Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some Cool Stuff from Mario Verslype

I spent 5 days with Mario Verslype up at Posidog in Columbus, OH. I took pretty good notes, but the way things have been at work lately it's not likely that I'll get a chance to post details from it. But, in the meantime, I'm going to start putting it into practice :-)

So tonight, the first day after returning from the clinic, I started with his scent pad work with both dogs. Of course, Gata who knows a thing or two about tracking already was far more interested in the scent pad than Tor was. But, no worry, it will get better as he becomes more familiar with what is going on. I'm confident that soon he will start to understand what is going on.

I'll do step #1, an approximately 1-meter square box with SMALL pieces of food on top of the grass for 1 week and then start burying the food. I think he'll be more interested in the scent pad by then and can start burying the food and slowly decreasing the number of buried treats.

Then I brought them inside and did 10 'coucher' for a treat with each of them individually, while the other was outside. I'll almost certainly do the 'coucher' for longer with Gata and move on to other positions with Tor. Gata needs to have her 'coucher' rehabilitated and Tor doesn't. But he does need work on his sit/'assi' and stand.

Definitely feeling inspired after the 5 days with Mario. Really exceptional and inspirational :-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11 - Some Results & Another Mild Collapse

Good news first - Gata's Adrenal Glands function fine. The results of her ACTH Stim test were normal. We also tested her Insulin response as part of that and those results aren't back yet. But, I suspect that they will be normal, too. 

Anyway, so while I try to deal with my difficulties in getting blood from them for the blood glucose tests, we are continuing to do our normal stuff, which includes conditioning work. I am also getting them back into a conditioning routine. Changing the way that I am feeding and watering them before, during, and after work has changed the dynamics of their conditioning workouts. So, I'm not quite as clear on what Gata is going to look like when a collapse is approaching.

For example -
1. Now that she is getting sugar water 20-30 minutes before she works as well as in between sets she no longer looks tired before she collapses. Her tongue isn't hanging out, her ears aren't pink on the insides, her lips aren't lifted up exposing her gums, etc. 

2. She may trot back with the ball one time and turn around and run the next few just as fresh as ever. I never continue if she trots back a second time, no matter how fresh or pushy she seems. 

This morning, the temperature wasn't very low, only 45-degrees F, but it felt colder than it has. Stiffer wind, no fog, lower humidity - just colder overall. And the dogs were raring to go! They are a little more that way just because I am making them wait a little bit after I give them the sugar water, too.

They did 3 sets of 5 very easily. As we took a break after the set both dogs seemed fresh and we romping around checking things out. Gata was running ahead and then coming back and playing with Tor, etc. So, I decided to go for a 4th set. 

Gata trotted back after the 3rd throw. So the 4th throw was a short throw for her. She ran it back and I gave her another short throw to finish up the set. She was unable to return it to me. She recovered rapidly. I gave her some more sugar water and we all walked around the field to cool off before heading home. 

I will say that she definitely recovers faster with the sugar water and was trotting around the field as we headed home. But it's still quite scary. I really try to avoid collapses as much as possible. Still so much to learn about all of this. I hope I can start getting blood from them consistently soon. It seems so simple to just stop working her but it's not really all that easy. So again, I'm placing my hope in science and Dr. Gillette. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9 - Collecting Blood & Playing Around

Today, I got a little more serious about developing the techniques to do some blood glucose and biochemistry of anticipation studies with Gata. These are based on some work that Robert Gillette has done and should complement the work that Dr. Eeg is doing as well as what we did during the visit to Auburn.

The problem is, I feel like I'm torturing my dogs to get a drop of blood from them. The recommended lance site is the tip of the ear. I'm not quite sure why, but it barely bleeds on my dogs. Both are being great about it, but I definitely don't like the idea of lancing them several times to get a single drop of blood. Definitely need to get some help from Dr. Eeg on this one. He has the same system and recommended the ear tip. At first I thought the lance just wasn't working. But when I tried it on my finger tip, it is definitely working! That only made me feel worse about torturing my dogs :-(   The only good thing about it was that both dogs got plenty of treats for playing along and being such good sports. So, at least they don't yet hate the process.

Anyway, I was able to get resting levels on both dogs and an "anticipation" level on Gata. Both dogs got 10 ml of 50% dextrose following the resting reading and 30 minutes before the anticipation reading.

Gata - 91 mg/dl (Resting); 139 mg/dl (Anticipation)
Tor - 131 mg/dl (Resting); unable to get an Anticipation sample

After that I worked with them both. It was a relatively cool, gray day. Both dogs were more than happy to play and seemed to be plenty energized with the 10 ml of dextrose in their system. Nothing too programmed today - just some obedience interspersed with modified interval sets. Enough to wear them both out for the rest of the day - more or less the equivalent of 3 sets of 5 with alternating obedience work between the two during the breaks. A good time was had by all :-)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8, 2012 - Exercise & More Experiments

Well today was an interesting day in many ways. The glucometer that I ordered for the dogs arrived yesterday and I started playing around with it. I think the hardest part will be figuring out how/where to collect the blood from. With their coats, it will not be trivial. So, I'll have to spend a little bit of time working on training them to allow me use the lancet either on the 1 - the tip of the ears, 2 - along the side of their dewclaw pad, 3 - on the inside of their upper lip. Ugh, none of those sound very appealing ... :-( Though the vet recommends the inside tip of the ear, probably the easiest of the three options.

Since Gata was scheduled to have an ACTH Stim test at 11:00, I wanted to get her some exercise early and get her fed several hours before the test. So, it was off to the park for a short interval session. Unfortunately, it was shorter than I had expected. She collapsed after 2 sets of 5. It was warmer than usual, but that was still unexpected. Not a bad collapse, but definitely a cool weather collapse.

So, I got them home and gave them a recovery meal, followed by a small regular meal about 40 minutes later. She was done with her meals by about 8:30, so that was good.

We were at the vet a little before 11:00 to start the ACTH Stim test. We elected to modify the protocol a little by adding 2 time points - 30 minutes and 2 hours, and testing glucose and insulin at all time points as well. Anyway, the test was over by about 1:15. She's very popular at the vets. It's really great having a vet that genuinely likes my dogs :-) Hopefully, the results will be back on Monday.

I also picked up some 50% Dextrose solution for the glucose/biochemistry of anticipation protocol. Hopefully, I'll be able to run the first trial tomorrow.

Hoping to get more clues soon :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 7, 2012

Some New Pix of Tor

I've been meaning to post these for awhile. The boy is growing up. Handsome devil, isn't he?  :-)

December 7 - Conditioning Routine

Temperature: Around 35-degrees F and raining
Hydration: Sugar water before start and during breaks
Program: 4 x 5 - Both dogs got it easily, but were tired at the end. The interesting thing is how much both are now greedily waiting for their sugar water at the end of each set. Tor wasn't so into it originally, but they line up and grudgingly take turns getting water from me. I need to figure out a better way to get it to them that doesn't waste so much but they both prefer to drink out of the bottle than a bowl ...

General observations:
1. The sugar water between sets really does seem to make a huge difference for both dogs, but Gata in particular. After the water break and a walk around the field her tongue is back in her mouth, even more than Tor's, her lips are down (not drawn back from her gums), and the insides of her ears are a more natural color (not pink).
2. Need to get better about giving them some sugar water or dextrose before we leave the house. That is part of the experiment I will be doing with both of them, but I am also curious to see how it affects our conditioning program. Generally speaking, they have been fasting for at least 8 hours by the time they work most mornings.

Yesterday I brought the dogs to work with me. We had a going away gathering planned for one of my colleagues and that gave me a little more flexibility. I stopped at one of our favorite parks on the way end and did some obedience with each of them individually. It can be a busy park and is right off Highway 28 so I don't take them both out together - too risky on many levels. But both did some really lovely obedience and had a good time. Lots of long bumper tosses as rewards and very high intensity work.

Then I took each of them for a little walk before I headed over to Happy Hour. They didn't complain too much - each got a nice big knuckle bone to chew on while I was inside. It worked out fine and I was very glad to be able to stay to the end of the get together. Will be missing Michelle a lot - great colleague.

Gata may end up having an interesting weekend. Hopefully, the glucometer will arrive today. That means that both dogs will be subject to having their blood glucose levels taken numerous times. And when I feel comfortable with it, I will set up a few trials of Gata's metabolism. Poor Tor, he gets to be a pin cushion as a control :-)   And Gata will have an ACTH Stim test on Saturday.

Much to think about over the next few days ...  Fingers crossed that we get more clues.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4 - Workout - Start of New Program

OK, restarting our conditioning program with some timeline goals in mind, based on my conversation with Dr. Gillette yesterday. I summarized that discussion briefly in a post yesterday, I'll add more detail to my thoughts on what we are doing as time permits and as my thoughts evolve on it. Lots swirling around in my head right now.

Anyway, so I went back to my interval conditioning program to see where they are currently. They've had a week mostly off since I've had bronchitis. So they have just been getting a few bumper tosses in the backyard.

Temperature: 50-degrees F (unseasonably warm)
Hydration: Sugar water before start and during breaks
Program: 3 x 5 - Both dogs got it easily, very easily. I considered trying a 4th set but noticed that Gata stayed at my side during the break after the 3rd set as I took my walk around the field. I generally take that as an indication that she is getting tired. Otherwise, she is usually trotting around checking things out, trying to steal the ball out of the bag, etc. So, I stopped with that.

As my lungs recover, I'll get back to the more standard format - walking to the park, etc. and reporting the time spent. But since I am currently driving to the park, I didn't want to confuse the values by reporting things in the same way, when they are quite different.

One thing to note, times spent this year will be different from those a year ago. The routine which now includes time for water after each set is a little bit longer as a result. I probably spend about 2 minutes giving the dogs water immediately after each set BEFORE I start the regular break, which lasts 3 - 5 minutes.