Clean Run - December 2012 - (Page 44)

Could your canine athlete perform better? When Dr. James Gaynor of Peak Performance asked handlers this question at the AKC Agility National Championships in Reno, Nevada last July, most were convinced that their dogs were just ne. Gait Analysis Helps Diagnose Early Lameness & Improve Performance By Carole Williams, photos courtesy Dr. James Gaynor, Peak Performance “Eighty-five percent of dogs whose handlers think they are normal have a problem,” he said. “Most agility dogs have some back pain. The repetitive weave poles and front-end landings are stressful to the neck and back. Dogs tend to hide pain. Once lameness shows, the dog is beyond the ability to hide it.” Dr. Gaynor offered to confirm their opinions by testing the dogs with his gait analysis system, originally designed to test balance in elderly people. If the 3,200 sensors in the rubber mat of the unit said that the dogs had normal gait, the analysis would be free. The equipment tests the pressure and timing of each step the dog takes, evaluates the dog’s weight on front and back, and compares the relationship between the strides. Ninety of the dogs he tested showed signs of abnormal gait. After treatment with a cold laser to relax muscles, the dogs’ performance improved, handlers admitted. One handler who took him up on his offer had a top-performing Jack Russell Terrier. Given the dog’s performance level, the owner was justifiably confident in the dog’s soundness, Dr. Gaynor said. The gait analysis detected a slight rear limb abnormality associated with muscular back pain. Dr. Gaynor applied laser treatment. The owner reported back that the dog had never run so well. performance medicine before opening his own clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His testing apparatus can be moved into a semi trailer so he can take it to clinics and shows. His goal is early detection of pain for early intervention so dogs can perform optimally, whether in agility, hunting, law enforcement, or search and rescue. He treats all of Colorado Springs’ police dogs and the avalanche rescue dogs at Copper Mountain and Breckenridge ski areas. Dr. Gaynor raised Golden Retrievers and field trial Labrador Retrievers. With search and rescue dogs, Dr. Gaynor conducts an annual gait exam, and recommends the same for agility dogs. I met Dr. Gaynor when I took a young, promising Field Spaniel to him for analysis. Two conformation judges told me the dog was twisting his left hock. The analysis showed that his gait was within normal limits—though he did have some back soreness. There was no structural problem. My groomer and I gaited him back and forth and decided that a tuft of hair on his hocks gave the illusion of twisting. Re-groomed, he won two group placements as a two-year-old. A Sheltie owner was skeptical of her dog’s abnormal diagnosis, until she brought the animal back for a second test. Identical results convinced her that there was a problem. The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine graduate served on the faculty at Colorado State University, specializing in anesthesiology, pain management and 44 Clean Run | December 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - December 2012

Clean Run - December 2012
Table of Contents
Editorializing: All Roads
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers: Identify Patterns to Gain Perspective
Challenges for Rising Stars
Power Paws Skills: Front Crosses
Agility Mind Gym: Full Circle
Training a Deaf Dog to Go the Distance
Awesome Paws Drills
Does Gender Matter When Choosing an Agility Dog?
Control Unleashed Solutions and Answers: The Overexcited Spectator
10 Games to Play with Dogs That Are Recovering from an Injury
Gait Analysis Helps Diagnose Early Lameness & Improve Performance
The F-Word: Building Resiliency to Failure!
Training with the Stars: Maureen Waldron
Building Blocks: Developing Solutions for Agility Problems
Being a Good Student, Part 2

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