I first wrote about Sheba and our fitness program for her back in June. We had started running together and she loved it. Then last week I wrote about our frustrations with keeping up that routine. A couple weeks ago Sheba started limping and we didn’t know why. In the past, she has hurt herself jumping for the ball or Frisbee so it may have been that again. She usually recovers in a couple of days. The limp was hard to pinpoint, but seemed to be coming from her left front leg and would seem worse after lying down for a while. We were keeping her as quiet as we could, but she wasn’t recovering like she usually does. Then on Friday she was far worse when we got home from work. That was after keeping her quiet all day Thursday as well. Now her back left leg seemed to be bothering her. We decided to give it the weekend and see how she did. She could still get around fine, other than being slow on the stairs, and at no point was she ever holding a paw in the air or not using one at all. She didn’t seem to be in a lot of pain or we certainly would have gotten her to the vet immediately.
She didn’t seem any better on Saturday or Sunday morning. Then my hubby remembered that we used to give her some baby aspirin on our vet’s advice for the occasional limp she might have after playing ball. So we gave her the usual dose, with the plan that we would be calling the vet first thing Monday morning.
Towards the end of the day Cricket wanted to play ball so we started throwing it for her. Sheba was outside but we didn’t expect her to show any interest. Next thing we know, there is Sheba, running across the yard after the ball! Then prancing back across with the ball in her mouth, with no limp to be seen! She also ran up and down the stairs a couple of times. She was out there “playing the field” like she always does, and looking so happy. Now I never thought of aspirin being a miracle drug, but it seemed to have done the trick with her! We didn’t let her play very much, but she seemed fine the rest of the evening. Monday morning there was only a slight sign of a limp!
Hubby is back to running again, and he went out after work on Monday. We had decided to put off calling the vet just yet. He took Sheba for a walk for his cool down and she did fine. So far, we’ve only seen a sign of a slight limp this week, and she’s been going up and down the stairs normally. We are still not letting her overdo it, we don’t let her jump for the ball, and we are still only walking her and taking her for swims. We are keeping a close eye on her, but right now we are hoping we won’t have to take her to the vet after all. If she seems to continue to do well, perhaps I can try taking her for some short runs again.
For now we are enjoying our visits to a small pond just down the road from us, less than a ten minute drive. Tewksbury Pond is in the next town over, it’s a quiet 47 acre pond known for its Coldwater fishing. There are no gasoline powered motors allowed on it, so it is very clean. The rail trail that runs by our house also runs by the pond. Sheba and I have been going for a short walk down the trail then we found a great location to get down by the water where she can swim out for her ball. There was one fishing boat there the first time we went, and yesterday we saw two bicyclists on the trail, and two loons in the water; other than that we’ve had the place to ourselves.
Sheba is a very strong swimmer and she loves it. She doesn’t always pay attention when I’m throwing the ball, but she’ll hear the splash and know where to swim to. She will chase that ball for as long as I’m willing to throw it.
I hadn’t taken Sheba swimming since last Summer so the first time out had forgotten how wet I was going to get! I foolishly wore sneakers. Sheba doesn’t always feel the need to bring the ball right to me…she likes to drop it in the water just out of my reach. I got my sneakers and socks soaking wet, and almost fell in completely! Since then I’ve been smart enough to wear my water shoes which I have for kayaking, and I remember I will be getting wet, since she also likes to stand right next to me and shake off. I know our time is limited for this swimming, it’s already been feeling like Fall here in NH. I hope we have a little more Summer weather left to come, and afternoons can be warm even well into Autumn.
Last Friday I was so frustrated with everything, but things are really looking up now! As I said, Hubby is back to running, so for his cool downs he is taking either Kobi or Sheba for a walk. I have been running with Cricket. Even on the days we run, Cricket still wants to play ball later, and Sheba will join in a little bit. We are still being careful she doesn’t overdo it. I also got Hubby to go for a walk with Cricket and I last Sunday. It seems we are finally getting back into some routines, and it feels good! Best of all, we are back to having fun!
Many thanks to our FitDog Friday blog hop hosts: SlimDoggy, To Dog With Love, and Peggy’s Pet Place. Please visit their sites and others through the links below!
2 brown dawgs says
What a beautiful pond. I hope Sheba’s leg is better (I am a week behind reading…lol.)
Her leg is better, thanks! I can relate to being behind, I feel like I am constantly trying to play catch up on my reading! 🙂
Sheba looks great, Jan! 🙂 Good job keeping her moving in different ways. Benji had been limping off and on when we first got him, but now he’s much better. Lots of small walks (and he had been checked out by the vet who couldn’t find anything wrong). It seems like lots of light activity (for now) is really helping.
Thanks, Sheryl! Glad to hear Benji is getting better too. I think the light activity might be just the right thing, for both of them.
Ann Paws says
Sounds like Sheba has her days sometimes. Shiner does that every now and then, but not until these past few months. She typically will get over it within a day or two. Looks like you guys had a fun time!
I suppose we have to accept that they are getting older and we might see more of it. Sheba’s just happy it motivated me to get her out swimming again, she really does love it.
Glad you didn’t have to make a trip to the vet. Sounds like it’s one of those wait and watch things.
Yup, we’ll be keeping a close eye on her….probably obsessively so! 🙂 We’ve taken two of our other pets to the vet for limps, spent hundreds of dollars on tests, all for them to find nothing wrong. That’s why we at least try not to rush right in. Plus Sheba hates the vet so much (I’m sure no dog likes it, but some are better than others….our beagle Kobi takes it all in stride).
Jackie Bouchard says
That’s great that everybody is getting back in the groove! What a gorgeous swimming spot! I didn’t know about the baby aspirin! Hope the limp stays away.
Fingers crossed…..so far, so good! I didn’t expect the baby aspirin to work quite that well, but it’s sure good to know it will now.
SUGAR: Golden Woofs says
Swimming should help or elevate any issues/pain. One reason Sugar goes swimming once a month. The pool is also heated and it makes a difference. Hope you’ll have an alternative once the weather gets cooler/colder. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
I’d love to take Sheba swimming once a month during the off season. I’m not sure there’s anyplace very near though, but I’m going to start looking. The place that you take Sugar looks wonderful, I hope I can find something like that maybe within an hour’s drive or so.
Ugh…those phantom, “come-and-go” limps are so frustrating. Glad the baby aspirin helped so much. We are using generic Rimadyl for our senior, for her arthritis, and it makes a vast and immediate difference in how she moves around too.
It’s really great that you have such a nice place to take the dogs swimming. We really have no where nice by us….but my three aren’t big into swimming anyway, so it’s not a big deal. If they enjoyed it though, I would have to look harder. 🙂
We are actually very lucky, because we have a lot of lakes and ponds in our area. It’s not always easy to find a quiet place without distractions for Sheba though. So this has been working out great so far, and it’s about the closest.
I just never expected the aspirin to work that well, I thought at best it would help a little bit!
Wow! It looks like you guys have been having a lot of fun! Limping like that is tough… Lucas gets it occasionally, and it’s hard to pinpoint sometimes. We have him on a daily joint supplement and fish oil now, and I keep a stash of dog-approved aspirin on hand, too. Like you said, it really is a miracle! We recently started… I can’t quite call it “running”…. maybe jogging? Quick walking? (wogging?) Anyway, I’ve tried to be hyper vigilant about watching his gait. So far, so good. I think the joint supplement and oil must be doing the trick!
Oh, well, ha ha, Maggie, I called it running, but believe me, ours is more like a “wog” too!
We are thinking of adding some supplements for Sheba too, but we also just switched her to a holistic large breed dog food, that has stuff like that in it. So we hope that will help too. We’ll definitely keep the aspirin on hand too, just in case. Glad to hear all that has been helping Lucas too.
Swimming is indeed great rehab but excellent cross-training as well. It’s tough when stuff happens to our dogs over the weekend but I have read to not let limps go over 48 hours without being checked by a vet!
Oh, that is great to know, Bethany, thank you. It always seems like things happen to our dogs at the start of the weekend….or vacation. Sometimes our vet is open on Saturday mornings too, and he is always on call, so that helps if we need him.
Swimming is great if she has some limping issues! Glad everyone is “finding their groove” again. It is never good when things are out of sync.
Thanks, Emma! We are going to keep up the swimming for as long as we can. We may even get Cricket out there! She’s actually a good swimmer too, but we got out of the habit of taking her because the Goldens enjoyed it so much more.
Good news that Sheba seems better. Mix in those swims while you can, even if she seems fully healed. If she has a soft tissue injury, swimming is one of the best exercise alternatives.
If you do notice a return of the limp, it is a good idea to see a vet. Just to get confirmation that she has nothing serious going on and that her activity won’t exacerbate the problem.
Tell Hubby that we are psyched he is running again too!
I will tell Hubby! I’m glad he’s back out there too.
I will continue to take Sheba swimming while we can. I’d like to keep a variety to her activity so she’s not just using the same muscles all the time. Hoping that will help her too. We are definitely planning to take her to the vet if the limp returns.
karen cantlin says
So glad to hear she’s feeling better. My hubby and I took our girls for a walk last Sunday on the rail trail too!
Did you go down by the lake like where we went last time, K? Glad you got out there too!