Jacob Grows - Feb 2008

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Jacob has been a very fast growing pup, and as you'll see below he had some problems with his bone growth that required surgery.
Right now he's seven months old and about 80 pounds.  The vet says she thinks he'll probably end up over a hundred once he fills out.
He's going to be a big boy.

These were taken in Sept and Oct, so he was about 3 months old.  That's about when we started noticing the problem.  Every once
in a while he would start puppy-yelping with pain, lift his right leg and if she was available crawl into Debby's lap.  The vet told us to
restrict his activity, which we did with a 6x10x6 outdoor cage -- but that didn't seem to help.  Eventually he was diagnosed at Gulf
Coast Vet Clinic as shown below.

The first X-ray shows Jake's normal left elbow.  (The elbow is the joint up close to the belly -- the shoulder is way up near the neck).
The second is the right elbow, showing two problems:  1)The right box shows that a growth plane has not healed, leaving a little chip of
bone loose; 2)The left box shows, or so the doctor said, that the socket is uneven as it transitions between the two bones of the forearm.
Frankly, I cannot see this ridge in the socket, but I'll believe him   The reason for this happening is that the two bones of the forearm, the
radius and ulna, are growing at different rates and putting the joint under stress.  Essentially tearing it apart.  Prognosis without surgery
was increasing joint pain developing into severe arthritis.  The remedy (this makes me shudder just to think about it) was to break the
bone that was growing slower, as shown in the third X-ray, allowing the two pieces to separate and relieve the stress.  He then put a
pin in to help support the bone while it was healing.  Before surgery he thought he would probably need to put a screw into the small
detached piece of bone in the joint, but when he got in he found that it was still attached with soft tissue and he didn't need to put in the
screw.  That was good and probably happened because we got to it before the joint got damaged too badly. The surgery took place
on Nov 21, the day before Thanksgiving.  The last X-ray shows the leg eight weeks after surgery.  The plate that was detached is now
fused, the doctor says that there is no longer a ridge in the socket (I can't see this, but again I believe him), and the long bone is healing
nicely.  The doctor says that the knot will go away in time, and in fact after another month the swelling on the leg has gone down quite
a bit, and that the joint now has very good mobility.  It was very difficult restricting Jacob's activity while he was healing -- in fact, it was
pretty much impossible -- but we did the best we could. 

Jake had the bandage, which was wound pretty stiff, for two weeks, and during that time he had to wear an Elizabethan collar when he
was on his own to keep him from tearing the bandage apart.  The stiff collar restricted his activities quite a bit and made it difficult to
do normal things like eating.  After the bandage came off he wore the flexible collar until his stitches came out so he wouldn't mess
with them.  He got pretty active with that bandage on and would run around the back yard with it happily flapping around.  We were
supposed to prevent him from running and playing, but ... there's only so much you can do along those lines.

Well, the last picture is of Sammy, of course, so this isn't all just about Jake.

Perhaps the biggest problem we've got with Jacob is chasing the cats -- and putting his mouth on them.  He doesn't exactly bite them,
but we certainly don't like what he wants to do and neither do they.  The three cats react very differently to him:  Oscar pretty much
ignores him most of the time and Jacob doesn't do much to him.  Bo seems to like him, sort of, and taunts him.  Jacob does a lot of
chasing with Bo and it's kind of hard to know what to do because Bo seems to be asking for it -- to a point.  Molly hates him and
does a lot of growling and spitting -- but she taunts him, too.  This is too bad, because she really loved Shadow (whom she grew up
with).  Anyway, we are far from the "peaceable kingdom" we would like to have, but it's coming.  Slowly.  These pictures were taken
in December, so he was about five months old.  You can see he's getting pretty big.

Here are some pictures taken in late January, so he's about six months old.  He's gotten a clean bill of health from the doctor -- no
restrictions on activity -- and we're taking him for a walk on the bayou.  Note the "gentle leader" collar, necessary because he's
75 pounds now, getting extremely strong and is very willful.  He hates the gentle leader, which I think he would call "Satan's collar"
or "the collar from hell".  It does allow us to control him much more easily.  We are having a battle of wills here, and we're getting him
into a training class pretty soon.  He is a very stubborn, active dog. I hesitate to say "aggressive", since that might imply that he wants
to pick a fight, which so far he hasn't, but he certainly is a handful.  Perhaps "assertive" describes him best. So far he will sit and lie down
on command, and we are working, working, working on "heel" -- but we haven't gotten there yet.  And, of course, the most important
command is to come -- and he's beginning to get the picture that if I call him it means "now", not "when he feels like it", and significant
delay will make me very angry.

I don't want to give the wrong impression:  he's basically pretty cooperative and he's very smart -- he's mostly just acting like a teenager,
I think.  Anyway, off the leash he loves mud and scummy water, as you can see here.  I don't have a picture of it, but I've never seen a
dog before that wants to push his whole head under the water and mud.

It's hard to see in some of these pictures just how messy he is.  He tends to get totally covered in mud and scum -- but then rolls around
in the grass and wipes some of it off.  He is still, however, sopping wet.
Here, let me wipe some water and mud onto you!  He is having a lot of fun -- and, truth to tell, so are we.  Sammy, of course, remains
utterly pristine.

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