This stocky little lad is a Border Terrier / Lhasa Apso cross who has been through the wars already in his 11 months. Instead of being able to jump around like the puppy he is, his owners noticed that after exercise he had started to limp. On investigation, it was found he had bilateral Avascular Necrosis – one of the worse cases the vet had seen. This is also called Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease and is an issue I have treated before. To explain, the hip is a ball and socket joint where the head of the femur bone acts as the ball and should fit neatly into the socket of the hip. In this condition, the head of the femur starts to lose its blood supply becoming necrotic so no longer functions properly. This means the ball and socket no longer fit. This will clearly make walking difficult and painful.
There are different treatments but the one recommended for small dogs like Sonny is to remove the neck and head of the femur. Sounds dramatic but as bodies of dogs are amazing, usually new fibrous tissue is laid down and a ‘false joint’ created. More amazingly, with proper rehabilitation, most dogs are running and playing as if nothing happened.
Sonny had the operation on his left hip 3 weeks ago and is scheduled for the right hip operation in July. It is even more important for him that we get his rehab programme started as soon as possible to start building up his left side before the right side is operated on. Then to continue the good work on both sides. The aim is to allow this brave little man to enjoy being a puppy again.
When I sat on the floor, Sonny thought it was playtime. Which was OK as it allowed me to see how he walks. If he hadn’t had his operation ‘haircut’, you really wouldn’t know. But touching his hip it was clear that his left side needs a lot of building up while his right side was still tender.
We moved to the sofa where he realised this was not playtime after all but therapy time. His Mum, who is also a Reiki practitioner, was fully involved in what he felt like and the plan to help Sonny. His shoulder and neck had been working overtime and felt like he was in training for the World’s Strongest Man. His lower back and thigh muscles, on the other hand, felt like they needed a good pumping up.
Which is exactly the massage techniques we did on him. Kneading at the front, gentle pumping over the back. Within 30 minutes he was asleep, deep sleep. Thoroughly relaxed and totally comfortable.
His Mum was left with lots of ideas for rehabilitation exercises that needn’t be too hard and don’t need special equipment. When he walks uphill, they can just stop for a few seconds so he will have to balance out his front and back legs adjusting his weight. Similarly, when going downhill. Simple but effective. Walking slowly over Dad’s outstretched legs is another that he will enjoy but makes him raise all his limbs to get over.
With this rehabilitation plan in place plus the energy healing from his Mum, he should be better prepared for his next big operation and hopefully make that recovery to enjoy the rest of his puppyhood.
It seems like the plan is working as his Mum wrote to say “Thank you so much for today's visit and for all the useful info you have provided for Sonny. He continued to have a nice sofa snooze after you had left and since he's woken up he's had lots of energy, been drinking lots of water and has been in and out for massive wees all afternoon which I'm sure you will agree are clear signs of a healing response so that is a very positive result! ….Many thanks again for visiting and sharing your knowledge with us, I'm sure it's going to help enormously with Sonny's recovery”