Canine Sports Medicine with Dr. Leslie Eide

For this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla speaks with Dr. Leslie Eide from The Total Canine about canine sports medicine. 

Science Highlight: None this week 

Links Mentioned in the Episode: 


Where you can find Leslie:  Website | Facebook | Instagram 

You can support the K9 Conservationists Podcast by joining our Patreon at

K9 Conservationists Website | Merch | Support Our Work | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok


By Maddie Lamb with the help of Chat-GPT

Dr. Leslie Eide’s Expertise:

  • Dr. Eide combines her background as an athlete with a unique focus on canine rehab sports medicine.
  • Not just a general vet, she specializes in diagnosing subtle orthopedic, neurologic, and pain-related issues in dogs.

Key Insights:

  • Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off with your dog, act on that intuition.
  • The Duration Factor: Brief discomfort might be a passing phase, but persistent or recurring problems need professional intervention.
  • Specialist Intervention: Like in human healthcare, there are specialists in veterinary medicine. If general vet checks aren’t conclusive, consider seeing experts like Dr. Eide.
  • Injury Indications: Dogs naturally hide their pain. Observing for asymmetry in their movements or postures, and subtle behavioral changes are crucial.
  • Importance of Screening: Conducting regular orthopedic screenings, especially for sport or work dogs, can help in early detection and prevention of severe issues.

Navigating Injuries:

  • Tests like the ‘drawer test’ are for professionals. Avoid trying them without training.
  • Simple observations, like the ‘sit test’, can provide clues. If a dog suddenly sits differently or seems hesitant, there might be an underlying problem.

Treatment Choices:

  • Deciding between surgical and non-surgical treatments is multifaceted. It depends on the severity of injury, personal goals, and other factors.
  • While non-surgical methods might offer temporary relief, surgeries like those for cruciate issues provide a more definitive solution.

Rehabilitation Insights:

  • The essence of effective rehab is having a specialized professional guide the process.
  • Leslie’s approach emphasizes observing and refining dog movements to cater to their specific recovery needs.

Reaching Out:

  • Dr. Eide is accessible through her website,, and is active on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok
  • Whether for local or remote consultations, she encourages pet owners to seek expert advice, emphasizing proactive care.

Transcript (AI-Generated)

Kayla Fratt  00:09

Hello and welcome to the K9Conservationists podcast where we’re positively obsessed with all things conservation detection dogs. I’m your host, Kayla Fratt, one of the cofounders of K9Conservationists, and I’m super excited to be here with y’all today talking about ecology, odor, dynamics, dog behavior and everything in between.

Kayla Fratt  00:25

Today, I had a lovely conversation with Dr. Leslie Eide, who is the sports medicine rehab that that helped Barley out post-tearing his cruciate ligament, which is one of the ligaments in a dog’s knee, and going through a TPLO surgery in October and November of 2022. So as I said, Leslie helped us out immensely with the rehab plan, she worked with us remotely quite intensively. And we’re going to be talking about, you know, kind of how to know when it’s time to go in and see a specialist. And to get imaging done after a dog has had an injury, how to decide when to go that surgical route, how to do some basic tests at home to see if you can identify any potential problems with your dog. All sorts of prevention, and then obviously getting into rehab.

Kayla Fratt  01:10

I think this conversation is going to be a really helpful starting point for keeping our working dogs healthy and happy and working for as long as they so please. So without further ado, let’s get to the conversation with Dr. Leslie Eide. All right. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Dr. Eide, why don’t we start out with a little bit of an introduction of you know, your history, your background, and then we’ll get into kind of your specialization because you’re not a normal vet.

Leslie Eide  01:34

Yeah, I don’t know that I’m a normal anything, but especially not a normal vet. So I am a rehab sports medicine veterinarian, and it’s kind of a long, weird story of how I got into that. But the long story short, is basically, I went to college to swim. So I was an athlete, and of course, had all my own dealings with like, fitness for athletics and injuries and all that. And then kind of a little bit randomly decided when swimming was over that then I wanted to go to veterinary school.

Leslie Eide  02:21

And really, I wanted to focus on behavior medicine. But in the, in the meantime, I had my own dogs, who my goal is to have the best trained dogs on Earth. And then part of that was I found out about agility and started doing sports with them. And still thought, you know, but behavior is the only thing out there for me. And really, it was during my internship, that my surgeon mentor was like, hey, you know, there’s this whole new field of sports medicine, that seems like a perfect fit for you. So I decided to do that. And I think part of part of the reason it fits in so well is that I am still obsessed with dog sports, especially with my own dogs. I have dabbled in a lot of them. But our main focus is agility. And so I’ve, I don’t think I’ve ever except when I just started out had one dog in dog sports. And so now I have three that are actively competing. And yeah, I love doing it. I love preparing them for their sports, but also being able to help all the other dogs out there that are working or competing to just be the best that they can be.

Kayla Fratt  03:53

Yeah, definitely. And, yeah, it’s just it’s so important. And I’m so glad that this field exists. Because, you know, as we’ll talk about as we kind of go through barley story, and how that can help inform all of our listeners there, especially when you’re working with a dog that is an athlete, there’s so much stuff that it is easy for your kind of general practice veterinarian, either to miss or I know, you know, in the past, I’ve had to kind of be my dog’s advocate and say, you know, like, Are there rehab options that we could or should be considering? Because I think they’re so used to, you know, average pets were, Hey, it’s okay. If he’s a little bit gimpy in the mornings for the rest of his life. He’s nine and he just needs to go on his his daily walks or whatever. And I’m like my nine year old dog still, you know, I want him to have a couple more years of active work if we can make that happen. So yeah, like you exist.

Leslie Eide  04:50

Yeah, I think there’s kind of there’s multiple reasons or for us, but like, like you said, I think some of it is, we’re here for those people who see these changes happen in their dog. And they’re like, Is that really okay? Like, I think sometimes, you know, we do, we’re like, oh, they’re older, you know, we’ll just let them age gracefully or whatever. And then like, but there’s so much we can do to keep them active and feeling good. And then I think another part of this specialty is being able to find those problems very early on, you know, especially now, pet owners are just getting more and more and more in tuned with their animals, and they’re noticing things sooner, and they want to take care of them as soon as possible and get them better as soon as possible.

Leslie Eide  05:52

And I think, you know, not that long ago, even, there was definitely more of the sense of like, Oh, we don’t, we don’t deal with these problems until they’re really bad. And then we try and take care of them. And I think just like our care of animals is, is is changing. And that’s what makes rehab sports management medicine about so important is that we have the, the skill set one to listen to the owners, which I think is so important, and listen to what they’re saying and what they’re seeing. But then also to really try and find those little things that aren’t quite what they used to be and then help fix them.

Kayla Fratt  06:38

Yeah, and that was a perfect segue into kind of the first big question I had for you is, are there any, you know, red flags to be looking for? When you when you know that your dog has an injury? Or, you know, are there any tips or tricks for telling when it’s time to go get imaging or see a specialist? Because I know, you know, sometimes I feel like, my dog comes barreling out of the woods and is then you know, picking up upon I pull out a spine, but they’re still up putting weight on it. It’s kind of like, alright, you know, at what point do I need to start worrying about this? At what point how, you know, that’s maybe a bad example, because generally, you know, if you can find a spine, that’s probably what it was. But I’ve also had times where, you know, the dog takes a tumble or something and comes up. So anyway, yep, tips, tricks, red flags, you know, what are we looking for when we noticed that there’s a little injury and we’re trying to decide whether or not it’s time to call the specialist?

Leslie Eide  07:35

Yeah, so the first thing I would say is, trust your gut. Because again, like I feel like a lot of people are being, like, more observant, observant, they’re more in tune with the animal, and they may not be able to pinpoint exactly what it is or be able to describe it, but their gut is telling them something is off. And I do think that that’s important. That’s that’s kind of like that first alarm bell. If you’re sitting there like always looking at your dog going, something just doesn’t seem right, that listen to that voice.

Leslie Eide  08:20

Um, the next thing I would say is, it’s if it lasts more than kind of one to two days, you know, if it’s, if it’s a 24 or 48 hour thing, and especially if you haven’t given any like medication, and it just completely resolves, I think you can probably feel okay, that it’s not a big deal like that. You said, you pull that little spine out, maybe they’re a little sore for a day because it’s you know, I’ve had that when I’ve stepped on something and you pull the thorn out, but your foot still hurts for a little bit. If it lasts longer than kind of that 48 hours, that’s when I start to get a little nervous that there’s something something bigger happened.

Leslie Eide  09:12

And then the other kind of red flag for me is when it comes in goes. So you know, maybe it only lasts for like 24 hours, and then seems okay, but a week later it comes back or you know, two weeks later it comes back. Those to me are kind of the big things like now it’s time to get it checked out. Now, what I will say is typically, no matter where you go, you’re probably going to get like the general like let’s give it two weeks and see what happens before you necessarily go into any diagnostics, and the reasoning behind that is because basically Typically, if it is like a low grade sprain or strain, it’s going to get better on its own within two weeks.

Leslie Eide  10:08

Now, my issue with that, though is, is, if it’s already been two weeks before you get into the vet, then waiting another two weeks probably isn’t gonna make a big difference, because you’ve already kind of it’s, it’s two weeks from like, when you first saw things is the time period you’re looking at. And then really like diagnostics depends just on kind of where where the issue can be pinpointed, like, certain things are going to trigger the need for diagnostics or certain types of diagnostics sooner.

Leslie Eide  10:46

And what I will say is in, it may be that, again, if your gut is saying, this is something more than just do, you know, a minor sprain or strain, and when you’re like, if you go to your regular bat first, and they’re like, Okay, let’s give it a little bit more time, and you’re like, you know, I’ve already given it two weeks, it’s already, you know, took me a month to get into you, and this is still going on, that’s when I would push for, can I go see a specialist and have them get their hands on, because there’s definitely a level of, you know, just familiarity with different things like your regular vet has to see and be able to understand a huge umbrella of problems. Versus myself, I can pretty much narrow myself to just seeing these like orthopedic, neurologic pain type problems, which allows me to, to focus more on figuring out what it is and, and just have my skill set better focused on that versus, you know, if you came in to me for like, a dermatology problem, I’d be like, Yeah, I don’t know, doesn’t look great. Go back to your regular. So, so that’s kind of the difference in, in skill sets.

Leslie Eide  12:17

I think sometimes it’s kind of hard for, you know, people to understand, especially because it’s, it’s, yes, they’re a specialist in veterinary medicine, but they’re like, not as widely known as, like, human medicine. You know, where, like, almost every doctor has some form of specialty. I know, I’m always surprised when I talked to people, and they’re like, Wait, there are veterinarians that are just surgeons or ophthalmologists? Or, you know, oncologists, all of them out there, and I’m like, Yes, we have specialties just like, just like humans do. And we’re going to be better at figuring out these subtle problems that maybe your regular vet is just like, oh, I don’t know, I don’t know, if I, you know, where do you even you know, start with that, except telling you to rest the dog. Yeah. So.

Kayla Fratt  13:20

So are there any and I know, you know, your area of expertise, personally, is agility, but you see all sorts. You know, are there any particularly common injuries that we should be really worried about that maybe there are ways to, you know, test for them, or, you know, I know, one of the things that, like we taught in our canine conservationist class and continue to teach is, you know, just really knowing what’s kind of normal for your dog and checking both sides, and you know, some of those basic like, medicinal, you know, veterinary stuff of like, well, if one foot looks a lot bigger than the other, that might be a clue of what’s going on.

Kayla Fratt  13:57

So, that’s kind of two different questions. So why don’t we start with, you know, maybe anything that you should try to know about your own dog or like things that you can get you yourself familiar with, with your own dog. And then next we’ll ask about, you know, like, any common big, big bad injuries that we might need to be worried about, and any red flags to look for, for those specifically?

Leslie Eide  14:17

Yeah, definitely. So the first thing I’m going to start out with just a general statement that dogs are really good at hiding pain. Um, and I, you know, I have my own theories of why that is, but, you know, there are, they’re meant to be our companions. Right? And, and we kind of always, like, we want to hang out with happy people and, you know, so I feel like a lot of kind of how we pick dogs and such. We’ve kind of made them into that, that creature that it’s like, I’m not necessarily going to tell you something hurt. unless it’s really bad, but they have subtle ways of telling you.

Leslie Eide  15:05

But the point of that is that I’m a huge advocate for any dog that you get, especially if you your plan is to do some kind of sport, or work with them, I do think you should do an orthopedic screening on them. Even if you think everything looks totally normal, you’re like, there’s nothing wrong with this dog. And this, again, is, like you said earlier, where you really have to advocate because it can be difficult, if nothing is wrong, to get the screening done. You know, we do it a lot for dogs, if we’re going to breed them. Like that’s kind of standard, but I don’t think we’ve gotten to the standard of, but I want to do I want it to work, I want it to compete, I wanted to you know, be able to do all these things that that screening them a standard.

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Leslie Eide  15:59

And so, part of the screening can be breed related, you know, look at what the, you know, what is common in in those dogs, whether it be like hips, or elbows, shoulder, OCD, back issues. And you can start with that as as your, your first and, you know, screening. But you can also just, you know, if you really want it to screen all the joints. Typically, I recommend that this screening process, if you have them when they’re young, that it happens somewhere between like eight and 12 months old. If you adopt them when they’re older, you know, you can do it, as soon as, as soon as you adopt them, there’s not really like a limit of like, oh, they reach this age, no point in doing it.

Leslie Eide  16:56

That’s my my kind of first, like, just get that ballpark because you can find things that you would never guess looking at the dog and how active they are. And it’s not that it’s necessarily going to take away their job or their sport, but it’s going to give you the ability to better take care of them while they’re doing it. And then once they are working, or competing or training for their their work or their sport, I do recommend regular physicals, specifically sport physicals, to make sure everything is still feeling good.

Leslie Eide  17:45

And then like you said, like really looking for symmetry, I think is important. Like you have dogs unless something has happened to them, or unless you found something on the screening that you did that one side was different than the other. Most dogs are going to be very symmetrical, left to right. And being able to, to visually be able to compare that but also put your own hands on them. And feel is really good too. But then obviously, that’s where things like sports, physical comes in, you know, in that, taking them to someone who has more training to feel for these things, but gets to know them before there’s a problem. I you know, obviously I never want there to be a problem with the dog. But my job is way easier when I have seen the dog for a sports physical and got to know them and got some basic data on them. That then when the owner comes in later, and it’s like I think something is off. I have something to compare back to and say, you know, yeah, I feel a difference now or I see a difference than when I first saw fluffy.

Leslie Eide  19:02

So that that is I’ve advocate for that. I know it’s not it’s not even huge in my field yet of rehab sports medicine. Not all the specialists do it. But I do think if you can find someone who who does, that’s really important. And then the second part of the question is the, like specific injury is, um, I know in my opinion, there’s not necessarily like an injury that equates or sport that equates an injury. I think we see lots of a wide variety of injuries per sport. I would say if I had to like pick one thing That happens most commonly in in sports is going to be toe injuries. I think toes take a lot. But the problem is usually toes are taken care of before they even get to me it’s it’s kind of rare before the toes, get the specialists like it has to be pretty bad. Because a lot of the toe injuries are just like broken nails, or blown pads, things like that, that the you know, your regular vac can can take care of.

Leslie Eide  20:29

Um, the only other thing I can think of right now like on the that comes to my head and it’s probably because it’s it’s the starting of the season is bad traumatic injuries in racing event. So whether it’s racing or coercing or lower coursing, you know, all the different like sighthound type things. And again, it’s very rare, but when the dogs like run into each other or have an accident with the lore, we tend to get kind of big traumatic things. And so I would say that’s kind of of like, like agility, flyball, Frisbee the different types of sports I would say that’s the one kind of sport that comes to mind where we get like a specific type of injury of its you know, it’s bang because they’re running really fast and usually you know, colliding into another object at high speed not good thing because a lot of people which you know, kind of going there with with Barley I think, you know, want to say like oh cruciate are, are the big thing with sports.

Leslie Eide  21:51

And I’m gonna say actually cruciates are just the big thing with dogs, um, is sport, really sport or work really has little factor into whether or not a cruciate happens. There’s so many factors that go into it, and most of them are not actually activity related. So yeah, I It’s I, you know, when you compare the population of just dogs in general that have cruciate tears, to dogs in sports, that get Krushi tears, there’s not like this huge difference of like, oh, dogs in sports are way more likely to have cruciate tears. So, yeah, it’s it’s just a dog thing.

Kayla Fratt  22:44

Yeah. Well, and to some degree, that makes sense to me in that, potentially, some, you know, the dogs that are in sports may be in better shape and may, you know, I know, I’m really careful about how I throw my toys for my dogs. And I kind of always have been, but yeah, like the lab that I grew up with, that was absolutely not a sport dog and was just as ball crazy as either of my dogs, you know, and she never tore her cruciate but, you know, just thinking about the way that like my parents let the kids play with her. It wouldn’t be shocking to me had she poured a cruciate them that makes sense, because it’s not like, it’s not like high intensity activities that may increase risk.

Kayla Fratt  23:26

And I also know we’ve talked in the past about cruciate being pretty highly genetic, at least, is the thinking right now. You know, either way, like being being a pet dog doesn’t really protect you from either of those things. Because I know you know, pet dogs that play as much fetch and get as much activity as for dogs, if not more and potentially imbalanced or less safely or whatever.

Leslie Eide  23:48

Yeah, for sure. I there’s, there’s so many different factors that go into cruciate tears, and we don’t fully understand it, you know, there, we’re still trying to figure out what is kind of that key reason why it happens. But we do know genetics plays a role. We think that probably structure plays a role. Definitely, weight plays a role. So being fit and in shape definitely helps prevent it. But if you’ve got those other factors of bad genetics, bad structure doesn’t necessarily matter. If you’re fit and in shape, it can still still happen.

Leslie Eide  24:37

There’s also I mean, it’s it’s probably one of the most researched problems in veterinary medicine. And so all kinds of different ideas get thrown about and looked into. There definitely is you know, the potential for a hormonal relationship. You know, that that’s kind of the big, hot topic right now. So, yeah, lots lots of interesting stuff out there. My biggest thing is that what I want people to know is that it’s not. There’s no like, perfect way to prevent it. So no, a lot of people are like, Oh, well, you know, I’m talking about hormones. Oh, if I just, you know, don’t spay or neuter, it won’t happen. No, that’s not true. You know, plenty of intact dogs still tear their cruciates. Or, you know, if I, if I just don’t play fetch, it won’t happen. And I’m like, No, plenty of dogs who don’t play it that just so happens.

Leslie Eide  25:43

So there’s not you know, if we knew if, as vets if we were like, oh, yeah, if you just do this one thing, or just don’t do this one thing, it won’t happen, we would be happy to tell everyone that so it stopped happening. But we just we don’t know. We don’t know what the, you know, the key is or what all the factors like how they come together to make it happen. But we do know that it is usually a degenerative process, meaning like it happens over time. It rarely happens is like one single events where they they go out and do something and the ligament just tears, it usually is a slower process where it’s gradually breaking down over time.

Kayla Fratt  26:35

Yeah, that makes sense. And yeah, so and the cruciate ligament is what Barley tore. So for anyone I, I think, will mostly be kind of familiar with this Barley tore his cruciate ligament in October of 2022, literally two days after we finished our first our second season on the wind farm, which in some ways was good timing, I guess, but does go to show I mean, he was at, you know, kind of like peak physical fitness. For a working dog. He just had three hard good months of work. So I guess he could have been worn down, hypothetically. But he was looking great. And it was, you know, it was a bad balance of a ball thrown by a kid and no adults thought.

Kayla Fratt  27:16

So, you know, I really have no idea. It’s, the kid said that he hit a table. And I but I was a little unclear whether the ball kind of bounced off the table, or Barley hit the table on the way down or, you know, it’s just it’s even as I am quite the dog, helicopter parent and stuff just still happens. And when we took him into the first that they did, they did do the X rays for me right away, which was very grateful for in the part of our our issue was we were supposed to be leaving for Mexico, like, I think, a week or two after this injury happened.

Kayla Fratt  27:51

So I was really on the like, fast track to like, if this is a cruciate, I want to get him in and get surgery ASAP, so that we don’t delay this trip, and also wanted to like, have some serious conversations with the veterinary team about whether or not like it was still a good idea to do that trip. If I was going to be rehabbing a dog through it. And that first X ray, the team called me back and said, it looks fine.

Kayla Fratt  28:14

And that’s where you came into the picture because I still, it’s still, you know, it just didn’t quite look right. And part of the other things that was really, really helpful is your partner Sarah also saw the video that I posted up him and said, “You know, I really think you need to talk to Leslie, that really doesn’t look right.” So and it was good to have that little push as well. Which maybe is a little tip is if you’re not if you’re not quite sure, and you’re not quite ready to trust your gut, maybe share video with other people because that little push from her was enough to kind of remind me that, you know, this is my main working partner. It’s worth it to try to get another opinion.

Kayla Fratt  28:50

And then I call I think it was 15 vets It was either 12 or 15 vets to try to get him in for diagnostics ASAP. Because the first you know, 15 vets that I called, we’re booking just the X rays, like a month out. And then you know, surgery, who knows how long after that. And then we did get the second X Ray did come back with a partial tear and what they did, this was Powers Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Colorado Springs, they what we decided was that they got him in for an x ray right away in the morning. If it looks like it had torn, they were just going to do surgery that same day, which I got really lucky given kind of by schedule, that I was able to find someone to do that.

Kayla Fratt  29:33

I know you know I took a sports medicine class through fenzi and they talk a little bit about like checking for drawer and a couple of these other things for like cruciate in particular. You know, nobody should try to learn how to do any of these tests through a podcast, but maybe are there any things that any other kind of tests, whether it’s for cruciate or you know, alias, so as a shoulder or anything like that, that people should know about so that they know kind of what to read. Search, try to find classes on trying to ask about anything like that just to kind of inform our, our dog obsessed audience about some of those things.

Leslie Eide  30:09

Yeah, definitely. So the first thing I want to say is the little like talking about checking for drawer. It’s not easy to do. And plenty of veterinarians struggle with it, as well. So it’s not something I would necessarily like recommend, you know, a pet owner try try to learn and get their dog to let them do at home. One because like I said, it’s it is it is a complicated test like it, you can describe it and seem simple, but it’s, it’s, it’s not really.

Leslie Eide  30:48

And then two is, if they do have a torn cruciate, and you try and do it, it can be very painful. And so obviously, you know, you don’t want to be causing your dog any pain unnecessarily. I think there are some other things that you can do that are maybe a little bit easier to understand and can more likely that you will catch little snippets of of differences in movements that might be the red flags. And for me, the first thing with cruciate tears would be just asking your dog to sit. Now, if your dog is always kind of a lazy sitter, like you’ve always just let them sit, however they want, this may not be the best test.

Leslie Eide  31:41

But if you have a dog that you have trained, or you have observed, they always come in and they sit very square meaning, to me, that means their sit is symmetrical, that if you were to like divide them in half left to right, it would look exactly the same if you like flip them on top of each other. And if suddenly, the dog is no longer offering to stay in that position, like, they might start the sit that way, but then very quickly, like rock over on a hip, or if they’re reluctant to say that.

Leslie Eide  32:21

So that’s another one where I think sometimes people will be like, Oh, my dog is just being stubborn. And I’m like, but how before this, like, if you ask your dog to say, once, would they sit right away? Or would they sometimes be, quote unquote, stubborn? And if if they’re suddenly like, you know, no, I’m not you’re I know, I know what it is, I know what you’re asking me. And instead of a sit, I’m gonna lay down, or I’m just gonna stare at you like, I have no idea what you’re asking. That would also to me be kind of a failure of this IQ test, not just sitting, abnormal layer or off. I really think that’s, that’s the biggest thing you’re gonna see before anything else, and part of that is, if we get more technical, it’s because when this, this happens in their knee, or their stifle, they can’t fully bend that knee, so they can’t totally flex it. And that prevents them from being able to sit squarely.

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Leslie Eide  33:24

So the other thing you might check is, if you feel like, Oh, this is this is weird, this this, it’s weird, I’m not sure. Just picking up the leg and basically like, bending and straightening it at the knee or you know, the entire leg, just bend it up under the body, and then straighten it and and have your hands kind of over that knee and see what it feels like. And probably this is going to be more of a comparison, like, feel it with the one the one you’re worried about, and then feel the other side. So that’s, I mean, honestly, like the biggest secret, I would say in veterinary medicine. And what I talked about symmetry is because everyone is unique, every dog is a little bit different.

Leslie Eide  34:11

And so what what we’re always doing is like comparing what might be abnormal to what should be normal. So, you know, even I do it, if I’m like, Oh, let me feel this knee. I’m gonna feel it, bend it, straighten it while I feel it. And then I’m gonna go feel the other side and see, like, do they feel the same? Do they feel slightly different? I think that’s, you know, easier things for you to do at home, that can start to give you an idea of something’s going on there than trying to like actually do the cranial jour test or tibial stress test because, again, those can be kind of deceiving especially if you’re, you’re doing them just wrong and the dogs like what are you doing? I don’t like it. You might think oh my god, it was you know, it’s a positive and really the dog was just like You were you were pushing on something that shouldn’t be pushed on.

Kayla Fratt  35:03

Yeah. So what I really like about this sit test is that it’s also nonspecific as well, like, I could imagine dogs being sore or painful in other areas as well or with other injuries that, you know. Okay, so it’s not a cruciate, but we’re still getting a sloppy sit that’s not normally sloppy. So there could be something else that we need to look at.

Kayla Fratt  35:29

And I know, I was just reviewing my videos that I had sent you of Barley’s, you know, walking back and forth past the camera and then doing sit to stand repetitions. And it is, I mean, I think one of the things that people could also do is get video of this with your dog now, because it was subtle with him. I mean, probably not super subtle for you. But when I was looking back at these videos, it really he was sitting a little crooked. But what I was really seeing in the video that was obvious with him was when he stood up, he did kind of like a, like a hot toe touch sort of thing on that bad foot. And it was, but it was really subtle. It was like just a little bit of a patter on that bad leg, while the other leg, you know, it was a very smooth like stand up motion. And the same thing. It actually for in his trotting videos, it was clearest as he was coming to a stop where he would plant his three feet. And then that fourth injured leg, he kind of like it was like slow motion, bringing it in and placing it down. Like I think he he did have a partial tear, and maybe he just had enough strength or, you know, he’s also so enthused about being asked to do anything, that he complies really well. And then as soon as it was kind of coming out of motion, that was where it was a little bit more obvious. I don’t know how typical that is. But that’s not my experience with Barley.

Leslie Eide  36:52

Yeah, partial tears are definitely going to be more difficult. And again, that’s why I think, you know, we’d like to think of cruciates are so common, but seeing them all the time they must be easy to diagnose. Yeah, I would say you know, if it’s a full, torn cruciate, yes, that can be the case. But again, as owners get more and more observant, and in tune with their dogs, we’re catching these partial tears sooner and sooner and those are going to be harder to diagnose. Especially because with with some partial tears, like the tests that we were describing the the cranial jour test and the tibial thrust test, those can be negative with just a partial tear, they you don’t necessarily get an obvious positive that makes you go yep, this is definitely what it is.

Leslie Eide  37:52

The other thing with especially partial tears is if you’re looking for some of these things that I talked about, and the dog is already on anti inflammatories that’s also going to make it hard to see these changes because we’re we’re depending on inflammation to really cause these changes. So So inflammation is characterized by pain, swelling, he to end a color change, although the color change we don’t typically see in most of the dog things, but it’s that swelling that is what doesn’t allow for full range of motion in the joint and that’s what affects things like sitting or being able to like fully fully bend that knee and so then all these things that we talked about have to do with the fact that oh that joint swollen that’s why they can’t do it and that’s why we’re seeing this asymmetry.

Leslie Eide  38:53

But if they’ve been on an anti inflammatory for a long enough, that’s not necessarily going to be the case where you know, those those symptoms can disappear because we’ve made the swelling disappear. So they can be very, very tricky, especially with the partial tears and yeah, like you said, other things can pop up I would say the the sick tests in particular tends to mostly go with knee problems. But that’s not to say like, other swelling in like, the ankle or swelling in the hip might also affect the sets as well.

Leslie Eide  39:41

But yeah, that if I like the way I describe it is just I think the biggest thing is if if you like sad have video normal error, just you know, pay attention get to know your dog. The biggest thing is suddenly it’s going to seem a asymmetrical, whether it’s how they’re standing, how they’re sitting in putting your hands on them, and it feels different. There’s just this you know, loss of of symmetry between the left and right side. Unless you have the weird caveat which pretty rare, but it can happen, where they injure both sides at the same time and then, and then that messes up the whole plan.

Kayla Fratt  40:30

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Kayla Fratt  41:04

Yeah, hopefully most people just never have to experience that. And it was it is interesting with the cruciate in particular, where it was one of those things where I think what it was, again, when I was taking that fenzi Sports Medicine class where as soon as I learned about a cruciate and kind of like looked at it, I was like, Oh, I’m gonna be dealing with one of those at some point in my career. And, you know, and I am fairly certain that I even have said that, like, Yeah, I’m sure that’s good. Barley just seems like the sort of dog that is going to do that at some point to, to himself.

Kayla Fratt  41:39

And, you know, he didn’t have the help of of a ball, which is usually for most of his problems come from. But yeah, and so maybe, you know, just quick about shoulder injuries, perhaps, is there anything that we can do is would like a down to stand test help with anything like that? Or are we really just still looking for symmetry? And like, do they look like they’re walking and trotting?

Leslie Eide  42:03

You know, normally for them, typically, the shoulder doesn’t have as many like classic, kind of, oh, they, they they do this differently. Again, you’ve you’ve got your extremes with the shoulder, I would say most often. I think front legs are a little bit easier for people to see an actual limp earlier because we have changes in head movements that usually go along with it. So I think, even for people who like may not be as observant, like, you know, feeling their dogs and checking them on a regular basis, they do tend to see that like head movement.

Leslie Eide  42:57

Pretty classically as a sign that there’s something going on with the front end, a front leg, not necessarily a shoulder, but anything on the front leg or the neck, the shoulder, so the shoulder is interesting, too, because besides possible injuries to the shoulder, we can also get compensation problems. So the dog can actually have a back leg problem. Like a torn cruciate, that maybe is a partial pretty low grade tear that they’re, you know, trying to hide the symptoms and doing a pretty fair job of doing that and then suddenly, they’ll show up sore on a shoulder because they’ve just overworked that shoulder so much to try and protect the back leg. So again, it’s it’s not uncommon.

Leslie Eide  44:00

In my side of things, where I have dogs that come in for a front leg problem and I end up they end up leaving with me having diagnosed something on a back leg that that started the whole process. So and so sometimes it is those things like that we talked about that. You know, even with they come in with a front lamp, and then they can’t sit nice and pretty and square. And I’m like oh that’s that’s weird because the front shoulder thing shouldn’t be causing a bad set. So I’m trying to think if there’s any anything else again, varying degrees of fit things like all sometimes asked dogs with shoulder problems, can they you know, lift their leg like to come up for like a shake or away If not, again, that that does depend on them having been taught that behavior and understanding it to be able to test it, if they, you know, can’t bring it up as high. So that that might be something I would also say typically with a front leg. And again, I’m not sure that I can narrow it down to the shoulder. But I will often get people report that they noticed the dog suddenly will only turn one direction. So like they’re avoiding turning one way versus the other way.

Kayla Fratt  45:37

Oh, that makes sense. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Well, I mean, I, again, I think that’s still a really good, helpful place for people to start. I mean, again, it seems like so much of it comes back to symmetry, and then building a veterinary team that you trust and can help you with things. So then, you know, say, We have found an injury, how, you know, how do we, other than, again, just trusting your vet and having a good veterinary team go about making treatment decisions? You know, and I know you and I talked about this with the cruciate, particularly where, you know, I was given the option to not go forward with surgery and see how things go. And I know you have some opinions there. And again, that might vary based on other other particular injuries, I’m just, you know, and have one with our cruciate, it’s.

Leslie Eide  46:27

Yeah, I think, for me, and how I talk to my clients is a lot about what their goals are, you know, so if there’s a specific timeline, which I think was partly what happened with Bartley is that we had this, this crunch of like, well, you’re gonna be out of the country for quite a long period of time and, you know, a little bit unsure of what type of veterinary care you’re going to be able to get well, while you’re out of the country, that definitely push us to, you know, go a bit faster and be a bit push here with with the treatment, versus if you have time.

Leslie Eide  47:08

And again, it kind of it, I would say severity of injury plays a factor in this as well. You know, I think you can try some non surgical routes of treatment. In my hands. I always set up a time limit, though, I very much am like, Okay, well, we’re going to try this plan. But we’re going to try it for a reasonable amount of time, you know, it maybe four weeks and maybe eight weeks, again, kind of depends on on the injury, and then we’re going to reassess.

Leslie Eide  47:46

And I try or my goal is to be very upfront with the results at each reassessment. So, you know, if we try a non surgical approach, and four weeks down the road, we’re reassessing and everything has gotten worse. We’re gonna sit down and probably talk about surgery again, you know, so I don’t want to prolong something just because it’s like, oh, let’s give it a little bit more time. When when it’s, we’ve seen that it actually hasn’t made a difference. So so I’m very much of a you know, again, working with what your outcome goals are, and then the timeline and then what would be the best option based on all those factors. So again, like if you said, you know, I’m ready to retire barley. Again, we may have chosen to be more conservative taking in all the factors and said, Okay, well, we could we could give it a shot and see how that goes. Knowing that, you know, you don’t really have you just want him to be comfortable and hanging out and you know, be active but his job is done for for another dog their sport is done.

Leslie Eide  49:13

Typically, though, if it is something where it’s like Nope, we need to get back to work. We need to get back to our sport for me, then I am going to give you or I’m going to push the option that I know has the best outcome based on not just my experience but you know the research out there and and right now with cruciate, it’s in particular, it is surgery. And part of the other reason behind that with cruciate is we also know the the time expectation what surgery happens, you know, it’s very predictable and that makes a recovery Your process also very predictable and, and better for both the client and the professional to sit down and say, Okay, here’s what we can expect, you know, this is, this is what it’s going to look like, this is most likely when you’ll be able to return to full work, you know, etc. Versus when we try non surgical approaches, it’s a little bit like you definitely have ups and downs.

Leslie Eide  50:28

And I pretty much also tell people like, there’s not even necessarily an end point, you know, there’s a point where we don’t have to be quite as aggressive with the treatment, but you’re always going to be managing this, you’re not curing it. And so that’s that’s has to be a factor when considering what option you’re going to take. There are certain other things, other injuries, other problems, where it’s more standard, to try all the non surgical options first before you go to surgery. But again, those tend to be very specific options where you just kind of one, we have a lot of success with non surgical treatment of it.

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Leslie Eide  51:23

But to the surgeries tend to be very big surgeries, I guess is how to describe it. And so yeah, we want to try to avoid them at all costs, versus something like a tplo is pretty standard routine. And and you know, when when we look at all the evidence behind them, we have very good outcomes and very low percentage of surgical complications.

Kayla Fratt  51:55

Yeah, definitely. No, and I know for me, I mean, I don’t think I thought this was going to be as big of a factor for me as it was. But really, I mean, what you mentioned about the timeline was really, really helpful, like really knowing like, we are x weeks out from our surgery day, what’s normal right now? What are we expecting to see? You know, what are we hoping to start seeing, you know, what can I start looking for? And I think for me, that clarity was really huge, because I was, I was much more anxious and upset about this whole thing than Barley was, of course.

Kayla Fratt  52:28

And yeah, you know, and I’ve also talked to talk this through with a couple of folks that Yeah, I think if he hadn’t had the same injury, two years later, you know, when he’s 11, it probably would be okay, I guess we’re going to be looking at retiring him now. Or maybe, you know, bumping down to like zebra vessel only boat searches that take, you know, a minute per boat, and he’s not running, he’s on leash the whole time. Um, that’s, that’s my, you know, I’m already in like, the bargaining stage of grief, just contemplating the idea of retiring him. But yeah, no, I think that that all makes sense. And that was definitely, you know, it was my experience that again, it was even though it was hard to, like, drop him off at the vet clinic and be like, okay, that I’m gonna get a call about the imaging, I’m going to have to make a decision that that moment about whether or not we’re going for surgery, you know, I had already made the decision that if, if there was something we were going to operate in, you know, as you mentioned, it was a it was an extreme situation, as far as yeah, like I that was in October, I have, I just flew back to the US for my first time this week.

Kayla Fratt  53:31

And that was just for the IAABC conference. I didn’t bring Barley back, and I’m sure they’re wonderful. That’s, you know, we got Niffler’s OFAs done in Mexico, we did Barley’s rechecks for his for post TPLO in Costa Rica, and had good experiences with both but you know, I was really preferring to do it in the US if I if I had, you know, the opportunity at all, and I did. So we’re already at risk of going long here. So why don’t we pivot a little bit to talk about? I don’t know if it I don’t even know if it makes sense to ask this question. With how long we’ve already gone. But rehab programs, you know, like surgery is not going to be the end, especially if you don’t go the surgery route. It’s not the end. So yeah, you know, how do we find a good rehab program maybe is what we what we need to be talking about, and how important is it to go with the program instead of just kind of like throwing together some fitness exercises that you find on YouTube?

Leslie Eide  54:28

Yeah, that’s it. That’s definitely a big question. So, one, so the big difference I would say, of like rehab versus fitness is having a rehab professional, they’re going to be able to better guide you and like what’s normal, what’s not normal, so kind of like you experienced. You’re watching this recovery process and sometimes you’re like, but he still can’t do this. You know? what he could do before he was injured, is that okay? And so having that rehab professional, they should actually be able to guide you through both the post surgical process or the healing process, if you’re, you know, trying to treat it non surgically.

Leslie Eide  55:18

The other benefit of it, I think, is that the rehab professional should be able to watch the dog doing the exercises and make adjustments based on what they’re seeing, and fine tune the movement and, and fine tune the exercise versus again, just kind of being thrown some generic fitness to be like, Oh, just do all these things. And a part of that is also like knowing when it’s appropriate to do certain things.

Leslie Eide  55:51

So like I was talking about in my programs, like I have, not just a list of exercises that I eventually want to work through, I have checkmarks, where I’m like, Okay, I can’t do XYZ exercise until barley is fully weight bearing, I can’t do ABC exercises until Barley has full range of motion. And I need to be able to see those things and check those things before moving on, which I think is really important and, and not necessarily concepts that are covered when people are just like getting their their dog fitness certifications.

Leslie Eide  56:37

Now, but other side of this, like finding the profession, or professional to help you through this process, I think can be also hard. I wish it were as easy as just being able to find someone with specific initials behind their name and knowing that they’re going to be able to help you but I think that’s the place you start. But everyone, you know, takes it, you goes in different directions, you know, we all we get the initials, we get the rehab professional initials behind our name, and that’s kind of this, you know, I don’t want to say generic, but you know, this basic training that we all get, but then we we have our own things that we we care about. And so for me, obviously, like the sporting dogs, working dogs are my passion.

Leslie Eide  57:35

But also, as part of that, you know why I wanted to go to vet school to do behavior. I’m also very into training dogs and working with dogs and reading dogs. And so the exercise part of it is very important to me. And I will say, you know, for other professional rehab professionals out there, the exercises aren’t their thing, they’re, you know, especially if they don’t have a huge interest in the training side of it. Because in order to get good exercises, you have to understand how to get the dog to cooperate with you. And a lot of times, that’s just not necessarily something though, the veterinary professional wants to put a lot of time into they, you know, maybe are more into bodywork than I am, you know, they would rather spend a lot of time doing massaging and adjustments and I’m like, that’s not my passion.

Leslie Eide  58:33

So, so I think, first you find the initials, but then you have to talk to them and let them know you know, what you’re looking for, you know, be outright with them, you know, be like, like you with barley, you’re like I have this dog, this is what we do. You might have to describe what you do from scratch, you know, someone, you might go up and say, you know, we’re going to this country to look for this and this is what kind of terrain they have to be able to go through like the you know, give them all the possibilities so that they can talk to you about what you know what they can provide.

Leslie Eide  59:19

And also know that they may say yeah, i i Not sure I can help help you with that. And then you might have to look somewhere else. I do think at least for me. I have enjoyed collaborating with a lot of rehab vets throughout the country because like I said they may not have a strong interest in doing the exercise portion, but they can do the hands on portion they can tell me what they’re seeing what they’re feeling and then I can help guide them through exercises and you know, and help them hopefully understand a little bit more and I Think as the profession grows, it’s gonna it’s just gonna get better and better. And then you can feel more confident that, Oh, I found this that that has these initials behind their name, they’re going to be able to help me. I think we’re just such a young specialty right now still, that we’re just figuring things out.

Kayla Fratt  1:00:23

Yeah, that sounds right. And I mean, even on the other side of things, as far as the exercises, my my mom who is not a dog person at all, she was watching barley, and I do our exercises in December, so about two months ago, about a month and a half post up, maybe two months post up. And she just kept, she just kept muttering to herself, how are you supposed to do this, if you’re not a dog trainer, and we were, you know, we were just working on, I think it was mostly sidesteps, that she was watching us do and backing up and some of those things that, and honestly, I had not, I barely knew how to backup before this, but I had never taught him a sidestep or pivoting or any of those sorts of things, because I’m not an obedience person at all.

Kayla Fratt  1:01:07

And, you know, she was my mom was just in awe. She was like, how would you? Would you do this as someone trying to help your dog through this if you’re not into training? And I guess that is kind of part of our answer is there are other options. And I can imagine, you know, had I not been in my very specific situation, actually, and the surgeon that we did barleys tplo, with did offer, I think it was for in person rehab sessions with their, with their specialists. So you know, had I not been traveling, I would have had someone else, helping show me how to get the dog to move through these things, we could have gotten them on some equipment, you know, and all of those things would have would have helped a lot. You know, we were able to make it work.

Kayla Fratt  1:01:54

But there was, you know, like I, I think in the alternate universe where I was able to go in and do those in person things and have more of a dedicated rehab space in my home and you know, maybe maybe acquire a couple cinder blocks, at least just for like bridges. I think it may have gotten a little bit smoother. At some points, there was definitely times because I was in Central America and trying to be like, Yeah, I think that that stump is the right height that we can use that for a pivot, you know, it worked. But there were definitely times where like, I skipped the cavaletti is for a week or something because I just couldn’t find anything that was gonna work as a cavaletti.

Leslie Eide  1:02:35

Yeah. And I, I would say, like, doing this specialty, I would even says has made me a better trainer, in the fact that just like your mom, I have to figure out how to get dogs to be able to do the exercise, and then teach the owners how to be able to do it. And so you have to think outside the box a lot. And you can’t just depend on one way of teaching and exercise. You definitely have to be comfortable in all the different ways of getting a dog to do something.

Leslie Eide  1:03:17

And, and I love it because yeah, I mean, I I don’t do as much as much pet dogs, I guess as I used to I definitely am lucky that I get to do mostly sport and working dogs. So they already have, you know, a good level of training under their belt. But when I was mostly working with pet dogs, I mean, yeah, a lot of these dogs, they come in with knowing nothing. They’re like, their lives consisted of, you know, going on walks and getting to play a little bit and hanging around the house and the IB like, so what does your dog know? And they’re like, nothing. I’m like, do they know how to sit? No, don’t know that. You know, and so you you have to get really creative with figuring figuring things out and then also being able to communicate to their, their owner to their person. Now this is how you’re going to do it at home. This is how you get them to do it. And it’s really fun and I will say you know sometimes I miss the pet people because it was exciting when they come in the next week and be like oh my god, I got fluffy to do this and this and this and they’re so excited because I’ve never gotten her to do anything. So yeah.

Kayla Fratt  1:04:37

Oh yeah, that does sound really fun and rewarding in a different way. And yeah, I mean, I know for like I had I have the pleasurable problem even trying to train barley with kibble. You know, today we were doing some jumps for for our exercises, and I was just like, buddy, this is supposed to be like a gentle, controlled movement. We’re using your kibble. This is the last exercise your own Fall and you know, the dogs never been full in his life. So yeah, you know, it’s it’s, it’s interesting and it’s challenging.

Kayla Fratt  1:05:08

And it’s, it’s really been a pleasure working with you even though I, you know, I was like I think most of us would rather never need to have a relationship with a sports rehab vet. But you know, we’ve you and I have now been working together on and off with barley since I think December. And it has, I mean, I can’t imagine having gone through this process without that sort of support. So I guess with that, where can people find you? You know, again, hopefully, none of our listeners ever have to deal with the tplo or anything like this at all. But you know, realistically, someone is, so how do they find you? How do they get help from you? Can they get help from you remotely?

Leslie Eide  1:05:46

Yes, yes to all the things so, um, you can always contact me through my website. It’s the There’s a Contact Me button, I think right on the homepage. And then you can also find me on social media. So Facebook and again, same thing, it’s The Total K9, I think I actually did specify like veterinary sports medicine on there. So if you’re searching for it, you might add that in, and then some of the lesser social medias, I guess that I’m, you might find me on our Instagram and even TikTok. But if you just search for TotalK9, it, I should be the one that comes up on those. And then you can always just flat out email [email protected]. And that’ll, that’ll get to the office as well.

Kayla Fratt  1:06:47

Well, excellent. Yeah. And again, we hope that nobody ever needs needs to reach out to you ever again. Although I’m, you know, we want your business to thrive. So I guess it’s a double edged sword.

Kayla Fratt  1:06:59

Goodness. So you know, you don’t have to be injured. That was that was one of the things that I had hoped to talk about is more injury prevention side of things. But you know, we’ll, we’ll just have to we’ll, we’ll come back to that at another another point, because we’re already gone a little bit long here. So well, Leslie, thank you so much. I mean, not just for coming on this podcast, but ever for everything that you’ve done with me and barley. Were behind on all of our exercises right now, but I’m just like operating a week behind so don’t worry about it.


And for everyone at home, I hope that this inspired you to maybe instead of getting outside, stay home and news, do some reading do some do some basic video analysis and you know, figure out how flexible your dog’s shoulder is normally. And you know, you can always find show notes will link to Leslie’s website and all that good stuff all over at And we’ll be back in your earbuds next week. Bye!