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"Washboard abs" ?

Sue R

Abdominal muscling  

11 members have voted

  1. 1. When I checked my dog/bitch's abdominal wall, I could feel -

    • Just flat, smooth muscling
    • A very slight feeling of a ripple or washboard (like running fingers across the inside of your other hand's fingers, as in an over-conditioned dog's ribs
    • An easily noticeable ripple or washboard (like running fingers across the backs of the fingers of your other hand, like a lean and fitly-conditioned dog's ribs
    • A very noticeable ripple or washboard (like running fingers across the knuckles of your other hand when you make a fist, like an under-conditioned or too thin dog's ribs)
    • My dog/bitch is very fit
    • My dog/bitch is moderately fit
    • My dog/bitch is not very fit
    • This animal is a dog
    • This animal is a bitch
    • If a bitch, this animal has had at least one litter
    • This dog/bitch is three years old or younger
    • This dog/bitch is between four and eight years of age
    • This dog/bitch is between nine and twelve years of age
    • This dog/bitch is thirteen years of age or older

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I had Celt to the vet yesterday for something that turned out to be nothing (well, other than discovering a broken canine, which happened when I was gone to Finals). We had a new, young vet who did a very thorough physical exam.


After he examined most of Celt's body and particularly his abdominal area (either side of his penis sheath), he had me lay Celt down and he continued to examine the abdominal wall. He finally said that he'd never seen this in a dog before but he could feel (and when he showed me, I could also easily feel) a "washboard" effect. He said that while he could detect no signs of pain (Celt not only did not react to vigorous manual probing and examination, he actually fell asleep during the process :P ), he had never seen this sort of "ripple" or "washboard" feeling in the abdominal wall.


I came home and checked both Dan and Megan, and found the same feeling in each, a bit more noticeable in Dan as in Celt, and maybe a little less noticeable in Megan.


So, if you have a fit, lean dog or bitch, would you mind trying this and letting me know here if you can feel the same thing, either weakly, moderately, or definitely, or not at all?


Stand your dog up and stand by his/her shoulder and face his/her hind end. Bend over and place the fingertips of each hand on either side of the abdomen below the flank and on either side of where the dog's penis sheath lies (or where it would lie in a bitch if she was a dog :D ). Run your fingers firmly back and forth from the mid-line at the rear of the rib cage up and out towards the little flap at the flank. You should (if your dog is like my three) be able to feel a "ripple" or "washboard" (like running your fingers back and forth along the ribs to check condition).


Let me know what you do or do not find, please. I'm just wondering if this is a result of fitness and leanness or maybe something else... If you are able, please complete a poll for each dog/bitch you check.

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Yes, understood. But what the vet and I are seeing in Celt (and I am seeing in the other two) is a "washboard" feel to the abdominal wall with the "ridges" running approximately from the mid-line towards the dog's side. The vet found this unusual (he said he'd never seen it before) and I'm curious to know if it is common/uncommon in fit dogs, common/uncommon in Border Collies, more common or less common in one sex or the other, etc.


Just a straw poll about something that made me curious, not thinking about Border Collie pin-ups or anything like that :lol: .

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Well, Tommy, that was the vet's concern - he wondered about Celt being "tense" in the abdomen but he could still feel this even when Celt was apparently dozing off, so I'm not sure just how much of it could have been tension versus simply how his abdominal wall is muscled.


A friend of FB replied there that all her four dogs show this, particularly the ones that work daily and (I assume) may be a bit more fit. Megan, who is worked the least of my dogs, shows it the least but she's also a bitch. Who knows?


PS - They are not at all related.

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Interesting. Felt the ripple effect. May have been a slight difference in how pronounced they were when she was relaxed. Eight years of age. She has no orthopedic, arthritic of other issues to my knowledge. Results are in the poll.


Watch dogs run. They flex their backs dramatically on every stride. Clearly running is not just a legs and hips thing. Makes sense to me that dog is going to need conditioned/strong abdominal muscles to accomplish this.


Thanks for putting the poll together. -- TEC

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Thanks to those of you who have replied and have contributed to the poll. I really hope to get more feedback but I also realize that I didn't create a very comprehensive poll. However, I do hope to get more responses to it so I can get a better idea of how extensive this "condition" (conditioning?) might be.


So far on FB, I think just about all the responses indicate people see this same thing in their working-bred, lean and fit, Border Collies.

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My 2 BCs are thin and very fit and they definitely have a noticable washboard, both under 3 years. My JRT is almost 12 very thin and athletic and has a mild washboard. So far, I've only filled out the poll for one of them.

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I wish I could revise my "vote" in the poll because on further reflection, I'd put Celt down as a moderate or easily noticeable ("lean condition") rather than a very noticeable ("skinny condition").


I'm really appreciating the feedback from others. This seems to be a very consistent trait in the fit dogs.

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I have multiple dogs so:


Gem-mix breed-2 years old-female-very fit-very very prounouced washboard feeling


Gyp-mix breed-2 years old-female-very fit-moderate washboard feeling


Rusty-mix breed-10 years old-male-pretty fit-moderate washboard feeling


Happy-Border Collie-13 years old-female-very fit-light washboard feeling


didn't check Paisley(very out of shape) or Baby

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