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I was on my way to bed last night, talking to Poppy half way up the stairs as usual, when there was a yip from Sophy who had run on ahead and she came dashing back downstairs so fast that she was almost tumbling, straight into my arms for comfort. Something had really hurt, and for a few minutes I just held her not too tightly until she calmed down, then I gave her a small dose of metacam and carried her up to bed. She got in a panic if I tried to feel her legs and feet, but was moving OK and even jumping on and off the bed, so I snuggled her in next to me, massaged her slowly and gently, and eventually, what felt like many hours later, we both got to sleep.

This morning she is OK-ish - letting me feel her all over, moving well, bit reluctant to jump, tail carriage perhaps a little low. I suspect a twinge from the disc issue she had - the osteopath explained that the disc is left thinner, which makes enough space that the sciatic nerve can get pinched when the back is stretched in jumping. It is one of the reasons I try to keep her fit with good core muscles, but every now and then we still have a flare up. It is three years since the last episode, so we have done well, but recovery can take weeks. Fortunately her osteopath is still working part time so if necessary I can make an appointment, but first I will see what a day of rest, metacam, and the exercises he showed me can do.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!
 

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Hope this is just a very minor episode and your excellent care and endless love will do the rest :).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She was a bit sore and hesitant first thing - avoiding stretching and shaking, tail and ears low, the sort of things you notice when you know a dog very well - so I have emailed the osteopath to see if we can get an appointment. But as she has since then happily trotted for half a mile down by the river, trying to persuade treats out of the other dog walkers, I am not too worried. The trick is to keep her gently moving without letting her jump...
 
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Very glad to hear Sophy is feeling like her regular self. May I ask about the exercises her osteopath gave her? Are these recommended for all aging dogs?
 

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The two I am doing are specific for back trouble, Liz - one is very gentle tail traction, and the other is "dangling" - holding her up with both hands around her chest, close against me so that she feels secure, to let her hind legs hang loose. But there are lots of more general exercises we do to strengthen core muscles that would be good for any dog - Sit/Down press ups, rising up on hind legs, etc.

We have an osteo appointment for Thursday morning - I'm glad I went ahead if only for the reassurance. She is not in screaming pain, but is obviously not quite right - she thinks about having a shake and then stops; gets part way to the door and decides to lie down instead. Then takes off like a bat out of hell because the postman is at the door...!
 
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Mia suffered another overuse injury over the weekend, and she has an appointment with her chiropractor in a few weeks. I believe this is the fourth such injury in the last seven months, and all but one of them are entirely my fault in not recognizing how much she's slowing down. Last year Christmas we hiked 7 miles; by March we were still covering 4-4.5 miles with lots of sleeping afterward; by July we were totaling 3-3.5 miles divided into two long walks each day; and now one daily 2 mile walk is our max. As I type I realize I'm ignoring our walks in our neighborhood out of habit - I never thought of them as exercise, but the additional 1 mile is now significant. Her primary vet wants me to keep her as active as possible, of course, and I just need to rethink her exercise options so that she has more opportunity to say "enough."

But I don't mean to change the focus of this thread. I'm just grateful to hear how other folks are keeping senior dogs fit.
 

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Poor Sophy! I hope she continues to improve without any setbacks. Back injuries in dogs are so difficult to manage because when the dog feels better, they have a tendency to over do things and then re-aggravate the healing back. Dogs don't quite get the idea of "gentle" exercise.I know exactly what you mean when you say "the sort of things you notice when you know a dog very well". Sophy is lucky to have such an attentive and astute mum.
 

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She is now back in her soft harness and on a leash. Last night I was not sure it was her back - from the way she behaved it could have been a pulled nail or even an insect sting - but today the signs have been small but obvious. She was comfortable following my hand round with her nose to the right, but yipped when I move it round to her left; she hesitates on getting up, and only does a partial shake, while she is avoiding stretching altogether. So we will be extra careful till we have seen the wonderful osteopath - no jumping, no stairs, nice gentle, easy, short walks.

I know just what you mean about exercise, Liz. Our walks have been curtailed this year by Poppy's illness - down from 3 or 4 miles to a maximum of 1.5 at a time. Sophy really needs more, but by doing several short walks I have just about managed to keep her happy. We have not been doing the long circuits, though, or the walks with steep hills, or anything too challenging, and I am far less fit as a result, plus the to-ing and fro-ing to find different places to walk several times a day takes up far more time than one longish outing. The easing off may have come at a good time for her though, and I will certainly find restricted exercise easier at this time of year - cold and dark are not very tempting!
 

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Oh, poor Sophie. She's such a game little dog. It must be really hard for her to remember to take it easy, and she must really be feeling bad if she is baying herself
 

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She woke up, had a good stretch, ate a large supper with a dose of metacam, went out for a pee and wanted to run zoomies but was not allowed, and is now back snoozing on her blanket. I still want the osteopath to see her though, and plan on keeping her as quiet as possible till he has. It may be an uphill battle at this rate...
 
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I wish you success with keeping her calm and comfortable until the vet can see her. I am sorry she is having distress. And I am sorry it is disrupting everyone's sleep.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Went to bed at 9.30pm, got up once to let Poppy out at 2am, and other than that slept till 7.30am, so feeling decidedly better. So, I think, is Sophy, who needed sleep as much as I did. She is mildly pissed off at being on a leash, and really cannot see why she needs to be lifted up and down and carried on the stairs, but being Sophy accepts it all with good grace. She has been stretching and shaking, which are good signs, and her tail and ears are up (ears and tail drooping on a papillon is a very sad sight). All in all I am hopeful it was a blip, rather than the major nerve bruising of the last episode. We will continue to be careful till Thursday even so, and hope to get the all clear for normal activity when we see the osteopath.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Now home from the osteopath - he worked on her inside on the carpet while I stood outside, watching through the open door. He found a few minor things which he has adjusted - a stiff neck and a sore, tight spot in the middle of her back - but nothing dangerous. He said to take it easy for another few days to give the remaining inflammation a chance to heal, but no need to be too fussy about it as she will largely self limit. As we are only doing easy walks these days because of Poppy that's not too onerous in any case.

I'm glad I made the appointment, even though a 50 mile round trip felt like a major undertaking in these strange times. So much to plan, from remembering how to set an alarm on my phone in case I wasn't awake in time to not drinking too much coffee, as I would not be able to use the loo! He was as always wonderfully calm and reassuring, and Sophy was clearly more comfortable, although she did make a break for the door when he started working on the tender spot!
 

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We did a very short walk on the way home, then she had a nice long snooze while I had a much needed coffee before going for a rather longer walk in the unexpectedly warm sunshine. I managed to find a not too soggy field with short grass, and Sophy celebrated by running flat out - not quite zoomies as she avoided sharp twists and turns, but a joyous sight even so! I think she is definitely feeling better.
 
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