Wednesday, August 28, 2013

10 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

I feel horrible because my surgery updates don't hold much substance, however, right now progress is pretty slow. I wish I had exciting things to talk about 10 weeks out - but things are pretty steady and about the same. It is my goal to try to get some video of him playing ball this week so you can see him move when he's doing other things. He is using the leg 90% of the time and when we're walking he's fully placing the foot on the ground.

As of yesterday I have stopped the tramadol and we will see how he does. He didn't get one last night or this morning. If we go on a long walk I will give him medication, but I don't think he's in much pain these days.

The most exciting part of this update is that he goes back to training, for sure on September 11th! We have an appointment at 3:30 and I cannot wait!!!

Here are a few videos, the first is an entry for a hangtime contest, although... he doesn't even make the cut. They have novice set for 5mins... I don't know that he will ever hang for that long. It just cracks me up because he's doing the major hula.

Second video is him leaping for a toy.

The third video is Seth when I go to trim his nails, he makes me laugh.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

9 Weeks Post FHO

I just have a small update - I will hopefully have some videos to share this weekend.

Seppel is doing pretty well. He is using the leg more and more, but still has moments where he will carry it - like when he is running.

I have completely stopped giving the vetprofen, although I have it on hand if he starts acting painful.

As of the last few days Seppel is getting 50mg tramadol 2x a day.

About a week ago he did go on and complete a 5 mile walk and he not only didn't miss a beat, but he didn't come home sore. I'm hoping to take him on more of these type of walks, in hope of building his leg muscle.

I'm hoping to schedule an appointment for bitework on the 11th! I'm very excited to get back at it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Your Puppy and the Vet

Last week a 5month old dog came into the clinic for an exam and vaccines. When the veterinarian tried to scan the dog for a microchip -  a simple thing, the dog growled and tried to bite the vet. The vet went to get a muzzle, so that she could finish trying to scan the dog, as well as try to continue her exam, when she tried to apply the muzzle the dog proceeded to scream and pee and poop all over while doing the alligator roll and trying to bite.

People of the internet, THIS IS NOT NORMAL! This kind of behavior is NOT okay.

This type of dog is rare and fairly extreme in terms of his reaction to the overall visit - in which he could not have a complete exam. However, it made me think that it would be good to write a blog post about what YOU can do, to make going to the vet better and easier on your dog.

I'm gearing this mostly toward puppies, but all of this can be utilized with an adult dog.

Making your dog's 1st appointment:
-When you call to make your appointment, shoot for a date two weeks away from the day you're calling.
- After you book your appointment, let the receptionist know that you want your puppy to become familiar with the vet clinic, and that if possible you would like to bring your puppy in for treats and to get on a scale. Most likely the clinic will either ask that you call ahead, or they will offer a time that is best during the day to do this.
-Since you have two weeks before your appointment make it a point to go to the clinic and weigh your puppy at least 3-4x. You're doing a few things here, you're familiarizing your dog with the clinic, your dog is getting yummy treats so they are understanding this place has good things, AND you are also familiarizing your pup with getting on the scale - which is something that will be a part of their exam.

Things to do before your appointment:
-Familiarize your pup with being touched all over. The vet is going to feel their tummy and should also do a mild orthopedic exam - they will be picking up all four of their feet and moving their legs. The vet will also be looking at its ears, checking its teeth, etc. It's helpful if you can get your pup used to being handled in this manner - again, use lots of cookies as a reward when they allow you to touch and mess around with them so they understand it isn't a big deal. This is also something that you should encourage friends/family to help you with so that your pup is used to being handled by different people. Don't forget lots of treats!
-If your puppy is showing a potential to be fearful, or fear aggressive like barking or growling at strangers, get your pup used to a muzzle! You can start with an over sized muzzle that you can still feed treats through, and eventually upgrade to a smaller fitting size. The whole idea with this is that if your puppy does get very scared, or if YOU get very scared, your pup can easily be muzzled because they have had one on before and it is not a big deal.
-Get your puppy used to being leaned over, held onto, and picked up. In most cases with a young puppy they are familiar with being picked up/carried. If you have gotten an older dog from the shelter who is larger I wouldn't focus so much on trying to pick them up, but I would get them used to being held [like a hug/embrace]. 

These things are pretty basic, but I cannot stress enough that taking your puppy or adult dog to the vet for treats/weigh ins is really crucial to helping them develop a good association with the vet clinic. So often people only come in when their pets are due for their physical - which mostly means for the dog "I am going here to get poked! No thanks!"

Most clinics should be happy to help you in terms of socializing your dog to their clinic, it makes it easier for everyone when your dog is not stressed out.

I really take for granted that my dogs can come to work with me. They come to the clinic everyday, it isn't a scary place at all and they feel comfortable there. I have taken both Seppel and LiLo to see the orthopedic vet here in Portland and in both instances neither dog was really concerned about being in a vets office.

Puppy LiLo 'cause we're talking puppies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

8 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

Tomorrow marks 8 weeks [56 days]  since Seppel's surgery. I went ahead and took an x-ray today, since we are two months post op just to see what things look like. Mind you he is crooked - but the FHO hip looks nice and smooth. He's a good sport for x-rays but is always super stiff!

I've recently started riding my bike with him, trying to get him to trot and use the bad leg. We don't go very far before he's pretty tired, but we are getting back to regular activity. I have also played some ball with him and he has been able to run after the ball.

I have another weeks worth of Vetprofen and may bring him down to 50mgs once a day when we go for our next refill. I still think he has some sore days and until he builds more muscle I don't want to back off of the pain medication too soon.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Biking with Your Dog

I lightly touched on this topic in December of 2012:
Biking with Seppel

It's been a bit cooler this weekend and I've been able to take the dogs out with the bike and the idea for an entry on biking/safety/how to do it came to mind.

I have a bike attachment for my dogs called the Springer. I use this thing maybe 50% of the time when I bike with the dogs. If you view the above post you'll see that I don't use it with Seppel because he tends to lag behind, I do however use it with Seth.

There are a few other types of bike attachments for dogs:
Walky Dog Bike Leash
Bike Tow Leash

There may be other products out there, but I have the most experience with these three. I have only personally used the springer but have a neighbor who has the walky dog and the bike tow attachments. My neighbor has a dog who loves to run, and she rides with the dog attached only to the bike accessory.

How I Ride:
When I got the springer I made a couple of minor adjustments. The springer comes with two plastic hooks, a nylon piece of rope, and some breakaway plastic bands. The idea behind the plastic breakaway pieces is that the plastic will break if you and your dog go around opposite sides of an obstacle. Well, I ride on the road - my dog is not going to go around a tree or mailbox. I chose to hook one of the plastic snaps this product comes with to the top of the spring on the springer. I then had a slip leash that I cut up and I tied to the plastic clip and then tied the remaining plastic clip to the other end. Here is a picture of the modified clips:
Modified Clips

The Springer on my bike.

Seth attached to the springer.

If you go to the springer website you'll see how they recommend attaching everything. I chose to do my own thing because the little nylon rope that comes with the springer isn't very solid looking, and there's no need for a breakaway option because I don't plan to run into anything. Not to mention I'd rather that my dog not get free and run off if I get dumped with my bike.

Here are the Pros with the Springer and probably any bike attachment:
-You can ride hands free.
-Your dog pulls your bike so you don't work as hard.
-The springer takes the stress off of your body if you're used to riding w/ one hand holding your dog.

-With the springer in particular, because the spring portion moves, your dog's head is either at the same level as your front tire, or is actually further out than your tire. If they saw something, they could try to run in front of your bike.
-The springer minimizes the pull, but I can feel a big difference between Seth and Seppel. I think if a dog is determined and in the 60lb range, I do think if you weren't careful a dog could pull you off balance.
-You really cannot ride hands free like the videos show.

My neighbor rides hands free with her dog, the dog is only attached to her bike. However, even though this dog is reactive/high drive she just speeds up when passing other barking dogs. She appears to be in the 30-40lb range, so that wouldn't be a lot of pull anyway.

When I ride the dogs wear a harness, I attach the springer to the harness and attach a leash to the harness that I hold in my left hand. I would never ride without a leash attached to the dogs because it allows me to deliver a correction [if needed], but I can also shorten their slack and control the direction they are pulling with my arm. When there is minimal distraction I can loosen the slack in the leash and ride with two hands once my dogs have settled down. However, most of the time I still ride one handed for control.

Here is a video to show Seth on the springer, and then to show Bella who I just ride with one handed. Other than biting the leash Bella is a really good bike dog, she doesn't get distracted and is easy to handle.

A few commands your dog should know to bike:

"Leave It" - so if you pass another dog, cat, or squirrel you can tell them to leave it alone in hopes that they don't run into your bike, or in front of it.

"Easy" - I tell them this and start breaking before we get to a stop sign because I slow at the signs before crossing. [Sometimes I even stop!]. They know in terms of biking that 'easy' means we are slowing down. Sometimes I will say 'wait' too which is a loose heel command I have more my dogs.

If your dog is easily distracted/might lunge at things/super prey driven I personally would suggest getting a bike attachment, hooking the dog's harness to the attachment, and riding with either a prong collar or choke chain in hand. This way your dog can pull the bike without hurting their neck [they will pull with the attachment] but you can give a correction if necessary so they don't go flying after something.

When you bike ride it is really important that you as a rider are proactive. If you think you are going to pass something that will make your dog go over threshold - like another dog, you need to be vigilant, when you see the dog coming your way - stop riding. Let the dog pass. You can't just be a passenger when riding with your dogs, you really need to watch your surroundings. I had TWO squirrels run in front of us today! TWO, like within 2ft of my bike! Thank goodness Seth is very obedient, I was able to tell him to 'leave it' and we were able to pass without issue. I'm just glad I saw what was happening in time to tell me dog "hey!" before he decided to get wild and try to take chase.

I also highly recommend wearing a helmet. I used to not wear one when biking because they look stupid, but I then realized it would suck if my dog ran into my bike and I suffered head trauma over something so stupid.

I think this covers a lot of the how-to's when riding with your dogs and hopefully gives some more insight on the use of dog attachments!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

7 Weeks Post FHO Surgery

August 7th will be 7 weeks since surgery - here's a quick update!

All I can say is, you can't keep a good dog down. Sepp can still leap for his toy. Maybe not as high as before - but maybe in a year that will be a different story.

As far as meds go, he is still on vetprofen/tramadol only, 2x a day. Stopping the gabapentin didn't seem to make a big difference. I'm not sorry I gave him the gabapentin, but I'm not really sure that it did much of anything, other than make me feel better.