It was Tuesday, May 21, 2013 and we were all at the off-leash dog park at Cherry Creek Reservoir. Maya and Tucker were doing their usual running around, sniffing, barking, wrestling, etc. As we’ve had good rain this Spring, the wild grass was high and green and the dogs were having a blast running through the fields. Now, we don’t know exactly what happened, but after one sprint with Maya doing her best shepherding and dogging Tucker’s hind-quarters, she came back from the run with a slight limp on her front right leg. Nothing too severe, and she wasn’t even complaining about it, but we could tell. It’s possible she either landed wrong on some uneven ground or critter hole, or maybe her leg got a bit yanked from the long and green grass. It can happen. It’s one of the reasons why keeping your dog’s nails nice and trimmed are a good idea. There’s less chance of them getting caught up if they’re not too long.
Time to Heal.
So now we’re in healing mode. She was continually able to put weight on the leg, but whenever she was standing still her choice was to pull up the leg and give it some rest. But even the very next morning she seemed okay and we took her on an easy on-leash around the neighborhood walk of about 30 minutes/2-miles. It was after that walk that she really began to favor the leg. We could never tell just what she injured, and went about giving the leg and paw a thorough examination – pulling it this way and that, making sure it had full range of movement and whether or not she reacted to any particular movement. She didn’t. So for the first week we just gave her rest. We didn’t take her on any walks and did our best to tire out her little brother so he’d leave her alone.
We knew the vet would likely recommend just ‘keeping her off it’ and waiting to see how it went. We gave it a full week, and while she was getting somewhat better, she’d still show signs of favoring the leg or pulling it up when resting. We finally called the vet and shared the story and symptoms, and he recommended a bit more rest, but he added giving her a basic 81mg aspirin once a day with food. The aspirin was to help with inflammation and a bit of pain management, but we have a sneaky suspicion that it was mostly for our sake since our vet knows how much we care for our dogs and we can’t stand to just do nothing when there might be a way to make them feel better. Not that he’d ever jeopardize the health of our dog just for our feelings. We know that would never happen. But I did look up information on administering aspirin to dogs, and while it comes with plenty of warnings about stomach ulcers and should only be done for a limited time, the doses generally allowed were MUCH higher than we were administering.
For four days we gave her the single aspirin once a day, and otherwise let her rest as much as possible with her very active and attention-needy younger brother in the house. After 12 days we took her again on an on-leash neighborhood walk. She seemed fine with that exertion, so the next day we all went back to the park for the complete off-leash experience. It started well, and nothing major happened, but after the first 20 minutes and bit over a mile into the lap around the reservoir, we noticed the tell-tale sign of her head bobbing a bit as she walked. She wasn’t pulling the leg up, and she certainly wasn’t complaining about the leg, but we figured it was best to call it short and headed back to the car. We gave her food and another aspirin when we got home, and she has now been resting for another full day.
Tomorrow we’ll again try the neighborhood walk and go from there. To be continued…