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Suggestions FHO recovery is not going so well


Cindy Evans
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I need some suggestions or just plain help.

 

My dog was under the tractor when my husband started it and she was injured. We had to have FHO surgery because the hip joint was damaged. That was the middle of June.

 

She had an adverse reaction to the pain medicine and had to be taken off NASIDS. The next drug that we tried was not enough to stop her pain, so she went almost ten days with it uncontrolled. She is now starting week eight and she still doesn't want to walk on the repaired leg.

 

We have done the stretching and passive range of motion exercises and she seems to have almost full range of motion, but the only way I can get her to use the leg is to cause the good foot pain. I tape a bottle cap with a small object taped to the inside of it to the bottom of her good foot. That makes her put some of her weight on the repaired leg when we walk.

 

I'm becoming frustrated because her leg is wasting away and she doesn't seem to be making much headway. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know that it's a long recovery, but there won't be any recovery if she won't try to use the leg.

 

I'm willing to try anything that might help.

Cindy

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I need some suggestions or just plain help.

 

My dog was under the tractor when my husband started it and she was injured. We had to have FHO surgery because the hip joint was damaged. That was the middle of June.

 

She had an adverse reaction to the pain medicine and had to be taken off NASIDS. The next drug that we tried was not enough to stop her pain, so she went almost ten days with it uncontrolled. She is now starting week eight and she still doesn't want to walk on the repaired leg.

 

We have done the stretching and passive range of motion exercises and she seems to have almost full range of motion, but the only way I can get her to use the leg is to cause the good foot pain. I tape a bottle cap with a small object taped to the inside of it to the bottom of her good foot. That makes her put some of her weight on the repaired leg when we walk.

 

I'm becoming frustrated because her leg is wasting away and she doesn't seem to be making much headway. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know that it's a long recovery, but there won't be any recovery if she won't try to use the leg.

 

I'm willing to try anything that might help.

Cindy

 

Not a vet, but what about swim therapy? Then she won't have the same pressure on the leg but can use the muscles to prevent them from wasting.

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This didn't work for us but I was told that if you can make the other foot uncomfortable she will use the FHO leg.

I bought disposable booties and put a rock in the bottom of the it. The vet that told me this said I didn't make the good foot uncomfortable enough to force her to use the bad leg.

I never figured out how to make it that uncomfortable.

 

I was also told that the larger the dog, the less likely the surgery will work.

Lily my guard dog is the dog that had the surgery. We think there was nerve damage in the foot of her bad leg so she was not a good candidate for the surgery in the first place.

 

Swimming would be the best but you can try the making the other foot uncomfortable. The vet with that advise even told me to go as far as putting a Sharpe object in the bootie. Just couldn't do it. seemed so cruel after all she had been though. After all this time, knowing what we went through I might have tried it more.

Lily had similar issues with pain meds but it was the vets mistake, he forgot to send pain meds home right after surgery. That was the worst night of our lives. She screamed in pain.

 

Good luck and I'd be seeking out somewhere to swim her. Call some public pools or private pools, explain the problem, go in after hours. Pay extra. What ever it takes. I'm afraid if you don't get her using it quickly she's not going to use it.

Good luck, I feel your pain!

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Cindy,

 

Can you buy a second hand stock tank and fill it with water? You'd just need one deep enough for her to not reach bottom. Then you could get in with her and 'swim' her, like they do injured dolphins, etc. Maybe you could find one on CraigsList, or even borrow one for a few months.

 

Check with the vet on this, but if she'll let you apply an ice pack and a hot pad, you can alternate. Cold, then hot, then cold, then warm. This alternating cold and hot does two things: really increases circulation which ups the healing rate, and it confuses the nerves, so they quit relaying info to the brain for a few minutes. That gives you pain relief.

 

Also, can your vet do a phone consult with an ortho or a sports medicine/rehabilitative vet?

 

Please let us know if anything helps.

 

Ruth

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Based on my limited knowledge, the above recommendations are very good. My dog went through shoulder surgery and there should be some general recovery commonalities even though our dogs had surgery on different joints.

 

I don't think a regular treadmill will help in the initial stages of recovery (even though she is 8 weeks out of surgery, since she has not been using her leg, I would still call it the initial stages of recovery) because she needs to exercise her leg without bearing her entire weight.

 

My rehab vet wanted me to start my dog on the water treadmill at 8 weeks post-surgery. She did not want him in a regular swimming pool because she felt he would reach too far, and with too much force, during the swimming strokes - at least at that stage of his recovery. She wanted him to do a slow walk, but with less weight-bearing on his shoulder - hence the water treadmill.

 

The stocktank idea may work. A local person here was going to try that with her Sheltie, but I haven't seen her since she told me about her plan.

 

I agree with trying to find a rehab vet (not a regular vet). They should be able to give you the best advice based on your dog's situation.

 

Jovi

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I know FHO is different than TPLO but I would think many of the rehab exercises would work:

 

1. Swimming or get a life jacket and hold a stock tank

2. Walking uphill and sideways (FHO leg on the downhill)

3. Lifting legs you can lift 2 at a time (front opposite and the back leg opposite)

4. While dog standing shift the weight of the dog forward, sideways

5. Teaching backup exercises and teaching to walk sideways

6. Lifting the dogs front legs and making them walk forward and back a couple steps

7. Look at getting a dog exercise egg or one that is close to ground (name escapes me)

8. Walking on pillows (the fact that the surface is uneven could help force use of the leg)

9. If the dog has a solid heel (if not use a leash) walk up and down the stairs slowly.

10. Make a wobble board and move it around to get the dog wanting to put leg down for security

 

You have to rebuild the muscle in order to get the dog wanting to use the leg. Once they are comfortable with the idea of using the leg during exercise it should help them start using it. Hope some of this helps.

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All good ideas, and some of them I have been doing. I signed up at the Top Dog site and they have those suggestions and more.

 

I rock her hind end slowly to get her used to using the bad leg.

 

I have a plastic object taped inside a beer bottle cap, and I tape that to the bottom of her good foot. So far this is all that will work.

 

I bought a stock tank and she "swam" the first time I put her in and then she figured out that she could reach the bottom with the good foot and "float" the front legs!

 

We have been doing things like figure eights and circles, but will try the walking sideways and backing up. That might help.

 

We started walking hills last week. I live in rural Southeast Georgia so my hill isn't much, but we go up and down a few times daily. I'll try zig zaging the hill so she has to balance more.

 

 

I'm just worried that if I can't get her to use the leg soon on her own she may never use it. I don't know how long I have.

 

Thanks

Cindy

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she will start to use it. I would be more afraid the longer she stresses the other leg and her blowing the CCL (ACL).

 

Does she play tug? Tug games are great for building the back legs.

 

I am trying to figure out the other things we did for Foster TPLO rehabs (yes 2 - she blew both knees 2 years apart)

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Yes, I think they get used to walking on 3 legs and just give-up using the 4th. Habits set quickly then muscle loss makes them not use it.

A tiny bit of rolling short fetch? I'd worry that would be to much but that is what it would take to help them forget to not use the bum leg.

Good luck.

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Since you are walking hills: another exercise I used to build hind leg muscles was to use a tracking harness and apply pressure (i.e. pull back) as you walk up the hill. This makes the dog use his hind legs more. Start with light pressure and build up the pressure over several months.

 

I agree that if the dog gets used to not using the leg, sometimes they will always favor it. My dog had a strained ileopsoas when younger, and my vet and I theorized that was the reason he started going down the stairs 3-legged. After a lot of rear end exercises and clearance from the rehab vet (i.e. she could not detect any strained muscles anymore), he still goes down the steps 3-legged. He is fine otherwise.

 

Jovi

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