Luna’s Hip Dysplasia

Hi guys! So for today’s post I though I would throw in a bit of variety from the usual “how to trick tutorials” and talk a bit more about Luna. Now I’ve spoken briefly in the past about Luna’s Hip Dysplasia, but let’s go into a bit more depth. Luna has Bilateral (BL) Hip Dysplasia (HD), BL meaning it is on both sides. Clinically she is almost equal, only ever so slightly worse through her right hind (RH), however symptomatically she always was considerably worse through her RH and left fore (LF). The reason for her LF is that she used to use it to compensate. Now without sounding big-headed – it’s going to, I’m sorry – most pet owners probably wouldn’t have picked up the signs that I would until much later in life. However working in the hydrotherapy we learned a lot about gait analysis, so I started picking up on a few subtle signs – slightly less extension through her left hip (extension from a join is how far it “opens”), very occasional bunny hoping and a lack of flexion (how much a joint “closes”) from her LF. In this time she never actually limped, but I was a paranoid mother and I was straight off to the vets for an examination, which further led to an X-Ray and diagnosis.

You can read more about Hip Dysplasia on Fitzpatrick’s website.

At this point I was pretty devastated as we had just started competing in agility and were placing after just 3 shows. But I wasn’t really that concerned about competing, I was more concerned about just how much she loved agility. Luna’s always loved to trick train, but anything high energy really hits the spot for her. Of course I backed off from the agility altogether initially. I was thankful that I had found out as early as I did, as HD cannot be cured, but the earlier it is found, the better it can be managed to create a better quality of life immediately as well as in the future.

Luna back in the day! This was not long before we started competing.

So how did we go about treating Luna’s new-found condition? Well I was also thankful that I was in the position that I was! I was a fully qualified hydrotherapist at Woozelbears Hydrotherapy when I found out, which meant super easy access to great rehabilitation for Luna! When we found out, we measured Luna’s muscle mass, she had muscle loss through both hind limbs (right was 2 cm small then her left) and excess muscle through her LF (1cm) where she was compensating. Certain muscles were also really tense where they had either been supporting the joint or used as compensation. So we started Luna’s hydrotherapy program with 2 sessions a week in the pool at first to help reduce the inflammation as much as possible. After a few weeks we then moved her over the aquatic treadmill (a treadmill that fills up with water) as her muscles had become more supple and she had gained a small amount of muscle. The treadmill will still help to reduce inflammation thanks to the natural properties of the water but the treadmill will build muscle much faster than the pool as well as help to retrain their gait as it makes it much harder for them to compensate. I won’t bore you with all the in-depth stuff but if you want to know more drop me a message! Woozelbears also had a gait analysis treadmill, with pressure sensors under the belt, which helped us to track her progress very carefully, and tailor her hydro program to suit her, with the correct exercises and amount of hydro that she needed.

Luna enjoying her swim! Seriously focused on that ball at the other end of the pool.

So I’ve spoken a lot about the hydrotherapy just now, but it wasn’t just the hydrotherapy that helped Luna. The vets immediately offered me NSAID’s when we found out, which I was absolutely not happy about and neither were they with her being so young. So I set out to find a more natural alternative, which is when I found out that turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. Upon finding this I then found out about Golden Paste (GP), which helps with a lot of ailments in both humans and animals. Golden paste contains turmeric powder, coconut oil, water and black pepper, if you want to find out more or how to make it please click here. So I got Luna on the Turmeric paste, as well as a glucosamine supplement. There are so many different glucosamine supplements on the market, and I treated dogs on many of them in my time as a hydrotherapist. Some have minimal effect, most work, some work well and some work really well across all cases. The one I had seen the most positive cases with was Yumove. It was the only glucosamine supplement on the market at the time that was clinically proven, and it contains many other ingredients – such as Green Lipped Mussel and Chondroitin – that are beneficial to joints and muscles. You can find out more about what ingredients are included and the benefits by visiting their website.

On top of all this we had to restrict many aspects of her life throughout her rehabilitation. This included preventing her from jumping up onto furniture, into the car, not allowing her to use stairs, shortening her walks drastically etc. We also had to start including a lot more on lead walking – not only to prevent sharp turns and high speeds, but lead walking helps to build a lot more of the correct muscles that you might think, because dogs find it harder to compensate at a slower speed. We also had to remove ball throwing – potentially one of the best things I did for both collies was much less ball throwing, I didn’t realise at the time the negative effect it can have on their mental state, creating an obsessive and fixating mind. Okay in the right amounts, everything in moderation as they say! The agility was scrapped, and so were our 4 hour treks across the countryside! Luna’s life changed massively, and honestly she wasn’t happy at first. Some people and trainers like to say that dogs “can’t/won’t resent you” but I swear she was sulking, I don’t care what the naysayers will say. That dog was sulking and she hated me the most in that time. I definitely got less affection off her, but other people in her life still got the usual amount, it felt like the bond had been broken. BUT it was for her own good! She wouldn’t be where she is now if we hadn’t done all this!

Anyway I wanted to fix the bond between me and her that had been broken, which is where I began to dip my toes in with my first bit of trick training. Of course she already had all the basic commands, and knew a couple of tricks, but I thought back to when she was learning them all and she used to love it. So I introduced trick training back into her life. I had to tailor the tricks around her hips to make sure she wasn’t going to cause them any harm, but there were plenty that we could do. As I soon found out a lot of tricks are actually great for helping to build muscle, if you want help or more info about this be sure to ask, I’m always happy to help when I can. Before I knew it Luna was much happier in herself and she was close to being back to her usual crazy, loving self!

Luna: “Are we done yet? This is seriously working my core!”

A few months passed and Luna had improved considerably! She was down to needing only once weekly hydro sessions after the third week and continued at this until this point. The Golden Paste (GP) and glucosamine had really taken effect, as had all her life changes, and her muscle had improved greatly! Her muscle mass had increased through both hind limbs and her right was now almost equal to her left, with there only being 5 mm difference. Her left shoulder was now equal with her right too where she had stopped compensating, but with all this muscle work both her shoulders had increased! Her range of movement had improved too, flexion and extension of all joints. At this point we started to gradually reduce her hydro, down to once a fortnight and start lifting those mean life restrictions one at a time. If anything set her back at any point we just went back a step and continued for longer until trying again. Eventually she no longer needed hydro, providing I perform regular exercises with her at home – given by a physiotherapist – as well as continuing her glucosamine and GP.

Luna can do much more again, and we regularly keep an eye on her to ensure we aren’t causing her any discomfort, looking for all the subtle signs, especially when we introduce something new or ask a lot of her! She’s a classic case of the mind is willing but the body is not! Luna now leads the life of a normal dog most of the time, and it’s all thanks to her strict rehabilitation program. It makes me sad when I can see a dog that is clearly in discomfort but the owner is uneducated, blind or just ignorant. I know a lot of this isn’t cheap, and circumstances change so you can’t always afford what you could when you first got a dog. But at least do what you can, and especially don’t expect them to walk miles and shout at them when they can’t keep up! For those people I hope a flock of seagulls crap on you simultaneously while your mouth is open. It’s cruel and I wish I could take your dog away from you. But if you do have insurance a lot of this is likely to be covered within your policy! Luna’s was all covered by Direct Line for us!

If you ever have any questions about rehabilitating hip dysplasia, or any other clinical conditions or injuries, or if you just want some moral support, please drop me a comment or message. You can message me on InstagramFacebook or Twitter, although I’m most active on Instagram!

Next up: Luna’s Hydrotherapy Session at Woozelbears! We’ll be writing about one of our recent trips to Woozelbears for Luna’s hydrotherapy session. Be sure not to miss it by following us pr subscribing to our emails! Blog posts only, no junk, I hate that crap!

Luna: “Stay tuned to watch me make a splash!”

10 Facts About Luna and Aurora

As Luna’s Birthday was only a couple of weekends ago I thought we’d do something a little different. I have lots of Birthday photo’s I want to share with you, as well as mine and Aurora’s day out to Countryfile Live with Sputnik the Sighthound, but I didn’t want to make you read another boring old post about what the dogs did on their Birthday, I see enough of those about as it is. So instead I thought I’d write you a boring old post on 10 facts about Luna and Aurora.

1. Luna was rescued when she was 6 months old
Poor little tyke had such a bad start to life. This might not be a new fact for some of you, as I know a lot of people already know, but if you didn’t, you do now! This is the reason for her reactive behaviour, which I have already spoken about with you. But she’s with us now, and enjoying life! If you’re one who abuses animals, you really are an evil bastard, and I hope karma bites you on the backside.

Luna: “Okay, can I open my presents now?” – How on earth could you abuse a little face like that?

2. Aurora hates travelling
We honestly aren’t sure why, she loved travelling as a puppy! But one day something switched and she hated it. Now when she gets into a car she just shuts down and won’t respond to anything. It’s awkward for me to help her as I don’t drive but I am in the process of lessons and getting there! Once I can drive I have a plan set in my head of how to help her, but if you have any tips on this I would be extremely grateful! I believe it always benefits to be open to different techniques when it comes to training, never be closed minded! Fool!

Aurora: “I had lots of fun visiting the Guru Pet Food stand, I love their new venison sausages!”

3. Luna has Hip Dysplasia
Another negative for this lovely little girl. She was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at the age of 3. The only reason I noticed so young was thanks to agility, we noticed that she was knocking poles and couldn’t turn as tight on one side. So with me having a bit of a canine medical background, I was straight to the vets with her once it had happened for a few sessions – so we knew it wasn’t just a one off. We got her x-rayed and sure enough the x-rays showed mild Bi-lateral Hip Dysplasia – BL = both sides. In short we got her in for hydrotherapy and I do simple physio exercises – given by a professional – with her at home. She is now almost in perfect condition and went back to agility, clearing poles etc. no problem. We always monitored her closely and as soon as she showed small signs of tiredness we stopped. I’ve got a long post planned on her HD, so I won’t bore you with the details just yet!

Luna: “I might have Hip Dysplasia but it doesn’t stop me from tearing into my prezzies!”

4. Aurora is a face batting alarm clock
Exactly what it says on the tin. It’s pretty cool really, Carl has several alarms in the morning to help him get out of bed – we’re not morning people. Each alarm is a different song, so Carl knows how close he is to really needing to get out of bed. Aurora has figured out which alarm is the last one! When the last one goes off she jumps on Carl, paws on face and some kisses and nose nibbles until he moves!

Aurora: “What can I say? You humans are lazy and need getting up earlier!”

5. Luna loves agility
Luna really does love her agility and misses it I’m sure! We’ve had to limit how much she does because of her hip dysplasia, which is sad, but she can do a little every now and again. It’s sharp turns and high jumps that we have to be careful with. In the moment she is enjoying herself so much that she doesn’t think about it! But afterward she pays a price and can be really stiff if we let her do as much as she wants, so we have to monitor what she does for her sake. But that fact that she can do any is fabulous! This is thanks to her hydrotherapy and physio exercises that I do at home with her, it helps keep her muscles strong which supports the joints and allows her to do what she loves!

Luna: “Excuse the old photo, but this was my first ever ribbon in agility!”

6. Aurora’s favourite fuss is a belly rub
Aurora is not a ‘fussy’ dog, she’s not keen on cuddles, unless it’s on her terms, and even then she doesn’t hang around for more than a few minutes. But she will lie there for a considerable amount of time if you give her a good belly rub!

Aurora: “Did you say Belly rub?!”

7. Luna’s favourite fuss is a scratch behind the ears
Luna is a very cuddly dog, as soon as I sit down she’s on my lap! Her favourite thing is in the evening, when we’re settling down in bed, she likes to curl up next to me and I can send her off to sleep pretty quick by just scratching slowly behind her ears. Doesn’t take long for her to start dreaming!

Luna: “Love my beautiful collar from Bramble and Friends! Thanks Mum! And my new tag from We Love to Create – Pets

8. Aurora sucks her fluffy beds when she sleeps
This is strange, I’ve never met another dog that does this, so if your dog does, please let me know! She will only do it to soft, fluffy beds, but she literally lays down, sucks the bed and ‘puds’ it like a cat – you know what I mean, when they press on something with either paw at a time and put their claws in it, are you with me? But yeah she’ll do that until she falls asleep! Funny Puffy.

Aurora: “Suck my bed? Me? Nope… I think you’re talking about that other Collie over there…”

9. Luna has rear dew claws
Yeah, they’re strange. Hers are literally just flappy bits of skin with a claw attached to it. They’re quite gross really, bleurgh – I just looked at the spelling correction for that, burgher, is that like her burger? Do you get burghis? Anyway back to the claws, oddly Luna’s rear dew claws have never bothered her. I always though she would catch them on stuff all the time, but it turned out that she always caught, snapped and twisted her front ones! So she still has her rear ones but her front ones have now been removed. The front ones were a nightmare, and she had to be put under every time she snapped them to fix them and I didn’t want her to have to go under that often – not good for the body to be happening that often!

Luna: “I even got to spend my Birthday with the wonderful Mr. Mash!”


10. Aurora’s favourite phrase is “where is the ball?”
Aaaand cue head tilt. She will tilt her head the first time you say it, then if you say it again she will start to search. If you say it a third time she starts squeaking, making tiny little whining sounds until she finds it! If she can’t find a ball after a few minutes she will start barking out of frustration!

Aurora: “GIVE ME THAT BALL RIGHT NOW!” PC: Aura Photographs

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the girls! I know this is quite similar to a Q & A, but I feel like some of these are not questions you guys might ask about! Don’t forget to drop a comment if you have a question that you want me to answer. Whether that be about my girls, or a general question about dogs, or just my opinion on a certain topic! Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow and subscribe if you haven’t already!

Here’s a few more photo’s of Luna’s Birthday! We didn’t take the camera out for the walk, we just let them have fun and be dogs! There is on thing I would like to note, and that is how fantastic Faerytails were about Luna’s Birthday cake. Luna has a LOT of allergies, and they were super helpful in making sure Luna could have her cake and eat it too! 😉

Luna: “Thank’s Spuddy for my new tuggy! Although, could you tell your girlfriend to get off it…”
Luna: “Thanks again Spud for my new squeaky football and the new bandana!”
Luna: “Paws up for my Birthday! And for my Bramble and Friends Reversible Foxes Bandana
Luna: “So many presents! As I’m already wearing my Luna’s Loft bandana I thought I could wear my new Whiskers and Stiched one on my head!
Luna: “A girl can never have too many treats!”
Luna: “My W & S bandana is better…” Aurora: “If you say so, Birthday girl… My LL bandana is good enough for me!” This fabulous cake is from the fantastic Faerytails!
Luna: “Whoever said you shouldn’t have your cake and eat it too was wrong, someone get em’!”

Should I Get A Border Collie? 

Should you get a border collie? My answer to most people that I have had this conversation is “Nope, don’t bother”. Hearing this can be very disheartening, especially if you have been set on having one for years. They are definitely not easy dogs to have around, seriously, I’ve lent my two out for a day to friends so show them what they’re really like and most have returned asking what other breeds might suit them. Lets start by running through the day to day life of my girls, before you think further about being owned by a Border Collie.

Aurora “Why is that woman screaming at her poor collie?” Luna “The blithering idiot obviously didn’t know what she signed up for when she got that puppy!”

Early morning wake up call!
 Forget about your lie in, any day of the week! Unless of course you can be lazier like me and get your partner – who has to get up for work ridiculously early – to feed them every morning for you! Aaaaand back to sleep for an hour… Zzz

Aurora “Bitch please, I’m all about the lie ins.”  (She’s not, she’s lying, she’s the bloody alarm clock!)

 Time for our first walk of the day! Making sure there has been 2 hours since they were fed of course! Everyone has far too much energy first thing, so if training isn’t put into place, arms are out of sockets… Mine have a mad 2 minutes and then calm down to walk at a reasonable pace up to the field. It’s an hour and a half walk first thing in the morning, which honestly, I really enjoy! Nice fresh way to start the day!

Luna “Walks are freedom, it’s the only time where I can get a bit of space from this nutty family.”

Training time! A little chill out after the walk while I manage to squeeze some work in and it’s time to do some training! We like to do 10-20 minute training sessions twice a day for tricks or a half an hour session once a day – normally in the evenings – depending on what and where we’re learning (bearing in mind I have two so it’s double that time!). It also depends on their attention span, as some days you can see they’re just not up for a long session so I keep it basic and short but other days they want more! It’s tailored quite a lot by them if I’m honest, because as much as we all enjoy the training, we also know we mustn’t force it.

Luna “Take that, stupid human!” PC: Sputnik The Sighthound

Naps all round! Time for them to have a snooze while I try and get some more work done. Seriously though, if I don’t do all these activities with them they will be going stir crazy by this point. Luna paces around not knowing what to do with all her pent up energy, which normally leads to trouble like trying desperately to get into the bins! And Aurora just sits and stares at me with a toy in her mouth until I do something with her! Thankfully Aurora isn’t one to go looking for trouble though, but Luna definitely does if she’s bored! It’s very rare that situations like that occur, however sometimes the routine is broken due to emergencies, very important work commitments that need to be completed at a certain time, and illness. I know better than to let these things slip, but we are all human and sometimes you just can’t help it, that’s how I know how they act in those circumstances. But the thing to remember in these cases is that IT’S NOT THE DOGS FAULT. It’s YOUR fault, even if you can’t help it, it’s YOUR fault they emptied the bin, it’s YOUR fault they chewed the table legs and it’s YOUR fault that they shredded their new bed. If you can see that they only do these things out of boredom then you shall be forgiven, rectify the situation as soon as you can and don’t hold a grudge with them, because they don’t understand why.

Sorry went off on a little rant there, but I do believe that ramble is extremely relate-able to any owners of highly strung working dog breeds, especially Border Collie’s. Too many times I have seen people who can’t control them and blame the dog, 99.9% of the time the handler is to blame. I was taught that in agility and I believe that it applies to all aspects of life!

Luna “Definitely didn’t empty the bin and end up with a greasy head. Really I have no idea why I deserved this awful treatment, showers are not for good dogs. I am a good dog.”

Anyway, after the naps it’s back to yet another walk! Now in the evening their walk often gets swapped out for swimming, running or cycling! Honestly It kind of depends on how myself and Carl are feeling and how much time we have! If I don’t have much time then a run or bike ride is perfect to burn off their energy in a shorter time. Cycling takes longer as I can only cycle with one at a time through the streets of our town before we get to the field. Running is perfect but it takes quite a bit more effort from myself! I have a running belt with a bungee line and lead divider with two pulling harnesses for them – this website is great for running gear: Running Gear. To make life easier they also know left and right commands, and on and off the path commands – if you want to know how I taught any of those please let me know! Swimming requires a drive from where we live which requires more time, however it does mean us humans can be lazy while the girls get some seriously good cardio in! Swimming really is great cardio, for humans and dogs! We often just sit on the bank throwing a ball in with a ball flinger – or whatever you choose to call them, assuming you know what I’m on about, if not here’s a link: Chuck It Ball Launcher.

Aurora “Did you say SWIM?!”

It’s then an hour wait until dinner time! The wait is essential to help avoid bloat! If you don’t know about bloat, I suggest reading this little article – Bloat Info – which will give you a little more insight into bloat and how to avoid it! For dinner we like to feed a raw food diet, which we would love to share more about in the future. In short the main reason for the raw switch is that Luna has a lot of allergies, but I saw such an improvement in her general well-being as well as her allergies that I swapped all 4 dogs to the raw food!

After dinner it’s a two hour chill out before either a little play time or training session depending on how engaged I am feeling. If I’m feeling worn down then play takes a lot less mental energy than training! And a good game of hide and seek or catch is always fun. Or if it’s been a hot day then maybe even a play in the pool!

Aurora “Can you tell I’m a water baby?”

So that’s a general day to day routine, but we have to remember that some days they need more simulation than others. For the days that they never want to wear out but I still need to get work done I love Puzzle Toys for them, or just filling a Kong up with yummy treats to keep them busy. Here are a small list of boredom busters that we have and love!

Nina Ottoson Dog Tornado

Nina Ottoson Dog Smart

Kong Classic – Red

Tillypop’s Rustle Tussle

This was a run down of our weekday routine, and we love to spend our weekends really tiring them out! Whether that means attending a fun dog show, country show, meetups, a 10 Km run, an extra long walk through the countryside or something entirely new altogether! We love trying new things with the dogs, so if you ever have any suggestions or fancy meeting up just give me a shout!

Aurora “We love meeting up with pals, so long as Luna approves…” PC: Aura Photographs

Something else I would like to mention about Border Collie’s is that they constantly challenge you, and are very sensitive! Sometimes I like to say that they are too smart for their own good, for an example we’ll go back to the bin situation. We have bought so many different bins to try and prevent Luna from getting into them but she always figures them out! Which meant removal of the bin from the room! Even though it’s more awkward not having the bin where we used to, her safety is obviously paramount. You need to be prepared to change your life to fit around them, including aspects that you might not expect! And regards to sensitivity, Aurora used to love car rides, but something spooked her in the car one day and she suddenly because terrified of it. It’s proving very difficult to help her overcome her fear! If you have any tips on dogs with travel fear I would be extremely grateful, we have tried a lot of techniques but always looking for something that might help us progress faster.

Luna “Does this really look like a face that would empty the bins?”

Do not forget that Border Collie’s are a life commitment! Will you be able to commit these changes to them for life, not just a few weeks or months? You can’t just drop out when you get bored, because that’s a dick move, and if you do, you’re the reason there are so many collie’s in rescue’s across the world! Do you want to be responsible for another poor pup stuck in a rescue with no forever home? With the potential of never finding another home, and being put to sleep? No, didn’t think so. Never take the decision of purchasing or re-homing any dog lightly, especially highly energetic working breeds like Border Collie’s.

Aurora “Please don’t be another reason for hundred of us in rescues”

After what I feel to have been a mildly negative post on owning Border Collie’s, I would like to finish with a few words about how awesome I think they are. Yes they are a lot of hard work, but if you’re willing to put all that hard work in, they are SO rewarding! They can make you feel wonderful, and they have so much personality. Luna, for example, knows as soon as I’m stressed or upset, and comes straight in for a cuddle, often showering me in kisses to cheer me up! And Aurora is an absolute star to take anywhere. After years of training I can now put her in a down and stay just about anywhere and she will not move. She showed this off so well this weekend when a gazebo took off at a dog show. I wanted to help grab it and tame the wild beast, so told her to move away, down and stay, which she did! And she doesn’t even like big things moving around unexpectedly – something we’re working on, don’t worry! But this was such a huge step forward for her, made me so, so, SO proud! I would personally say that they are definitely worth all the hard work and daily effort, but remember that not everyone will feel the same.

So do you think you have what it takes to be owned by a Border Collie? Let me know in the comments below, and if you’re feeling generous let me know why! Once again, if you got this far, thank you for reading my ramble!

Luna & Aurora “Think you’ve got what it takes?”

P.S. I’ve just read over this and noticed how much I over-use exclamation marks! Did that bother anyone else?