It started with a limp he developed in november last year. Actually he also limped sporadicly before that. But we could always manage with a couple of days of rest. When the days of rest got longer, and the interval between limps shorter, we started a more thorough examination at the vet.
The tendon of his left shoulder was bad, very bad, and it had to be surgically transected.
Agility dogs frequently seem to have these type of injuries to the tendons in the shoulders due to repetitive strains. Although I never did agility with Kenzo, the scenario is recognizable, knowing how he behaves when we are out and about.
By the way. Why it was necessary to shave his whole front for such a tiny incision needed for an arthroscopic procedure remains a mystery.
Although the fur will grow back, the tendon unfortunately will not, but most dogs do recover just fine, from the article Surgical Management of Bicipital Tenosynovitis via Arthroscopy:
"Arthroscopic transection of the bicipital tendon also referred to as tendon release is the ideal surgical option. It consists of completely cutting the biceps tendon at the degenerative biceps groove. The tendon will adhere to the humerus over time, allowing future normal biceps muscle function."Although vets don't seem to agree if the biceps tendon will recover to a level that can support Kenzo's previous activity level, it should be possible to get very close, when we follow a rigid program of short leashed walks and physical therapy during the months to come.
And that's where we are now:
SHORT LEASHED WALKS
I soon learned that the "Halti" was necessary, as Kenzo tried to expend as much energy possible in each short walk, and it became more like trying to keep my eyes on a bouncing ball, instead of walking a dog.
He is very aware of the "Halti", and it automatically seems to keep him calm during walks.
We find fun things to do, do a lot of sniffing, so we at least can stay out longer, and why not do a 45 minute drive to the beach, even if you can only walk for 15 minutes? Getting your paws wet and sandy, is always a feast.
He must miss his off-leash action, but he doesn't show it or complain, and I think he is quite content with what we are doing.
We let him stand with his front-legs on the couch, and move a treat up and down in front of him, and by following it he is working his biceps muscles, similar with push-ups.
The vet also provided us with a Fitpaws Balance Disk, which is also to strengthen his muscles. With his front paws placed on the disc we move a treat in a back and forth motion, or left to right, while he is balancing on the inflated disc.
You might wonder if getting your fingers nibbled upon by sharp front teeth for 5 minutes in a row is painful, yes, it is. No pain, no gain.
Next to the biceps excercises, we also do massages, and general stability excercises. Kenzo loves all the attention and we think we might continue with this also when he has healed completely. Who doesn't like a little bit of wellness and work-out.
Not only because it is great muscle training. Also because you can control the duration and difficulty-level, giving a great insight in how he is doing, and if he could be ready to be let off the leash on walks.
We use toys and treats to no avail, the treadmill remains a chore, and the only thing on his mind is how to get out of there.
Thankfully Kenzo never lost a lot of muscle according to the vet, so it might not be necessary to do it more than 5, maybe 10 times. We'll see about that.
So. That's where we are now. If you have any suggestions for fun excersises we can do at home we would love to hear them. This will still take many months, before he is healed again, but we focus now on the first step, to go off leash.
His fur comes back rather quick when you follow the photo's, don't you think? I hope the tendon heals just as fast.