Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fourth laser treatment

Today's tech was Erin. I have been impressed by all the techs we've worked with at the Canine Rehabilitation Center. They have all been patient with Cai if he was weirded out by the machine. I explain the Bucket Game to them and they follow orders exactly.

Cai was sensitive about his right side being lasered, though. He must have done something to strain it since our last appointment four days ago.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pink and purple back

The ink smeared from Cai's tail onto his back. Oops.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Purple and pink tail

I busted out the Bark Art Blow Pens again. Since Chimera won't be competing in anything any time soon, I might as well take advantage of being able to doll him up. I had wanted to give him zebra stripes, but he doesn't like the feeling of air blowing onto his body. He's more tolerant with his tail.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

First trip to rehab vet

We had an appointment with Dr Yamamoto at the Canine Rehabilitation Center in Walnut Creek. We went over Chimera's history and the notes from Dr Wallace. I told her that I thought I remembered Dr Wallace saying that the iliopsoas strain was in his right leg, but I noticed while brushing him over the past few days that he was definitely more sensitive with his left leg. She felt him up and said that BOTH legs were injured. She said that his hamstrings and quads in both legs were also tight and sore. The one good thing is that both knees are fine. Oy.

She recommend cold laser therapy twice a week. She estimated treatment would take about 2 months, assuming that there is no incidence of re-injury, which is common with iliopsoas strains. We are continuing the restricted activity protocol.

The laser machine made loud beeping noises which made Cai uncomfortable. The tech, Tracy, was patient with him. I held the laser wand (turned off) and did some quick reps of rewarding for exploring it, then allowing me to touch him with it. He still was wary when Tracy took over, but by the end he was calmly standing still and looking at me for 5 seconds between treats. I should have used the bucket game but I had been so worried and rushed this morning that I'd forgotten the bowl and even my own treats!

Visiting parents

We spent Mother's Day weekend with my parents. Chimera was more active there, and ended up yelping due to his leg injury a few times. I wish one could explain to animals that they need to take it easy when they're injured.

On the bright side, I took him to a get together and he spent the evening calmly lying next to me on leash.

We also took a trip to Home Depot and he was a model citizen, walking perfectly next to my cart.

A couple more pictures of Cai on strict rest.
Have to find new positions to sleep in.
Tired of the bed?
Begging politely for raw fish.
Calm in the car.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Rally-FrEe Intermediate Encore, 1st leg

After REDD's trial at Fetch Sam in March, one of the Novice entrants was eager to participate in a video event and finish up her dog's title. One other trial entrant, a brand-new beginner, and I all signed up to bring up the numbers of the event. We scheduled our joint recording session on April 22nd at ARF and had a fun time together. She did indeed get her dog's Novice title for that run!

Chimera doesn't have the Advanced level behaviors down yet, so I signed up for the Intermediate Encore class. Since I didn't care about whether we got a leg toward our Encore title (I'm just focusing on the core title track), I was able to totally relax as we went through the course. I didn't even train for the course ahead of time. As we went through, I thought that Cai was a little off-kilter since we hadn't been reviewing the signs that were on the course. However now I know that both his shoulder and his iliopsoas were giving him problems, and that's why he wasn't as responsive as usual. I believe that most of the missed/confused cues were actually because of the pain rather than lack of attention, because it's not the norm for him.

We still scored 148 and qualified. Here's the video:

Pet insurance and restricted activity update

Chimera has been adjusting better than I expected to his restricted activity. He gets bored here and there but mostly is willing to sleep the day away. He potties promptly when we go out on leash and enjoys his leash walks. We're doing some low-movement training like putting his front paws into my sandals (he manically paws at them because he's so excited to be doing something), scent articles (just indicating, no retrieve), and match to sample (he still doesn't get it).

In the meantime, Healthy Paws has come through and are counting my 3 recent payments for chiropractic adjustments toward my $500 deductible. (Or rather, they're counting 80% of those payments.) Like nearly all pet insurance companies, they don't count the exam fee toward the deductible or cover it. I'm happy that we've got the process going, as now there's no reason they shouldn't cover 80% of any upcoming laser therapy or other rehab treatments we do for his iliopsoas (after I cover the rest of the deductible). I'm happy with my decision to get pet insurance because now I don't have to worry much about the expensive rehab!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Iliopsoas sprain

We had our third appointment with Chimera's awesome new chiropractor today. After his first appointment a couple of months ago, I had seen a huge improvement in his movement and signs of pain. However shortly after the second one he had deteriorated again. I had meant to call them and let them know, but I just dropped the ball. Dr Wallace found that his left shoulder was worse again, but also that he had a new iliopsoas sprain on his back right leg. Thank goodness we caught it early. I read Dr Patricia McConnell's blog and her Border Collie Willie has been having problems with his iliopsoas on and off for years. It can be an awful injury.

She referred me to a nearby clinic that does laser therapy and we made another appointment with her in one month. I got pet insurance for Cai about six months ago and they should cover some of this. It will be my first claim with them, so I'll update here how it goes.

In the meantime, Chimera is on strict rest. He is not allowed to run, jump, or climb stairs. No fetch or retrieve training because he runs to get the object. He will be crated when I am gone, pottied on leash (to stop him from doing his usual sprint back to the door when he's done), and he is banned from getting in the furniture (I will probably have to use tethers a lot to keep him from jumping up). No heeling because he does a beautiful head-up position, which makes him lean back and puts pressure on the iliopsoas. His only exercise will be on leash walks and training that keeps him mostly stationary.

I guess I'll finally work on his stays, and maybe make more progress with matching to sample.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tall grass

Tiny dog + tall grass = adorable

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chiropractic visits, bucket game

I forgot to update about Chimera's visit to a new canine chiropractor on March 22nd. We saw Dr Wendy Wallace at Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital. I was quite impressed by how gentle and attentive Dr Wallace was. She gently ran her hands over Cai's neck, back, shoulders, and hips, and used very subtle pressure to shift things around. He was in so much pain at the base of his neck, at his left shoulder, and at the base of his tail that he growled and tried to snap at her. I had to hold his head still so that she could fix him up. Apparently he could immediately feel the improvement because when she was done, he still presented his back to her and let her pet him.

That night he was already back to his prompt response to cues to sit and lie down. (I only tested them once each!) Over the next three weeks I still only sparingly asked for those behaviors, but he was back to offering his default downs when he wanted something. But within the last week he started getting snippy while I was brushing him. Fortunately yesterday was our recheck.

Dr. Wallace wasn't surprised that he had started regressing, as it was a normal timeline for things to start getting tensed up again after an initial adjustment. Cai was doing better along his neck and above his tail, but still had pain around his shoulders

We had been practicing the Bucket Game in the meantime. I brought Cai's bowl and high value treats to our appointment. Before the doctor came in, I put him up on the exam table and we played the game until she came in. I explained how it work and she immediately took a liking to it. She agreed to wait until he was looking at his bowl before doing any adjustments, and would stop if he looked away. (She had already been this gentle and was watching for stress the first time we came, but she liked that this was an operant behavior that helped him focus.) We did have to put the bowl away and I held his head when she worked on his shoulders. On the bright side, there was less growling and snapping than last time, and I was able to use much less force to keep him still.

She asked us to come back in another 3-4 weeks, but she's booked up for the next 6 weeks! We're on the call list in case someone cancels.