked him in with my favourite dog Osteopath Dr. Taylor at the Sundance Animal Clinic.

Turns out that Marco’s neuter in June left some scar tissue which is normal but it pulled on his hip which then affected his knee. So luckily for Marco he was able to get treated and should be healed up after a week of rest now that everything has been set back into position. However this can easily affect ANY dog that has been neutered or spayed and most owners don’t do performance dog sports and are therefore less likely to notice when their dog is slightly uncomfortable. So this can go on for years and years resulting in much more serious repercussions. Dogs can’t talk and tell us when things hurt. And unlike Marco most dogs won’t tell you when they’re in pain. Marco is very rare in his ability to whine (he thought he couldn’t walk for 2 days after his neuter and spent an entire week crying and acting strange). So lucky for me Marco lets me know. But how will you know when your dog is injured?

Here’s a few rules to go by:
-          Your dog isn’t running around as much or seems to tire out quickly at the park/off leash (Marco use to run fast and for long periods of time but for the past few months I had noticed a decline in his exuberance and endurance)
-          Your dog isn’t carrying his/her weight evenly when walking
-          Your dog has suddenly developed signs of dog aggression or general anxiety
-          Loss of appetite/lethargic
-          Can’t do simply tricks that require balance like sit pretty, spin/twist, etc.
-          Your gut tells you that something is off

Don’t ignore the small signs or think that just because your dog isn’t listening there’s a training problem. A LOT of behavior problems stem from health concerns. When my older Aussie Tank tore his cruciate he wouldn’t readily sit on command. I’m happy that I didn’t just assume he was being stubborn or difficult.

And Dr. Taylor wanted to add that any dog that has just had a spay or neuter surgery done should have a checkup. Many dogs suffer from problems due to scar tissue. Preventative check ups cost you less (because you won’t need as many) and your dog will be much happier.

No comments:

Post a Comment