Saturday, July 31, 2010

Catching Up

The most important news is that Duncan is getting worse. His pasterns (wrists) are collapsing, possibly due to the way he’s compensating for the changes in his back end. We went herding Thursday night, and its obvious that his pain during activity is increasing. After a short session (less than 10 minutes), he was doing a very awkward bunny hop (not a normal running bunny hop) anytime I needed him to move faster than a walk. I’m going to start wrapping his pasterns to provide some extra support, but I really don’t know what else to do for him. I emailed the ortho vet, and he wants Duncan to be re-evaluated by the neurology department. His thoughts are that its possibly Degenerative Myelopathy or a problem with a disc in the lower lumbar area. Still waiting for neuro to call me back.

The most fun news is that Duncan has finally learned to swim! One of the women I herd with told me about a nice, quiet spot where she takes her dogs, so Duncan and I went out this morning for a swimming lesson. I had to drag coax Duncan into the water once it hit his belly, and then I had to support him for a few minutes while he settled down. His original idea of swimming was to flail about in a panicked fashion, which didn’t do much more than soak both of us. He eventually got the idea, though. He still starts paddling with a frantic leap, but then actually swims. And he is fast. I would swim away from the bank to get him to swim farther, and he would overtake me so easily. The downside of the swimming lesson was that he tried to drown me more than once. For some reason, he thinks getting his paws on my shoulders is the goal, when all that really does is leave deep red marks on various parts of my body and shove me under the water. I learned quickly that the way to handle that is to push him away as soon as he gets close – redirect him, and he’ll paddle off with no problems. I’m not saying he loves to swim, but by the time we were done, I think he’d figured out he wasn’t going to drown. I’m going to try and get him out there a couple of times a week for exercise, since walking doesn’t seem to be the best choice these days. Oh, and I’d like to point out that I was actually in the water when I took these photos…

Here's Duncan launching himself towards me.

He may not look thrilled, but at least he's swimming.

Shortly before he got close enough to shove me under...

Not to be outdone, Reyna got a little swim time in the Suite Paws pool after she had her nails trimmed. This was after our 2.5 mile walk, so she was actually ready for a little rest after her outing.

A couple of days before we had those nasty hot temps, I bought the pups cooling vests. They have inserts of a solid that melts into a gel and keeps the pups cool for about two hours before the inserts need to be replaced. Duncan loves his vest and will keep his belly as flat on the floor as possible to get all the coolness.

Reyna, on the other paw, has decided that the vest is some sort of torture device I’ve created just to make her life utterly miserable. She’ll actually leave the house if I even pick up a vest. If I make her wear it, she keeps her ears down, looks depressed, and tries to shake the thing off for about 20 minutes. Then she gives up, lays down, and proceeds to look like I’ve kicked her repeatedly. But I don’t care, because the vest keeps her cool.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry Duncan's condition is not improving. There is heartbreak included with the joy they bring into our lives. Love the swimming pictures and story. He and Reyna are so different...another part of the joy (at times). Mary B.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear that Duncan is getting worse.....wish I could make him better and Reyna too!!! Glad he has learned to if he will just learn not to drown you!!! :)Love, Mom