writer, warrior, whack-a-doodle



February 17, 2011
Posted in: Dogs, Totally Random | Reading Time: 7 minutes

Herding Horses is Hard Work!

Juno PupDate
Juno's horse adventure wasn't the only thing panicking me last week.


After the Neuro Vet gave her a clean bill of health for her spine, he basically said he couldn't think of anything neurological causing her muscle loss and weakness in the back legs. So I did some research on the hip dysplasia forums and asked why her symptoms wouldn't be considered hip dysplasia. Someone mentioned degenerative myelopathy (DM) because her symptoms seemed to be consistent with it (weak back end, loss of muscle and one episode of a weird kicking motion).  So naturally I panic and start google-diagnosing her.  The Neurovet later dismissed the idea because her symptoms included pain and sensitivity in her back and hip areas (to touch) and DM is not a painful disease.


We headed back to the Ortho vet with the MRI report and he concluded that she is much too healthy for total hip replacement  ("she's too good for surgery") because she is not showing signs of which hip is giving her the pain. He would not want to operate on a hip that looks worse via the x-ray, but rather the one that feels worse. Since she does not limp or indicate which hip is bothering her and neither hip showed arthritis in the x-rays, he didn't feel surgery was necessary now. He drew blood and is running various tests for infection, but ultimately, surgery is not in her near future.  He was pleased to hear about Juno's horse adventure  and said: "Good for her! It's good for her to run like that!" (Geez, doesn't anyone thinks she's a bad dog for that?) He also dismissed DM for her age and symptoms and agreed Physical Therapy would be good for her to build muscle.  The Physical Therapist is a part of the acupuncturist and osteopath practice so it's all-in-the-family. That's so Swiss!

Juno's PT begins in two weeks but I'm impatient. Really long walks do nothing for her muscle building. I would leash- walk her as much as 2.5 hours per day and she still lost muscle. I see what trotting off-leash can do for her. The day after her horse adventure, she even looked stronger, happier and more balanced. Unfortunately, the Canine Surgeon General does not recommend horse chasing for patients who need exercise. I can't imagine why! So I've already started cycling with her just 10 minutes every other day in addition to her normal one-hour walk until she builds up a little muscle and we'll build from there.

Juno's osteopath was thrilled to hear that for a dog with hip dysplasia and muscle challenges, she had no pain after her horse adventure.  I get the sense that both her hips affect the way she moves and it's not ultimately the hips that are in pain, but the result of how she moves that causes her muscular pain. Jogging is better for her than walking as it forces the dog to use the forward back motion of the hip flexer and core strength.

The vets here no longer recommend swimming for hip dysplasia. Apparently the way the dog kicks the back leg to swim is not good for building core strength which is what it needs. They also feel it puts too much stress on the neck too. Water treadmills are recommended, as are other PT exercises and trotting.

Because I'm a hypochondriac, I ordered a gene test to see if she has the genes for developing DM. There are no diagnostic tests for DM. Since it was very inexpensive to do the gene test, I ordered it.  Either way, the only thing we can do for her with or without it, is lots of exercise. And that's just fine by Juno. She loves the bike already.

Now in cooking news.

I opened up a can of worms sharing photos of the dishes I create as I explore my culinary talents (or lack there of). You're all pestering me for for the recipes. Geesh! What do you think this is? A cooking blog? Ok, since I cook out of cookbooks, I don't feel right about posting recipes that belong to someone else. So I will share the books I use and let you know which recipe came out of which book. And I'll share all my personal recipes.

  1. Joy of Cooking: A staple in any kitchen or to learn about buying, storing and preparing foods in general. A good go-to book for definitions, measurement conversions, etc.
  2. Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan My main cookbook at the moment. I'm Italian. I was born to cook like this. Most of all the recipes came out of this. Some are easy and some are difficult. All the pasta dishes, risottos, bitter veggies, roasted chicken and pork braised in wine.
  3. Gastronomy of Italy. Out of print but the TravelMarx found it for me used. New versions are $400! Great way to learn about regions of Italy through tastes and dishes. Not mainly for recipes, though there are some.
  4. Mastering the Art of French Cooking: What can I say? The movie inspired me to cook. Though I've tried many of the recipes, including the famous Boeuf Bourguignon, and they were tasty, I'm not a skilled French cook. I'll continue to use this masterpiece and keep trying!
  5. Just 4 Things : Bought this from Whole Foods years ago when I was trying to figure out fast ways to cook, but honestly, the recipes are hit and miss. The pears braised in wine and beer braised beef came out of this book.
  6. Simply the Best Italian: A Weight Watchers book! WTF? Seriously not half bad. It minimizes use of butter and oil and some recipes are very good, but really rich dishes like risotto are best coming from Essentials or Gastronomy books above. Some of the roasted chicken dishes came out of this book as does the excellent Chicken Marsala.

Now, Here's What's Cookin':

Shrimp with Pink Sauce! If you like Shrimp and you like pink, this dish is dee-lish. It's a very simple recipe  from Hazen's Essentials of Italian Cooking. Based in olive oil and garlic, the shrimp is quickly sauteed in a mixture of white wine with a smidge of tomato paste. After they cook, some of the shrimp is removed, pureed and added back with creme and parsley.

Here's what it looks like before taking out the shrimp to puree. Mr. Wild Dingo is such a cheapie that he won't buy me a proper Vitamixer for Europe power so I had to make due with a chunky puree. That's why I made this dish when he left for China, so I could eat it ALL MYSELF! Eat your heart out Mr. Wild Dingo.

The next night after he left, I made his favorite dish: Sausage Mish Mash, a Wild Dingo Original. I call it Mish Mash because it's basically just Italian sausage sauteed with whatever veggies I can find in my fridge that I haven't used. Sometimes its bitter Italian veggies, sometimes it's onion and mushrooms or sometimes like this below:

The green beans were steamed first, the potatoes were par-boiled then sliced and added last. The other veggies are bell pepper and cherry tomatoes.

Too bad Mr. Wild Dingo is in China probably eating Toblerone from the mini-bar!


Leave a Reply

16 comments on “Mish-Mash”

  1. Glad to hear no doc is pushing surgery and PT is the better option! Interesting stuff about the swimming! I wonder if we walk Darwin back and forth in water if that would be similar enough to walking on a treadmill in water. I highly doubt we could get her into a tiny water treadmill box without her freaking out.
    Thanks for sharing your cook books! That pink sauce pasta looks AMAZING. I made my first risotto last night... can't say it was a great success.

  2. We are glad that surgery isn't in the near future, we hope the exercise program helps too. We don't know much about any of that stuff, but we sure do admire your persistence to get an answer.

    Instead of sharing your recipes, we think you just need to invite us all to your place and entertain us with your cooking:)

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  3. Best of luck with the exercise program. I'm sure you must be really relieved to hear that's the prescription. And you'll end up in the shape of your life!

  4. See, it was good for Juno to go horse chasing! Perhaps you should buy her a pony of her own. I'm thinking it's a simple solution.

    Seriously, it's good to hear that no surgery is in her near future. The recovery sounded like it would be tough for such a young dog to go through. Plus, now we get to hear fun stories about Juno's PT experiences!

    I'm not a shrimp fan, but that sausage dish sounds sooooo good!

  5. God, the whole Juno saga must be so frustrating - I'm frustated and it's not even my dog! But I still think it's good news overall that they're not advocating surgery. And as someone else said, at least the "prescription" will have some beneficial side effects! 🙂

    I think your theory of the hips causing Juno's muscles to work in a funny way & cause her pain is a good one - I think I've got a similar thing going on with my left hip/side/arm/shoulder which gives me quite bad pain when I'm working at the computer too long. I've had all the MRI's & other tests, seen back specialists, hip specialists, sports medicine specialist, physios, you name it and no one can find anything really "wrong" - nothing that can be fixed and yet the problem is there. Finally, I went down the Chinese medicine route and they think it's all muscular tension/stress from over use/RSI/bad positioning and nothign that i can ever really "cure" - unless I never use the computer again. Just the way I sit at it put strain on my muscles, make them tense up a certain way which I'm not aware of and then they seize up & give me pain, whcih makes me tense them more and sit even more funny and then...vicious circle. Acuppressure massage (I;m too cowardly for acupuncture) helps to relieve the tension in the muscles - normal Western massage doesn't do it - they have to target the specific nerve points in the muscle - but it;s only a temporary relief thing. I go back to the computer and am bad again in 2 days. So their ultimate prescription? Exercise. Yup, regular exercise & stretching - partly to ease tension and partly to build up muscle strength to withstand the "abnormal strain"...well, I have to say, I do notice a big difference when I'm exercsiing regularly. When I stopped - like during these weeks for our move, etc - it got really bad again, to the point where I was having shooting pain down my left arm and couldn't sleep properly.

    Anyway, sorry - so the whole point of that rambling story is to say that maybe Juno has something similar. It's so hard when it's one of these ambiguous conditions that don't fall neatly into a specific injury or syndrom. But I think the right kind of exercise should help her.

    Good luck! At least you'll be biking in one of the most beautiful places in the world! 🙂


  6. I'm glad Juno won't have to have surgery and that it's not DM! And, what more does a Husky love than running! We are keeping all paws crossed that the biking will help her!

    And, OMG! Those food dishes look delish! Our human woman doesn't eat meat, but she does eat shrimp, so he is seriously thinking of trying out that shrimp dish!

    Holly & Khady

  7. Oh dear! Sounds like Juno isn't quite out of the woods yet. Hopefully she gets better really soon! And I'm sure she's thrilled that there will be more running and adventures involved in her near future.

    The Mommas and I are absolutely drooling over the food. Mmm... The shrimp with pink sauce looks especially yum. Would gladly lick any sauce that might have dripped onto the floor. =)


  8. Fantastic news about Juno not needing surgery in the near future, paws crossed it will stay that way.

    Foods looking fantastic even if it does contain stuff like meat and fish, hu'mum does not eat meat and fish. Hu'mum always needs ideas for cooking because she is real duff at it 🙂

  9. I'm so glad that they aren't going to cut into Juno before really knowing what the problem is.

    I think phycial therapy will really help her out. They have ways of getting humans to build muscle back up and so I would think it would work the same on doggies.

    She sure looked like she was having fun chasing the horses!

  10. It's me again! Just thought I'd pop by again to let you know you have a blog award. Hopefully you can find some time to drop in and get it. =)


  11. Hey Juno! You are going to be super dog again after your PT's and horse chasing therapies. I just know it.

    You know what? Momma actually went jogging with me for five whole minutes in a row today! We were both huffing for sure especially since she was wearing her winter boots. But you inspired us.


  12. Yeah Juno! She knows whats good for her! (We love Houndstooth's suggestion - Haven't you always wanted a pony?) The biking sounds like it would be lots of fun fur her & for you, too!
    Moe yummy foods - what time is dinner?

    jack & moo

  13. Juno's situation sounds so complicated and hard to diagnose. I'm glad that you ordered that genetic test - that's a good idea. I'm really glad to hear that she doesn't have spine problems.

    I do know that walking uphill puts a lot of demand on the hind end - and can help a dog to build hind end muscle. If you can do some hill climbing with her, that might be a good thing (but I don't know what they say about that for hip dysplasia - I hadn't heard that swimming was no long considered to be good).

    I hate when things are so murky and it sounds like you do too. I hope that they become clearer soon.

  14. We're also glad to read nothing irreversible is in Juno's immediate future. Having her run beside the bike is a great idea; that was the way we exercised all our Danes. They got enough exercise and they enjoyed it. With a gradual build up, we averaged about 15 - 20 miles an outing. But we didn't take them everyday, just 2 or 3 times a week.

    We assume the dogdocs checked her rear legs from her toes up to her hips, to see if there is anything in her foot or leg structure that might make her gait 'off' and put stress on her hips? Just a wild thought.

    KB's idea about mountain climbing might be worth checking out, too. Lord knows you've got enough mountains in Switzerland. There must be some boulders among all those Alpine meadows.

    You do know we have our paws crossed for Juno's pain-free improvement leading to total recovery.

    Jed & Abby

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