Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Veterinary Issues

When I fed the team last night, Torus' limp was more pronounced than it had been earlier in the day.  As you may recall, he developed the limp while running with the team on one of our short little four-wheeler runs.  Torus is a very stoic dog, and my physical exam didn't elicit any tenderness except when extending his right front leg forward.  Then he winced, though he tried to hide it.

Shoulder injuries are particularly notorious in sled dogs.  A dog may appear to be fully recovered from the injury, but then re-injure the joint.  When re-injured, shoulder injuries take a protracted amount of time to heal.  Dogs with re-injured shoulders frequently lose an entire season due to the injuries.  It is usually recommended that a dog with a shoulder injury be taken off the team for at least 3 weeks.  A month is better.

Torus is an older dog, about 11 years old.  Many sled dogs are fully retired by that age.  Given his age and the fact that the training season hasn't really even started yet, we have put Torus on the "injured list" for at least the next month.   

I gave him some Rimadyl(tm) after our run, and again last night.  He also got a dose when I did kennel chores this morning.  He'll be getting frequent shoulder massages over the course of his recover and when I return from my next tour of duty at work we'll take a look at him and decide whether or not to try to put him back in the team. 

Torus is our best leader, and we would very much like to have him helping to train the younger dogs.  What he needs right now is "tincture of time" and plenty of rest to heal and recover.

Meanwhile, Chinook seems none the worse for wear after his surgery to remove a large tumor last week.  His behavior is entirely normal, he isn't at all tender and his incisions seem to be healing normally.  He is still wearing his E-collar most of the time to prevent him from licking and pulling his stitches and staples, but he seems to be enjoying his life as the "house dog".  He's acting like his normal big love-muffin self, and that is a very good sign.  I haven't yet heard back from the laboratory regarding the nature of his tumor, though.  We all have fingers crossed, hoping that it is relatively benign. 

Everyone else in the kennel is healthy and happy, and we are doing our level best to ensure they stay that way.

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