Category Archives: Kona

Black & White Sunday – 10

Now that Kona’s rehab is done we are back to training. I took Kona down to Lundbreck Alberta to meet with an Obedience trainer (Judy) to work on teaching him to retrieve a dumbbell.

She’s helping me shape the behavior and already I saw much more progress with this than the other methods I tried earlier this year. I guess when it comes to dog training its not all Black and White.

Its truly a lovely drive on Highway 22 and we stopped at Chain Lakes on the way home. I was hoping there would be nice walk there but there isn’t a lake shore around the reservoir. Great place for kayakers, rafters etc. but not so much for more than just stretching your legs.

 

B&W 10

Thanks for stopping by.

This post is part of the Black & White Sunday blog hop. To see who else has been busy or to join the linky, visit the blog hop hosts  My Life In Blog Years or Dachshund Nola.

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Kona’s Bad Break

My last Black & White Sunday post hinted to today’s post. I have not been blogging for the last few months because I did not want to be writing about what was going to be coming up for Kona; especially because it took us several months of thinking about this surgery before we decided we were truly going to do it, and I was also a little superstitious about it all too.

WHAT DID WE DO?
In a nutshell Kona underwent an ulnar Osteotomy and a radial wedge Osteoctomy of his left front forelimb. Essentially his bones were cut, a wedge of bone was removed and his paw was rotated so that his wrist and elbow joints were parallel. It honestly took us months of weighing the pro’s and con’s of this as well as looking at the ongoing expense we had in rehab from complications of his leg break in 2011.

We have been very lucky – the end result has been very good. Kona’s leg is calcifying and it is now straight. He still needs recovery time but he continues to weight bear on it,  gains strength and as the fur grows back the surgical scars will not be noticeable.

jenny's garden1

Kona now with a straight leg.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Last year I noticed that during training classes (obedience, rally, agility) or after long walks that Kona would be limping and would lose drive. I soon realized that he was hurting his back, was having leg spasms and was sore in his rear end and sometimes would not eat. We were doing regular chiro, water treadmill and physio exercises so there was a lot of concern as to why this was the case. We hadn’t done a follow-up x-ray of his front left leg since the plate was removed last year and what we found was saddening.

No amount of physio and rehab was going to fix this. Either we operated on Kona or we left him as is and continued with treadmill and rehab therapy indefinitely and hoped that his leg would not get worse. As it was we stopped training and focused on building leg strength and muscle mass in the event we decided to go forward with the surgery.

some history……

In September of 2011 Kona’s radius and ulna were badly broken in an accident with a dog walker. The condition of his leg was severe and two surgeries were required to put him back together again.

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September 13, 2011
Compound fracture of the radius and ulna

He healed up well but with time we started to see that he was down in the pastern of that leg and his foot was starting to turn out to the left, and more so with time. The turn-out of his foot was noticeable even without an x-ray. Although it didn’t seem to bother him unless he over did it.

bad break1

The x-ray’s we took earlier this year showed us that his leg was far worse than we imagined. The amount of angulation was shocking. Especially since at the time that Kona’s leg was operated on in 2011, the post-op x-ray’s showed the leg was straight.

A possible complication of a leg break with puppies is that their growth plates can be damaged. Kona was 7 months old at the time of the accident and was unfortunate in that is exactly what happened to him, but we did not realize it until earlier this year. The pre-op measurements showed that the leg had deformed to an angle of 25 degrees from the elbow to the foot. Seeing that x-ray was as heartbreaking as the day his leg was broken. The twisted look of that leg haunted me for months.

front legs copy

x-ray of Kona’s front legs from February of 2013. The left forelimb is deformed and the wrist and elbow are not in line as they are in the right limb.

Not only was it a problem that his leg was bent, he was not weight bearing and walking correctly on his front end and we also saw that he was putting too much weight on his back legs and was standing odd to spread out his weight.

The ortho vet we saw was fabulous. She simply explained that we did have a surgical option. She could perform an Ostectomy / Osteotomy to straighten his leg. She’d done many of these surgeries on small dogs that had experienced broken limbs as puppies just as Kona had. This sounded good in theory but we had to weigh out the pro’s and con’s and we took our time with it.

PRO’S
– successful surgery would leave Kona with a straight leg
– he would be able to weight bear on his front end and take the excess weight of his rear end
– there would be less impact to his back and shoulders
– would no longer have as limited range a of motion in his wrist
– Kona was often in pain after walks or play sessions and was becoming pain reactive towards other dogs

CON’S
– there’s always a concern with anesthetic and small dogs – expecially when the time under anesthetic is longer
– the surgery may not work and we still have a bent leg
– the bones do not calcify and we lose the leg

TIME FOR SURGERY
In the end we did the surgery on June 6, 2013. The surgery went very well and the post op x-rays showed that the bones were straightened and the wrist was now in line with his Elbow. So far so good. The surgeon had used a permanent plate with six screws to hold everything together but we had a long road to recovery.

His leg was splinted up and now came the hard part. Keeping him calm and making sure the bones were able to heal but we also had do to range of motion exercises to keep his wrist from getting too stiff again.

The first two weeks were really tough. Kona was in a significant amount of pain, had a poor appetite and we struggled to keep him fed. We kept him confined during these early weeks and he was not allowed to do stairs, walk for more than potty breaks and no playing with CB.

At two weeks post op the suture was removed and we started water treadmill.

bad break3

Once we got past those first couple of weeks his recovery has been tremendous. It’s now been just over eight weeks since his surgery. The last x-ray’s looked really good and showed re-calcification of bone. He has been moving really well and the way he stands looks different – more balanced. So much so that our vet has informed us that our rehab is done. We had our last water treadmill session last Monday.

Unbelievable. He is now back to this. A happy little dog that just wants to play.

bad break4

Am I glad we did this? Absolutely but I hope to never have to make a decision like this again.

An update on Kona’s Obedience training

I haven’t written a lot about Kona’s current training regimen because we’ve been so busy in training classes there really hasn’t been a lot of time to write about everything that we’ve been doing. He’s been a busy little dog.

Kona is currently in a weekly competitive obedience class and we also have him enrolled in a 10 week lifestyle training course that we go to 3 times a week. We are doing the 10 week course to complement his competitive obedience training. The 10 week course is outside in mostly busy areas, involves a larger number of dogs of varying sizes and energy levels and it has given us a lot of opportunity to work around many types of distractions. Kona was so unfocused/distracted at the AKC summer show I thought this course would be really helpful as we did it last year with CB and it helped him gain more confidence around other dogs.

With the months of confinement we went thru after Kona’s leg surgery he’s unsure of dogs that are higher energy and can sometimes react to them. And in competitive obedience the dogs that are often competing are higher drive and energy so keeping him calm and focused during the group stays is very important.

A couple of the more beneficial aspects of this course has been the seminars that were included. There was a canine communication seminar, canine health, nutrition and first aid seminars, a handling other dogs session, a dog-dog greeting session as well as a choice of reactive dog or dog play session. This course is pretty well rounded and we enrolled more to have Kona around as many dogs as possible than to focus on skills. But the improvement on his skills has been a wonderful occurrence.

The communications seminar focused on the types of different canine postures and signals and set the stage for the dog-dog greetings as well as the reactive dog or play session. The handling other dogs had your pup with 5 other handlers over a two hour period and the pups were put through the paces of skills work with someone other than their owner.

The course is coming to an end this weekend with a Canine Olympics. I don’t expect we’ll be tops for the sit and down stay competitions but I think we’re already winners since Kona won’t react to other dogs breaking their stay around him.

Since this post is already long I’ll follow-up on the communication and dog-dog greetings seminars next week. We had some varied results with that and it’s a post all it’s own.

Time for a little Patience

Last night I took Kona to a training class on Patience. A few times a month we attend group drop-in training classes and they are on a variety of topics. While Kona has been recuperating we’ve mostly been training at home. It’s not quite the same as being outside with distractions like obstacles, surfaces, people and other dogs.

These classes are always fun but last nights was particularly interesting as we randomly varied the stay from sit to down to stand and we also used different obstacles (outdoor benches, seats, walls, rocks) and different surfaces (grass, wood chips, gravel, concrete, granite, wire grating).

Kona’s sit-stays are pretty good and he often doesn’t break them regardless of what he’s on or who’s beside him. Here he is doing a sit-stay on a cement stool – we do have an advantage over the other dogs though since his whole body fits nicely on the stool.

His down-stays on unfamiliar surfaces were interesting. He kept breaking them at first. I placed him on this obstacle and he kept either coming to me or going into a sit. We definitely don’t work this as much as a sit and I see how we need to do them more often.

What was really tricky was the stand-stay, that was a new skill for us last night. I wasn’t able to get too far from him but closer in he was staying. I was really surprised that out of all the surfaces we were on that the wood chips were the most challenging – not just for us but for many of the other dogs. It was too interesting for a down or sit-stay but somehow worked for a stand-stay.

And my favorite photo of the evening is pretty blurry but I’ll share anyway. Kona is on a skinny metal mesh bench beside Cole (a Catahoula). This would be more challenging for Cole just due to his rear end being larger, but Cole’s weight caused the bench to move so holding the sit-stay was a greater challenge than usual for Kona with the bench wobbling beneath him.

It was really fun mixing up the stays and surfaces. I think it made what we were doing more fun and by the end of the session it didn’t matter what Kona was on or what position. He figured out last nights game was to stay.

Choir Boy

Kona in a choir-robe or some kind of UFO

Usually I post a Wordless Wednesday but it’s been a while since I’ve updated on Kona since he’s been recovering from his surgery and I find this “bonnet” funny beyond words. The one thing Kona definitely isn’t is a little angel – although for as naughty as he can be (really it’s just barking t00 much), he is so sweet, friendly and cuddly. He’ll let anyone pet him and has no issues with strangers. This whole business with his leg has been an ordeal and he’s not too happy being confined even though it’s for his own good. Now that he’s splint/cast free he’s been going to town licking his leg at any opportunity he has. It’s almost like he’s trying to get re-acquainted with himself. So sadly we’ve had to resort to this little costume to keep from overdoing it and leaving the incision alone.

I like this soft-cone a lot. It totally stops access to his leg but still lets him get to his water and food dishes. I can also see some other uses as Halloween costumes. The first thing that came to mind was attaching felt flower petals to it and using it as a “black-eyed Susan” costume. An angel would also work well, I’d just need to make a hat-halo. You could also dress up more than one dog and make a theme out of it. Any one else have costume ideas for the soft cone?

Overall it seems that he’s doing alright other than being under-exercised. His leg is still turning out at the pastern even though the leg is pretty straight at the point of fracture. It’s not so noticeable when he’s standing but is really accentuated when he’s sitting as in the above photo. Don’t know if physio can do anything for it but we’re giving it a try and we’ll be starting on the water treadmill in the next few weeks.

Sticks and Stones

A photo of Kona from July 2011

In September of last year Kona’s left front leg was broken in an unfortunate accident. A quick lapse in someone elses judgment and we were in a months long ordeal of vet visits and surgeries.

x-ray 09-11

x-ray from September 2011

It was a very bad break – both the radius and ulna were broken and after two surgeries to repair the break, months of rehab, physio, trips to a vet that is not in Calgary (we could not get in with our vet in the city quickly enough) and quite of bit of money, we are finally at the point where the plate that was placed over the break could be removed.

While the plate was in place his foot started to turn out more and more to the side at the pastern – so much to the point that I was a little concerned that the judge at the CKOC trial would think he was lame and not let us participate. We don’t know exactly why that was happening but the current thought is that the plate was interfering with the tendons in some way. We were doing daily exercises at home but it didn’t seem to make much difference.

x-ray from March 2012 - pre-surgery

The plate was very large in comparison to the size of his bones and held in place by 4 screws straddling the fracture.

On Monday Kona had the surgery to remove the plate. The surgery went very well and as can be seen on the x-ray the bones are nice and straight and well healed. So again we are on the same regimen as last fall. His leg is splinted however we have to restrict movement which is resulting in more confinement as we wait for the holes to fill in and before we can begin rehab and physio again. He’ll be splinted for 4-6 weeks but we’ll have to be careful for many months more. Training will have to be on hold for a while but I’m so glad my little pup is okay and hopefully on the mend.