Pet Injury – 3 Steps

Pepper, a medium-sized black dog doing rehabilitation walks after rupturing her calcanean or Achilles tendon
Pepper Ruptured Calcanean Tendon

 Pet Injury Follow Steps –

Short notes with instructions for you to follow after your dog has been injured. I do also work on lots of cats as well as a variety of other animals. If you want to know more about cat specifics right now (because I haven’t finished developing the cat pages), please search for cat in the search box 🙂

These recommendations also work if your pet isn’t moving as well as they used to because of arthritis or advanced age, for instance, and you would like to help them.

Please have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian if you have not already, so that we may all work to be on the right track for your pet’s recovery. It is very likely that your veterinarian does not know about this style of rehabilitation, because it is home-based, so feel free to share this site with them. I am available to discuss with your vet and provide teaching seminars for clinics, too!

For more specific info on a particular injury or diagnosis, please see the menu at the top bar or use the search box on this site. For more info on why I don’t have ever injury and recovery ever posted on my site yet, see this page or this page 🙂

1) Get the right book with a successful plan for you to use at home

Books:

Most pet (and often human) orthopedic and soft tissue injuries may be recovered without surgery when there are no broken bones, and some injuries with broken bones recover well without surgery, too! Your veterinarian should be able to help you decide if surgery is necessary for your pet’s broken bones. More on this later-

The information in this booklet my booklet with 4 weeks of foundational recovery instructions also contains a GREAT foundation-building, functional recovery base for older pets that have lost muscle mass & strength and have lost some proprioceptive abilities, lost the ability to maintain balance and know where they are physically in relation to their environment. The 4-week foundational program in the bookmy booklet with 4 weeks of foundational recovery instructions is often what is needed to help older dogs that are slipping on the floor or having trouble rising or are tripping over the doggie door threshold.

More strengthening and drills should be added after this program. A full 12-week, progressively difficult, program designed by me or a practitioner with a lot of experience and training in exercise physiology program design and functional recovery is what I’m about! For most people and pets, even a little bit of improvement makes everyone happy and makes a big difference in quality of life.

You have to start with a specific foundationmy booklet with 4 weeks of foundational recovery instructions, though, at the beginning, to make sure your pet has a solid foundation to help offset additional injury.

Please also pay attention to the discharge instructions your veterinarian has given you if your pet just had surgery or you have received instruction regarding your pet’s injury.  Please pay special attention to the part about no running, jumping, or playing. If you follow my booklet instructions, you and your pet will be doing work appropriate to recovery and should not be causing any harm. Still, no running or jumping or playing! You may, however, incorporate the directions I give to you for allowable activity. Otherwise, your injured pet should be restricted!

Right now I only have one book published with information about helping your pet build a foundational base through four progressive weeks of work after injury. This is the book, then, to get you started and the one to order if your pet has lost any degree of function, especially in their hind end.

This book is specifically addressing torn knee ligaments, yet until I am able to publish the books I am working on that deal with hip issues, other knee issues, elbows, old age/arthritis, and spinal issues, the book below will be helpful to you for those situations, too. This book contains the restrictions and advice I would give to get you started after almost any orthopedic injury or diminished functional condition.

Note that your pet’s veterinarian really needs to evaluate most injuries sooner than later, even if you think you know exactly what the problem is. Unless you have a full range of personal experience with diagnostic knowledge and an x-ray machine, you might miss something very important! And even veterinarians can run into orthopedic or neurological problems they aren’t sure how to treat, so joining with a specialist like me builds your pet’s recovery team!

Please do not involve additional work until you have passed the 4-week foundation with gold stars! Please follow all the instructions for the best outcome 🙂 Please do not (again, I say it, because you’d be surprised at how many people think adding other work to this intro recovery system is a great idea) don’t add swimming (no swimming yet), stairs (no stairs yet), hill repeats (no hill repeats yet), poles (no poles yet), cavalettis (no cavalettis yet), or other dynamic activity.

Your pet may seem to be doing great and may seem to you like she/he is healed, especially if they have good pain medication, but I can assure you that biologically the minimum amount of time for soft tissue recovery is on average 8-12 weeks. Some situations take up to a year to heal well (nerve damage, torn muscles, etc…), so please don’t be fooled by appearances or by programs that don’t understand biological recovery science. Best way I know to say it ^^ and I’ve seen complications from hundreds of cases where a proper foundation wasn’t followed 🙂

Being able to walk a mile or around the block a day doesn’t matter if your pet has function problems elsewhere in their life, so get this info, follow it, and establish a solid base. If your pet can walk a mile but can’t get up off the floor, this plan is for them. The book explains more about this approach.

After the base is built, then always there are additional strengthening and proprioceptive drills to be done in order to return your pet to a better quality of movement and lifestyle!

Conservative treatment after torn knee ligament, instead of surgery:

my booklet with 4 week base-building recovery plan
Amazon for USA, CA, DE, ES, FR, IT, & UKlinks to buy the booklet in different countries, including the USA
Amazon in other countries
Books are also available on Barnes and Noble and you should be able to order from any bookseller (available on Kindle and in paperback).

Also, if the injury you are concerned about is a torn knee ligament in your dog, then please click here to read more info (then return to the instructions on this page!).

2) In addition to thoroughly reading any of that ^^ info, please watch > this video < twice, and begin to do this massage daily for a month.

Please watch the video to see my recommendations on method of use for massager unit AND so you will hopefully have success introducing the buzzy massager.

There are also written instructions under the video on the linked page.

Here is what the massager looks like, and if you click on the picture, you may buy it on Amazon if you choose:

Homedics brand battery powered massager with 4 feet

there is additional information about where you might purchase this particular massager in the written instructions under the video. I am often asked if this massager or that massager will work, and the answer is, “no, not as well”. There are “we love science” reasons for my choice.

3) If your pet is still limping 5-7 days or more after surgery, please read this > pain post < all the way through!

There is more on the topic of pain within the books-

Check out other resources under the “Rehab Resources & Tools” link in the menu under the website title at the top or by clicking here

Blessings-
Rehabdeb

 

(Updated January 25, 2018. First posted on this new site April, 2015)

Top 5 Tips For Successful Dog, Cat, and Other Pet Rehabilitation After Injury or Surgery

Here they are!

The top 5 tips to help you and your pet get back to doing more of the things you like to do together:

 

Crate with white plastic rails a client put in her bedroom for her Dachshunds after spinal surgery. Example number 1 of top 5 tips dog, cat rehabilitation
Small Dog Crate for Bedroom

1) Do only controlled exercise in a sequential and methodical manner and otherwise restrict your pet as much as possible.

The exercise programs I have developed and that I and others have applied to thousands of cases work extremely well. I consider them to be like Goldilocks’ porridge…not too much and not too little. Resist the urge to jump ahead into advanced drills or harder work if you haven’t put in the time to build a solid foundation. Please do not only keep your pet crated, and, more importantly, do not allow any loose activity outdoors or indoors during recovery! Crates are great, and I want them to be used. I also want you to use them or other tight restrictions along with a competent exercise recovery program!

 

Bag of freeze-dried duck hearts links to purchase on Amazon to help give medications2) Give all medications as your pet’s veterinarian has prescribed them, especially antibiotics…especially pain meds…especially all medications 🙂

My booklets and other posts on this site explain this in more detail. I have written a lot about pain in this post: Pain & Limping . I included info about pain and infection in that post. Pain is the top reason people contact me after a pet is injured or has had surgery. I know some medications are hard to dose, so I have posted some links to products that can help without using unhealthy options (unhealthy=Cheeze Whiz, marshmallows, most dairy, etc…you probably already know) on my Resources & Tools page. Pain=limping=pain. Surgery also = pain…so either way, surgery or no surgery, your pet most likely needs pain medications.

 

Spaniel dog wearing an Elizabethan collar to keep her from licking her hip where she had FHO surgery
Jicky E-Collar after FHO

3) Use the e-collar after surgery.  

The Elizabethan collar (e-collar) is the best and fastest way to allow healing and stop pets from licking their injury or surgery site. Based on my extensive experience fixing messed-up stuff after surgery, I can tell you there aren’t any other great options available that work as consistently well as the e-collar.

Some pets will pull it off if you don’t tighten it down to 2 fingers placed flat under the neck tie. If your pet pulls it off, that is usually due to operator error (yours or mine or vet clinic staff). The e-collar is very important.

I’ve dealt with the resulting problems when people don’t use the e-collar. There are many reasons people don’t use the collar. Maybe it’s because the pet crashes it into everything around the house, or the people say “he doesn’t like it”. The problems I deal with when the collar isn’t used are ruined surgeries, dogs licking an area on their bodies down to the bone, cats fussing with the staples or sutures and pulling them out, extensive infections that sometimes cause loss of life, etc.

I recommend people keep the e-collar on the pet until about 2 days after suture removal. Have you had stitches? Surgery? The sutures can cause itching when removed, as you may remember if you’ve had them. Often nerve reactivation to the surgery area can cause the area to “feel weird”.  Keep the collar on your pet. More often than not this move will save you and your pet a LOT of trouble!

 

Dog walking in a backyard in a harness, close to person, doing controlled cavaletti work
BJ Cavaletti Work in Harness with Short Leash

4) Use a good harness with a very short leash to control and protect your pet if you are walking them. 

I discuss this at length in my books and videos. Harness and leashes I recommend are here. Use a harness and not the collar when you are working on rehab with your pet. Use a super short leash, keeping your pet close by your side so they don’t hurt themselves.

 

 

 

Cat doing cavaletti work by walking and stepping over tv clickers lined up on a bar top
Casey Cat Doing Cavaletti Work

5) Don’t cut corners.

Unless you have extensive experience with physical recovery science applications in a variety of settings, don’t change the rehab plans I recommend. You and your veterinarian most likely won’t know when you can shorten a program without doing damage to your pet. If you cut corners, you also run the risk of not getting the same positive results following the plan brings. It’s easy for me to help clients to see where their omission or addition of parts of the plan turned the recovery plan the wrong direction. Since I don’t get to work one-on-one with most of you in person, I return to recommending that you find a well-described plan and follow the plan and not add to it and not cut corners 🙂

 

Parting thoughts…

My list of recommendations could go on and on, yet these are the top 5. I made this list based on problems from many cases over many years. Like so many things in life, pet rehab can be very easy, yet it’s our wrong thinking about solving the problems that often stands in the way of following a good program well. Feel free to write and email using the contact form if you have had a learning experience with any of the recommendations I listed above. If I think it’s helpful to others, I will publish it under this post!

Blessings-

Deborah

Updated Jan. 19, 2018

Thank you 🙂