Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kili the strange, the injured, the ghost whisperer?

We had a very strange and alarming night with Kili recently. She was behaving very strangely and nothing seemed to add up.

We'd had a very nice day on Monday. I was off so we did some training, relaxed at home, and I ran some errands. Kili seemed completely normal and was really on her game during training. We all went to bed around 11:30 that night, only to be woken up at 1:30 by Kili pacing and staring out over the baby gate of the bedroom. I'd used some hot dogs for training which she hadn't had in awhile, so I figured she probably had diarrhea. I got up and let her outside. But 15 minutes later she was up and pacing again. I took her back out figuring she hadn't finished what she needed to do. Once again when we came back in she refused to settle. This is very unusual for Kili when she has diarrhea. She may wake up several times a night, but she will always go back to sleep after she's been out. I let her out again but she just stood at the door. I tried crating her, but instead of settling she just cried and cried and cried (again, very unusual for her). I let her out one last time, but again she had no interest in doing anything.

Back in the bedroom she would pace back and forth. I invited her up into bed with us, which she normally loves, but she would just sniff our faces and wag her tail before going back to pacing. It really looked like she was searching for something. She was looking around and had her nose in the air sniffing. Finally we let her out of the bedroom hoping she'd find whatever it was she was looking for. Instead I started to see her "startling" and slipping on the hardwood floors. She seemed suspicious of everything and sometimes surprised that things were where they were. I checked her vision and that seemed perfectly fine. I did a neurological examination, and that too seemed fine. She persisted in this behaviour until 6:30 in the morning before I finally convinced her to lay down in bed with me and go to sleep.

Naturally I decided not to go in to work as I was exhausted. I took the day off and we slept until 11 AM. When we got up Kili seemed perfectly normal. She went out to use the facilities then came in and laid on the couch for about 15 or 20 minutes. She then got up and went down to the basement where we train. She appeared to be searching for something, but without the agitation and suspicion of the night before. By the time Jarrett got home from work she wasn't even interested in searching anymore. I figured whatever it was had passed, that perhaps there had been an animal in the walls or something like that. But then I went out for a few hours that evening and when I came home she started to exhibit the agitated behaviour again. This time was milder as I managed to convince her to lay down in bed with us and she slept through the night.

Bloodwork done the next morning was perfectly normal. She seemed absolutely fine all day at work. But that night I took her to agility and she refused every obstacle in sight. She was happy to chase her frisbee and to run around, but she refused any jump set higher than 10", balked at the tunnel, and bailed off the dogwalk. The strange, agitated searching behaviour did not occur again, however.

The agility can be explained by soreness or an injury. But it doesn't explain the odd behaviour, nor does it explain why the behaviour stopped before we started treatment. She's had a visit to her chiropractor and she is getting laser treatments on her sore areas. Her chiropractor didn't find her much worse than usual (except it had only been a month since her last adjustment when normally we do 3 months between), and she only needed to be adjusted in the same spots as usual: her pelvis, her middle back, and her upper neck. For laser treatments she is being treated in her middle back, her pelvis, and also her left iliopsoas muscle which another doctor certified in rehab believes is sore. We are also doing stretching exercises at home. She's had a couple of days of pain medication and muscle relaxants and is doing very well. The plan is to continue to rehab her for another week and a half. I'll then try her out at an agility class and if she seems okay we have a trial the following weekend. If she still seems sore at class I'll pull her from the trial.

Here are some of her rehab exercises:
  1. Stretching
    1. On the peanut. This stretch is for her middle back. I am having her bend herself over the peanut in a way that opens up the spaces in her spine in the trouble spot.
    2. A variation of the stretch on the peanut using the stairs instead. The idea is the same.
    3. Side bends. Same idea except opening up the disc spaces in the horizontal instead of vertical direction.
  2. Traction
    1. In the first exercise I'm feeling for the dorsal process of two different vertebrae in the problem area. I am then holding them in my fingers and pushing them apart. Again, we're trying to relieve tension and tightness.
    2. Tail traction. Kili hates this one so I'm not sure how effective it is. The idea is to pull (gently but firmly) on the base of the tail, while pushing the front end forward (you can't see it in the video, but I have my arm behind her elbows and am pushing forward against them). Same concept as the previous exercise.
  3. General strength and balance
    1. Balance and core strength on the peanut. I'm asking Kili to change positions and move around on the peanut. This works on her balance and core strength.
    2. Pushing the peanut. Right now we're just working on learning to push the peanut with our front feet on it. Later we'll also learn to push with our hind feet on it. This works on strength of the legs on the ground.

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