Cookie is a 14 year old collie cross lab, how came to me with a bilateral cruciate injury and severe arthritis with 70% muscle atrophy. Due to her age surgery was considered too high of a risk so the vet suggested conservative management and veterinary physiotherapy.
Cookie was struggling to walk without tripping and toe dragging the hind limbs. The first objective was to control the pain Cookie was in, this was done with medication from the vets and massage techniques to deal with any compensatory soreness. A range of exercises were used including passive range of motion, static weight shifting and gentle stretches to the forelimbs to prevent compensatory muscle shortening. Due to the severity of Cookies injury and discomfort walks were restricted to 2 minutes 3 times a day on a harness slow lead walking. One of the other important impacts for Cookies rehabilitation is weight loss, reducing weight decreases the pressure through the joints and strain on the injury.
All of the exercises were gradually increased along with manual techniques to correct and prevent compensations. 3 weeks later Cookie was a different dog, she had a new lease of life. The vet was very impressed with her improvements and she has been on maintenance physiotherapy ever since.
April is a 19 year old KWPN, she has had a lovely career with her owner how now enjoys hacking April in the country side.
When I first came to April it was for a maintenance session, however April was mildly lame and was weak when trotting up. I recommended that April had the vet come and look, once the vet had looked at April he agreed with my findings and felt physiotherapy would be the best course of action.
As part of April's rehabilitation we addressed any pain and discomfort and then created a controlled remedial exercise regime. This static muscle building exercises, stretches and in hand walking, this was gradually built up to long reining and now riding! April after 5 months is better than before and her owner is back to enjoying hacks around the country side.
In the pictures you can see in the first picture she is loading he weight forwards off the hindlimb's and that she does not have good muscle coverage and is not putting much weight on the left hind (the lame limb). In the second photo you can see April has increased muscle mass and posture has improved. Her weight is also more evenly distributed. In the third picture you can see that the back in more level and her muscle mass has increased over her back and quarters.