Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Nick and I set off this morning for our appointment with Dr. Tracey Sasher at Loving Touch Animal Center. As I mentioned yesterday, I went expecting acupuncture as a pain management tool. After taking a look at Nick, she thinks we may be able to rehab him so that he can maybe even lure course again. I’d totally given up on the idea and had only hoped to be able to manage his pain without regular use of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. I can’t stand to let him be in chronic pain if there’s anything I can do to avoid it though. She did adjust his back. The adjustment, as well as all the excitement and new experiences left him pretty tired though and he’s spent the afternoon sacked out on his bed. She also suggested some herbal supplements in addition to the fish oil, and glucosamine/MSM/chondroitin combo he’s already taking and also told me where to get a carpal brace for him to wear at times. She felt that though acupuncture wouldn't hurt him, my doggie healthcare dollars could better be spent elsewhere. You've gotta appreciate advice like that!
We’re going back next week for a rehab evaluation. She’ll measure the range of motion in his leg joints, and a will formulate a rehab plan that will likely include, swimming, exercises at home, and some message techniques. They have a tank with a tread mill where he can walk in the water, and eventually swim. The hope is to improve his muscle strength so that he compensates for the damage he did to his carpal joint. I feel like I got a Christmas gift early. I expect there’ll be a lot of work in this for both of us, but I’m really excited about getting started. I really wish I’d found Dr. Sasher sooner. Though she won’t replace my regular vet, I hope that she’ll be a great complementary resource.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We also, snuck in a very relaxing beach trip, so no complaints on that front.
The only unrecorded activity that still haunts us is our last coursing foray. Nick, Rosie and I went coursing over Memorial day weekend. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time until Nick came in lame. He hyper-extended his carpal joint and is thus retired permanently from the lure coursing field. I am, of course, racked with guilt about the whole thing. That particular course lay out started at the top of a hill and made a hard right turn at the bottom. I considered pulling him that morning, and now really wish I had. He was in good shape though, and really wanted to chase the plastic bunny, so I let him run. I guess I’ve been lucky up until now having run my dogs for three years with no lasting injuries. Nick must have taken that turn too tightly, at least that’s what I think happened. He finished the course and didn’t appear lame until he stopped at the finish line, so I’ll never be sure exactly when and how he was injured. In hindsight though, I don’t think he ran the second half of the course with his usual gusto.
Here's poor Nick all bandaged up at the field thanks to my friend Iva - we're very lucky to have a vet who lure courses with us.
After lots of x-rays, and a couple of trips to the veterinary orthopedic specialist, he recommended that we hold off on surgery at least for now. His leg may worsen over time though, and we may eventually end up going that route. The vet recommended that we leash walk him for several months in hopes that his muscles would strengthen and compensate for the damaged joint. We did that, and didn’t let him run free until about three weeks ago. He’s now walking and running without a limp, though I can see that he has some discomfort at times. We tried him on a few days of a metacam, and with that on board, he showed no pain at all. I’m not really willing to start a four year old hound on NSAIs for the rest of his life though,and I want him to be pain free, so we’re headed off tomorrow for acupuncture to see if that helps. The acupuncture vet we’re going to see also does doggie physical therapy, so I hope she’ll recommend some exercises we can do to help his leg strengthen. With luck, it will help. After my experience with Sugar and her chronic neck pain though, I’d rather do surgery sooner rather than later if it will buy Nick a pain free life.