Teeter Fear/Physical Problems – #3 in a Series

Many physical problems can cause teeter fear. It is not so much fear of the teeter per se, but the dog’s inability to feel well enough to handle the movement. When a dog that has not previously exhibited fear of the teeter does suddenly it might be prudent to see a vet to check for physical illness or injury. A simple ear infection may cause teeter fear!

The following list is not intended to be comprehensive. But it is important for the agility enthusiast to understand that sometimes physical problems may overpower the will of the dog.

I apologize for reposting the definition of EPI here; but figured it should be organized correctly with other physical problems which may contribute to a dog’s refusal of the teeter board.

[Thanks to Elaine Coop and others who’ve contributed to this discussion.]

Addison’s disease – hypoadrenocorticism, or adrenal insufficiency

Symptoms: listlessness or depression; lack of appetite; gastro-intestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea; pain in the hindquarters, or generalized muscle weakness; shivering or muscle tremors.

Cause: Primary and atypical Addison’s are usually the result of immune mediated damage to the adrenal glands. Secondary hypoadrenocorticism is from failure of the pituitary to stimulate the adrenals with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). It is important for you to know which type of Addison’s disease your dog is being treated for.

Canine Osteoarthritis joint disease involving degeneration of the articular cartilage

Symptoms: Gradual onset of lameness in one or more limb; Dog less inclined to go for walks and may be reluctant to climb stairs; Onset of stiffness being worst in the mornings improving as the day progresses; Pain on palpation of the joints; Joints may be swollen.

Cause: Traumatic injury resulting in joint instability (e.g. tearing of the cruciate ligament); Overweight, obesity hasten development by increasing the concussive forces in the joint; Joints genetically weakened or unstable as occurs in cases of hip dysplasia; Failure of proper bone development (e.g. OCD).

Cardiomyopathy – disease of the heart muscle

Symptoms: Breathlessness with exertion or even at rest; Fatigue; Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting

Cause: There appears to be a strong association between breed and DCM. Infectious diseases, including Lyme disease, bartonellosis, and trypanosomiasis, have been reported in association with DCM and are usually accompanied by other symptoms.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Barb Levenson writes: “I have a 2.5 yr b.c. with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency). One of the side effects is the inability to store/metabolize vitamin B12 and he is often fearful. At 8 months after success on the teeter something happened that frightened this dog to the core. It took a great deal of work over 1.5 year to rehab the dog.”

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a disorder in which the pancreas does not produce an adequate amount of digestive enzymes. This deficiency results in poor digestion and poor absorption. EPI is most commonly found in German shepherd dogs, but can be seen in any breed. It is rare in cats.

“Essentially, vitamin B12 functions in various ways. The most important among all vitamin B12 functions is identified with the assistance in the neurotransmitter production. Neurotransmitter is an important element that regulates almost every function in our body and mind.” – Dr John Anne


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. – unknown


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at www.dogagility.org/store.

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