Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Good news!

Finally some good news! Chimera saw his awesome chiropractor, Dr Wallace. She found that his pelvis was out of whack, but that was probably from his regular jumping and running while playing with Jasper. He had a few other sore spots and grumbled and snapped at her a few times, however she was able to fully extend his hind legs. His iliopsoas seem to be finally healed! We have another two weeks before our recheck with Dr Yamamoto at the K9 Rehab Center and I'll still have him take it easy until then, just in case. I want a second opinion before I risk anything.

I asked about returning to agility and she said that once he's had another two appointments in a row with no significant problems, we can start easing back into it. Woohoo!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Iliopsoas recheck

Just finished a recheck with Dr Yamamoto. Cai is improved since six weeks ago but not as much as most dogs would be. She is concerned about his slow recovery. The current plan is:

1. Schedule more chiropractic appointments as they definitely help him - I need to call Dr Wallace's clinic and just schedule a ton of appointments way out so that I'm guaranteed to get in regularly.

2. Continue laser treatment twice a week as my schedule allows.

3. Take him off the muscle relaxants since I didn't see any change with them.

4. Continue rehab exercises.

5. Continue restricted activity - no running or jumping or stairs. She said that for some dogs she would have relaxed the restrictions, but since Cai likes to run and jump when he's off leash, we can't risk it.

6. Get information about possible stem cell therapy trials/research from Dr Troy, a fellow vet at Mueller.

7. Schedule an appointment with Dr Sams up in Marin for a second opinion.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Shoulder and harness problem

Since Chimera has to be pottied on leash even in the yard, I got him a new harness that is easier to put on and take off. I can't keep a harness on him all day because it makes his fur mat within 24 hours. (This dog could spend all day sleeping at home and still end up with mats.) The one I got was the Ezy Dog harness:
I knew from a Chris Zink seminar I took a few years ago that having a strap go horizontally across the dog's shoulders isn't good for them, but I thought that for just his short walks it would be okay. I was surprised when I took him in for a chiropractic adjustment a couple of weeks later and his shoulders were VERY sore. He growled and snapped at Dr Wallace much more than ever before. She asked, "Has he been pulling himself up with his front legs onto something? Or pulling in a harness?" OOPS

Fortunately after adjusting his atlas/C1 (at the top of the neck/spine) and massaging his shoulder muscles, he calmed down considerably. And the Ezy Dog harness went into the donation pile.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Brain games

Dogs are not natural multitaskers. The first time you ask a dog to sit while he's holding an object in his mouth, he'll most likely drop the object and then sit. Chimera can now hold onto the dumbbell and sit at the same time, but yesterday I asked him to wave a paw while holding it, and his brain exploded. He stared at me, frozen for a good five seconds. Finally he dropped the dumbbell and then jumped on me. "I don't understand what's happening!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


It's Chimera's fourth birthday! This is how we celebrated:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Iliopsoas rehab update

We saw Dr Yamamoto at the Canine Rehab Center on Wednesday. She felt him over to see assess how well he's healing. The assessment: not much. He was still sore and whipped around to give her warnings when she felt the iliopsoas on both sides, as well as on his back at the spot where those muscles originate. We were disappointed. We decided to do an x-ray to see whether there was perhaps a congenital issue that was impairing his healing. There was some subtle disc narrowing and hip changes but the radiologist thought that it was just a result of his positioning during the x-ray. (He was quite squirmy - he doesn't like being on his side or back.)

We could potentially do an ultrasound to give us more information but it would probably not change our course of treatment. We could do an "MRI to rule out a spinal cord, spinal nerve or disc problem that is not showing up on radiographs" but "this is expensive and would require general anesthesia." The doctor even mentioned the possibility of stem cells. But before we jump into any more aggressive treatment, we agreed to do another 6 weeks of restricted activity and cold laser treatment twice a week, with the addition of a muscle relaxant and PT exercises. The PT exercises are designed to keep the other muscles around the iliopsoas strong, but they're also good because I was worried about Cai losing muscle tone due to the extended rest period. I will also continue the chiropractic visits every two weeks. At the beginning of September we'll do another recheck and go from there.

On the bright side, we've exceeded the annual deductible for Cai's health insurance with Healthy Paws, and are now getting reimbursement checks for 80% of the cost of laser and chiropractic adjustments.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Clicker savvy

It's fun to have a dog who is used to clicker training and has many skills in his repertoire.

Cai already knows well: picking things up, holding items in his mouth, backing up

We quickly reviewed: picking up items from an awkward angle, moving while holding something (including backing up while holding)

We did a single shaping session to teach: pulling hard on an object to get it out of my hand

We combined those skills to teach: grabbing hold of my zipper tab and pulling/backing up to unzip my sweatshirt

So fun!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Still in rehab

I never know what to say when the vet techs doing Chimera's laser therapy ask me if he's getting better. I'm still restricting his activity such that I'm not asking him to do the things that had originally tipped me off to the problem (such as jumping into the car, going up and down stairs, and doing weave poles).

Today he was reluctant to let the tech use the laser on his iliopsoas on both the left and right side. (Usually his right is worse.) It might be because a few days ago he got a rare case of the zoomies in the living room and I just didn't have the heart to catch him and crate him up. My mistake.

We've been doing nose work to give him mental stimulation. The hides are all at low heights, of course, and the furniture is blocked off in case he's tempted to use it to source the odor.

He's really being a good sport about all this as long as he gets plenty of cuddle time.

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.