Handsome soulful big fluster Golden Retriever Leo is only 17 months old but his Mum noticed clicking from his hips and sometimes he struggled to get up or “he looks like he has old man bones” as his Mum put it. But he’s a puppy, a big floppy, soft puppy who wants to play and not struggle.
He had several radiographs from a specialist vet who determined that he has bilateral mild hip subluxation without secondary change in any other joint. They recommended a number of things to help including maintaining a low weight (Leo is in stunning shape), regular but not excessive exercise (Leo goes out a couple of times a day for gentle walks), on and off lead work (to make sure that he gets some controlled exercise rather than puppy antics), water treadmill (which he has already started), non-slip flooring (Leo’s house is now a perfect example of slippy floors being covered) and manual therapy.
For me, he was a classic case of helping the carer help him, rather than visiting a therapist every couple of weeks.
His Mum and I had no worries that he would be an awkward candidate for massage. A bit of a wriggler but also a lot of googly eyed snoozing.
We found that he had been compensating for his hips by some overuse of his front end muscles and mid back. But his thigh muscles were in great condition, as was almost everything about him. We just needed to make sure everything stays that way. And, more importantly, his Mum is aware of how he feels today so she has something to use as a gauge for any changes.
For the 90 minute initial session, Leo smiled, yawned, snoozed, grinned and generally acted as this was the best thing ever.
His Mum and I went through an appropriate massage routine and some stretching/balancing exercises to assist with the muscle tone and joint movement. Leo was a very fast learner. Within two attempts he realised that by standing on the soft cushion and stretching forward he’d get a treat. What we saw though was him using his hips and core muscles to get hold of that treat. Exercise without knowing it. And getting a treat. How I wish going to the gym was as easy for us!
His Mum wrote “Absolutely incredible, I've learnt so much. Thank you ever so much, I actually feel positive for the first time since he got the diagnosis”. Another carer successfully empowered to help their own dog.
And I shall follow his progress on his Instagram page of http://www.instragram.com/leo.eat.sleep.retrieve