George is a 13.5 year old Labrador cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier who has been coming for therapy at our clinic since August 2016.
George had a pancarpal arthodesis on his left forelimb on 23rd May 2016. A pancarpal arthrodesis is where the entire carpus (wrist) is surgically immobilised by placing the bones into a normal standing angle then applying rigid stabilisation using a plate and screws, using to help treat torn carpal ligaments or fracture. In Georges case, his carpus was fused to manage severe carpus valgus (outward deviation of the lower limb) and osteoarthritis causing pain and left fore lameness.
The photos below show his leg before, just after the operation, and once it had healed.
After having the cast and splint removed on 15th June 2016, George began physiotherapy with us on 28th August 2016. Initially George had pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFT), LASER therapy and massage to help alleviate discomfort, relax tight muscles and improve joint range of motion (ROM) and limb flexibility. He was also introduced to a range of basic active balance exercises using a balance disc to aid in building up muscle strength and stability.
George recovered well from his operation and had regular monthly physiotherapy check ups until the start of February 2017 when he was sore and lame on his left fore, and had swelling around his carpal joint. George was taken to the vets and diagnosed with an infection of the claws in his left forepaw, and it appeared he was having an immune reaction to one of the screws holding the plate in his left carpus in place. On the 19th February 2017 George had a second operation to remove the plate and screws.
On the 25th February George started his second lot of post op physiotherapy, initially consisting of PEMFT, LASER and massage. As George progressed we added in active exercises including walking over poles to work on good gait patterning, transition exercises such as sit-to-stands and balance exercises to help strengthen muscles, and active stretches aimed at improving flexibility.
George had fortnightly therapy sessions until August 2017 when we incorporated hydrotherapy treadmill into Georges sessions for the first time to help him further strengthen his muscles, improve his stamina, and help maintain good mobility as he got older (we had our hydrotherapy treadmill installed at the clinic in July 2017 and George was one of our first patients to benefit from it).
When the treadmill was incorporated into his treatment regime, George came for weekly sessions to get used to it and to build up muscle mass, strength and stamina. As he got stronger we gradually increased the time between appointments. These days we see George every 3-4 weeks for a combined physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treadmill session. By having a regular maintenance appointment we are able to address any muscle tightness and joint stiffness that George may have, help maintain good mobility in his old age and advise his owner of any concerns that may need veterinary attention. Ensuring that George has the best possible life in his golden years.
And from the updates from his owner it certainly looks like George is living life to the full. What a champ!
Check out Georges progress video: