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Oz Girls

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  1. I have a dog that has had exactly the same symptoms, where she would get up after a long rest on a comfortable bed and then lift her back leg completely off the floor (but not very high) and not put it down for 8-10 steps. However we were not sure at the beginning whether the legs were swapping. We have no known cause at this stage for holding up the back leg, despite multiple episodes, vet visits and exams/xrays etc. She does have a suspected a spinal problem from when she was a pup but it remains undiagnosed. Here is some information that may help: The first time she held up the back leg it happened when she was about 18 months old and it was winter here in Oz (so not cold by worldwide standards but cold for her). I can’t remember exactly what length of rest we did (but it wasn't too long) or how long for the medications were for but slowly she stopped holding her leg up. However over the course of about 6 months there were about 4 more episodes (we did rest and medication each time). Of interest she seemed to go off her food a couple of days before each episode. Then for 12 months she was fine. Then the next winter there were one or two more episodes. However not too long after the last episode she got up once and held her back leg so high to her body it looked like a chicken wing. This time at the vets they found some very slight swelling down near where the toes join the feet and suspected a tendon injury. A much long rest (I think at least 6 weeks before she was allowed to play unattended outside and much longer before we played ball) and long course of medication followed. (Fingers crossed) It is about 14 months since she last had an episode and that includes our just concluded winter. One thing I have learnt - if the foot is being held just a little bit off the floor the problem is more likely to be higher up the leg or in the spine, as the dog is trying to avoid weight bearing, whereas if it is the foot being held up really high it is possible that the foot is injured and they are trying not to knock it on the floor. Good luck with finding out the cause. I know how frustrating it is.
  2. It is good to hear of other dogs snoring. When Zoe, our thin and fit 3 year old started doing it this year I was surprised as I had never come across it before in dogs. Luckily for us it was quiet and gentle - unlike her regular other sleep noises which can range from subued barking, growling and groaning to even howling. Those noises are enough to wake us and the other dog up. Carson Crazies that description of Bree is hysterical.
  3. I second all the approaches suggested above but will also add you may need some patience. One of my girls has taken over 2 years of periodic training/encouraging to be tugging with us using her soft toys and a couple of soft tugs. This is despite our other dog having been a manic tugger from the very begining.
  4. I too feed Eagle Pack Holistic (chicken) very successfully. We have one girl who has ongoing problems with a sensitive stomach and had an apparent lack of interest in any food til she was 18 months old when we switched her food over to Eagle Pack. Now she actually asks for her dinner! Here in Australia it is one of the only high quality kibble foods they sell, but for us it has worked really well. We have found she needs 2 cups a day to maintain her weight and she is still very lean.
  5. ChrisB, how far off the ground does she hold her leg when she limps? Apparently this can be an indication of where the pain is originating. My girl most likely has genetic spinal problem and every now and again she limps after sleep which follows exercise. When she does this the foot of the back leg is just lifted off the floor. Out of the blue last year she started random limping after a sleep which followed exercise, where she lifted the back leg so far off the ground it looked like a chicken wing. I could feel her flinch every so slightly if I manipulated her foot (she doesn't mind me playing with her feet). Turns out the vet got the same response and some swelling was seen on xray. Turns out it was soft tissue damage in the joints that join the toes to the feet. So if she is holding the foot up high, it just might be the foot that is sore. Apparently they hold it up really high so they can't accidently knock it on the floor. Whereas if it is the spine or hip that is painful it is more of concern to not be weight bearing, rather than knocking the foot itself. Good luck with finding the some results.
  6. For us, I believe pet insurance is really good. I agree you need to read the fine print and I acknowlege that I, like herdcentral am in Australia so it might be different for us. I took out pet insurance on our two young bc's when they 8 weeks old, primarily for large ticket accident type costs based on my family experience in the past with a kelpie/bc cross who injured her back jumping after a ball. I was worried about HD in one of my girls but it was specifically excluded in our policy. We took the xray's anyway to check but did not claim them ( the xray's at 6 months look ok). However, quite surprisingly HD was included in our policy the following year, so I do believe that if anything happens on that front we may still be covered. In the first year of cover one of the dogs was seriously ill with a range of problems (scratch to the eye, bowel obstruction (no surgery required), head tremors, consolidated lung, serious limping problems, no appetite, severe exhaustion). All this happened in about 8 weeks (just after we had them spayed) and required quite a large number of tests as each new sympton appeared and as responses occured/ did not occur to medications. I believe the total year's payback from the insurance company was around $AUD 3000. So it really helped. I believe that year we paid about $AUD 25 per dog per month and got back 75% of any bills we had to pay (above the annual vet visits). So we got back after 5 times as much as we had paid out. The following year we had far fewer claims but we probably still got back 20% of what we paid, and this year we had to have more xray's on limping girl so we might be back up to 60%. My current vet suggested taking out full insurance (accident and illness) for 2 years and then if we felt comfortable he said we could drop to accident only when the dogs reached 2 years of age as a majority of illness have presented by that time. My girls are now nearly three and partly because we have had so much paid out, partly because times are so much tougher and partly because limping girl may have some fundamental issues with her spine or ankle I think we may continue with the full insurance.
  7. This may or may not help. One of our girls (2.5 years) had a similar situation with on/off limping. It seems to come on after ball play with us or rough play with the other dog. It would display when she got up from rest, then she would hold up one leg up for 10-15 steps. In her case it was a rear leg. Our vet believes the limping, which has occured since she was 9 months old is caused by an issue with her spine. In the first 2 years it seemed to alternate which leg was affected and sometimes we wouldn't see it for months. However in the last 3 months the fequency of her limping, the height she lifted the foot off the floor and how much further she walked before she put it down meant another vets visit. Manipulation and xrays indicated that she had some slight damage in the ligaments/muscle in an area of her foot. Expecting that her spine had got worse I was relieved. However the likely explanation is that at some stage she got a tear and never got enough recovery time for it to totally repair. Drugs, crate rest, restricted activity, and now slow reintroduction of some freedom and she has had some improvement. On a lighter note, I asked the vet maybe it was easier to just tell me what I should stop her from doing and his response "taking off very fast and turning on the spot quickly". I just burst out laughing, this dog is so fast she leaves the other border collies in her dust. Needless to say no ball games or rough or tumble with her playmates just yet!
  8. So sorry to hear of the sudden loss of your Fergus. Our thoughts are with you.
  9. Living in Sydney, a city of around 5 million people, it is amazing the amount and variety of birdlife we have. In our garden there are the brightly coloured parakeets, noisy cockatoos, Australian and Indian minor birds, Australian Magpies, and at night there has even been a white owl. Well I should say there “used” to be these birds in our garden. Our BCs Jess and Zoe seem to enjoy keeping the birds off the grass (the birds still come to the trees). Jess particularly likes to send them up the tree and then she will sit and watch them patiently for what seems like hours at a time. Well that was up til when she hurt her foot. Since then she has been on restricted activity and so the BCs have spent a lot more time enclosed on our large back deck. The birds have really enjoyed the extra freedom this means for them, particularly as we are entering spring here and nests are popping up here and there. Yesterday humans and BCs were all on the back deck and I noticed the BCs were standing extremely still and silent at the edge of the deck, eyes focussed down on the same one spot of grass. Intrigued I went to over to them to investigate what they were looking out and found a Magpie rolling one of their much loved worn out tennis balls along the grass. It was so funny. At one stage Zoe looked around at us as if to say “what is THAT bird doing, with MY ball?” I so wish my camera was handy. BTW:I guess the Magpie was trying to pry bits from the ball for the nest and when she/he pulled hard the ball moved. Do you have any funny stories like this?
  10. One of my heart stopping moments was when Zoe was about 6 months old. One morning we were out in the back garden and the dogs were running around really fast. At one stage Zoe raced around from the side of the house at maximum speed and ran head first into the metal pole of the washing line. We heard the metal reverberate from the force of the impact. When we spun around to look at her she was sitting there like a cartoon character with her eyes spinning around. I really thought she was going to be in some real trouble but like all the other border collies after 2 minutes she was was back to her normal self.
  11. Yesterday, Jess who is 28 months old ran up the driveway (about 50m) while I walked up to picked up the mail. When we got back she asked to play ball. Whilst she was standing staring at the ball there I noticed her left rear leg, with the foot on the ground, was tremoring / shaking (like a person would do if they were freezing cold). The rest of her body looked relaxed. I felt her body and her left leg. The top part of her leg felt really tense, and I believe I could feel a tense tendon. After a massage leg and spine, a few minutes later it went away. Prior to going up the drive way she had been resting outside where it was cold for us (about 10 degrees Celsius). Today at the same time she got up from sleep and walked on three legs. She carried the left rear leg held right up tight to her body, almost like a chicken wing. I stopped her after about 10 steps and massaged her again. This happened a couple of times. Both yesterday and today I rang the vets and got them to update her file and while on the phone I notice a couple of spasm on her spine. She is behaving as normal at all other times. Has anyone experienced these things with their dogs and received a diagnosis? Jess has had her share of medical problems, most when she was about 8 months old. One of the issues was a limping issue but we never saw shaking like this before, nor the carrying of the leg so high. She was tested for rheumatoid arthritis and was negative, the best guess at that stage, if I remember correctly, was spondyloses of the spine but xrays would not show definitively until more than 50% of calcium had been lost, which at that stage it hadn’t. If you have any ideas I would love to hear it. I will be updating the vets daily and will take her in to see them as soon as required. Thanks.
  12. Our dogs have a couple of different beds, from flat thick blankets for the hardwood floors, to fleecy type mattresses for their crates and some really cheap round traditional beds we bought from a hardware store when they were puppies. These cheap beds are definitely their favourites out of all their beds, which drives me crazy as there is no removable cover. Our dogs used their beds all the time until we let them have their special couch which is in another room of the house, which quickly became a firm favourite. If they come and join us to watch TV they chose normally chose their beds over the floor.
  13. Hi Jaderbug, there is some great advice in the previous posts. I'll just add that time may also be your friend. I have one girl like your Jade that seemed to be unable to do anything other than 'sit' or 'down' when a toy was in sight (and our girl LOVES her toys). Well only this morning, on command she performed about 8 different tricks correctly, one after each other for her toy. This is the first time she has done more than 'sit' or 'down'. She is now 2 years and 4 months old. We have not be actively trying to train this with her, but every now and again we would test how she was going, so you might find it happens quicker. I actually thought we might never reach this milestone with Zoe so I was really excited. This dog has really taught me about patience - it took her until she was 18 months old before she was really interested in food and treats and boy did she then start loving training. My advice don't give up, some things just take longer than you expect.
  14. My girl Jess does this too, holding the position for what seems like ages. She seems to do it while trying to get a better view of planes or birds.
  15. I recommend it, but we found it does depend on the dog's hair. It works really well on Jess (silky hair) removing more hair than any other brush we have tried. An added bonus for us - she used to hate being brushed but with the Furminator she will just stay laying down and keep asking for more brushing. Zoe has rougher hair, everything gets caught in it and the Furminator is no different. It feels like it is ripping the hair and she hates being brushed with it, whereas she doesn't mind other brushes. I think Jess is the major shedder in our house so overall I am very happy with the furminator.
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