June 2021 Dog of the Month: Murphy
Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Murphy has been coming to our clinic since April 2019. Murphy had been suffering from right fore lameness and after a vet examination determined the shoulder was the cause, he was referred for an arthroscopy - where a veterinary surgeon inserts a narrow tube attached to a fibre-optic camera through a small incision to see what is going on inside a joint, in Murphy's case his shoulder joint. The arthroscopy showed he had a tear in his subscapularis tendon, as well as bicepital tenosynovitis (inflammation of the biceps brachii tendon and tendon sheath), and he was referred to our clinic for physiotherapy.
Murphy's initial session involved assessing his gait, posture, transitions (e.g. sit to stand movements), palpating his muscles and joints, and taking a range baseline measurements including stance analysis, weight, and muscle mass measurements. We then carried out his first bit of therapy and gave him home exercises to help continue his rehab in between appointments.
Following on from his first therapy session he started weekly combination therapy sessions, i.e. a mix of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFT), red photobiomodulation (LASER) therapy and massage to aid healing, alleviate compensatory muscle tightness and joint stiffness, plus hydrotherapy treadmill (which he loved and was definitely the favourite part of his sessions) to build up muscle mass and strength.
While Murphy made steady progress overall over the next year, he did have a bit of a rollercoaster rehab ride. Being a Belgian Malinois he was used to lots of exercise, so being on restricted walkies was a rather a challenge, and whenever he felt his leg was fixed he would zoom or jump around. On couple of occasions this unfortunately resulted in additional injuries, including a right triceps strain followed by a similar injury to his left triceps muscle. The silly boy!
More recently in December 2020 he had an episode of worsening right fore lameness and after having investigations including x-rays and a CT scan, he had surgery in January 2021 to correct a fissure in the coronoid process (part of the ulna that makes up the elbow joint) of his right elbow.
Immediately following surgery Murphy had physiotherapy only sessions, mainly consisting of PEFMT, class 4 LASER therapy and massage to help with healing of the surgical wound, easing discomfort, and relieving compensatory muscle tightness and joint stiffness. Once the wound was all healed he had several weeks where he had 2 appointments per week; a half hour LASER therapy session and a full hour combination therapy session which included hydrotherapy treadmill to work on building up muscle mass, strength and stability.
At the start of Murphy's rehab journey he was very much a fan of the hydrotherapy treadmill and found it a challenge to stay still for his pre-treadmill physio. However, these days he loves all aspects of his therapy and has even got the hang of a pre-treadmill relax (aka snooze) while having his LASER therapy and massage.
Since his operation Murphy has made amazing progress. Recent stance analysis has shown he is weight bearing normally again on his front legs, and his muscle mass measurements show he is slowly building up muscle. Way to go Murphy.
Murphy has recently moved to a single weekly combination appointment with the aim of further reducing his appointment frequency to fortnightly. While we will miss seeing him weekly we are so very happy that he is sound and able to enjoy much longer walkies again.
Way to go Murphy! Keep up the good work!