Monday, May 31, 2010

Fun in the Sun

Legend and I just finished four days of NADAC agility at Purina Farms. We had great weather-although a little warm to be out running multiple times a day, or to be leash running for Elite!

She didn't have the greatest Q rate this weekend but there were still good moments. She did get one Elite Regular Q to finish her title. Her other regular runs were a mixture of handler or dog error. I totally went the wrong way on one course-been a while since I did that. She got her first Elite jumpers leg as well-with her fastest yards per second ever. Two other jumpers runs were clean but over course time. Would have been ok for AKC, but not NADAC. She had a couple really close Chances runs. I was really proud of her on the one where she had to take a jump, turn 180 degrees AWAY from me, take another jump and then continue out to a tunnel. We're starting to work more and more on distance stuff and I can see that she is getting there. They had some tough challenges this weekend for Open dogs. Touch and Go legs continue to elude us-I think we are cursed. Still have no Touch and Go legs at all and yet she is in Elite in so many other classes. We also tried Hoopers this weekend. Legend and I both think hoops are stupid but Hoopers points may be required for Championships next year so we are giving it a shot, in case we should happen to otherwise qualify! The first try was kind of a disaster, but we did manage to do enough hoops the second time to get a Q.

The only real mishap of the weekend was when we took the dogs down to play in the creek. Legend felt the need to give us all a heart attack by running up the other side of the bank, getting on the bridge (about 10-12 feet above the shallow water) and suddenly jumping down! We all had visions of broken bones or worse, but she bounced up and was running around again before we could even say anything. I couldn't believe she just jumped without even hesitating-this is a dog that wouldn't jump off a low dock for anything last summer. But thankfully she was ok and never even seemed sore. But it gave us all quite a scare. And how exactly she didn't get her flexi caught up in the railing I will never figure out-the creek was near the road and she gets pretty wild in the water so I had kept her on the flexi to maintain some control. Guess I should have kept it short enough to stop her from going up the other bank!

We are all tired and a little sun burned but looking forward to next year!

Oh, and an update from Trip's mom-she reports that he's doing awesome and she loves him. He was having a blast at the AKC trial in Tulsa this weekend, meeting lots of new friends and getting to know his new brother and sister!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Growing, growing, gone!

Trip is headed to his new home tomorrow! I'm kind of sad-I'll miss that silly little guy but he's getting a great home and I will get to see him at all the trials! He's going to have a Sheltie brother and a Border Collie sister. And I suspect he'll be spoiled quite rotten. And he's already rotten!
After that Legend and I are headed off for four days of NADAC at Purina Farms. Should be a hot one! Now, back to packing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day two

Legend had another good day today. She had a nice Q in jumpers and a good run in Standard. She took some off course weave poles to cause our NQ. But how can I blame her? As much as we have been practicing weave poles lately they couldn't possibly be the wring choice right? She did the teeter today and even got the tricky tunnel entrance. Oh, and the poles she was supposed to do this weekend were perfect.

And best of all Trip may have found a great home as a future agility star! I'm so excited for him-I hope it works out!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's official

Lyric is a genius. Yesterday I had her try 12 poles for the first time and she just blitzed on through like it was no big deal! We did 3 or 4 sets and she required pretty minimal help-she was doing them pretty fast too! Then I realized she'd never seen a panel jump. Since my high/panel jump is out of commission I draped a towel over a bar jump. Didn't even phase her. I also put two of my bar jumps together to make a spread jump-also no big deal. Isn't she amazing?

Today I took Lyric and Legend to the local AKC trial. Legend was running but I just brought Lyric to get measured-there are two measuring officials there this weekend. Lyric came in at 10.25 inches. I little taller than I thought but as long as she's under 11 we're good.

Legend decided to randomly refuse the teeter again. It's been awhile so I guess it was about time for her to do that again. Then she got a refusal on the table-she got on from the back side. Weird. She had a clean jumpers run. It was pretty smooth but a little slower than her "average." We'll be back for more tomorrow!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Injection Rejection

I've been to a number of veterinary clinics to work or interview or spent time there as a student, etc. I've also spend time reading on a popular veterinary forum (VIN). And it seems that there are some vets who give just about every patient a "shot" of something, no matter what the pet has or if it really needs the injection or not. The reason is often that the owner likes to see you do something, not just prescribe medication, or it helps the pet start to get better right away, or they want to "jump start" the medication.

I agree that there are a number of situations where injectable medication is valid and warranted. A vomiting pet who can't hold down medications, a pet in severe need of pain control, a pet who can't breathe because of fluid in it's lungs, high fevers, etc. And some owners request an injection even though they know they need to give the oral meds as well.

But if the injection is not medically necessary or not even indicated (like random vitamin shots?) do owners really want to pay $20-$30 or more just to see the vet "do something?" Some pets don't like getting shots, and some medications burn or sting when injected. I don't believe it's common practice in human medicine to get an antibiotic injection for a sinus infection or UTI before getting sent home on a prescription. I tend to think a lot of this is bill padding but I want to know what the pet owning public thinks so please leave your comments!

Another disagreement I have is with excessive diagnostics. There are doctors who want to do bloodwork and x-rays on every pet with vomiting and diarrhea. Let's be real-most of these pets are going to get better if you don't do anything. Most of the rest will get better with pulling food and water for 12-24 hours and starting back with small meals or a bland diet. In vet school they emphasized how important a good history and thorough physical exam is in determining a diagnostic and treatment plan. If you run every test on every patient then you really dumb down the importance of the history and exam. You may as well not even do them in my opinion. I don't think there is anything wrong with offering them, but what I feel is wrong is where owners are made to feel like they are absolutely necessary in every case. I think the owner wants an honest opinion of what you recommend so they can decide what they want.

So again I ask the pet owners-which do you really prefer. Do you want all tests run every time to minimize the chances of something getting overlooked or do you want a reasonable recommendation based on your pet's individual presentation. Knowing what pet owners really want helps us better serve you and your furry family!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It did stop raining!

We did get a break in the rain long enough yesterday to get in some agility and some yard work. I even got some decent pictures.
Isn't this one just too silly!

I caught Trip mid-bark on this one. Goofy boy.
Guess where the ball is?

Guess who got the ball!
Today, it's kind of yucky out again but next week is supposed to be great!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Training and Raining

Yesterday I worked the dogs in between rain storms. I put a heavier blanket over my chute to weight it down and make it darker and Lyric went right on through-she didn't even stop and play with the cat that was hanging out inside it! Good girl! For whatever reason she turns better and picks up on rear crosses to the right better than to the left. Since it's raining today maybe we will work on some turns on the flat to help her.

Legend did much better on her sends over the dogwalk and I started adding some more distance and some slight angles to her sends to the weave poles and jumps. And I increased the lateral distance I am sending her out along a line of jumps. I also started sending her to the table.

I laid a decent sized track for Zodiac which he did pretty well on. He only got off the track a few times briefly and he followed the turns well. Of course I had laid the turns pretty heavy with food, but you gotta start somewhere.

It looks like it will rain most of the day so we will be entertaining ourselves inside. Trip is already bored. I took them out for a little ball in the rain, but you can only do that so much before everyone is soaked!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ocular disorders

This post is about some of the more common disease of the eye seen in pets.

Nuclear or Lenticular sclerosis is a normal age related change of the lens. This is what gives your older dog that hazy look in his eye. This causes no appreciable vision loss, is not a cataract and does not proceed to blindness.

Cataracts are an opacity of the lens. They can be congenital, inherited, secondary to diabetes, traumatic, secondary to other intraocular disease, or toxins. There are other less common causes as well. Rate of progression is very variable and can take from days to years to reach full maturity and blindness. Cataracts can be surgically removed but patients must undergo some other testing to make sure they are an appropriate candidate for this procedure.

Conjunctivitis is a very common ocular disorder. This in inflammation or reddening of the conjunctiva, or the pink fleshly lining of the eye, essentially "pink eye." This is most commonly caused by allergies, infection, foreign objects or other irritants. It can be associated with ocular discharge of various character-serous (clear), mucoid (mucus), or mucopurulent (pus-like mucus). It is typically treated with drops or ointment containing a steroid plus or minus an antibiotic and usually resolves uneventfully. Some dogs with chronic allergies use these drops on a regular or as-needed basis. This can occur in one or both eyes.

Corneal ulcers are a scratch or defect in the cornea-the clear covering of the eye. This can be caused by any number of things-cat scratch, dog pawing at it's eye, running through the weeds/brush, etc. Uncomplicated superficial ulcers usually heal quickly and with no complications. They are treated with antibiotic drops and sometimes anti-inflammatory pain medications. E-collars are frequently placed if the animal is bothering the eye. Deep, infected, or chronically non-healing ulcers are treated more aggressively because the more weakened the cornea is the more chance there is for rupture of the cornea-a very serious side effect. These are often treated with more powerful antibiotics, serum from the dog's own blood, and various surgical procedures depending on the situation. Some of these are even serious enough to be treated by a specialist. Corneal ulcers are especially prevalent in dogs like pugs or boston terriers due to their ocular conformation.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or Dry Eye is a deficiency of tear production. This leads to inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva with secondary ulcers, infection, and pigmentation of the cornea. This a disease that is very painful left untreated and typically requires life-long therapy. Causes can be congenital (rare), drug induced, autoimmune-mediated inflammation, endocrine and other systemic diseases. Diagnosis is made by measuring the amount of tears produced in a minute. A strip of paper is placed under the lower eyelid which has millimeters marked on it with a dye. As the tear fluid flows up the paper the dye is diluted and shows "how many" tears the pet has made. Treatment is aimed at clearing up any infection and keeping the eye hydrated. Artificial tears are used as often as possible, especially in the early stages. Topical cyclosporine is the gold standard of treatment and helps to increase the tear production of the affected eye. Other options are available if cyclosporine does not work but can be very expensive.

Glaucoma is a painful condition where the pressure inside the eye rises above normal. The pressure rises because of an increased production of the fluid inside the eye, or an inability for the fluid to drain. This condition, in addition to causing discomfort, can lead to blindness. Signs of glaucoma include a dilated pupil, reddening of the conjunctiva, enlargement of the eye, a blue color to the eye and signs of pain or vision loss. Treatment for glaucoma varies widely from patient to patient based on time of presentation ( if caught early enough, emergency treatment can be instituted to save vision), goal of the owner (maintain comfort vs. vision vs. maintain eye), demeanor of the dog (many topical meds will need to be given) and financial limitations. Treatment can include hospitalization, referral to a specialist, medications, and or surgery up to and including removal of the eye.

Most often ocular related problems are simple and non-emergent. But because some of them are truly emergencies and require aggressive therapy is it best not to "wait and see" when your dog is having an eye problem. Sometimes even a matter of a few hours can make a difference and there is not a way to tell over the phone if your pet is having one of those problems. As you have noticed a lot of eye problems can present as redness and squinting-but some are more serious than others!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Opposite Day

Yesterday was cold, cloudy, windy and misty. I even started a fire to keep the house warm. Today is sunny, hot, and humid with little to no wind. If you have never been to Missouri-that's pretty normal.

It was too nasty to go out and train yesterday, we needed a day off anyway. So instead all four dogs and Icy got bathed and groomed. Which they were not impressed by.

I don't think they were impressed by going out on this muggy afternoon to work either but we did. Lyric is doing great-she's doing the chute by herself but I need to work her on different chutes with darker, heavier cloth to make sure she is really ok with it. She's gradually doing the weave poles with less and less help and the less help she needs the faster she is doing them. Sometimes she runs between the tire and the frame if it's not a straight shot so that is something we are working on. She also needs work on rear crosses and sending out to obstacles but that will come with time. And it's probably not a skill we need master right away since she's an 8 inch dog running a novice course and I'm pretty fast too!

I started working with Legend on the dogwalk today. I put a treat on a target at the end and then sent her over from the other end. Sure enough, just like the weave poles she didn't have the confidence/understanding to go all the way to the end without me, even though she knew there was a treat/target there. She slowly caught on to going to the end but did want to cut it a little short and and step off the side. I insisted she go all the way down and get the treat though. I also need to be standing on alternating sides as she finishes so she's not always looking one way for me to throw the ball or call her back to me. I did find that I can send her away from me to a single bar jump from about 30 feet out, so that was good. I also set up a straight line of jumps and ran her through while I was increasingly greater lateral distance. I plan to move each jump a little more laterally so she has to keep moving out away from me while I run a straight line-that seems to show up in Chances classes a lot.

I think I'm going to focus on Tracking with Zodiac for awhile. He seems kind of burnt out on the utility stuff. If he seems more interested after a break then we will work on it again, if not, we'll see.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


We competed this weekend at the first North Arkansas Kennel Club trial. It was so nice to have another trial close by. Got to sleep in my own bed and everything. Legend had a really good weekend, although not without some of her "issues."

Saturday she had a really nice standard run but stopped to sniff-for a really long time in the tunnel, and came out the wrong end. Several dogs stopped in that same place, so although I know it's not an excuse, I do think something was in the tunnel. It's just not like her to do that. She qualified in JWW but started out really slow and finished fast.

Today she got another double Q! Her standard run was as fast as she's ever been at at a trial and was really nice. Her JWW run was obviously also a Q but again was a slow start and fast finish.

All of her weave poles were great though! I think I am going to use the same concept-independent performance and working ahead of me on other obstacles. Her weaves are so much improved and faster too so I figure it can't hurt anything to try something new with her. Plus we need the distance work for NADAC anyway.

Oh, and Trip commanded A LOT of attention from trial attendees today. Hopefully word is spreading that the perfect agility puppy is available for adoption!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I've been running around all day and I still have stuff on my list that won't get done! It doesn't seem like I should possibly be this busy since I'm not working this week, but I am.

This morning I ran several errands-picked up raffle items, grocery shopping, pet grocery shopping, etc. When I got home I had some things to do online and then I gave Zodiac a bath for pet therapy tonight. Then I worked Legend before a friend came with her dog. I'm running that dog at the trial this weekend because her owner is injured. When they left I worked Lyric. Then I washed the truck and cleaned the inside. Then it was time to get myself cleaned up. Then I brushed out Zodiac and trimmed his nails, did all the evening feeding and now it's about time to leave for pet therapy. Then off to Jerry's softball game. I guess my tracking, gardening, horse brushing and riding will have to wait for another day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Show-me canines trial

After unexpectedly working on Friday, Legend and I headed up to Columbia for an agility trial. We stayed with some old vet school friends and had a nice time catching up and visiting on Friday night.

We had a really nice jumpers run yesterday but with one bar down. That's really rare for her so I couldn't be too upset. I was really proud of her weave poles though. It was a pretty tough entrance and something I would have totally been baby-sitting in the past. But I just hung back and let her do it and she nailed them! All that work is paying off. In standard we fell victim to the off course traps.

But today... She got a double Q and finished her MXJ! A double bonus!

I really felt she was pretty relaxed this weekend. Her starts were faster and she had a solid pace through the whole course, instead of starting slow and finishing fast. Off to Arkansas next weekend!