Tuesday, March 30, 2010

tricky t-day ~ a classic

Had no time to do a tricky t-day video this week. I was away this weekend. Then after work Monday, spent much of the afternoon at the vet.

So, here is a classic:


Oreo had laser therapy today, and then received an injection. My vet recommended something other than Adequan. I can't remember the name. She said it has the same ingredients as adequan, but also has hyaluronic acid in it. Oreo will get it once a week for 3 weeks.

We've gotten some special gifts the past few days.

Oreo & Misty got some special, frosted spring cookies from Aunt Betty in Hawaii. They are shaped like bunnies and flowers. The dogs say, "YUM!"

Oreo & Misty (with some help from my mom) got me a really special birthday gift. My mom & dad made sure to bring it over before my vet appointment. Everyone at the vet wanted one! Especially my vet.

(excuse my under construction kitchen in the background)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

rehab visit

Oreo's trip to the rehab vet went very well. Whew. I felt sick to my stomach all day. Nervous. Worried I was going to hear, "Your dog needs TPLO surgery."

What I heard was, "What is your goal for Oreo?"

I said, "Keep him from having surgery."

The vet said, "What if that means Oreo is out for the season?"

I told him I was fine with that. Then, the exam started. We were on the same page.

Measurements were taken. Oreo was manipulated.

The news was good.

The vet believes Oreo's ACL tear is less than 25%. Based on Oreo's athleticism, weight, and age, recovery without surgery is very likely. Not 100%, but a very good chance.

Oreo's legs were perfectly symmetrical, and his extension of his right leg wasn't that far off from his good leg. His back is slightly skewed, probably due to not bearing all his weight on his right leg. However, Oreo hasn't lost any muscle mass in his right leg.

Here is the plan. A 6 week plan, to be reevaluated on a two week basis.

Hydro-treadmill two times a week, starting a week from Saturday. Continue laser treatments.

  • Warm pack
  • warm up Oreo's legs with some range of motion exercises
  • Go outside and do agility! OK, modified agility. We will do weave poles at 30% normal speed, on a leash. Go over jump poles on the ground. Stand on a dog bed. All done in a circle, clockwise. Some figure 8's. Sit/stand/sit/down. For 10-15 minutes.
  • Ice.
  • Massage

We can also do 10 minutes walks, on flat ground, 3 times a day.

Still no jumping or running.

We will increase exercises and length of time over the next 6 weeks.

By the 6th week, the vet thinks Oreo will be walking uphill in the treadmill for 30 minutes, with the water just above knee level.

He also recommended adequan injections.

Overall, I was pleased with the prognosis, and happy to have something TO DO.

I'll be out of town until Sunday (going to NJ for my nephew's 4th birthday). So, we won't start until then. Then, Oreo & I will be A+ students doing our homework.

We also are still anxiously awaiting the radiologist's report on Oreo's X-Ray. That could throw a loop into all these plans, but right now, I am feeling very positive.

Even over the past few days, I have noticed Oreo holding his leg straight under his body, rather than off to the side. That shows me he is healing. I'm doing the right thing. I just need to be patient.

Thanks to everyone for being there for me this past month, and I'll be sure to keep you posted on our rehab progress.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

hind leg awareness

Because I am a complete wacko, I set up some jump poles and a video camera on Sunday to see if Oreo still knew where his back legs were. I thought I could show this video to the rehab vet Thursday.

It is his right hind leg that is at issue. When he is going left to right across the screen, that leg is facing you.
He only hit the bars one time. Here that is in slo-mo.

When I went into the shed and started pulling out agility equipment, Oreo had high hopes. At first, he was excited to be doing something. I was surprised when Oreo went right over the bars without me needing to use a leash or anything. It showed me how much this dog loves to work with me.

By the last try, I think he lost interest. This activity didn't involve running, jumping or a ball. BORING!

Then, I had to put him on a leash, because he moved onto enticing Misty into a game of chase.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

tricky t-day ~ cover up

We've been working on our cover up in a blanket trick, and have made some progress. I'd like to teach Oreo to roll over while holding the blanket, but am not sure rolling over is good for him right now. We are just combining hold the blanket with his bang trick for now.

At the end of the video, you'll see a glimpse of the old, familiar Oreo lurking about. For now, patience.

Here is what we have so far:
My agility teacher emailed me some really clever ideas for sedentary tricks which we have begun working on. Hopefully by next week Oreo will be able to show off how smart he is!

I am hoping to get some more answers this week, from either the rehab vet and/or radiologist, regarding Oreo's condition. I don't feel like Oreo is getting worse, but I don't see a whole lot of improvement. Although, if you asked Oreo he'd say, "What is all the fuss about? Let's go outside and run as fast as we can! None of you can catch me!"

My vet did see something on his X-ray that we are looking into. I'll keep you posted as I find out more.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

oreo update

We may have a new diagnosis for Oreo. I don't want to post a lot of "might be's", so I'm going to wait until I have more information.

However, it looks like Oreo's pain may have resulted from trauma caused by the St.Bernard who attacked him two years ago.

Strange, yes. But, my other dog, Munchkin, also suffered pain years after his wounds healed from his attack as well.

My poor dogs. I try and take them for a nice walk, and they end up suffering as a result.

If this is our diagnosis, it can be fixed with surgery. Hopefully with arthroscopic surgery, so he will be up and running again quickly.

I'll keep you posted. We are still scheduled to go to the rehab. vet on Thursday, regardless.

For now, more patience.

Friday, March 19, 2010

finally friday!

Lately, I've shown so many moody photos of my dogs, I thought it was time for a couple happy photos.

Even though Oreo can't play ball or chase, I still bring him out in the yard on a leash to sniff around. You know, couch potato dog activities.

Yesterday, no scary kids waving sticks were around, so he was very content. See, he still smiles!

Misty found adult neighbors to bark at, so she was happy!

Jeff had a friend over yesterday. Oreo was hiding behind me at first. Eventually, Oreo stretched his neck forward to take a treat from the new scary person. I swear Oreo turned himself into a giraffe! I've never seen his neck look that long.

By the time the person was leaving, Oreo was pushing Misty out of the way, so she couldn't get any treats from him. Oreo wanted all the treats for himself out of this stranger's hand.

Oreo was also willing to perform his cross paws and bang trick (when I told him to do "shy"). I thought the bang trick puts Oreo in a pretty vulnerable position, so I was happy he felt comfortable enough to do that.

Hopefully, Oreo is learning that people = treats.

One more day 'til Spring!!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

my new header photo

I didn't know it until I downloaded the photos, but I caught all three of my shelties (see Munchie in the back?) together in one shot. Not the best photo of Misty, she was so tired after spending the afternoon monitoring the neighbors' kids.

I figured it was time to get rid of the snow photo, but the backyard is still really brown and grey. Not springlike yet. This one will have to do for now! It is pretty much how my dogs are, when they just, well....are.

gonna go to rehab

As a result of some of your comments yesterday, and my mom's outstanding google skills, Oreo now has an appointment with a rehab vet next week.

Oreo will have an evaluation by the rehab vet, along with the team of vet techs who will be doing any therapy modalities with Oreo.

Until then, we will continue to do what we've been doing, and hope for some signs of improvement with the anti inflammatory. Oreo hasn't limped since Sunday night, but he is still not putting all his weight on his right hind leg when he is standing. I know these injuries can take a long time to heal, but I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to assist in the healing process.
Luckily, the rehab vet is not that far away. The pool my vet wanted to send Oreo to would have been an hour drive each way. I haven't ruled that out, but will hear what these people have to say first.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support, comments, & suggestions. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

tricky t-day ~taking it easy

Well, I've realized a lot of our trick repertoire involves jumping and rear leg stuff.

I've been at a loss these past 4 weeks about what to do with Oreo, besides cross paws, shy, bang, and sad.

I once tried teaching Oreo to be ashamed, where he put his head under his crate pad. I had done it through luring with a treat under the pad. I was never really able to fade the lure. Now, that Oreo is more clicker savvy, I decided to try doing it through shaping.

Much more successful this time!

Hsin-Yi also gave us a few ideas for bed rest tricks. One was to teach Oreo to cover himself with a blanket. We started that this week. We are only at the step where Oreo holds the blanket in his mouth. Holding things in his mouth is a new skill for Oreo, which I'm very excited about. It really opens up the opportunity for a lot of new tricks. Again, the clicker has been key in this learning process. Hsin-Yi is a great person to watch if you want to see clicker skills and shaping at their finest.

Anyway, here our some taking it easy tricks.

Oreo & I did attend our league match on Saturday...as spectators. I carried him the whole way from the car to the building, and held him on my lap inside. Oreo was a bit nervous (it was crowded), but he took treats from people, as long as the treats came out of my treat bag. He has to make sure no one is trying to poison him!

Later that night, Oreo started limping again, and it continued into Sunday. Very disappointing. I thought he had been improving.

I called my vet and asked for an anti inflammatory. She gave me some, assured me Oreo would get through this, even if it meant surgery. That was the first time she used the dreaded "s" word. However, she's hoping it doesn't come to that.

Me too. I feel so bad for my little boy who has no joy.

Oreo may have swimming lessons in his future.

Friday, March 12, 2010

return of civilization

During the winter, when I go outside to play with the dogs, it is pretty much only us and the squirrels. Everyone else hibernates for 6 months in their houses.

Well, now that the weather is improving, people are emerging. Kids are being sent out to play.

Oreo was unnerved yesterday by the screaching kid noises from our neighbor on the hill. I sent him out to pee, and he came right back in the house, without doing his business.

The kids really hadn't bothered him last summer, since they are at quite a distance. Today, for whatever reason, they did.

I went inside, got my clicker, treats and a leash, and started from scratch.

It took about a minute of click and treating for "look at that", then Oreo calmed to the point where he could touch my hand or sit, and not seem too concerned about the shrieking kids. I walked him closer to the edge of the yard, and repeated. Then, we walked away and repeated, and finally went back into the safety of the house. Oreo did good. Oh yea, he also was able to "go potty". That says a lot for his stress level.

However, I don't think I'm done desensitizing for the season. My next door neighbor has kids too, with that darn tree house being built in very close proximity to my dog garden. Luckily, kids seem to be over scheduled these days, and they're not home much!

Anyway, I was proud of myself and Oreo for knowing what to do, and doing it.

Misty spent much of yesterday in the bathtub. Jeff had the day off and was working on the cabinets. I guess the air nailing was too much for my noise sensitive dog, and she sought refuge behind the shower curtain. Knocking over all sorts of shampoo and body wash bottles in the process. Meanwhile, Oreo slept through all the nailing, completely unfazed. Weird.

Tomorrow morning is our last league match. We'll go watch for a little while. It is supposed to be a rainy day. Oreo doesn't usually like the sound effects of the building on rainy days, so it may be a good thing he's not allowed to run.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

morning routine

The morning routine. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait for daddy to get up. So they can have a handful of cheerios! Misty tends to do a lot of crying at the door, while Oreo circles.

Can you sense I'm running out of things to blog about? Ugh!!!!

Oreo goes in for his last laser treatment this afternoon. I hate to jinx anything, but I feel like he has shown a lot of improvement the past few days. Of course, Oreo thinks he is completely fine and wants to get back to business as usual. That's what scares me.

Misty is growing restless herself. She has been trying to entice Oreo into some wrestling matches.

Luckily, our yard is one fourth ice rink, one fourth mud pit, one fourth lake, one fourth snow. Not real conducive to much playing of any kind. Still, it is so warm, I just want to be outside.

Students seem to be having a bit of spring fever as well. The number of suspensions this week must be a record high! I admit, I counted the number of class days until final exams start....59, including today.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

tricky t-day ~ a rerun

OK, so we've got nothing new this week. Due to our strict rest situation, I'm not really motivated. Maybe next week.

Therefore, I'm replaying one of my favorites.

Oreo taught himself to sing when Jeff was whistling one day. We were able to put it on cue, and now we've got a singing dog!

Enjoy, and be glad I'm not singing along!


Oh yeah, how 'bout them Saints? Another rerun? Maybe I should have saved my basketball trick for today.

Monday, March 8, 2010

moody monday

(this is an old photo from a few weeks ago, that couch is currently off limits!)

Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement about our next two weeks of rest. I truly appreciate all your support and empathy. I haven't even told anyone at my job about Oreo's condition (let alone his laser therapy!), because I know they wouldn't really understand how hard this is for me/him. They'd just think I'm that "crazy dog person", and roll their eyes. It is nice to have a support system here.

(OK, I may be a little bit crazy)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

finding the sun

Yesterday, I was outside doing poop duty, came around the corner and spotted Misty doing this: I thought, hmmm. Why does 48 degrees feel so cold in October, yet really warm in March? Maybe Misty has the right idea.

I went to the shed, stepped over some agility jumps, tunnels, planters, hoses, and was able to dig out an Adirondack chair. I carried it to the deck, buried the legs in some snow, put Oreo in my lap, and we soaked up some much needed Vitamin D.

I thought about going back inside and grabbing my book to read, but decided to simply sit and listen to the babble of the creek behind me as the snow slowly melted....that is until Misty ruined my moment, barking whenever neighbors dared to drive up and down their driveway.

Misty always comes right back to her sunbeam though.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

two more weeks

The good news is the swelling in Oreo's quads has diminished substantially. The bad news, he still has swelling around his knee. However, his knee is nice and tight. The vet wants to keep it that way. Therefore, we have two more weeks of rest, to help it heal and prevent any tears.

Afterwards, hopefully, we will be able to start a retraining program. We will then gradually increase strength in that hind leg.

I'm lucky to have a vet who does agility, so she knows what movements I need Oreo to be able to do.

My vet doesn't think we'll be able to do our Tea Cup trial in April. She is concerned about the tight turns that teacup tends to use on their courses. It would be too risky. We will have to do straight line sequences for awhile. DOCNA should be fine in May, since their obstacles are spread out and the courses usually have a good flow.

I'm kinda bummed out. Oreo is too. Let's not forget Misty. I hope these next two weeks do the trick, and we can finally add some activity to our lives. The weather is starting to break, and we can't even get out there and enjoy it.

After our appointment, I took both dogs to agility school and we watched a beginner's class. That was fun. I forgot all that stuff you do at the beginning. Oreo took treats from a few people, and raised his lip to a dog who got in his face. That's when I decided we wouldn't stay long, since Oreo'd already had a long morning.

Next Saturday is our last league match. We'll go hang out at that too.

Friday, March 5, 2010

tomorrow's the day

I'll be bringing Oreo to the vet for his recheck first thing Saturday morning. While he has shown signs of improvement, I am not expecting a "green light" to return to agility.

I think we may need to spend a few more weeks doing rehab, with strengthening and stretching activities. I don't want to rush things, just to have him laid up again.

We have gotten into a new routine in the house to keep his jumping to a minimum. It is funny how quickly you can adapt. Instead of circling the kitchen table and jumping for his dinner, Oreo is sitting (mostly) on his mat while I prepare his food. We use the mat a lot.

I've kept him busy with his puzzle toys and low floor tricks.

I'll let you know what the report from the vet is tomorrow.

I may bring him to an agility class (just to watch) after our appointment. I don't want to have to reacclimate Oreo to the agility atmosphere after this injury, so I think even though we can't play, it is good to bring him to watch.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

you have to see this!

Jeff yelled to me in the kitchen on Sunday, "Come here, you have to see this!"

I figured he wanted me to watch some crash during a motorcycle race, an Olympic event, or perhaps he found some cute puppies on TV! Now that would have been worth moving away from reading all my favorite blogs.

No. He wanted me to see the EZ egg cracker infomercial.

I suffered through a few moments, mumbling about how lazy Americans have become, how I surely do NOT want to clean that thing, and tried to leave the room.

"Wait! Look what it does with the boiled eggs!"

Yea. I don't believe it works that easily. I tried to leave again to get back to my favorite past time, blogging....

"Wait! Look how it separates eggs!"

When have you ever had the need to separate an egg?

"Wait! You have to see how it scrambles the eggs before you crack them!" (unfortunately that nifty gadget is a "free bonus item", not included in this video I found, but usually things are "free" for a reason).


Are you kidding me? I mean really. How hard is it to scramble an egg? Surely I don't need some battery operated tool.

Perhaps that was what excited Jeff the most. The "tool" aspect. Although, I think salesmen are simply the easiest sales on the planet.

OK, did I convince any of you to buy one?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tricky T-Day ~ Misty helps Oreo out

Since Oreo had been on restriction, Misty agreed to help out with this week's tricky t-day. She has been learning "bow" through luring, as she's not very clicker savvy. It has been very hard, because she tends to want to just lay down, rather than stand back up. I keep saying, "bow....UP!" I guess that is what she thinks the trick is...bowUP.

Here's one for the Misty~girl Fan Club. I swear she should have her own facebook page.