The lovely Gracie was a good example of how we can help you to help your dog. She is a 4 year old Lab who has chronic lameness on the right fore-leg. Veterinary X Rays showed OA changes bilaterally over her elbows with suspected bilateral elbow dysplasia. The vets suspect she might have osteophytes on the anconeal process on the flexed lateral elbow views which will cause her limping when these catch during movement.
They offered her Mum a couple of options. Conservative management with pain medication, weight control or referral for a CT scan. If these showed a fragmented coronoid process, they could consider removal, although they suggested that even if we surgically remove these fragments, she might not show huge clinical improvement.
Her Mum wanted to try conservative therapy with massage and exercise as a starting point. This could potentially help relieve Gracie’s lameness but would also be a perfect plan for long-term maintenance by massaging her regularly. Then, if Gracie showed little improvement after a while, option 2 could be commenced.
Gracie showed all the classic signs of protective standing where she had been over-using her other limbs and muscles to protect that left arm from discomfort. This, in turn, had caused compensatory issues with those. Helping ease the tension that had arisen should hopefully start to re-balance her gait.
As the session continued, Gracie settled feeling more comfy and relieved.
As well as demonstrating and preparing an appropriate massage routine, her Mum and I designed a series of exercises which would gently start to use the weaker leg again. An addition was our special quick and effective Locomotion warm-up and cool-down routine.
At the end of the session, Gracie gave us both a huge long downward dog stretch, something she hadn’t felt able to do for a while.
Later her Mum wrote “I received her/our workbook and printed it out for reference and will start today. We have already bought a message mat which we shall use just for that so that she knows what is happening! She has enjoyed her warm ups prior to walking and warm downs too!.....So, now to some pleasurable work for Gracie and me! We have a lot to learn and enjoy over the next few months. Then I will reassess how she is and take further steps from there”
And a few months later…..”She is doing very well! Running with other dogs. We keep up the evening message - she demands it!”
She also wrote “I feel we will both benefit from not feeling like victims to her condition” which is exactly what I hoped to achieve with our ‘Helping you to help your dog’ philosophy.