The Challenges of Real-Life Canine Rehabilitation: It’s Time to Get Dirty!

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Canine Rehabilitation Therapy: An Awesome Option for Many Pets!

Canine rehabilitation is a rapidly expanding area of veterinary medicine. This specialized field is represented all over the internet through informative articles and eye catching advertisements from rehab providers stating how physical rehabilitation therapy will benefit your pet. Then, of course, there are the amazing videos everywhere that perfectly demonstrate super cool rehab exercises (with well trained and healthy dogs, naturally). It all seems so easy and straight forward. Get a needy dog into the clinic, have them complete a few customized exercies and other therapies, then send them on their way with some “home work”. The road to recovery is all rainbows and sunshine, right? Well, not when you are dealing with the reality of real-life pet ownership. Daisy is a great example of the canine rehabilitation process for many of our cases.

Introducing Daisy, a Typical Post-Op Rehab Case

Mz. Daisy is a young bulldog who tore her cruciate ligament and had an artificial suture placed to stabilize her knee. She began rehab therapy 1 week after surgery and has continued her sessions once weekly for the next 10 weeks. Here is a typical day with this energetic female powerhouse: Continue…

Canine Cruciate Injury And Canine Rehabilitation

100_0733Injury to the cruciate ligament is the most common hind limb injury of the dog.  Dogs less than 20 lbs. can often avoid surgery through conservative management, but this is an injury that typically requies surgical repair to avoid rapid arthritis.  There are up to five different ways to repair a cruciate tear, but the only the most common two will be discussed here.

Using Lateral Suture Method to Stabilize the Knee

The repair I have been doing for over 20 years is called a lateral suture repair or an extracapsular repair. It entails placing a high strength suture in a way that mimics the damaged ligament.  It works well in my hands, but it is not the currently recommended repair for large (over 50 lb) active dogs.  The bigger, active dogs place more stress on the artificial suture often times resulting in it breaking. The preferred method of repair in large breed dogs is a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). Continue…