Zoey Part Four…

Zoey Starts Rehabilitation!! A major necessity to a successful recovery!

Zoey is staring physical therapy program that is going to include cold laser treatments and treadmill workouts. Her first day of rehabilitation involves evaluation her orthopedic parameters. This includes how she walks, range of motion of her joints, and the amount of muscle mass in her pelvic limbs. This first visit is vital – where is she right now?! Moving forward we will track her progress.

OBSERVATION: The first part of her evaluation is through observation. I first assess her pain level by extending and flexing her joints and palpating along her back. We use a grade system 0-4 with 0 being normal and 4 is severe pain. Zoey was 3, where when I extended her hips she cried and guarded the area. The next thing I look at is how she walks (her gait) and how she bears weight (how does she wear weigh on her legs). I observed that she is not fully bearing weight on rear limbs especially when she walking. Meaning she is shifting weight from her back legs to her front legs…

MEASUREMENTS: The next part of her evaluation is getting measurements. I use specialized tools that include a goniometer and tape measure with a spring tension device. The goniometer is used to measure range of motion in the joints. Zoey’s measurements in her right hip was 30 (flexion) and 140 (extension) degrees and her left hip was 43 (flexion) and 155(extension) degrees. A normal dog has a range of motion of 50 (flexion) and 162 (extension) degrees. To measure her muscle mass I use the tape measure with spring tension device called a Gulick to measure around her thigh. The Gulick allows me to get consistent tension on the tape when taking the measurement. Her right leg was 35 cm and left leg was 36.5 cm. This shows that she has lost more muscle on her right hip because of severe degeneration. With these measurements I can track her progression throughout rehabilitation.

CUSTOMIZATION AND REHAB PLAN: Now that I know where Zoey has pain, decrease range of motion and muscle loss a rehabilitation program can be customized to her needs. I also talked with the owner so that we can develop goals and work together to help Zoey recover. This is a very important step. Her mom has to know where Zoey currently stands, has to buy into the rehab process and be a part of the process, and I will keep her updated on her progress as we move forward with her sessions.

Zoey’s mom is excited and wants the best for her girl. She understands that this is a process and results will not be overnight.

Evaluation of her stance, we can see that she is not bearing as much weight on the right rear limb (in foreground). Can you see that she is placing her right rear leg further back than her left rear leg?

Stay tuned…I look forward to sharing her journey with all of you!

– Cindi RVT CCRP