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Update to "Biting on leash/ankles and arms"

January 11th, 2006, 09:01 PM
I posted to this board back in July as to problems that I was having with my Chocolate Lab "Laci". The thread was deleted in Sept. due to posts that were off topic and I never posted again but continued to watch for problems that were similar to mine. Last night I decided to post in here again as new issues have come to light and maybe I can help someone else. I need to explain some background first due to the original thread not being available to read.

We saw the Laci's litter when they were just 2 1/2 wks and visited them every Friday night. We picked out one of the pups at 5 wks old and received a phone call on Tuesday night prior to us picking her up on Saturday at the age of 7 wks old. The pup we were to take home had died and the breeder (who has been breeding her dogs for over 10 yrs) had no idea why and was going to take the pup to the vet to see if they knew. The other pups were going also to get shots. All of us were devastated. Being the 1st in line for a pup, the breeder gave us options as to picking out a different pup or waiting for the next litter. The decision was hard to make but due to me already taking 3 wks off of work to be with the new addition and our excitement with getting a new dog as our 9 1/2 yr old Golden "Caila" died unexpectedly Jan 31 from Leukemia. We had until Saturday morning to decide as the 5 other pups were to be picked out and taken home by others from downstate. We decided to go ahead and pick another one out after the breeder got a call from the vet saying that the pup probably died from vomiting and choking on worms. We visited the other pups on Friday and then again on Saturday early am before the first pickup at 11 am. We picked out our Laci and took her home that day.

Our 1st dog "Caila" was easy to train and up until she died, the only issue was her wanting to be near us at all times. I know that all breeds are different and that the training issues would also be different. The problems at first were the normal puppy problems that everyone has after bringing home a new one. I truly believe that Laci thought her name was really "No". The first thing different was that Laci constantly was biting on her leash or our hands or arms and ankles. We had to wear long pants (now with many bite holes in them) and long sleeves in the summer months. I even resorted to rubber boots that I wear for gardening. I know that nipping/biting is normal but this seemed very different and with repeated discipline there has been some change in the behavior but now we call them biting frenzies. I have talked to our vet repeatedly and had our trainer come over (Laci has gone thru Puppy Kindergarten and Basic Obedience) and it has really stayed pretty much the same. What we have learned to do is always have toys around and place one in her mouth instead of our hands.

When going thru puppy kindergarten and then Basic, Laci was the "Hit" of the class as she would do some things that the trainer had never seen. She doesn't walk a normal gait as most puppies do. She walks with a shuffle of her back legs, has always "pranced" around and has this "Deer Bound" that she does instead of jumping up in excitement. She bounds up the stairs instead of walking up them. She has never tried to jump on any of our furniture and never on the bed. We have hardwood floors and she slips and slids to where we have had to put down rugs so she can walk. The most unusual thing that she does is when she is eating. We feed her in a regular bowl or her Kong or with a Buster Cube and she always lifts up 1 of her back legs and draws it up behind her and then will switch legs and do the same thing with the other leg. It looks as if she will fall over but to date, never has. It has been comical for others to see her do this. We have called her "Quirky". But all along I have had this Gut feeling that something is not normal. The trainer and vet have also seen her do all these things. The vet said that her walk definitely is not normal and wanted to do extensive x-rays. Well they put her out last Thursday for x-rays that the University of Michigan Ortho Dr's told her to take and they "All" came back normal. No problems with the hips or forelegs or back or any of the joints. The vet decided to try her on "Rimadyl" for 5 days to see if this helps. It did not change any of the "Quirks" that she has. The next thing she wanted us to do was take her to a Neurologist thinking maybe it has to do with nerves.

Well we went to the Neurologist Monday (5 hr drive 1 way) for Laci's (she turned 8 mths yesterday) 10 am appointment. After examining her and running her thru exercises, they decided an MRI and a Spinal Tap would be needed. They paged us back to the center at 4:30 pm. The diagnosis is "Hydrocephalus" or "Water on the brain". It has kind of floored us as this may be normal for a toy dog but not for a Lab. But at the same time, we now have a name for her "Quirks". To say the least, it was a long ride back home after this blow. We now have to figure out how to get around the obstacles that hampers her from being a Normal Lab.

The doctor said that the brain cells that have been killed due to the Hydrocephalus is the reason for the walking funny, her bounding instead of jumping up, her lifting of the leg during feedings, and her biting frenzies. The brain cells are not there to tell the body what to do or what not to do. We will do what we can to help her compensate for the problems that she has as she is our "Laci Lucy Lou"

My writing all this on this forum is to tell others that if they have a "Gut" feeling that something is wrong, go with the gut. I am not saying that the advise I used from here was wrong. In most cases something is bound to work for training. But if you have tried everything and something is still amiss, check with the doctors and don't 2nd guess yourself.


January 11th, 2006, 09:12 PM
Thats so sad will Laci be okay, can the water be drained in anyway. Like the way they sometimes use a shunt on humans. I wish you the best with Laci

January 12th, 2006, 09:33 AM
At this time the doctor wants to wait and see if the symptoms are progressing or if the fluid has stopped growing. If the symptoms get worse then he will do another MRI right away and if not, we will go back in 6 mths and do another MRI to see where the fluid is. He does not want to do the surgery on her yet.

January 12th, 2006, 10:16 AM
My writing all this on this forum is to tell others that if they have a "Gut" feeling that something is wrong, go with the gut.

always great advice.

Thanks for sharing your story, and I do hope Miss Laci will live a long happy life, despite the "quirks". as a very wise character once said "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get"

Laci is a very lucky dog... to get a wonderful family willing to go that extra mile for her.

Please keep us posted on Laci - she's a beautiful dog!