Gracey Goldendoodle Recovers From Knee and Hip Problems Without Surgery-

Kristy Kisling

Gracey Goldendoodle -specific cavaletti work

Realtor, Keller Williams

March 30, 2017, LinkedIn

I met Deborah in 2012 when she started working on my Gracey, who was experiencing knee and hip issues.

Deborah is very clear about pain management and rehab with your pet. She gives very clear instruction and has a kind demeanor with both the pets and pet owners.

Doing the homework is very important, and Deborah is very patient when pet owners, like me, are not so disciplined!

When Deborah visited, we always concentrated on Gracey’s needs. One day Gracey’s sister, Fiona (the goof ball) got ill and Deborah was able to direct me to the appropriate pet specialists. Fiona passed away rather suddenly of a heart condition at the young age of 8 years and my heart was in splinters. Deborah was there to pick me up for that too! She’s a true blessing!

I HIGHLY recommend Deborah to help you rehab your pet…she’s the best!

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 🙂

Should My Dog (or Cat) Still be Limping After ( Knee ) Surgery?

Pain, pain, and also pain –

This info about pet limping and pain could apply to almost any orthopedic surgery…
and some of it applies to almost all injuries as well!

Chocolate Lab lying on floor with bandage on leg after surgery

 

 

 

Pet limping after injury or surgery is overwhelmingly due to pain. The pain is caused by one or more of the situations I introduce in this post. Continued pain is so common that this post on my website has been the most visited post for over a decade. The most common answers I give to questions about limping are as follows, based on what I have found true in my practice:

Limping –

If your pet is limping, your pet is very likely in pain.

Many clients say they don’t think their limping pet is in pain and/or their vet said their pet isn’t in pain. Trust me, limping is usually because of pain.

Bandage –

If your pet has on a bulky bandage, as Jake does in the photo, and your pet is limping, it is likely because of the bandage or cast, that they are bulky…and there may also be pain.

Eating, Drinking, Happy –

Eating, drinking, running, tail-wagging… if your pet is doing some of these things, it doesn’t mean they are not in pain. (Hint: Most pets shouldn’t be running anyway after surgery)

In contrast, if your pet is NOT doing these things (wagging, eating, drinking, seeming  happy), that could indicate pain.

Pain – 

There will be general pain on average for about 2 weeks after surgery, because…surgery. Plus, sometimes the surgery doesn’t go well or complications occur with surgery methods. In those cases, the pain will last a lot longer.

There may be other pain, on top of general pain, due to overuse of the body part that had surgery and…

There may be pain due to an obvious or a hidden infection. This one happens A LOT.

Lesson is: your pet can be in a lot of pain and could still be wagging their tail, eating well, and chasing prey!

That’s the short answer section.

Your pet is not limping “just because he/she had surgery”

I put part of that sentence in quotes because many times I’ve heard people (clients, veterinarians, clinic staff, etc…) say the pet is limping because of surgery or injury as if surgery and injury are somewhat abstract and causing the pain. Surgery is painful, and torn ligaments and other soft tissue damage are painful, too. Your pet is usually limping because they are in pain.

I try to bring people around to understanding factors other than a good surgery or injury can cause the limping. Pain is the #1 reason for limping.  Additionally, injury is painful, surgery is painful, infection is painful, bandages are awkward and may cause a feeling of instability, torn connective tissue may lead to a feeling of instability, and all these factors can contribute to limping.

When we work out a cause for the pain/limping/lameness, then we may work  on more correct solutions to the problem.

Your pet is limping because he/she is painful after surgery (or injury) in almost every case.

Your pet should not be limping more than a couple of days after surgery if

1) they have enough of the right pain medications,

2) don’t have an infection,

3) the right procedures were followed in surgery,

4) your pet didn’t destroy the surgery by chewing or with too much incorrect activity.

I have worked with many pets that have limped or been lame more than a full year after surgery. In some cases the lameness has been going on for a few years. Some of these limping cases are because there are problems with the surgery.

All of my cases have improved when we have done the right work as best possible for the true problem causing the lameness. This may mean getting x-rays to check the surgery if there was surgery. This may mean getting another opinion if necessary about post-surgical limping. You may need to try out antibiotics if the other factors I’ve mentioned are all eliminated. You may also need to get better pain management drugs plus use them to the best benefit to go with rehabilitation work.

An exception to the “limping due to pain” rule would be as in Jake’s case (above photo), because if your pet’s surgeon is using a bandage on your pet after surgery, the bandage or cast will be a little awkward. The awkwardness will make your pet walk funny. Your pet will probably act a little weird with the bandage in place. They may not want to walk in the bandage, they may be a drama queen, they may take exaggerated movement strides, etc…

Most surgeons have discontinued bandaging after knee surgery.

Don’t worry that your pet does or does not have a bandage after surgery. Without bandage is proved to be best in general.

Whether they have a bandage or not, most pets will do best with the e-collar around their neck until 2-3 days after stitches or staples are removed if they have had surgery.

The post-surgical or post-injury pet limping is not an abstract limp caused by mystery forces.

The limp and lameness have overwhelmingly turned out to be because of pain, in my experience with hundreds of cases.

With right amounts of pain medications for your pet’s particular situation, body chemistry, and processing ability, the severe lameness almost always stops. Sometimes “right amounts” of pain medications for your pets particular situation” includes antibiotics. The “particular situation” may be a sneaky little persistent infection. Medications for pain usually do not help very much in combating infection pain; usually only antibiotics will stop infection pain.

Next step is often to try a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Infections are not always hot, not always swelling tissue and joints, and they do hurt! At the same time, your veterinary team should be checking out the surgery area to see if it is in tact from what they can feel. They will likely want to do another x-ray to see what is going on inside your pet. This is a good idea in most cases; an x-ray shows random surgery failures as well as cloudiness from swelling in the area, among other things.

If the pet limping does not stop after thoughtful application of treatments I have mentioned in this post, then other factors may yet need to be discovered. Again, your pet should not continue limping more than a day or two after surgery if the above factors are met. The same goes for pets that have had re-do surgeries; if they are limping, there are other problems. The main problem in these cases is usually not enough of the right pain medications.

There is probably some “odd” discomfort and/or feeling of instability after surgery or after those injuries that involve tearing or rupturing of supportive connective tissue, and…

Maybe things feel a little “different” or unstable to your pet. Usually you will notice pets being reluctant to walk on slick floors or are using more caution over tricky surfaces when they feel unstable. I have torn connective tissue in my shoulders, hips, and knees, and I find that I guard my body while doing certain movements. Sometimes I subconsciously tend to be suspicious of my joint’s dependability in some situations. I have been active in body science for many decades, and I know my body well.

This body guarding happens in pets, too, and overcoming this disuse is a big part of my work on them and with their humans to achieve better overall function.

I do in-person and phone consults to help people help their pets to solve pain issues. I will write more on topics that are introduced in this post. In the meantime, please search the words “infection” or “pain” in the search box. Please look over the Q&A and some case stories on this site. I have hundreds more stories than I’ve had time to post, and I’d like to post them to help you. I will as time allows 🙂

It is often a LOT of work to get to the bottom of continued limping problems. In my opinion getting to the bottom of limping diagnosis takes so much time because

1) people do not know that their pet should not be limping after a few days in most cases.

2) people have not followed a solid recovery base program like this for injuries or this for surgeries,

3) veterinarians are hesitant to override the medications the surgeon has given.

Sometimes they are not well-versed in multi-modal pain moderation. Most doctors are not taught a lot about pain evaluation and pain control in school. What your vet learns about pain control is mostly from drug reps, journals, through word of mouth from colleagues, from conferences, and personal experience working with hundreds of cases. I have also learned this way over the decades. Personal experience with hundreds of cases is the best long-term teacher if the learner is open to making changes and solving puzzles.

4) In some cases the surgery has failed.

Surgery failure happens most often because the pet is too active, the pet’s body rejects some of the surgery technique, or the surgery technique wasn’t complete. The last event happens frequently in FHO surgeries, in my experience. I have created successful non-surgical programs for recovery from all hip and knee issues without surgery. I have recovered lots of pets that had too much bone remaining on the femur after FHO and the client didn’t want another surgery. In those cases, we followed deep pain control protocol and my foundation-building programs as well as my advanced drill programs.

If you can get your veterinarian to work with you on the steps I mentioned while you are following strict restrictions and a program like mine, then you will be able to solve the limping issues much sooner. I have a local “team” of veterinarians who have come to understand working on pain in a more focused manner. Some are members of IVAPM and have worked on discovering more about animal pain. Some of them also perform acupuncture as therapy for pain, and often the client and I bring one of them onto the evaluation and treatment team. More on this later or elsewhere on this site…check Q&A for now.

me giving laser therapy treatment for pain control and nerve regeneration on Magnolia the Weimaraner after spinal surgery

These are some basic bits of information for your thought. I mostly deal with continued pain cases, surgery complications, non-surgical interventions, and neurological cases. Daily I work with people and pets to help them pursue avenues to in order to get to the bottom of things and reduce or eliminate pain.

Blessings-

Deborah

(Revised January 27, 2018. Originally posted 2007)

 

Post-FHO Homework Suggestions for Dogs (Hip Surgery)

Femoral Head Ostectomy/Removing the Ball off the Femur at the Hip Joint

First and foremost: pay attention to the discharge instructions your veterinarian has given you. During this surgery, there was cutting of muscle and other tissue that will require care and time to heal. You do not need to wrestle with your dog in order to apply ice to the surgery site; I no longer recommend icing  nor prolonged use of anti-inflammatory medications after most surgeries or injuries in keeping with the advanced research findings over the past 5+ years.

While other tissues are also disrupted during a FHO, muscle requires a little over six weeks to achieve a normal collagen ratio and will take longer to heal more fully. This should be considered when you think your dog is ready to chase squirrels at two weeks after surgery. Don’t let them if you hope for the best outcome from the surgery. On the other hand, the bone that was cut does not require the same care that a fracture repair or a TPLO would; there is no need to be concerned that you will cause further damage to the bone with exercise.

In physical rehabilitation after FHO we should aim at keeping the “false” joint comfortable after surgery by promoting hip flexion and extension through therapeutic exercises that stimulate leg use, leading to muscle strengthening and avoiding chronic disuse of the operated limb. Since the dog will move as they are comfortable and are made more comfortable with the right amount of the right pain medicines, I DO NOT recommend pet owners try to do range of motion.

After about five days, and especially if your dog is not using the leg much, then I recommend you speak to your veterinarian about finding some additional pain control medications that will suit your dog. Recovery will improve if your pet feels less pain and is able to use their leg more “normally”, yet gently. Pain medicine along with the right kind of exercise at the right time helps achieve this, and it seems the medications are needed for an average of eight weeks for dogs after this surgery, if not more. No, as popular as it might be, your dog does not need a water treadmill workout to start walking again!

In light of this information, I believe the best outcome from surgery will be realized with a rehab consult from me to give instruction and homework specific to your pet. In-person consultation will always be better than the generic homework given over the internet. Otherwise, until I publish the booklet for specific post-op instructions after this hip surgery, please follow the first four weeks of work outlined in this book:


Amazon USA
Amazon in other countries 

All of these exercises should be done very slowly so as to encourage more weight-bearing. When the dog goes too fast, he/she can “cheat” and not use the repaired leg much or well. Too fast could also prolong the inflammation and pain as well as create additional damage to the area of the muscle at the end of the femur hip and upper thigh muscles. Too fast and too much activity will elevate blood pressure and likely cause the blood vessels to open up inside…keep calm and allow the vessels at least two weeks to heal.

We hope to create a slightly and increasingly calloused area in the muscle tissue at the end of the modified/cut femur. This will make the tissue feel the end of the bone less and less and will create a cushion of sorts. You can do this with the moderate & slowly increased exercise I begin to outline in the book…slowly increased exercise…not randomly increased because you think he’s better and able each day…slowly according to the plan I’ve written or one similar that allows for adjustment and healing in the body. I write these words having worked hundreds of cases that were allowed to do too much too soon, and it’s much harder to heal under those conditions 🙂

Running & rambunctious play during this time will upset the scar tissue I want you to help your pet create. On the other hand, not enough exercise, which is usually the problem after this surgery, results in too much scar tissue all around the hip, and your pet will experience decreased mobility and more continuous pain, especially when she is technically at a point that she may play and be wild. I often see these dogs months after surgery and they are still not using the surgery leg well.

If your pet is not using the operated leg after week 1, then I recommend calling your veterinarian or me for rehab intervention and to get them started on beneficial exercise. Range of motion is not an exercise that will be most beneficial at this time. With proper pain control, with good pain medication, your pet should use the leg for the exercises I outline in the book and in the future. Water treadmill is also not necessary for recovery from this surgery. If you follow the exercise prescription well and after week 4 of work would like advanced exercises, then a rehab consult is necessary.

I have some separate recommendations for cat FHO’s .

© 2007  Deborah Carroll

Reviewed 4/2015

Rehabilitation and Conditioning for Animals

Clark, 14 Month Old Shepherd Mix With “Bad” Hips, Questions About Surgery

From the client:

You are so awesome!!! We took him to the vet yesterday and he gave me Rimadyl and Tramadol to help with pain and inflammation. I haven’t had him in for x-rays yet, would that be helpful for you? The vet said he didn’t see any signs of being hit by a car recently that would tell him that there was something broken. I was going to have him fixed this weekend, but I can wait if you think it would be best to see you first. You are worth every penny + some and I will be prepared to pay you for the time you spend with him. ;0) He is a shepherd mix about 14 months old. Just a baby with a sweet, sweet heart and a crappy start. Let me know if you want x-rays and if I should wait on having his boys removed and I can be available anytime Wednesday on next week.

Me:

I’ve been thinking about it, and I think it would be a good idea to get the manly-man surgery out of the way first.
When he gets pain meds for that, you may be able to see a difference in his demeanor or comfort, regarding his hips/legs, so take note of that.
Yes, and it may be hard to tell ;))
I can tell a lot without xrays, and often they get in the way in part of our brains regarding a better clinical evaluation. On the other hand, since he will be sedated, it will be a great time for x-rays, so go ahead if your vet is on board (which I’m pretty sure he will be!)
If he gets surgerized this weekend, I could see him next Thurs or Fri or when ever your schedule allows after that…
What do you think?
:)) Blessings-

Me, After Eval:

After our first evaluation, my bullet point recommendations were to

1) restrict and crate when caretakers not at home during the next 2 weeks.

2) Begin exercise protocol noted on my FHO homework, beginning with week 2, 2-4 x 10 min walks daily, very slowly (wedding march or “wagons ho” pace).

3) Use medications as per label, giving the Tramadol 30 minutes to 2 hrs. prior to walking if possible. Regarding your dosing question and the variability noted on the label, give the larger dose in the morning if you will be walking him in the morning, otherwise just give the smaller dose. Give the larger dose when you get home in the afternoon/evening, in prep for 1-2 evening walks. Give 2 hrs. rest period in-between walks (as per homework sheet).

4) Feed grain-free kibble (no barley or oats or rice, either, right now), Omega 3 in fish oil capsules as discussed, and joint formula that contains at least two of the following: glucosamine, chondroitin, msm. These are all proved anti-inflammatory measures.

Client:

(after having some problems with Clark, a rescue, and other dogs adjusting)

Hi!

We still have our friend. We made some adjustments and he seems to have settled a little bit. He has the sunroom to himself at night and during the day…we call it his puppy apartment. ;0) Everyone seems happy.
We took him off the Rymadal (SP?) because he was getting sick. And I’ve scaled back on the pain meds and give them when he is looking a little stiff. We are trying REALLY hard to stick to the directions, but I’m afraid it’s a modified version. He is still during the day and at night and we have shortened his time outside with the girls and I’ve been good at at least one walk a day…sometimes I get lucky and can get two. We will get it fine tuned…it’s just going to take a little time.
The vet is REALLY, REALLY pushing the surgery…I’m not doing Clark long term harm by not opting for surgery…right? You would think it by talking to him.

Anywho, thanks for checking in and the great direction. You idea to crate him at night helped everyone out!! ;0)

I will keep you posted on progress…just might be a little longer than 4 weeks.

Have a wonderful week!

Me:

Ok, so, I’m going to tie in our texts here and I think we should have a recheck to keep you guys on task…so that you see the improvements, and Clark improves, and others may see and reevaluate their insistance on surgery.

In Clark’s case, I don’t hear that anyone is concerned about gross malformation of the pelvis or a femur that is deformed beyond function, so there is no clinical reason to not employ muscle-building & joint strengthening techniques to appreciate improvement. The reports you have given me, verbal from the vet and the view of the x-rays, don’t indicate “horrible hips” and don’t indicate hips beyond the level at which others have improved without surgery. Clark is young. Perhaps your intervention staves off the need for surgery for the remainder of his life or perhaps it serves him well until he is older and then you may re-evaluate.

Usually in a case like this pain control plus the right type of exercise slowly improves the body and therefore the situation. Some dogs improve, some don’t. The ones that don’t usually have owners who don’t do much of the protocol. So, if they keep doing the same thing as before, they get the same result, yes? 

I don’t think you are in that catagory.

You guys represent a lot of families I see in my practice, in that you have two working adults, small child(ren), other dogs, etc…and several variations of this norm exist, of course. This family model is perfect for my home-based protocol because it only causes home-based disruption, in that you only have to sacrifice a little time, and my recommendations are based on 30+ years of my understanding of program design for improved function. You don’t have to load up Clark to go into a clinic in order to gain the best functional rehab for him in this case. This combo brings the biggest benefit, greater results, when all factors are weighed. And there is always the option to pay me to come do the exercise and drill work. 
I know you know that .

And of course my perspective is a little more broad than that of some practitioners, because I have seen a lot of what happens to a lot of animals in a wide variety of circumstances.

The most predominant point I make to clients is that the protocol does not get easier if the animal has surgery; in fact, it becomes an absolute necessity in order for the healing to occur and for the desired outcome from surgery. Without surgery, using my protocol, there is more room for letting something slip with less immediate ramifications, the main two of which post-surgically would be great damage to the surgery and money down the drain, since re-dos aren’t free (in most cases).

More than that is the additional stress and pain for the animal after surgery.

I am writing more here than need be to address you guys directly because I plan to share some of this discourse on my blog and giving more info helps a wider range of readers.

You said you stopped the Rimadyl because it was causing gastro distress…GOOD! And I presume from something you said in your texts that you let the vet know. You were not using the Tramadol as consistently, and I recommended you return to dosing as per the label for adequate pain control and especially since it’s all the pharmaceutical pain control you are using. Don’t forget the fish oil, grain-free food, and the glucosamine/chondroitin/msm…and I think you’re doing all that.

And you wondered if you were doing some sort of long-term harm by not having the hip surgery since the vet and staff seem so insistent on Clark having surgery. I covered this answer in part above. Additionally I will say that the exercise physiology and functional rehabilitation protocol I bring to veterinary rehab are not necessarily new to vet med, since race horses have been using protocol similar to that derived from human sport science for decades. These are, however, new concepts in small animal medicine, it seems, based on what I find is known and not known about standard principles of exercise physiology and return-to-function program design. I came into vet rehab at the end of 2004, after 25 years experience in human sport science and nutrition protocol. These principles I utilize and design programs around were novel where I began rehab practice, and I find the programs I have been designing for humans, based on much research performed by people living long before I came around, also are the most beneficial programs and protocol for other animals for pre-hab, re-hab, and instead-of-surgery in many cases.

There are some cases that really may need hip surgery, and when the clients have contacted me for pre or non-surgical intervention, at the very least we may say we are doing pre-hab. In the case of luxating hips, even though keeping the dog in a tight sling for weeks will/should work, as per science and experience, it seems almost impossible for most people to maintain the restrictions necessary for the sling to do its work. Disruption too soon=ligament laxity, again, and the ball of the femur keeps popping out. At any rate, it stands to reason that a body realising better function prior to surgery will improve easier post-surgically. That is also proved in research. Dynamic exercise improves every body system, from strengthening bones to improving the health of soft tissue and more.

I know for a fact, from years of study, evaluation, and observation, that cross-training rehab specialists in sport physiology and program design for dynamic function would elevate overall rehabilitation outcomes across the board. This has actually been an extreme discussion in Europe for the past yea-many years, that of the need for physiotherapists to have a deep(er) foundation in sports physiology and program design. I haven’t seen it hit here as forcefully yet (and we’re talking human medicine, which is paving the way in this arena). Europe is quite a bit more progressive regarding body wellness treatment and sport program design and a variety of similar topics, or so it seems.

Simply put, these exercises will not change noted gross malformations of the femur in an animal with hip problems, however, to note, any gravity-based exercise, weight-bearing exercise, will improve bone density, so changes along those lines will accrue. The same exercises will also improve muscle hypertrophy, which will, in turn, displace the femur away from the acetabulum and therefore reduce the pain element so often accompanying “bad” hips. These exercises, performed as per a program designed for Clark, should improve tendon, ligament, and muscle strength, muscle size, and neuro-muscular signaling, simply put.

Other beneficial things will happen as well, as always do with exercise of the right type for a particular body and situation. The changes I noted should improve his overall function. To my knowledge, the surgical protocol is to not operate on hips based solely on x-rays and is to operate based on severity of clinical signs. That is what the surgeons say whom I’ve heard, and that is what the literature says. Vet surgeons in other parts of the U.S. (other than where we are) often will not operate on dog hips without having the clients do 4-6 weeks of pre-hab first, with the intent of gaining owner compliance and improving the dog’s health, most especially in cases of obesity.

So, the catch here is to have enough of the right variety(ies) of pain control on board while the dog is performing the best exercises for his/her situation and thereby learning to use the affected limb more freely again. With that increased use come the improvements I mentioned. With the improvements comes the need for less medicine, since increased muscle mass and supportive tissue strength will better support the joint.

That’s all I have time for right now, and I think this will help you guys.

Blessings-