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Mia Carter
Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
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HOW DO I EXERCISE MY DOGS BACK LEG AFTER SURGERY

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Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 6 years ago.
Hello there!

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is unwell! I know how difficult rehabilitation can be.

It may be a bit too soon after surgery to begin rehabilitation - that may be what the crying was about. Did she just have the operation? What type of operation was this?

In the case of an operation to fix a broken leg, for instance, while the splint is still in place, you'll want to practice range of motion exercises at the hip joint. You'll want to gently and slowly move the leg back and forth - this is commonly the first type of exercise you'll do following a procedure. Keep in mind her range of motion may be limited following the procedure. So you may only be able to move it just a little at first, but over time, it will loosen up and the range of motion will expand. You'll do this for a couple minutes at a time, several times a day at first, and then as she heals, you can lengthen the time of the exercises to about five minutes per session.

It's possible that following the operation, she is stiff and still in pain. So before trying the range of motion exercise, you'll want to apply a warm compress for about 20 minutes. Use a heating pad or microwavable heat pack and apply it to the joints that you'll be working with for about 20 minutes. This will help reduce stiffness and pain.

You can also gently massage the leg, particularly after the exercises. There's many books on massage in your bookstore's pet section (with the homeopathic books, usually). And these websites can give you a few hints on where to begin:
http://dogs.suite101.com/article.cfm/homemassagefordogs
http://members.tripod.com/~RavenwoodDals/massage.htm

Also, a supplement for her joints may be helpful, since there's now added strain on her other three legs.

I would recommend Glucosamine Chondrointin, found in the vitamin and supplement aisle at the drug store and this works to help the joints and cartilidge structures, rebuilding them and preventing further degeneration. I've found that the difference is dramatic - to the point where I can tell if one of my dogs hasn't had his medication on time. You'll want to be sure to shop around on this one - It will cost you about $30 per month unless you can find it on sale, which is pretty often. So just shop around. And be sure to check with your vet first, especially if your dog is on any other medications.

Also, some supplements of Glucosamine Chondrointin will include an ingredient called MSM. This is an anti-inflammatory supplement and it is safe for your dog.

When giving Glucosamine Chondrointin, you'll want to start out with a higher than usual dose and then lower it after two to three weeks (depending on how your dog is reacting). The most commonly prescribed dosage of glucosamine/chondroitin is 20mgs for each one pound of body weight. You can up this to 30 mgs for each one pound of body weight in the beginning.

Here is a good article about the use of this supplement in dogs with arthritis and other similar conditions. It even has a helpful product guide that can help you with pricing: http://www.glucosamine-arthritis.org/arthritis-pets/glucosamine-chondroitin-dog-arthritis.html


Hydrotherapy or "water therapy" can also help with stiffness and pain, and it can serve as a great tool for rehabilitation. Particularly after the splint is removed, if she has a splint. She'll probably have muscle atrophy - shrinkage of the muscles which occurs when the limb isn't used normally. So this makes other activities like walking and running difficult in the beginning. A good way to help build up her muscles and rehab her is to swim. She'll use the leg, but she won't overwork it and she doesn't have to worry about supporting the weight of her body - the joint can just move freely without the weight of the body.

Some facilities even have warm water tanks with treadmills on the bottom, while others work more toward stretching the joints and relaxing in the warm water. Your vet may be able to refer you or you may be able to find a facility near you via the internet. Try this site to find a place near you:
http://www.google.com/Top/Health/Animal/Alternative_Medicine/Physical_Therapy/Hydrotherapy/

Here's a couple of links and sites for places that offer this form of therapy, in case you'd like to learn a bit more:
http://www.hipdog.net/
http://dogpaddlewellness.com/the_benefits_of_hydrotherapy_for_dogs

If you can't find a hydrotherapy, normal swimming in pool or nearby lake will suffice. A hot tub is another good option, particularly since the water is warm. Since she's small, a bathtub filled with water can work too - she can move around without the weight of her body on her leg. Anywhere that she can get into the water and swim or float will do!

Another option you have is prescription medications, which can be prescribed in cases where your dog is in a bit more pain. Some commonly prescribed drugs for pain in dogs are Rimadyl, Celebrex and Zubrin. Again, this is something that you would have to see your vet about, but it is an option that you may want to explore a bit further with your vet if you haven't already.

I wish you luck with your dog. I'm sure she'll be feeling better in no time. Let me know how she does and don't hesitate to let me know if you have any additional questions!

****Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!****

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert

**As experts, we are not compensated for our time and efforts unless you "accept!"**


Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience: Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
Mia Carter and 6 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Mia Carter's Post: she had a torn acl and i dont know what range of motion is which way do i move her leg
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 6 years ago.
Hello there!

Range of motion is kind of difficult to explain, so I'll refer to a couple of website descriptions that say, Range of Motion is.....

"The "range-of-motion" is the normal amount your joints can be moved in certain directions. If your joints are very painful and swollen, move them gently through their range of motion."

"Passive range of motion, where another person, such as a caregiver or therapist, moves the joint. Active (or manual) range of motion, where the individual moves the joint themselves. Free active movements - the only resistance is the weight of the limb or body and the force of gravity that it fights."

So, in other words, range of motion is the motion that her leg is normally capable of.

In your case, you will exercise her leg at two joints - the hip and the knee. Start out at the hip and just move it forward and backwards - toward her head and then toward her tail, like a pendulum. Then, we'll work on her knee. Now the knee does not bend forward like the hip does, so we're going to gently bend her leg by pulling her lower leg backwards, toward her tail, and then we'll straighten the leg by pushing the lower leg toward her head. We're going to repeat this over and over - that's the exercise, just bending and straightening her leg.

It's important not to force it. If she can only bend the knee slightly without pain, then that's what we'll do in the beginning. With an ACL surgery, the healing process is long and painful. And I would make sure with your vet that this is an appropriate time to start rehabilitation - it's key not to try it too soon, while vital healing is still taking place.

Her range of motion will be a bit limited during healing, so to start, only move her leg as much as you can without hurting her - it may not be much at first. But over time, the range of motion - how much she can move the joints in her leg - will increase.

Just let me know if you have any additional questions, okay?

****Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!****

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert

**As experts, we are not compensated for our time and efforts unless you "accept!"**


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Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!