Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Stress relief ...

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Logging Chain of Loving Kindness.
Get yours.
(I caught this from Dick Umbrage.)

I stressed out a bit over the last few days. I ran Lucy in an agility trial Sunday (our first NADAC; all the others have been USDAA). It was fun, we did OK, but she had been exhibiting strange behaviors (see below) at home for several days and so I was kind of worried that something was wrong with her. But away from home she was normal, and she seemed to be perfectly enthusiastic and happy about running agility, so I didn't think too much about it. But now I believe that she may have been slightly injured--not enough to really show it--but that she may have sprained something in a rear leg. I don't know when, and like I said she wasn't really showing it, but I felt bad later when I realized that I was asking my dog to run agility with a possible injury.

The freakiness itself didn't really point to any specific problem. She didn't want to be inside the house--which is very odd because usually she wants to either be right by me or sitting on a cushy pillow. She usually barks to be let back in after about five minutes outside, but instead during her freakiness she would just sit out on our deck, and if I came out and said "Lucy, come inside" she would just look away and pretend I didn't exist. She wouldn't come inside for dinner or treats--and believe me, she knows the words "dinner" and "treats" very well--they're her favorites. If I carried her inside, she would jump up on the couch and curl up there with a kicked puppy look on her face. At times she would almost become catatonic, not even moving her ears or eyes when I said her name. But when we left the house, all was well again--she acted like she didn't have a care in the world and was ready to play.

This had happened before: once when she had a claw that had broken past the quick and was obviously painful, and a previous time when I'm not sure what the issue was but it went away when I stopped cooking an extremely garlicky chicken thing in the crock pot. (The chicken turned out to be disgusting, as have been most of the things I've made in my crock pot, so there's no danger that I'll ever cook it again.) This time there was no broken claw, no pervasive smell of garlic in the house ... I was stumped. Then Monday Mr. Pants said it looked like she was walking a little funny. So we walked her around and watched, and sure enough, she was slightly "favoring" a back leg. I took her to the vet, who found no obvious problems (and she said Lucy's knees are nice and strong and she's in great shape!), but suggested that she probably sprained something. She said the weird behaviors could have been a response to pain or discomfort--as they were the time she broke a claw. (Dogs will often make weird associations between bad things and what they believe causes those bad things, which is why they often do things that seem completely irrational to us.)

Anyway, the vet prescribed prednizone as an anti-inflammatory. I started giving it to her Monday night, and by Tuesday evening she was completely back to normal. Not just normal but happy and playful, even. So now I'm convinced that she was injured, but what still gets me is why did it not bother her while we were at the agility trial? If she had gone all catatonic or at least limped a little while we were there I wouldn't have run her. Same thing at flyball practice on Saturday--no only was she eager, she was running fast. What's up with all that, little dog?

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I'll try to have some non-freaky dog content for you next time.


Anonymous said...

I think that she really enjoys her dog sports and wants to please you, so she suffered through it. She wouldn't be the first dog to perform sports while injured.

Lisa B. said...

Hi anonymous (is that you, Mr pants?)! I think you may be right--Mr. Gomez has is always keen to keep playing ball even after he's practically torn off a carpal pad, and I've seen border collies who want to keep playing flyball with a bloody pad. But Lucy is a much lower-energy, lower-drive dog, and I always figured she'd have the sense to at least slow down a bit if she were injured.