Happy Maizey and Healthy Magnus

If you read last June and July it’s all about limps and anxiety. Ironically this April and May would have been all about limps and anxiety too, but a totally different story. This years story is about progress and recovery.

June 25, 2011

June 25, 2012

May 15, 2012

These photo’s from last year clearly show that Maizey was feeling stressed even in the front yard. As I read through posts from last year my sadness and frustration all came back to me.

This year is is a totally different story, as I think the photo’s show. She still has a long ways to go, especially when it comes to other dogs, but her general level of anxiety is much, much less. Hooray! Her recovery time is better and even on high stress days she can still enjoy getting out for a short walk as long as she has her stroller.

Last year she couldn’t even be in the front yard without her stress level sky rocketing, this year she’s not only enjoying being out there, she’s doing so quietly! Since we’re not fighting with the anxiety I started using timeouts for her barking at the fence and she almost never does now. A funny side effect is that when I say, “That’s enough”, her timeout warning cue, Magnus comes running. He thinks it’s good recall cue since if she comes off the fence with the warning she always gets a treat and of course so does he. That boy just cracks me up.

I’m worried about fireworks season coming up so we’ve added Amitriptyline to her Fluoxetine. We did a two week trial which wasn’t long enough to tell anything so we’re trying another two weeks. I hope to be able to use it on an as needed basis, for just the most stressful times. We’re still using Composure Liquid and it’s a life saver. For the first time I feel hopeful about my girl.

I appreciate how many tools we have in our anxiety tool box now. Not only is her stress level lower, but we have many more skills and resources to draw from on the bad days. As a trainer it’s something I’m always advocating for shy dogs- train a variety of skills and try a variety of supplements so when you need it you have options. One thing that was so frustrating last year was not having enough things to try when things got tough.

On top of all that good news Magnus is doing great! His back is all clear, we’re back to training, I even let him zoom at the park the other day. It was his SI joint that was out, but now I think this all started last June with a pulled hamstring. That’s the only thing left that’s sore on him now. So were still seeing Tena, the physical therapist who he LOVES. Now that we’re actually down to what we think was the original cause of all his back problems I hope we can clear it up for good.

As if all that good news weren’t enough I passed my CAP 1 certification. I can’t remember if I really posted about this, but before Magnus got hurt I was taking a class to earn a certification for Kay Laurence’ Clicker Trainers Competency Assessment Program. When his health fell apart in March we had to put taking the assessment on hold until he was healthy again. I’m happy to say the delay between the class and the assessment didn’t hurt me as I passed with distinction. It’s a huge honor to be able to take this class in person, there are only a few assessors in the states. I’m very pleased with passing and even more pleased with how great a team mate Magnus was.

It’s nice to have good news and happy pictures to post. And now in a bit of shameless self-congratulations I have to post a copy of my CAP certificate.


Spring Walks

We took a lovely, although unusual, walk yesterday and lest you all think all the dogs do is be bored anymore I thought I’d better post some pictures.

Things are rolling along here, work is busy, busy. Real life is. . . Real, with a capitol R. Magnus is doing pretty well. We haven’t had an appointment with rehab therapist in almost two weeks now. She felt he was doing well enough to cut back to every other week. I’ve been a bit worried about his eyes. We don’t have a recheck for another few weeks but if they keep looking like they do we might be headed in sooner than that. Oddly enough, he was the cause of the unusual aspect of our walk.

Magnus' best imitation of a speed bump in the road

He hates to be hot. When he gets to hot he will just lay down and refuse to move. It’s a little funny, but just a little. It was the longest walk we’ve taken and his back seems fine, but I when he pulled his lump in the middle of the trail routine I was a little worried we’d pushed it too far. Maizey has been walking more on the last two walks so I put Magnus in the stroller. It was pretty funny actually, I thought he’d hate it, but he just rode along like a pasha being escorted to his castle. Of course the Princessface had to ride in style too so they both ended up in the stroller.

I tried to tell them it was humiliating to take two dogs for a “walk” where neither of them were actually walking. They didn’t care. So I kept teasing them yesterday I was going to go out and get a “real” dog who could keep up with me. I don’t really care though and man am I getting good exercise pushing all that extra weight around!

I’m a bit concerned that all our winter of limited activity has made Magnus’ stamina be weak. I sure hope at one point we can take a walk without worrying so much. Until then I guess I have a another reason to be glad I have the stroller. I’m seriously considering investing in a bike trailer. If he’s going to want to ride some then I want to actually get some exercise and that we we could go farther.

While I’m concerned Magnus’ stamina has decreased, I think cutting back the length of our walks and the methodical way we’ve been increasing just 5 minutes ever two to three days has helped Maizey’s stamina increase. She’s doing really well that way. Spring is proving to be a stimulating time for her and I’ve increased her Fluexetine back to .75 mg a day. If we need to go up one more time we will. There is just more sensory input in spring and as usual she’s found several things more triggering. It’s been super rainy, the neighbors building projects, all compounded by the windows being open more when the weathers nice all set her off. Last night she retreated to the bathroom for the first time. I sure hope we don’t seen a huge dive from her like last year. We’re headed to the vet on tuesday to see what we can do preventively. I’ve been playing Through a Dog’s Ear for her. I can’t tell it has a huge effect but it makes me sleepy so it can’t hurt!

So life’s rolling along, in more than just the metaphorical sense. I’ve got the puppy bug and have been dreaming of what it would be like to have a third dog. I’ve had three dogs before and know it’s much more work. I also know it’s much more love and fun so I’m thinking seriously about it. For those of you with three dogs what’s you’re greatest challenge and your greatest joy? I read a poem about Cav’s the other day that said one is never enough- I guess they’re kinda like potato chips!

Can't you just picture a little black and tan face with these two? I can!


Answers At Last! And Good Ones to Boot!

Magnus must have heard my discouragement in my previous post, ’cause when we went to his recheck at the ophthalmologist today it was good news.

He’s magically cured!

"My Crazymomlady won't take me for a decent walk! Can you believe she only lets me walk 1/4 of a mile??? I'm a wild boy! I need my exercise!! Can someone please have a talk with her?"

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. He still has dry eye, but the big concern was over the low pressure in his eyes and today they couldn’t have been better. The measurement was perfect. 14 in the right eye and 16 in the left eye.

Uveitis is low pressure in the eye. Normal for Magnus would be between 8-18. So 14 and 16 today was perfect. A vast improvement over the 2 and 3 it was last Wednesday. It’s a very bad thing for a dog to have since it leads to all kinds of even worse things like corneal ulcers, cataracts and blindness. Plus it just made him so miserable and look so pathetic.

We will probably never know why it was so low, but as long it stays normal I don’t care! The normal eye pressure means no Prednizone, another thing that thrills me. So after hitting a low point this morning I’m super relieved this afternoon. We’ll continue the eye drops he’s on for another week then cut back the dosage for a week after that and then recheck his eyes.

The eye drops have been good proof that dogs learn by association. Did you ever see that friends where Rachel has to get eye drops and it takes the whole gang to tackle her and get them in her eyes? That was Magnus and I last Wednesday. He gets 9 drops a day and basically he was having nothing of it after the first time.

Enter the best ooey-gooey treat dispensers ever. I bought three of these little bottles and put his absolute favorite canned food in them so after each drop he gets a good slurp of something super high value. It worked like a charm, he practically lifts his head up for me to put the drops in now. They’re made for carrying lotion and shampoo and things when you travel, I bet the people who made them never new they’d make great treat dispensers too. I’m looking forward to using them for Maizey when were out and about. I’ve always wanted a way to fill her mouth up with ground chicken liver, the treat of the gods. Now I’ve found it.

The next step in this saga is to get his back better. We’re going to do cold laser treatments, massage and Rymadyl, and the new rehab therapist we’re seeing will set us up with some good core strengthening exercises. Until then the no activity thing will kill us, but it will be worth it if there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I suppose I should apologize for the dreary post this morning. It’s probably crazy how much these little dogs’ health affects me, but of course it does. My bleariness was not all from Magnus, this cold really is the pits and I’m ready to be over it now, hopefully another night of rest will help since I have a full day of classes tomorrow. Thanks again for all of your thoughts and well wishes. We have a great little bloggers community!


A New Limp? Sigh!

You probably think all we do around here is relax lately, but you’d be oh so wrong!

The last two days have had very little relaxing in them for me or the dogs. We had a yard sale yesterday. It started out as a small affair and a way to get rid of those old things that aren’t trash, but are just eating up space in the closets. It turned into a lot of work!

Now it’s done I can get back to normal with things. . . except I have no idea what normal is.

Maybe an update will help me find my bearings.

Magnus last tricks class was on Thursday and we didn’t get to go because I strained my back sorting things for the yard sale. Magnus and I both spent the day on ice packs. You’re probably thinking he would need ice on that same dreaded strained front leg, but no. Ironically I haven’t seen him limp on that leg in over a week. No, now he’s come up with a new mysterious lameness in his rear left leg. It hasn’t been making us very happy!

It’s a strange limp since he will be fine and then just come up totally lame. He holds his leg straight out and won’t put any weight on it at all. It looks suspiciously similar to when Maizeys’ patella’s went bad and I would be much more worried, except he has had his knees cleared by three different vets.

At first I thought the pain was in his back, but now I’m worried it may be coming from his hip. It’s hard to tell since it doesn’t happen everyday and once I massage and ice his leg and back for a minute he seems perfectly fine.

I sort of think it could just be that over a month of limping has thrown him out of alignment and we just need to keep up with his range of motion work and slowly keep building up our endurance of walking to get more exercise. He has another massage this month so hopefully that will help him.

Maizey has continued with a similar level of improvement of the Fluoxetine. Tomorrow it will be three weeks since she started it and I’ll put all the details into their own post.

I appreciate what we’re learning with her Relaxation Protocol, but it sure does eat up my blogging time to post RP everyday. I only have so much time for blogging, though I wish it was more, and I’m sure you’re all bored of reading about my little Princessface laying on her mat. Other than yard sale news I really haven’t had time for much else, but like I said hopefully now I’ll be getting back to normal with some interesting things for you all to read!


Whew! What A Week of Dog Rehab!

This week has been the week of 4legged rehab. Between vet visits for Magnus leg and Maizey’s anxiety we have spent the whole week working on getting them feeling better.

Magnus leg got really bad a week ago last Thursday. I got him into a different vet at the same clinic on Monday and after narrowing it down to a soft tissue injury the vet put him on complete rest. This is the go outside to potty, come back in, can’t even train, or go to class last week, yes his head is exploding with energy type of rest. He also started him on an anti-inflammatory. I’m unsure of why they didn’t do that earlier since it seems to have really helped.

The ban on all movement really put a cramp in our training since all we can train is non-movement related things. Their mat work has had a serious workout,we’ve done stays and tons of targeting. I finally broke down tonight and worked some simple spins and twirls, and in desperation let him slowly follow the target stick. He thinks that game is great. The rest he’s a bit bored with and honestly so am I.

I’m so glad to see improvement in him, if he keeps getting better we can start doing a little on Tuesday, after his week of enforced laying around is over. It will be slow going to get back to normal. For the first week he’ll still be cleared for only half, yes I said HALF, a mile per day walking. I swear when we walk that short of a distance he just thinks I’m crazy. I start for home and he starts dragging, walking slower and slower, like, “Are you kidding me?!? We are NOT done with our walk yet!”

Before out enforced laziness of the last week I was letting all of our walks be “follow your nose” walks. He just sniffs his way around and I follow him where ever he goes. It’s incredibly fun for him, but incredibly boring for me, but since we could only walk around the block it’s not like it’s roaring fun for me anyways and I figure one of us may as well enjoy ourselves. Needless to say our Walking Challenge miles are in sad shape.

I went to Tricks class without him on Thursday night. It’s really strange feeling to go to dog class without your dog. I felt naked! Our instructor is great and said I could work one of her dogs. They are all super smart and so well trained! I was like, “Sure I’ll work one of your wonder dogs, no pressure there at all!” But it was really fun working her little black poodle and now at least I’m not a week behind even if I couldn’t teach magnus what I learned.

He was so happy yesterday when he finally got to leave the yard for the first time in 4 days. I took him to get a massage. (Do you know there are people out there who actually have dogs that stay home all the time? I was trying to think of the last time I went four days without taking a dog somewhere, then I realized I’m probably the abnormal one as most dogs do stay home most of the time, just not my dogs.)

Ah, but I digress, so I took him out to get a massage. (There’s another funny digression, try telling your non-dog friends you can’t go to lunch with them ’cause your dog is getting a massage. Their reaction is really funny!) Anyways. . . the massage was very interesting! I went to a mini-seminar to explain the benefits of Acu-massage on Thursday night and then took Magnus for an hour of work on Friday.

Anita has a really thorough way of looking at the whole picture. She combines knowledge of chinese medicine and acupressure with massage. She showed me how to do a full range of motion on Magnus leg to help build back the muscle that has already atrophied. She also suggested use of ice, another thing I don’t know why I didn’t think of before. Then she showed me a couple of acupressure points to work on to help restore circulation.

Hopefully combining all of that will have my boy back to normal soon!

The news on the Maizey front is a post all its own. She’s doing okay and when I ever sort through all the opinions I’m getting about how to treat her anxiety I’ll let you all know what we narrow down.

For now it’s time for Magnus’ second session with an ice pack and then off to bed!


Magnus’ Mysterious Limp Is Not Coming From His Ear

Well the limp is still mysterious, although not so much now that we went to the vet today.

We saw a new vet, a surgeon who does more work with injuries, he was great. Thanks to those of you who recommended him, you didn’t steer me wrong.

First he narrowed the pain down as coming from Magnus elbow on his left leg. Then of course he scared me to death by listing two things that require surgery to fix. One thing that was structural. Then mentioning what we already knew, that it could “just” be a soft tissue injury.

Five x-rays and a couple hundred dollars later he gave me the news. It’s not surgical (Huge sighs of relief were heaved by me, Magnus was still out of it and loopy from being put under for the x-ray.) His shoulder does have some malformation in it, it’s not severe, but it could be causing the pain. If you look in the x-ray of the left elbow you can see the space around the ball of the joint is not all even. It’s looser on one side and tighter on the other. In the right shoulder the space is all even so it’s fine.

It’s good news, except that there’s very little to do for him if that is the cause of the pain. The treatment basically consists of an injection of fluid to cushion the joint. We won’t know if we’re doing that for two to three weeks because first he wants to rule out a soft tissue strain.

To rule out a soft tissue strain Magnus is on restricted activity. No walks over a mile or a half hour. No jumping, hopping, skipping, zooming, running, climbing, or wrestling. In other words, no being Magnus. For how long does he have to endure such torture? The first figure the vet threw out there was 14 days. I must have looked and sounded appalled when I said, “14 more days?!? His head will explode!” I was thinking, “And so will mine!” but managed not to whine that out loud. At that point he took pity on us and said, “Okay, how ’bout 10?” Of course I told him if Magnus needs 14 days we’ll give him 14 days, but UGH! It’s going to be a long two weeks.

After three weeks if he’s still not 100% then we’ll do a K-laser treatment and the injection. After today’s bite out of the old wallet I didn’t even ask what that would cost me. Here the sighs are not of relief, but in dread. So for his and my wallets sake let’s hope he gets feeling tip-top soon!

Now you may be wondering what his limp has to do with his ear. Nothing, it just made a funny title for the post, but his ear did cost me $100.00 dollars today. Well, having the fox tail removed cost that. Did I already say Ugh in this post? Let me follow it with an Arghh, then.

"Did you hear I can't do ANYTHING fun? It's so lame!!"

Fox tails are the true weed of the devil. This one had a story behind it. I’ve been doing nightly foxtail searches on both dogs, but Magnus in particular. He’s like a sticker magnet! Well, I saw two foxtails on his ear and quickly devoted them to destruction. Then I saw IT. The foxtail was already in his ear canal, just out of reach. I hollered for Mehusbandy to get the tweezers, but by the time he ran them to me, it was too late. The slippery bugger was gone! Turns out it was gone right to Magnus eardrum. Let’s see I used ugh and argh, I’ll just give this one a solid bleck!

So that was why Magnus ended up getting his first dose of anesthetic since he has been my boy-to remove a lousy foxtail! I’m just glad we got it soon enough, the dog the vet saw before Magnus had a foxtail removed that had already pierced it’s eardrum. I don’t even have an exclamation strong enough for that one!

Thus the first half of the day was spent diagnosing the still slightly mysterious limp and removing the weed of the devil. Magnus has spent the last half splayed out in exhaustion from his adventure and woozy from the drugs. I’m enjoying the quiet before the storm of crazy he will unleash on me when he finds out he can only walk a mile a day and for the next two weeks the world can not be his jungle gym. Poor boy!