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  • Carol Ann

Oct 2020 Dog of the Month: LUKA

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Meet Luka, a 6 year old German Shorthaired Pointer who has been coming for therapy at our clinic since February 2018. Luka is affectionately known as the "come back queen" here the clinic. Continue reading to find out why. 


Luka first came for therapy at our clinic in February 2018, following a long awaited diagnosis of a right sided iliopsoas strain which had caused a build up of scar tissue within the muscle, resulting in intermittent right hind lameness, muscle tightness in her lower back muscles and reduced flexibility of her right hind limb. Luka began her therapy with weekly combined physiotherapy (pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFT), LASER therapy, massage, passive stretches, active balance work, pole exercises, active stretches) and hydrotherapy treadmill sessions. She made good progress from the start and at the start of July 2018 we reduced the frequency of the sessions from weekly to fortnightly. 



However, just a few weeks later Luka suffered a set back when she injured herself. She went to jump a safety gate and landed on it bruising her abdomen and subsequently suffering a ruptured bladder which had to be surgically repaired. Luka returned to the clinic mid August 2018, and after a couple of physiotherapy only sessions to work on easing muscle tightness/soreness using PEMFT, LASER, massage and passive and active stretches, she returned to work in the hydrotherapy treadmill, getting back on track and regaining strength and stamina quickly. 


Then on 11th November 2018 Luka suffered another set back when she jumped down an embankment, landed badly, and tore the carpal (wrist) ligaments in her right front leg. She had a couple of physiotherapy sessions to see if conservative (non-surgical) management was an option; however, it was decided that surgery was the best way forward. Luka had pancarpal arthrodesis surgery, where they fuse the carpus by placing a metal plate along the joint, on her right fore on 3rd December 2018. She came back to the clinic for post op rehab a couple of weeks later. Again we started with a few weeks of physiotherapy (PEMFT, LASER, massage, passive stretches) to relieve any discomfort, ease compensatory muscle tightness and improve limb flexibility, before progressing to include active balance exercises, active stretches and the hydrotherapy treadmill to work on regaining strength and stamina, and to help Luka acclimate to her new gait pattern.


All was going well, and to challenge Luka we kept coming up with more advanced balance exercises. We also progressed her from slow to fast paced walking in the hydrotherapy treadmill, included incline work and then added in short bursts of trot work. Then towards the end of 2019 Luka was showing signs that her right forelimb was causing her a problem. After investigations the vets determined that the screws holding the metal plate in place were loosening and causing Luka pain. Luka had further surgery on 2nd December 2019 to have the metal plate and screws removed. A couple of days later she was back in our clinic to start her post op rehab, once again starting with physiotherapy then adding in the hydrotherapy treadmill a few weeks later. 



Since January 2020 Luka has come on in leaps and bounds, regaining strength and stamina, and not letting the fact that she has a fused right fore limb stop her. She is off all medication and is enjoying lovely long walks. Luka still has a lot of scar tissue in her iliopsoas, and the fused carpus means her gait biomechanics are altered which causes compensatory muscle tightness. Therefore, Luka continues to come for regular fortnightly therapy sessions to help maintain good muscle tone and limb flexibility.


You can see a progress video of Luka below:



Luka is enjoying life to the full now.



Well done Luka. Such a super dog.

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