Maureen McEntee & ‘Jenna’

My lab was diagnosed with spondylosis and fusion of the lower spine in June of 2012, at 6 years of age. She was a performance dog and was being treated for an iliopsoas strain since January. Severely lame in June, films were done under sedation… final radiology report read,
“Unfortunately, this animal has profound lesions involving the spine that are frequently functionally significant. Supportive therapy for inflammation and degenerative processes can be given; however, the probability the animal will return to a completely normal status or stay normal for protracted
periods of time is guarded… Supportive therapy is often given which will frequently include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, chondroprotectants and physiotherapy/acupuncture… concussive activity should be restricted.”

My competition dog could play no more and I was distraught. She was and is a great Therapy Dog with Obedience, Rally Obedience and Hunt tiles earned, but she wasn’t done yet. Sidelined, for life? No way. Then the kicker, in July she had an acute rupture of her left cruciate ligament chasing a rabbit across our yard. The following week, she a TPLO surgical repair, now compounded with the spine issues. After 6+ months of intense exercise regimes and physical therapy she resumed competition with exercise modifications that were allowed, ie: jumping 8″ instead of her 16″ jump height. We found out this year that Jenna ended 2013 Nationally Ranked as the World Cynosport Rally #1 Veteran Dog (over 8 years old) in the US. She also took the 20th spot Ranking in the Advanced Rally Master Champion category! She is so happy performing, and Rimadyl and Tramadol were our best defense particularly after a day of hunt training as she whimpered through the night, uncomfortable after a day of fun doing things she loved. It riddled me with guilt and confusion. Do I sideline her completely or do I continue to find a balance…

The east coast winter was very taxing this year with all the ice and deep snow and freezing temperatures. 1-TDC was recommended by our physical therapist so of course we would try anything. Now a couple of months later, I have been able to cut down her Gabapentin, and have not used the Tramadol at all, and an occasional Rymadyl. In fact last weekend at our club hunt training session on Sunday, I took a chance and did not pre-medicate her as I normally do (I brought everything with me though, just in case!) and miraculously, she did fine! And that was after a Rally trial on Saturday where she ran two Veteran courses with perfect 210’s and first place ribbons in both and a very happy dog!

Don’t know if it’s the weather or the 1-TDC but we are sticking with it!