Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease in dogs and Femoral Head and Neck Excision

Third new dog of the week and we’re back to long worded conditions again. This time it was a dog referred from St Francis Vets with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. This is a degeneration of the hip joint due to damage of blood supply to the femoral head. The disease causes the femoral head to collapse which affects the mobility due to resulting pain. In this case, Shaun operated with a Femoral Head and Neck Excision in December 2016. 

The beautiful puppy with this condition was Scout, an 11 month old Fox Terrier. She had been getting on quite well since the operation and has been to hydrotherapy ten times now. But over the past week she seemed to have gone backwards in mobility so Shaun asked me to visit to see if I could detect what might be going on and offer help. 

The thigh muscles of her affected leg have wasted noticeably. This is no doubt due to her not being able to use that leg after surgery, then realising it was sore so not wanting to use that leg, which in turn made the wastage worse so she is now unable to use that leg. Instead she has moved her right rear leg into a tripod position tucking her left behind it (as shown in the picture).
The aim was to restore her confidence so that she would place her left leg down again. It is not a case of she can’t do it. She can when she wants to. She just doesn’t want to. She is clearly thinking why bother using four legs when I get on quite happily thank you with just three.  How to make her want to use that leg again? 

She sat across my lap and presented me with her affected side. She needed no encouragement to relax in a massage but was unsure when touching her thigh. She didn’t get off my lap, she just looked at me as though to say “That’s an Ouch Dr Les”. But gentle warming moves sent her back to sleep allowing some more therapy. Stretches caused the same response. Hip flexion was fine but with extension I received the look. 

I made an exercise routine for her owners plus gave them a massage routine to rebuild the strength in her wasted thigh. 

Interestingly, her Mum does yoga in the front room and Scout always joins in giving great body stretches. A quick search of YouTube resulted in a number of excellent yoga stretches Mum and Scout can do together. This will be great for rehabilitation as yoga moves are controlled and precise which is what Scout needs at the moment. 

I’m always willing to try something new. Who knew I’d be adding Yoga to the mix of therapies on offer?

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