FCE – Fibrocartilaginous Embolism – Rehab for Sammy

Hello,
I adopted Sammy from the Humane Society in 2006, we’ve had a great journey together! Two years ago, he had a very rare accident that they called FCE (fibrocartilaginous embolism), he recovered and was able to walk again…thank god!!!!!! Recently, he has shown significant signs of his back legs being very weak, my vet has him on Adequan….he just took his fourth shot, but I’m not seeing any improvement. I’m wondering if water therapy would help him…he still has so much life, but watching him try to get up is very heart breaking. Also, I’m assuming its very expensive, so I’m not even sure I can afford it.
Please let me know your thoughts, I would greatly appreciate your wisdom!
LH

Hi, L!

I apologize for the delay in my response 🙂 If you got onto my website, you likely saw my info about traveling, etc, and my not always being able to answer quickly!

Glad you & Sammy found each other!
I realized after a couple of years into my independent business that many veterinarians had not ever seen what they knew to be a FCE case, yet due to my particular focus in veterinary rehab, I’ve dealt with dozens of them. Just so you know that I do have a lot of experience with FCEs 🙂 I have created functional improvement programs that work on increasing neuro-muscular strength, based on neuroscience, principles of exercise physiology, and individual needs.

Also good news…
I recommend you go to my website and follow all the instructions on this page:

Pet Injury

If you read everything on that page, you will see why that’s the place to start with Sammy now, for FCE or for many other injuries or setbacks. I explain on that page that I intend in the future to make a more specific FCE rehab instruction booklet, but tempis fugit…

If you do follow all the instructions I have on that page, you’ll save over $500 in rehab costs, on average (or more if going to a rehab clinic), and you’ll be using an advanced, dynamic program. Also, if you do follow everything I recommend, you and Sammy should be in the proper condition to move to advanced strength-building and proprioception-improving work. You may contact me again at that point if you’d like to have an evaluation for the next steps!

I also have some supplements and helpful tools listed on my website. Adequan is sometimes helpful for some few pets with arthritis in my experience with 100’s of cases that have tried Adequan for joint pain, however it isn’t something that will automatically help with muscle and nerve strength, which is what it really sounds like Sammy needs. Nothing will help improve function to the best possible in the situation “automatically”, whether you’re wanting to improve neuro-muscular strength, or recover better from surgery or injury in general; we all need to add a functional activity program that suits our particular needs, both humans and other animals, in order to recover beyond “average biological existence”!

Regardless, prior to doing dynamic drills, a foundation always needs to be laid, so my site will help you toward that goal 🙂

Blessings-
Deborah

Elderly Sheepdog With Neurological Problems – Homework Review

Here is the short write-up of my recommendations/reminders for Abby’s functional rehab and the process I believe will improve her neuro-muscular capabilities and strength.

To Abby’s Caretakers:

Some of this will be stuff I’ve mentioned several times over the course of working with Abby, however it bears review, and most of the time, when I re-evaluate a program, often we need to go back closer to a beginning point and press forward methodically in order to achieve expected gains. As always, I am available to do this work and especially if you need assistance because it is hard on your own body or even just to make sure it gets done so that Abby may recover well! 🙂

I can’t emphasize enough how beneficial the vibrational massage is, even if you do it every other day instead of every day for now. For a refresher, please watch the 10 minute video here:

https://rehabdeb.com/pet-massage/

And do it as best possible without cutting corners. You will get the best outcome if you follow the video instructions, and I’d really like it done daily to better encourage healing on several levels. Pertinent questions are also covered in the video, as well as methodology and benefits. Make sure you change out the batteries as soon as they seem dull, because the best benefit from this massage is realized from the vibration, which stimulates circulation, lessens tension, and potentially improves nerve conduction. I recommend, for now, doing the massage at the end of the day, at bedtime or thereabouts.

For the next week, please walk Abby twice daily, super slowly and consistently, without stopping, for 15 minutes. I chose 15 minutes because you said she has already accomplished doing 10 min walks for a week, 3-4 times per day. Before that, she laid a foundation with 3-4 five minute walks daily for a week. There are very many reasons why I use this method, and they all contribute to the gains we are trying to achieve. Super slow walking encourages use of all limbs to the best of their ability. Abby has already been able to walk multiple times daily, super slowly, for five and ten minute sessions, having built up slowly. Using the same exercise protocol for a week allows more time for the body to adjust to the work load, and it should go well, because these are introductory workouts, to build a base.

For the week following the twice daily 15 min walks, please walk her 2×20 minutes in the same manner, and only if the 15 minute walks are completed well for a week. She should be able to complete these walks without dragging a hind limb and without sagging or falling down. That’s because we spent time building the base. Otherwise, she needs to return to 10 minute walks and do them multiple times daily to ensure success. I am not wanting complete fatigue and maxing ability at this point; I am after building successful progress, which I believe her body will adapt to and accomplish.

I really would like her to wear two supportive hard braces during these walks, and I realize you have only one. She hyper-extends both her tarsal joints, and in order to use her hind legs properly and to subsequently use the muscles better/properly, the supportive brace that prevents hyper-extension while she is doing her slow drills would be additionally beneficial. Use the one you have on her R hind, since that leg has the most deficits and is the weakest. She hyper-extends because of nerve weakness and deficits in this case, and that has been a problem since I began giving you instruction for her over a year ago.

After the week of 2×20 min slow, relatively flat walks, please add in cavalettis, obstacles, to improve her proprioception. This may be accomplished in many ways and several locations around your environment. I have photos on my Facebook rehab page that depict several home-based cavaletti designs. Please be sure to read the descriptions below the pictures, because not every type of cavaletti is for every pet 🙂

Abby needs to do the cavalettis every other day and during one of the walk workout times. You should warm her up walking for 5 minutes then do obstacle repeats for 10-15 minutes. I suggest you use about 5 items in a row, spaced about half an Abby-length apart, and between 4-6 inches high for now. If we could get the old cat to do the work, I’m pretty sure we can get Abby to do it! If she is too stubborn for you, I will be glad to take a rehab session and work with you and her on this drill.

After a week of this drill, keep doing it as prescribed, and add in hill repeats every third day as one of her twice-daily workouts. I suggest walking out the front door, around to the back yard, and then up and down the hill on the far side of the house for 10-15 minutes, very slowly. I was able to get her to do this work this past summer when I came for rehab checks.

During the hill phase, it may be more beneficial for Abby to receive laser therapy on the hill work days. This should have the effect of stimulating nerves and cellular process and often improves work ability in the older and neuro-challenged animals. In her condition, I see reason to have twice-weekly laser sessions for at least a month-I’ve had good outcomes from doing this with similar cases.

I think it would be great if you were able to just start where I suggest, as if we were beginning from scratch, and let’s see the progress that comes from scripted protocol and collaborative effort. She won’t improve from this point if she keeps doing the same walks and leads the same life she has been leading for the past many months…the body stagnates, and the same happens for humans as well. Our brains aim toward conservation while our bodies are able to do more. I believe, based on my experience that is also based on years of research, that we will see strength and muscle gains if you start here again. I suggest we review in one month after these exercises have been completed. I will then revise the protocol and change the challenges.

Thanks!

Blessings-

Deborah January, 2013