Clean Run - June 2011 - (Page 31)

Lameness in Agility Dogs © AlissA Behn/ © KAren hocKer photogrAphy © KAren hocKer photogrAphy By Audrey DeClue, DVM It was my two-year-old Blue Heeler Tilly who brought me into the agility world and expanded my veterinary practice from strictly horses to now include performance dogs. I call her “Tilly the Jumping Bean” because she is an amazing jumper. The first course she jumped was a 2' 6" jumper course built for horses. Her jumping form was round, strong, and beautiful. My desire to do agility began (thank you Nick Novak, Dandelion Farm, and Michelle Schwartzbauer at On The Run Canine Center). Since I became involved in the sport, I have spent many sleepless nights waking up at 2:00 a.m. pondering questions and ideas about lameness in agility dogs, especially about the content of this article. I’ve also spent long hours sitting in front of my computer watching YouTube videos of agility dogs jumping and in person at agility trials watching client and non-client dogs and owners run courses. I have read, reread, underlined, and written comments throughout Linda Mecklenburg’s article on early takeoff syndrome (ETS) in CR May 2010 and Susan Salo’s article on retraining techniques for dogs that take off early (CR February 2011) so much so that I can barely read my own scribble along the margins anymore. I have also read the many blogs of June 11 | Clean Run concerned owners wondering about their dogs that may have symptoms of ETS. There are many questions to be answered about ETS, and more research needs to be done. But before putting an ETS label on a dog whose jumping performance has changed, it’s critical for owners to rule out other possibilities and differentiate whether the performance change is due to a visual (optic) condition versus a physical problem. If you suspect ETS, your dog needs to first be seen by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist for a complete eye examination and refraction testing. If findings are normal then the dog should be seen by a qualified veterinarian who specializes in sports medicine but also knows how to do a complete musculoskeletal examination and not just an orthopedic examination (more on that later). This article is for all the dogs (and horses) that I have palpated, worked on, and helped find the answer to why—why their jumping style has changed, why they are knocking bars, why they are not able to hold a contact position, why they are jumping inverted, flat, or not in extension, why they are having problems, why they are lame. 31

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - June 2011

Clean Run - June 2011
Editorializing: When Did Agility Become About Looks?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Building and Balancing Handler and Obstacle Focus, Part 3
Sharpening Your Snooker Skill: Teach Your Dog to Bypass Obstacles
Lameness in Agility Dogs
Confessions of a Gambling Addict, Part 2: Planning the Opening
AKC’s New Kid on the Block: Time 2 Beat
Challenges for Rising Stars
Intervertebral Disc Disease in the Canine Athlete
Challenges at CR Central
FOCUS and Impulse-control Classes: Week 2
Ready, Set, Trial! Walk, then Run
Tips for Training Running Contacts, Part 1
When is Good Enough Enough?
Agility Bloopers

Clean Run - June 2011