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Doctor Matt

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My family and I adopted a smooth BC about two months ago from a shelter. We think Quigley is the best dog ever. She was five months when we got her with a very calm, submissive personality. We were told she was a stray. She came to us with pneumonia, hook worms and tape worms. After a month of antibiotics, several breathing treatments, and clearing her worms her energy has certainly increased. She's a quick learner. She knows sit, stay, come, let go, come around. Quigley loves fetch and of course wants to chew often. When told no - she stops and doesn't go back to the behavior. We have been leaving her in the house alone out of her crate for the last week for up to 3 hours and haven't had a single problem. I didn't know dogs could be this good!

 

In my ignorance and zest to be a good dog owner I think I've run her too much too early. Being afraid of under exercising her, I bought a "Walky Dog" extension for my bike to run her while I road. She loved it, however, after about 4 runs of 3-4 miles in the early mornings she started to limp a couple of days ago favoring her left front leg. We promptly took her to the local Vet (who knows us well after the pneumonia) and she thinks it's minor - no specific diagnosis given. She started one week of anti-inflammatories and strick rest for 2 weeks. Which means no outside running or jumping. Outside on the leash all the time! This is only day 2 of rest and it's driving the family crazy. I'm trying to stimulate her mind with new tricks, but she desperately wants to run. Anyone with ideas here?

 

I'm worried this maybe Osteochondritis Discecans (sp?) after reading on the forum. I'm hoping that her wanting to run is a sign it's not super serious. I'd appreciate any feedback.

 

Thanks,

Matt and Sadie (my nine year old daughter)

 

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Unfortunately, her wanting to run can't be taken to mean anything other than that she has energy to burn. Border collies are stoic and will work through pain. So you really must be strict with the crate rest. Take it from someone who has many dogs and who has tried skimping on the crate rest--it will come back to bite you.

 

No pup should EVER be forced into high-impact, repetitive exercise before its growth plates have closed (that is, until at least a year of age). Jogging, biking, etc., are all high-impact and repetitive for your dog. Pups should be allowed to do as much rough play, running, etc., as they CHOOSE to do. Choice means that they're not receiving encouragement (and by enouragement, I don't mean that you're having to cheerlead to keep the pup going; the fact is that most dogs will do their best to keep going because they want to be with you and please you, so even if they're tired, they keep on to the point of injury or worse) from you to keep going. If you ever watch puppies--they'll play hard for a few minutes and then rest. They rarely engage in sustained periods of exercise if left to their own devices.

 

So for now, my advice to you is to follow your vet's instructions exactly. Every time you let her run, you're only going to exacerbate the problem and prolong her recovery. It could be OCD or it could simply be a soft tissue injury. In either case, crate rest is the best first step. Once she is past the rest and appears to be sound, you're still going to want to limit her activity--that is, no more running with the bike, jogging, etc.

 

Another thing to remember is that if you create a super athlete by giving your dog tons of exercise, then you end up with a super athlete that EXPECTS and NEEDS tons of exercise. That's why we on this forum always caution against the extreme exercise approach to keeping a dog quiet.

 

I have working dogs. We don't have hours of work to do each day (except if we are hired to set sheep at trials). I keep them fit, but they don't get hours/miles of exercise a day. They are expected to fit themselves into my routine, which means sometimes they get little or no exercise. Border collies (and mixes thereof) don't have to have tons of exercise to be good canine citizens.

 

You will need to keep her mind active, and that means trick training, puzzle toys, good chew toys and the like. When your vet releases her for limited activity, consider taking her to obedience or foundation agility classes (If you've got the resources near you) so that she can get controlled exercise while also using her mind. At some point, you might be able to add in leash walks, which may not be as entertaining for you and Sadie, but which will allow Quigley to get some exercise without overdoing it.

 

You may also want to talk to your vet about the availability of any rehab type vets in your area. Quigley might benefit from a prescribed rehab program once she's released to start more activity. Just remember that going from crate rest to activity also requires a transition.

 

Here's a story of one of my dogs, my main work and set out dog. At a trial in the fall a couple of years ago, he started limping on his left front. I needed to use him so we powered through that trial and the one the following weekend. I had him on pain meds, but they weren't making a difference. After those two trials, I rested him for a bit and then let him start running/working again. He came up lame again. Rinse, repeat. I finally got a thorough exam at my regular vet and followed up with my rehab vet. The diagnosis was biceps tendonitis, though the rehab vet thought that there might also be partial detachment. She said I was lucky it hadn't detached completely. So I finally put him on strict rest for a month, followed by an additional two months of going out in the yard by himself with only me so that I could control what he was doing out there. By month three, he was allowed to go at any speed straight ahead (so he could, for example, drive sheep sheep in a straight line), but he wasn't allowed to do any activities that required any sort of quick lateral movements (like cutting horse moves).

 

I bit the bullet and did the full three months and then slowly eased him back into work. I've since used him to set sheep at trials lasting for 2-5 days in a row and he has stayed sound. He was around 4 when the original injury occurred. For a period of time after putting him back to work, I cringed every time he had to do some sort of acrobatics to control sheep, but he has been perfectly sound ever since. Looking back, I think there were signs that he was having an issue with that leg long before he went truly lame. I failed him.

 

So anyway, the point of this long story is that if I had put him on strict rest from the start I would have had him back working much sooner, and would not have put him through the pain I put him through.

 

Good luck with Quigley and keep us updated. And welcome to the boards.

 

J.

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Welcome to the Boards, Matt, Sadie and Quigley! Yes, thinking up diversions for your young dog is a challenge. No, don't assume the worst at this point.

 

Long walks on a leash, in different areas if you can arrange it, might work well for your pup. Check with your vet that this is okay, and walk on softer surfaces, like grass, dirt instead of asphalt/cement.

 

I just went through 3 weeks of no running, etc, with my 5 and a half yr old Gibbs. We walked a lot. And learned some new tricks. And some relaxation techniques. After the first few days of no 'bomber dog', as we call it, Gibbs seemed to settle in. We took him as many places in the car as we could. Luckily, it was still cool enough here to do that. For Gibbs, new scents/areas to walk in really tired him out, in a good way.

 

We also worked on his deficits. He doesn't like strangers, and I worked hard to find dog friendly people who would toss him treats from a short distance. I don't think he needs to love everyone, but he does need to sit quietly by my side while I chat a minute or so.

 

Someone else may chime in, there's a well known trainer who has a Relaxation Protocol - Leslie McDevitt? Not sure, but if you google dog relaxation protocol, it will come up. That's a great structure to start with your pup now.

 

Good luck with your pup!

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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Welcome! And, yes, we've probably all done something at some time, before we knew better. What Julie said is excellent advice!

 

Anti-inflammatories, crate rest, gradual reintroduction to exercise, and (as Julie so aptly pointed out) a reasonable approach to normal exercise should all be helpful. I have would up with three dogs who have had issues this last year - one who was recovering from ACL surgery; one who had an arthritis flare-up that was then compounded with a biceps injury; and one who doesn't yet have a definite diagnosis but who was having some back pain and very rare but painful hind leg cramps (and the cramps were the only symptoms visible to a non-professional).

 

With all of them, a physical therapist helped with designing a routine of things I could do for rehab and strengthening - but the key was rest, restriction, and medication when needed; careful return to activity with leash walking (and, in our case, exercises for strengthening affected muscles and developing proper range of motion); and common sense in returning to more regular exercise.

 

Listen to your vet as it sounds like very good advice.

 

Have you tried things like frozen stuffed Kongs in her crate? Toys that make her work for her food (Squirrel Dude, Kongs, Bottle-on-a-Rope) and keep her mind busy? Teaching her some "thinking" games like the shell game? What these dogs need as much as or more than physical activity is mental activity - a dog can get much more tired and content by exercising her mind than by monotonous physical activity.

 

Best wishes!

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I'm worried this maybe Osteochondritis Discecans (sp?) after reading on the forum.

 

Don't worry too much I know plenty of dogs that had OCD and it's been fixed so well that they've gone on to have a successful agility career. Could be expensive though if that's what it is and you go for surgery if she isn't insured.

 

It's more common in dogs than bitches I believe.

 

Pam

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Wow, thanks J, Ruth, and Sue. I appreciate you telling me what I need to hear. Knowledge is important to being a good owner and this forum is a great resource for it. We will be putting her in the crate with some stimulating toys for the time being. I don't know if its going to be harder for the dog or for me.

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OK, so I've made it 24 hours on crate rest for Quigley. She gets a short poop walk. We walk past about 5 houses slowly with her feet in the grass. Then she gets to eat and we lay on the floor for several minutes. We do some tricks and put her back in the crate. Or I should say I try to put her back in the crate. Usually she is good about going to her crate but now she gives me those sad eyes and then my wife says "does she really need to go to her crate - this is crazy."

 

Any thoughts on crate rest vs. house rest? I will admit she can play pretty hard on our tile floors. I'm thinking I've got to tell my wife the crate rest is what we need to do even if we feel sad for her in there. Goodness, Quigley was at the shelter with 100 other crazy barking dogs just 2 months ago - how can it be so hard for us to put her in the crate with a few toys.

 

Thanks for the advice,

 

matt

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Crate = small place no chance to get in trouble!

House = big place with tons of chances to get in trouble!

 

Welcome and I also will tell you that it is much easier to deal with it now (i.e. follow the REST instructions!) than later.

I had to crate a dog with a traumatic injury for almost 6 months....lots of mental play and stim and she did just fine. I think I had more of an issue with it than she did! I promise....ya'll will survive this! B)

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Alternatives to crating, if your vet okays them, would include using an xpen and/or attaching an xpen to the crate so she has more room to stretch out and get comfy, play with her "mind-stimulating" toys, choose different surfaces (with our dog, his crate had a non-slip bath mat but his xpen (attached to the crate) offered a choice of carpeting or a thickly-padded blanket/sheepskin combo. He could choose which surface to lie on and had room to get in a position that was comfortable (this was both before and after his surgery, so since we knew he had pain and discomfort, we wanted him to be able to choose his surface and position). But, this is only an alternative if she stays resting and doesn't get overly active in it.

 

Another alternative is keeping her with you on a tether, or a leash, so that she has minimal ability to move around but can still feel like part of the family, unconfined by the crate, and get a small amount of gentle, controlled activity walking around with you. After all, too much confinement and lack of any movement *can* be counterproductive to recovery. An example of how useful gentle, controlled movement is can be found in physical therapy protocols and in encouraging a patient to do prescribed activity as soon as reasonable after injury, surgery, etc.

 

Sounds like you are doing a good job following your vet's orders, so check with your vet to see if either of these alternatives might be useful (even if they are only for short times, several times a day). What you don't want to do (take it from me because I've done it) is to go outside the prescribed routine and cause further injury or a setback to recovery.

 

Best wishes!

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OK, so I've made it 24 hours on crate rest for Quigley. She gets a short poop walk. We walk past about 5 houses slowly with her feet in the grass. Then she gets to eat and we lay on the floor for several minutes. We do some tricks and put her back in the crate. Or I should say I try to put her back in the crate. Usually she is good about going to her crate but now she gives me those sad eyes and then my wife says "does she really need to go to her crate - this is crazy."

 

Any thoughts on crate rest vs. house rest? I will admit she can play pretty hard on our tile floors. I'm thinking I've got to tell my wife the crate rest is what we need to do even if we feel sad for her in there. Goodness, Quigley was at the shelter with 100 other crazy barking dogs just 2 months ago - how can it be so hard for us to put her in the crate with a few toys.

Yes - she really does need to go in the crate. Bite the bullet!

 

But as Sue, Julie, Ruth and G. Festerling have already said - mental games help immensely. They can 'tire' the pup as much as physical activity. Mental games, trick training, etc. also help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

 

Sue had some good ideas about alternatives to crate rest. Consult with your vet about those ideas. Your options will depend on how your pup deals with them and will be fluid as you go forward with the rest.

 

A larger crate may also help keep her more comfortable and less whiney. When my dog had shoulder surgery, I used a crate twice as large as he normally needs so he could lie down and turn around comfortably - similar to Sue's x-pen suggestion.

 

Check past topics for ideas on how to keep your dog entertained/mentally challenged during crate rest. There have been a couple of excellent threads that dealt with that topic.

 

I am a great believer in extended crate rest (often longer than you think you need) and in using a certified canine rehab specialist. They are much more knowledgable about sports injuries than most (not all) general vets.

 

Good Luck,

Jovi

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Here is a Quigley update for those interested. Crate rest is going OK. She gets her food and some peanut butter in her Kong and loves that. My wife still feels bad about her being stuck in there. Honestly, that is my biggest obstacle - but I had her read your replies and she's coming around. She is definitely limping less this am with her poop walk and that is great. Taking her anti inflammatory is no trouble. She's learned to play dead and will occasionally roll all the way over on command.

 

Thanks for all the thoughts and advice from everyone. We are all grateful for it.

 

Matt

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It is *so hard* to confine a dog that is not used to it but the dog often adjusts more readily than some of the people involved! Trust me, I know. We have one dog initially strained his ACL and was put on medication and restriction. And several years later, he tore his ACL and was on restricted activity for several months before his surgery, and then was in therapy and rehab for a total of six months after (longer than normal for a couple of reasons). It was not easy to resist letting him do what we felt he wanted to do (how much of that was us wanting him to be able to do what he wanted to do).

 

But, I found out every time I stepped outside the prescribed regime we were given for rest, rehab, and therapy, that it did harm and not good, and set him back in his recovery. And I've seen the same thing with our dog with an arthritic wrist and a biceps injury.

 

I've also found that just because a dog *looks* as if he/she is recovered, that doesn't mean the injury is fully healed and the dog is ready to ease back into normal activity. These dogs can be pretty stoic. You would never have guessed that my one dog had a totally torn ACL - he was working cattle, playing fetch, doing everything he would normally do without a limp or symptom - but the symptoms were there when he was at ease and were very subtle.

 

By putting your dog's best interests ahead of what you think she wants and "needs" to do, you are taking the best care of her that you can, and doing your best to ensure that she has a sound and active future.

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By putting your dog's best interests ahead of what you think she wants and "needs" to do, you are taking the best care of her that you can, and doing your best to ensure that she has a sound and active future.

 

Sue has made a good point here. Think long-term. Yes, those pathetic eyes will make you want to give in, but remember that each day or week or 2 weeks of extra crate rest now, may pay off in the future with a healthy adult dog vs. one that might suffer for years from an injury that might not have totally healed when it was a pup.

 

Jovi

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Here's is the latest on Quigley.

 

We are 7 days into crate rest for a soft tissue injury to the left front leg. I haven't seen the limp now for three days for which I'm very thankful. No worries out there, we will complete the full two weeks of rest. I'm am very happy to see the limp gone though.

 

During the little bit of time she has out of the crate she's been learning new tricks. In four days she's mastered come around, play dead, roll over, and shake. She already knows sit, stay, come, let it go, and she obeys nearly every time. I'm so amazed at this dog, she is incredible. I've had two other dogs in my life and I could get them to sit sometimes, and maybe stay for a few seconds if they were tired. They never came to me unless I had food, had just come home, or I had thier leash in my hand. But Quigley really makes me feel like I know what I'm doing.

 

Any advice on next tricks/commands for her. No sheep for her to herd here in our suburban home. I'd like to teach her to catch a frisbee, but won't do that til she's 15-18 months. Now she's about 7-8 months.

 

Thanks for all the wonderful advice out there - it's golden to those of us with less dog sense.

 

Matt

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Teach her the names of different toys/objects. This can be an ongoing process - refer to the BC in SC or GA (and I can't remember the dog's name) who learned the unique names of ~1000 objects (or maybe less? I forget the details.)

 

Teach her to walk backwards, crawl forward/backward, play dead -- Also, look on Youtube for more ideas.

 

Sounds like she, and you, are doing great!

 

Jovi

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Quigley update.

 

No limp for one week. She been graduated from crate rest to house rest. 2 more days and we will let her frolic in the back yard. My wife and the kids have been good about keeping her strictly on the lease when outside and it's paying off. I'm hopeful that we are healing. We'll go back to activity slowly. No running til she at least one though.

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It all sounds good! Remember to bring her back into activity *gradually*.

 

I had a mare that I bought from a lesson barn. She would get lame and be put on stall rest and when she walked sound, she'd be turned out again. And she'd race around the arena with such joy at being able to be loose, that she'd turn up lame again.

 

The moral of the story is to ease her back into activity. Best wishes!

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So Quigley got to play in the back yard off the leash today - it been a full two weeks of rest. She loved it and I loved it too. No limp! Yeah. I'm very happy and thankful to all who offered advice in regards to her limp.

 

No worries out there I will bring her back slow. Short walks and letting her play on her own as her wants only. No 3-4 mile bike rides or hour long fetch games for several months.

 

Thanks again,

Matt

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