|The working springer spaniel "Miss Sophie" story
Just before new year we noticed how she was limp with her right rear leg a few seconds after she got up from rest. Then, when she had got the leg warmed up, it took less that 10 seconds, nothing unusual could be noticed.
In the best of worlds that are suited for gundog training, there will never be any snow. As long as the snow is crusted over, the life is easy for a short legged spaniel but then the next day new, loose and deep snow covers the crust.
It is no longer particularly meaningful to train much of anything. A dummy for ex. will drill its way deep down into loose snow and leaves very little scent while the dog has to struggle in the snow to move forward. Under these circumstances a mole could be of better use than a dog.
For that reason Miss Sophie has had more of play than training this winter, that is her first. She has despite of this matured a bit and is now looking more like a young dog than a puppy.
The other day she did her first blind retrieve in a real hunting situation. A magpie fell in deep snow and some bushes. I, who shot the bird, lost track of it among the trees and could only give a rough direction. She worked well in a downwind search, delivered the bird in one piece and I was pleased with that.
Now I only hope for a warm spring very soon so we can continue with her training to take a line. That is a though task for a spaniel but given enough of time she will learn it well enough to be ready for trial next autumn.
The obedience part is established well enough for the time being. I do not know how she reacts when she runs into a lively pheasant but time will tell.
Too much playing with Briz has however had some negative effect on her physics.
I had her surveyed by 2 different vet's but none of them could point out any particular cause.
After some time I also noticed that she put more weight on her left rear leg when sitting. I phoned around to a few experienced breeders but they had not seen such symptoms before. Instead they advised me to have her hips x-rayed just to make sure they are OK.
Yesterday we did so and they look very good. Her knees and feet were also x-rayed and no fault was found. Then the vet stretched the toes joints in her right rear foot, comparing with the left foot, in all directions and finally found a toe that was more sensitive than the other toes.
The conclusion is that there is an inflammation somewhere in her foot, most likely a result of trying to race with the setters. Racing with setters is not a very good practice for a little spaniel and that must come to an end now.
In addition she is given some pills that will hopefully put out the inflammation. The problem with the pills is that they also contain some pain relief and now she dances like never before. I do not see any other possibility than to keep or in the house, in the kennel or when out walking, keep her leashed all the time.