My Greyhound’s leg is broken, now what?

About 10 months ago Jethro broke his leg lure coursing.  It was a beautiful December day and we were in Moreland, Ga.  Jethro ran his first course and looked very strong and was having a blast.  I decided to run him in his second course because he looked so good and was having such a nice day.  During the end of the second course, he came up lame.  His left wrist was extremely swollen and he was not bearing weight.  I was very concerned by to looks of the injury but tried to tell myself it was OK.  I examed his wrist and felt crepitus (boney cracking) and my fears were certain he had broken a bone in his wrist. 

 Photo credit: Cindy Frezon

 

I called my vet and told him that I thought the leg was broken.  He advised me to stabilize the leg and come in the next morning. 

Overnight the swelling had increased and was causing Jethro a lot of pain.  We went to the vet and had x-ray.  His stopper bone was broken.  We discussed an experimental surgical technique to stabilize the bone with a small screw or splinting and stabilizing the joint for 8-12 weeks. 

I decided to splint and stabilize the joint.

Jethro is a very headstrong dog.  He had other plans than lying around the house for 8 weeks.  He wanted to be running and playing with his pack.  Keeping Jethro calm was incredibly hard and we ended up have to give him trazodone to keep him calm as he busted out of two crates and wrecked multiple x-pens.

While he was in the splint he developed a pressure ulcer on his elbow.  I was at my tipping point!

The pressure ulcer was extremely painful for Jethro.  I called the vet thinking we were going to have to begin antibiotics ( I am a nurse after all) but dogs are amazing creatures and their infection threshold is much stronger than humans.

I read all I could about pressure ulcers in dogs and found this article about a “doughnut dressing”.  This was a dressing shaped like a doughnut causing the pressure of the splint to be distrusted evenly around the wound allowing no pressure to be on the ulcer.  After a week of using the doughnut dressing the ulcer was healing and you could no longer see bone.

Jethro was such a good patient and supper lucky to have two nurses taking care of him.

After nine weeks in a splint, Jethro was free!  Clint and I were pushing getting the splint of ASAP due to the pressure ulcer.  I was so glad to hear the bone had nice regrowth and looked stable.  

After the splint was off Jethro still walked like he was splinted.  It took him about a week to resume a somewhat normal gait. 

After the splint was off the hard part began.  We had to rehab a dog.  He had lost a lot of muscle and was was stiff from the splint.  We began doing stretching and strength training.  I knew that the rehab was key in correcting Jethro’s gait. 

This video shows some of the rehab techniques I used to help Jethro to regain strength and balance in his leg. 

Jethro had a great outcome due to a great vet, serious human support, and his will to be able to run again.  If you are ever in the situation, I hope this post helps you and your hound. 

 

Photo credit: Cindy Frezon

 

 

 

The Peanut

I admit I struggle to get my dogs exercised when it is raining.  I hate being outside when it is wet and I hate them getting so dirty.  I dislike rain.

So what is a savvy greyhound owner to do with her hyperactive and under stimulated hounds… Well, my friends, that sounds like a job for the peanut.  
The peanut is designed by FitPAWS.   It is an oblong shaped ball that the dog stands on to help increase their core awareness.  Just like core training in the human world, this is hard work.  I ask the hound the stand on it for three minutes at a time repeating three times.  This gives them a brain and core break and allows them to focus when it is their turn.  

 

 

My boys adore the peanut, as soon as I get it out excitement erupts with barking, running, and all together spazzing-out.  Darla, is not a peanut fan.  The upside for her is the food; girlfriend is a foodie and will do just about anything for salmon.  
The good thing about the Peanut is, that it works the dog physically and mentally.  This gives you a nicely exercised calm dog that will not wreck your home when it is raining, snowing, or just icky outside.  

When all else fails, just move the coffee table, throw a toy down with a squawker, and let them go!  As you can see, the Diva loves her stuffed toys and NO ONE is getting on her bed

 

 

 

 

Have a good weekend and enjoy those nice, calm, happy hounds!

Raw Diet

 

The original reason that I started this blog was to document the hounds’ transition to a raw diet.  I had some failures in doing that… Blogging is not for the faint of heart. 

 

We are now 100% raw, save for the training treats.  Darla’s seizures are controlled with the diet and a herbal supplement.  Most of my friends think I have gone off the deep end.  I am a medical person and I love pharmacology; however, I feel that D’s seizures were directly correlated with her food.  Since beginning raw diet, she has had less than five events all but one could be attributed to a treat or bone that had been smoked.  Thus I am being open-minded and continuing with her treatment plan as it is.  My human specialty is neurology, so girlfriend is analyzed and then reanalyzed.  

 

 

I have read a lot about dog nutrition and have came up with a nice well-balanced diet for them.  Depending on their weight, they get about 1-1.5lbs of meat a day.  On top of that they are supplemented with 1-2 cups of green veggies and fruit.  I am also a huge believer in carbohydrates, my hounds will get ½ cup of rice or sweet potatoes daily.  They also get supplemented with eggs, sardines, and kefir/coconut milk.  I will increase/decrease the diet if someone looks too thin or I start to lose hip points.  I constantly evaluate how they look and how they act.  Dogs tell you so much with so few words!   

 

 

An interesting point in this was transitioning the puppy to raw food.  While he was living with his breeder and litter he was getting a very high-quality kibble.  When I first offered him raw, he was not interested.  I ended up having to add some tripe to really stimulate his taste buds.  Now he is a pro and will eat whatever is in his bowl.  I have fed him based on his predicted adult weight.  However, as soon as he begins to get too skinny I increase, usually with carbs.  I find that the additional carbs have been very helpful without adding to his growing pains.  

 

 

Officially,  we are a raw food only family.  I would encourage anyone to try this diet.  It is easy and the dogs really do thrive on it!

LGRA

I am always ready to get the dogs out and let them play.  I was planning to attend the ASFA region 7 invitational; however, I had an engagement that could not be rescheduled.  Fortunately, there was a LGRAmeet within a day’s drive on the same weekend.  I loaded up the hounds and we decided to try racing.  

I have to admit that my dogs adore this sport.  I am partial to lure coursing, mostly due to the location.  I love being out in the country, but the hounds love racing.  I think it has everything to do with the lure that is used in racing.  Jethro and Darla thought the squawker lure was the greatest invention on earth.  Sashi was a little unsure, but after some training, he loves the squawker as well.  
This was Darla’s first time running this season.  I was very impressed with the Diva.  Darla’s running can be very capricious.  She loves to run but on her terms.  If something irritates her or she is just not feeling like it she will not give it her all.  I have talked with my vets and trainers and we feel that that is just her.  I never know what I am going to get, but girlfriend came prepared for this race.  She did excellently against a very nice and very fast bitch.   She came in second and I was very pleased with her.
Jethro on the other hand, had bloody nail beds after his first run.  The ground was really hard and he is not accustomed to that, so he lounged in the car the rest of the day… Yeah right… He acted like a spoiled brat because he was not getting to run.  He ripped open a pack of cashews, spilled a bottle of water, and coffee over the seat of the car.   He was highly upset!
Overall, out first LGRA outing was a lot of fun.  Thanks again to great friends like Carl Doby and Jennifer Ng for their help and the wonderful photos!
Photo credit: Carl Doby and Jennifer Ng

ASFA Greyhound Speciality

 

ASFA Greyhound Specialty 2014

 

After much deliberation and my on-call schedule aligning with the stars, I was able to attend the ASFA Greyhound Specialty.  The Greyhound specialty is a wonderful event hosted by the Southeastern Greyhound Club, the main event is ASFA lure coursing.  There is an informal conformation show as well, which can be a lot of fun for the dogs.  My dogs feel that anything that evolves food and attention it is fun!

 

Unfortunately, Darla decided that she needed to wrangle with an opossum the week prior.  She lost a tooth and had to have surgery on her mouth, she was unable to run, but enjoyed an abundance of treats and smells within the show ring.  

 

 

I also brought the kid, he loved getting to play show dog.  As you can see he is an excellent sitter.  Unfortunately the judge did not find this as cute as I did.   

 

I am so biased about this little cutie! Really, isn’t that the cutest face ever!

 

I did run Jethro in the Lure Coursing trial.  I was very pleased with his performance.  Jethro always runs with a lot of heart.  He loves the lure and loves being out in the field.  He broke his hock during his pro career and his rehab continues.   I am quite sure he was the oldest dog entered in the open stake and he tied for 4th place.  He was very stiff after his two runs, so I opted out of a run-off and we happily accepted NBQ.  He always thinks he is the best and I enjoy spending time with him.  It was a win-win.  His stiffness resolved within a day, he was demanding his hike the next morning.  

 

 

 

 

I greatly enjoyed this event and the dogs had a wonderful time as well.  It is always nice to be in a field full of greyhounds, doing what they are best at.   Hopefully we will return next year.  

 

 

Photo credit: Cindy Frezon

Swimming

 

Living in Atlanta, I struggle with finding locations with good footing to let the hounds run.  Fortunately, I have great friends with a farm in Newnan.  They graciously allow me to bring the hounds down and let them run.

In addition, to their runs on the farm, I felt that the hounds needed to be doing more conditioning.  I wanted to try something that was easy on their joints and feet.

I was speaking with another greyhound friend about this and she told me about Wag-N-Swim.  The facility is located slightly OTP (outside the perimeter), the pool is warmed to the dogs liking and salt water.  I was very interested and we went for our first session this past week.

 
 
I knew Darla would like the water, she is always wanting to play fetch in the lake or lay down in creeks.  I was a little worried about how Jethro would do.Here were my favorite things about swimming: the dogs slept for hours after the class, I learned a lot about the hounds gait, and I can already see improvement in their muscle definition after one session.  I will continue with this training once a week for the remainder of the summer.  They will also continue with their FitPaws Peanut and free running.  We should be properly conditioned by fall.  They are already complaining that they haven’t lure coursed in over one month.
On another note, no seizures in 11 days!

 

Greyfest

 

A few weekends ago the hounds and I attended the annual Greyfest at the Georgia International horse park.  I volunteered to trim nails on the hounds attending the festival.  It was a lot of fun.  I was able to keep D&J close by while I was working.  

 

 

 

The festival is dedicated to celebrating Greyhound.  It is hosted by SEGA (southeastern greyhound adoption) and coordinated by the ever-organized Lisa Strickland.  They put on a wonderful event with several contests celebrating all that greyhounds are. 

 

 

They also have a contest called “Blur the Fur”.  This contest allows the greyhounds to run in a horse arena.  The hounds are encouraged to run by the sound of a squawker and visual stimulation of a lure.  The hounds love it!  The best part for the human was that your hound’s speed is clocked with a radar gun!  Darla was clocked at 41 mph.  That is fast!!

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately Jethro was still recovering from his toe surgery and was unable to run.  I will post photos of him running later.  We were given the okay to run last week! 

 

Darla continues to be seizure free.  We are going on one week without seizures, touch wood.  We are continuing our raw diet and I am continually pleased with how my dogs are improving. 

 

Photo credit: Cindy Frezon

So far so good

It has been quite the week.  I have continued to feed the hounds a raw diet and they are doing very well.  I have noticed quite the difference in Jethro’s coat.  His eczema is much improved and hardly noticeable.  He also looks better.  He is sleek and his muscle definition is improving.  We will begin conditioning next week to prepare for coursing this fall.



On another note, Darla has started having seizures.  This began in April with a severe tonic-clonic seizure.  She has had three over the last three weeks.  This has been devastating to me.  She is a performance dog and the thought of putting her on medications that would prevent her from being her is heartbreaking.

I spoke with my vet and animal nutritionist.  We linked these seizures back to a dog food change.  After much thought, I have completely stopped giving my hounds kibble.  They are 100% raw now.  I continue to be very concerned about her relapsing but since the switch to all raw we have been seizure free.  I am hopeful that her dietary changes will stop her seizures. However,  I do have phenobarbital on hand in case this doesn’t work.  I know it is a long shot.

On to sight hound stool… I am amazed at how little poo they produce now.  No one has a belly ache and diarrhea has stopped.  I am very pleased so far and I hope that we continue on this path.  I aim for healthy happy dogs and so far so good.

 

Taking the plunge

 

Day 1 of raw feeding—so far so good.  The hounds ate their food like champs.  They enjoyed the veggies as well as the raw meat.  While on our walk, I was impressed with Jethro’s stool.  He is currently on Metronidazole for his bacterial bloom; he has been having issues with this for the past six weeks, after taking antibiotic post surgery.  Today, his stool was solid, I am not noticing hyperactive bowel sounds and he seems more comfortable.  Darla is a once a day girl so I am looking forward to how she does this afternoon.

I am trying to feed Darla 1.5lbs of food a day and Jethro 2lbs per day.  I know that there will be a learning curve for this and I will continue to monitor their weight.  A few greyhound and whippet friends have been extremely helpful in giving advice about feeding.  I have also read several books as well.  Currently they are getting .5-.75lbs of Blue Ridge beef in the AM and ½ cup of veggies, 1 cup of grain free kibble, and 1 tablespoon of yogurt in the evening.  Sometimes, I will give them ½ cup of kibble and ½ cup of oats instead of 1 cup of kibble.

Regarding supplements, I have done extensive research regarding the most needed additive to a raw diet.  I am adding vitamin C, vitamin E, Omega 3-6-9, and green lipped mussel.

 

 

I have made a promise that I will do raw food for the next three months; I will then reevaluate the hounds and see how they are doing.  During this time we will be training hard for field trials in the fall.  I feel that this will be a great time to evaluate their health.