Thursday, June 17, 2010

Iliopsoas injury

Today I'm going to talk about the iliopsoas strain that Fin has had. We are at 10 weeks and she is pain free! It has not been an easy 10 weeks for many reasons, not least of which I spiraled down into a deep depression blaming myself for not taking better care of my charge. I know logically that it isn't my fault, but my human nature can't help but rear it's ugly head and say, "Vici, what could you have done different." Fin could care less, she just wants to have fun.

An iliopsoas injury is as near a "groin pull" in a dog as you are going to get. I'm not an expert, I can only tell you my experience. Fin exhibited no outward signs of injury. She did not limp or act ouchy. What she did do, was avoid jumps, smash into jumps (not just knocking bars, but completely taking jumps out), and at times did not respond to handling on course. My first thought was I was doing something wrong. But the truth was that she was hurting and jumping was difficult for her.
Once I received the diagnosis, I was relieved that it wasn't something requiring surgery, and perplexed as to how I was going to fix it. I went to see Dr. Sams Clinic in Mill Valley (thanks to Katrina!). Basically he said, straight walking ok, otherwise rest. No swimming, no running, no trotting, no nothing except for leashed walks on the flat up to 2 miles everyday. 4-6 weeks. I decided to go the distance and ended up doing 8 weeks of rest before starting to introduce more to her exercise program. If you know Fin, you know she has two speeds (run as fast as I can turning on a dime then running more and sleeping). Fin is not a lazy dog, she is actually a little nutty. She can be reactive in a spinning barking run around sorta way. Fin is all about explosive movement...makes for a great agility dog...doesn't make for easy rest.
We kept to our plan with the rest stuff and then at 8 weeks I added hill work and some trotting. At 9 weeks I added more trotting and some off leash running (sending around a chair). At 10 weeks I set up a circle of jumps with no height and had her run through the jump standards.
Now we are all about the conditioning and rehab. In Fins future is more trotting, more hill work, adding balance ball stuff, adding lots of turning work, and swimming. The main thing that Dr. Sams has said to prevent this injury in the future is to ensure that Fin is warmed up before allowing the "explosive" movement she is fond of. Pretty darn easy to do when I'm out doing agility, a little more difficult in the house.

I do hope that Fin recovers from this injury completely. I'm hoping that in 6 weeks from today that I can return to agility class. I would very much like to sign up for an agility trial or two in August. This injury is the kind that is persistent. My understanding is if you don't give your dog the time to heal, they will simply re-injure themselves and it is worse if they keep doing it. Rest is the main component to rehabilitation that everyone agrees on. For me, only time will tell if all this work will pay off. I suspect that it will.


Diana said...

Hi, my dog has an iliopaoas injury and I was reading your post. So your vet didnt make you do strict crate rest with just bathroom breaks. you can email me at Thanks, Diana

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for posting this,
my dog is a Louisiana Catahoula/Heeler cross who injured himself while playing. I felt bad about it just as you did because I thought it was just a minor injury and didn't get him treatment until he really had trouble getting up and down.
He's on restricted activity and rest now and it made me feel better to read that your dog did eventually heal and could go back to regular activity.

Anonymous said...

My 8 month old Dane strained his chasing the cat on my hardwood floor..did the splits. We have been over three months now and still see a little stiffness. We did the cold laser and chiropractic therapy. I am walking him and letting him trot some. This has been extremely difficult due to his accelerated rate of growth. He needs to move to develop properly so I have not been able to restrict him as much as recommended.

vici whisner said...

@ 8 month old Dane. I found the walking really helped. It is important to let the strain heal and trot work or any kind of running will not let the injury heal. Walking give your dog the exercise and stimulation he needs for his growth without straining the injury more. Also, I put down a bunch of runners so that there is more traction.
@Louisiana Catahoula - don't feel bad. We are all like that. Lots of slow ambling walks really helps the healing process.
Good luck to both of you. This is a tough one as it is a type of injury that can be cronic over the life of the dog if not properly healed.

Anonymous said...

good points and the details are more specific than somewhere else, thanks.

- Norman

wickydoodle said...

I realized this is a very old post. I just ran across it while searching for information on rehabbing this injury. I was wondering how your dog's return to agility went and if you had any pearls of wisdom for making the transition from rehab to back competing in agility. Thanks!