|3 Oct 2012|
Luumu's knee is in really good condition already. Well, it was almost 7 weeks ago when the knee gave out last time, and since then the daily exercise routines have been more or less strictly regulated. We started to go to the woods about two weeks ago. First, only 5 minutes at time - now I find that even trips of 20/30 minutes don't seem to put strain on the knee. We have attended our obedience class for four weeks now, but haven't yet been able to socialize with other dogs, except my mom's calmly behaving Bernese mountain dog, Nalle. Luumu is so exited to meet other dogs that I don't dare to put that strain on his knee yet. That energy! Every staffy owner knows what I'm talking about ;)
Despite the fact that his knee is getting stronger and stronger every day, Luumu still keeps on minding it. He marks using both legs equally - first he needed to switch sides to stand on the healthy leg. He sits like a frog, keeping both hind legs in exact same position. But sometimes, when standing, he still keeps on putting more weight on the "healthy" leg, and I'm not sure whether he does this out of habit or if the knee still hurts.
For this reason, I decided to take Luumu to a dogs' physiotherapist. The first thing the physiotherapist said was that he is in excellent condition, and she even complemented his coat. She stretched Luumu's "sore" knee into positions that made me feel sick, but the stretches didn't seem to hurt Luumu at all. After seeing him running directly and in circle, the physiotherapist said that the movement range is not as far as the movement of the other hind leg. As I had thought, she suspected that there might be some tightness in the healing knee, and that's why he has fallen into a habit of minding the leg. So most likely the knee is not hurting him anymore, but he keeps on watching it because he is used to do so.
She also gave Luumu a comprehensive massage, and Luumu was even able to relax a bit. Can you believe it! The muscles in the left ("healthy") side were more strained than the muscles in the weaker side, but that is only natural when you think that he has moved in an uneven fashion for over two months now. This can all be repaired through exercises we were given. At the moment, the muscle mass in the weaker leg is about 10% smaller than in the stronger one, but the physiotherapist said that the difference is so small that if you think you see it, you're imagining it. Being the hysteric that I am, of course I can see it ;)
All in all, excellent news, I must say, but if Luumu keeps on minding the leg, and keeps on moving in an uneven fashion, what will this do in his hips or back in the long run? To prevent any future malfunctions, we are now trying to teach the dog to stop minding the leg and to start using both hind legs evenly. To start with, we had some homework :) First, I start lifting his front legs one by one so that he needs to even out the weight differently on the three remaining legs. When this is getting easy for him, I start lifting the legs diagonally so that he needs to stand on the "sore" hind leg (his right hind leg) and on the left front leg. Doing this, it is important that the back doesn't bend down.
The other homework for us was to develop some kind of distraction in the stronger hind leg, e.g. by attaching something rustling into a hair bobble and put it on the stronger leg. This way the distraction makes Luumu use the weaker leg more. The distraction exercise is started off a minute at time, but in the end the distraction can be on during walks outdoor, as well.
We have our next appointment in two weeks, and we'll then go through the homework and the muscles and the movements once again. Additionally, Luumu gets to experience the water therapy pool! This might be exaggeration, I admit, and Luumu would most likely be rehabilitated perfectly well also without water therapy - but what wouldn't you do for your dog? Honestly, I am also a bit curious to see his reaction :)
Well, that's all about our rehabilitation process, everything seems to be perfectly at the moment, and I am looking forward to the results of the homework exercises. Next Sunday we are finally participating in our first OFFICIAL dog show here in Turku, and because the physiotherapist's verdict was so positive, the only thing I hesitate about the show is whether Luumu - and I - are able to behave properly :D
|The not-so-nice mud weather of autumnal Finland is here! |
Not Luumu's favourite either.
|Even though Luumu is mostly too eager with Napsu, |
he likes to cuddle with Napsu all the time.
|Autumn, yellow leaves and a grey dog. It's a Kodak moment.|