Case Study - Franky
Of my own Furry Companion- Franky (also own as Manky Franky due to her ability as a puppy to find gross things to stand in).
I bred Franky myself and with no bias at all I can say she is an outstanding Kelpie- very focused, responsive and a strong desire to make me happy. By 9 months we were competing in mock Rally trials with good scores and she had taken to flyball foundations like a pro. She had not seen anything more than a single 4 inch jump and had not even started box work but certainly understood what was going on. Absolute super star!
We had our usual christmas break from training, and coming back was a bit of a shock- her jumping style had gone from horizontal to vertical, and she had completely forgotten how to sit. She also lost her topline when she gaited. These all happened gradually and I assumed we had hit adolescence and she was being a typical teenager and flipping me off. She also settled down at home and stopped doing zoomies in the back yard.
Hindsight is amazing- looking back with the knowledge I now have the signs were clear that she had injured herself somehow and was avoiding activities that hurt! She wanted to sit but it hurt so she would offer a drop instead. She still wanted to jump so she changed the mechanics so it wasn't as painful. And settling down at home was because running was uncomfortable, not because she was maturing.
I was studying at the time and she had many physical exams as a demonstration dog and nothing was ever found. There was nothing wrong with Franky, but there was certainly something not quite right.
Fast foward 3 years- I had stopped training Franky for flyball. He box turn was crappy, her jumping style painful to watch. We tried agility but she would practically walk the course. She continued with light obedience training. And it was around this time that I started to learn more about joints and muscles from a rehabilitation perspective. And realised that its not always the dog being difficult or the trainer failing to communicate- sometimes no matter how we ask and what reward we offer the dog physically cant do what we ask it to do.
Treatment started with some pain relief and it was like I owned a different dog the next day- doing zoomies in the back yard, playing with the other dogs and generally much more confident in every aspect of her furry little life. On one hand I felt terrible that she had been uncomfortable- on the other hand now I had the tools to make her feel better.
We are still on the road to recovery- healing 3 years of injury and bad habits doesn't happen over night. We are going slow and steady and making sure she is comfortable during every step of the way. I am happy to report that the progress has been AMAZING. She is no longer on any pain relief but still the cheeky puppy that I had before her injury- digging holes, jumping everything in her path and generally enjoying her new found quality of life.