Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Story of Molly's Biceps Injury

I clearly just do long-term catch up posts on this blog now. Whatever, it's how I'm rolling.

Since late Spring Molly was experiencing intermittent lameness on her right front, and at times on her left. As time went on it was exclusively on the right side. The first time the issue presented itself. I wanted to take her to agility class and she got off the couch so slow and sluggish. Molly can be a bit of a couch potato at times when it comes to leaving the house but she perks up when we get to our destination so I did not think much of it. But at class she would not do her warm up exercises (her spins, her downward dog stretch or her paws up on a chair.) I knew she was telling me, something hurts. I remembered no acute injury. All that she did was get off the couch.

After that she was adjusted by our chiro who advised me of some decreased ROM in Molly's shoulders. Our primary vet detected some loss of range of motion in her neck, which has been an issue for Molly in the past. I refused steroids due to the side effects that Molly experiences from them and we did a round of a drug that I cannot remember. I rested Molly for a while. Ran her in one run in our club's April agility trial because she had been looking better. She almost-freaking-Q'd-in-Standard but blew the dog walk at the end. Naughty. And then she was dead lame afterwards, despite a long cool down. I was...crushed. Because it could have been her MAD(P) if she had gotten the dog walk, and now she was lame. I consoled myself, that if it was her last trial run ever, it was a great one. Complete with obligatory Molly-naughtiness.

More time off of agility, saw some improvement. She would be fine. She would limp after simply getting off the couch. She would swim and be okay. She would be dead lame after swimming. Another chiro visit and "I think her biceps is injured."

At the beginning of July I took Molly to the same vet that saw Perri through her shoulder injury. She confirmed biceps strain. Molly was very painful on clinical exam to the point of pulling away and trying to escape the vet. Weekly underwater treadmill therapy as well as exercises to be done daily at home. Not my first rodeo! 

Molly was far more pleasant to do exercises with than Perri. She was happy to do them, and kibble was a good enough payment so she did rehab for her dinner (well, part of it.) Molly had to do cookie side stretches, weight shift exercises, puppy push ups, back up, and cavalettis. The back up was her favorite! We got to the UWTM whenever we could. Molly was actually rather afraid of the treadmill. She did not take to it easily. The second time we went I brought: her chuckit ball, and Perri. Both of those things gave her the bravery she needed to walk on the treadmill tank. 

Molly's injury did not seem so bad. She didn't need to be confined, and I didn't have to buy a buffet of treats and food in order to get her to cooperate with her exercises. And slowly it seemed to me, Molly was improving. Less and less limping after getting off the couch. Less reluctance to walk down the stairs (she was hesitating big time to come down stairs. Because it hurt.) And if Zorro tempted her to a game of chase, she would be sound afterwards.

We had our recheck today. I remember that after Perri's recheck, we still had 6 weeks of semi-restriction and underwater treadmill. I wasn't sure what to expect, Molly's injury was different. Molly had a session in the treadmill first and then the recheck with our vet. No pain response on clinical exam. Excellent range of motion in both front legs. Wow!

Molly is released to normal activity, but with caution. Do one activity at a time. (So that, if she becomes lame again, we know what to blame.) Agility is okay. Swimming, reluctance. Molly's hard driving style of swimming, including her tendency to throw her forelimbs out into full extension when she swims, made our vet hesitant to give the "okay" to swimming. Give it a little more time. She said she would actually prefer that I play fetch on flat ground with Molly than in the water. That surprised me! But it is understandable.

I don't know what the future of Molly's swimming will be. Perhaps some dock diving, some creek wallowing. I am considering a life jacket for next year to take some of the work out of the game for her.  In the mean time, we are going to start with some jumping grids and see how she tolerates that. One thing at a time. I do want Molly to return to agility. I miss her. I might have retired her if not for something that happened in July. I took her with me to the agility building to get some coolers and water ready for our club's trial the next evening. She .... was... screaming on the way up the agility driveway. She had not been there in weeks and she was so excited. I took her in the building and she ran around the ring taking tunnels with pure shark joy on her face while I did the job I needed to do. She was so happy. She does love the game. But with all things, swimming, fetch, agility, I need to respect Molly's age and protect her. We can still enjoy the things we always have, but in a lower gear.

Molly's last day in rehab. UWTM fun, recheck, chicken nuggets and new toy!

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