Terii’s Cycling Babble

Dodged a Bullet…
January 29, 2017, 10:38 am
Filed under: Misc

… for now.

Just a short little blurb to try and stay on top of things so my next post doesn’t take a stab at rivaling ‘War and Peace’.

January has continued to not go well. My riding has been, at best in fits and starts since the 14th. All very short in the 4-6 mile range. Very local too, I might add.

This time it’s not been my own sluggishness so much as concern for Loke. Well, at least not for the past week or so any way.

It seemed the infection was back. To all appearances, it’s turning into some kind of year end/year beginning thing. The last time he was so inflicted was in late December 2015/January 2016.

Last week, January 20th, Jens told me Loke was limping. Would I look at his feet? Sure enough, his 3-toed foot had a patch of angry red looking skin. I immediately pulled out the medicated scrub and washed both front feet. Since then, it seems I’ve been managing a sort of holding pattern according to the appearance of the skin, though the limping told another story. He seemed to be getting worse.

So, out of pity for his feet, the rides have been short and few. It’s only out of pity for the whole dog, except for his feet, that I’ve taken him out with the trike at all. When he’s in the apartment, he doesn’t care that his feet have sores. He wants to go and run.

It was something of a relief that I already had an appointment scheduled with a vet at the dermatology clinic in Stockholm. Originally, it was for a little wound on his nose. His feet just decided to join in on the fun.

The appointment was for January 26th. The plan was for Jens to drive us into the city where he’d run off to take the subway to his office while leaving the car for me to drive back home.

We were an hour early, but there was a park a short distance from the vet clinic. While around home, Loke’s limp was, at times, extreme, he seemed to have no problem as he determinedly jogged along the city sidewalks and then along the paths of the park that wound up, down, and around the charming little hillocks of bedrock domes and clusters of trees. Part of it, I think, was he was so distracted by some place he’d not sniffed and marked a few dozen times in a week. Another factor was probably the fact that Stockholm seems to be much better about sweeping up the gravel after the snow/ice melts. Or maybe all the streets and walks in the area were heated so no need for graveling.

All I know, is Loke hardly limped.

Things were a little exciting in waiting room. One dog came through who was highly fear aggressive. He kept making savage lunges for Loke especially, though only when Loke’s attention wandered and he looked away. It was a relief when the man dragged that one off. I had a chat with a young woman there with her Boston Terrier. He was a bit fear aggressive as well, but quicker to calm and finally was even ignoring Loke.

Then we were off to see the vet. She was very nice. First, she looked at the original reason I’d made the appointment. Loke’s nose. Ironically, it’s improved quite a bit starting right when I’d booked the appointment. Her judgement was that it’s just a little sore that erupted from an allergy response. Such things can take weeks or even months for the proper pigment to return. As long as it doesn’t turn lumpy or start getting bigger again, she’s good to just leave it be rather than inflict a biopsy on a sensitive and potentially painful spot of a 11+ year old dog.

Then she moved on to look at his feet. She announced that there really was no sign of infection in the skin between Loke’s paw pads. Yes, the skin was a very angry red and raw looking, but no different than it might be on a human with an allergic outbreak of hives or rash. There was none of the sloughing or ‘gooey’ appearance an infection would have produced. Then she saw in his chart that he’d had the same sort of outbreak at roughly the same time last year though that one had turned into an infection and that he’s allergic to birch and/or hazel.

She plopped down on her computer and after a minute, she said, “The hazels are in bloom. They usually bloom in March or April, during the thaw, but the past 2 years have had extended warm spells in the winter and triggered early blooms. That’s probably why it’s happened at this time in 2 years.”

She told me to keep up with the 2x daily foot washes or perhaps exchange one wash for working alcoholic gel into his feet and toes if that’s easier on me. That’s to keep infection from getting a toehold (haha) in his feet. To help the skin combat the rash, she prescribed a steroidal spray once a day for 1 week and maintenance spraying 1-2x a week for a month or so to help hold out until the bloom is done.

Then it was back home where Loke limped… badly. It was heartbreaking just trying to get him from the car into the apartment.

I was absolutely thrilled that there was no infection and Loke, for the moment, wouldn’t need another course of antibiotics. It will help keep the resistant strain from becoming even more resistant.

The morning of the 27th, Loke was still pretty limpy every time he went out, but so desperate for more than hobbling walkies. Jens was taking the car, but I decided to have him drop us off at the storage where I’d take a short rolling walk with the fuzzy back to the apartment.

Loke did pretty good all things considered. I thought he seemed maybe a tiny bit less sensitive. I felt surprisingly good too. Of course, it wasn’t like I was pushing myself, but then I didn’t seem to need to push myself. One of those chicken and egg things.

Though it was less than 2 miles, it seemed to help Loke settle a bit. At least he wasn’t trying to bully me any more. He still paced around and sighed, but was mostly content to leave me in peace.

Yesterday, there was marked improvement in the fuzzy. He still had ‘ouchie’ moments where he’d give a brief hobble like I would if I stepped barefoot on a sharp pebble, but not limping with nearly every step even on heavily graveled surfaces.

I didn’t get to take advantage of it though because I started feeling very unwell yesterday. Not sure what was going on, but all I felt up to doing was laying around and feeling woozy and nauseous.

Today, 2nd full day after the vet visit, Loke is much improved. Hardly a hint of sore feet at all. Jens took him for a longer walk and reported only a few moments of hesitation where the gravel was worst, but nothing he’d call an actual limp. The skin is looking much better too!

Sadly, it comes too late to save the month. I’d set a goal of 25 miles a week for a minimum of 100 miles for January. The first week, fell short. The 2nd week I managed to squeak out 26 miles over 4 rides. 3rd week, nose dive with a 15 miles. Last week was a pathetic 7.46 miles since I could only go on very short, slow rolls and Loke wouldn’t let me leave him alone to ride without whining with possibility of erupting into howls. Our neighbors would just have loved that.

I’ll break 60 miles for the month. Maybe even 70, if Loke’s feet hold up, but still significantly short of the 100 I wanted to do better than January 2016.

Some people on my recumbent trike FB group point out that goals like those of ‘more miles than last time’ build up into a self-defeating prophecy. I recognize they’re right in the ultimate long run, but really, 25 miles a week shouldn’t be brutal even for me! I remember when 25 miles was hardly worth going out the door for! If I wanted to try and smack down 1000 miles a month, yes. But the pitiful distances I set as goals should be obtainable, barring threat of frostbite or a husky going all hysterical with separation anxiety and boredom because his feet keep him housebound.

Setting the same goal for next month. 100 miles broken into 25 mile weeks. February 2016 had 91 miles so it’s not like the goal is doubling the miles or anything. January 2016 was 87 miles, so a measly 13 mile increase shouldn’t have been so killer. I suppose I should give myself some slack for Loke’s issues and the days when we had highs of 2 F, but… just a bit frustrating all the same.

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