Friday, October 21, 2011

Rehabilitating Riley's Hock

Riley and I have been working on rehabilitating her rear leg now that the hock fracture is healed.  I think she is doing really well.  She has had no trouble with any of the exercises.  In just the first week, we hiked twice for 30 minutes (including hills) and then walked nearly two miles on another day.  I thought I would have to build her up more slowly, but she is so eager for more and is not coming up sore or lame at all.  I have been alternating days with hikes or walks and then rehab exercises.

If you were reading this blog over a year ago when Katie was still with us (in fact she died exactly a year ago today), you might remember me working with her on cavalettis.  Katie worked very hard and enjoyed the cavalettis, but Riley is clearly bored and not impressed.  The key to cavalettis is that they must step over them slowly.  No hopping or trotting over them.  It is more difficult for the muscles to do it slow and deliberate.
This exercise is called Snoopy.  You lift a front leg and the diagonal rear leg for a short period of time.  You encourage the dog to balance on two legs.  It works on core and stabilizer muscles.  I can definitely tell she is more out of balance when the left hind leg is on the ground.
These are turns on the forehand.  They just get her to move her rear end and work the muscles that move the legs side ways.
These are all good exercises for helping to keep an aging dog's rear end strong.  Too many have shaky rear legs and begin to lose mobility.  These exercises will help prevent that.  I also have Riley doing sit-stand-sit-stand.  Sometimes she sits very tight (like in the photo at top) and sometimes she has her left hind leg slightly kicked out.  She is also working on backing up and going up and down stairs.  I am also trying to get her moving on a variety of footing and surfaces. 

Here are some of Riley's x-rays so you can see the progression. This one was taken July 27th, 2011, the morning after the fracture.
This x-ray was taken right after surgery on July 29th, 2011.
This x-ray was taken after six weeks in a splint on September 12th, 2011.  It was very disappointing to see that it did not look much different from the x-ray above.  However, when you magnify this x-ray using a special program for x-rays, you could see some healing.
Taken October 11th, 2011.  You can see that there is clearly a union now. 
Dr. G says that he will likely never see another hock fracture like this one.


What Remains Now said...

So glad that Riley is recovering well! Also, thinking of you during this sad anniversary.

Declan said...

She's doing really well! Deccy x

Mad Red Hare said...

So glad she is doing well.

Hiking Hounds said...

Riley looks great! I'm happy to see that Zephyr is doing some of the same things as Riley, the sit - stands, pivots, and we're doing some hills in walks too. I think the Snoopy would be great for him, I'm not sure if I could do it by myself though. :-) I might try some slow cavalettis too. I want to get a wobble board too. I've looked online but have only found large ones. Today we're going in and I'll ask where she got hers. I'll let you know. :-)

It's hard to believe it's already been a year since Katie passed. I bet she smiles to see you and Riley doing so well.

Sientay L said...

Good to hear Riley is rehabbing well. I should do those exercises with Dino. He definitely has the old age shaky rear legs. I don't think he could hold a Snoopy for more than 2 seconds. He still would rather go jogging and tripping over his rear legs.

gyeong said...

Riley's looking in great shape. Do these exercises help old dogs that already have wobbly rear end syndrome?

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

I can see why Riley would find the cavaletti tedious, but I can also see why it would be great exercise for strengthening her hock.

You're doing a wonderful job with her, and she's a very good patient too. Frankie and Beryl would think I was crackers if I started doing a Snoopy with them.

Katie, a year already. A sad anniversary.

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

I'm so glad Riley is coming along well with her rehab. Hopefully it won't be too long until we see some her back in competition!

houndstooth said...

I'm glad to hear that she's recovering well!

Blueberry has had a back leg that's been shaky for a while now. I'm going to have to try some of those exercises and see if it will help her!

Hiking Hounds said...

I asked about the balance board, it's the Isokinetics Inc. Brand Deluxe Balance Board - 16.5" - Adjustable. It's on Amazon for only $17. The height is adjustable, but she usually uses the lower height. Yesterday Zephyr used the 6 in. nubby balance pods (same company). He balanced on the round side on all four feet at once. She said it's really good for the core. I could see that he was really using all his muscles, down to his toes. I might get 4 of those too. Just wanted to let you know if your interested. :-)

Ximena said...

You're such a great trainer! Even with, I'm sure, your desire to get your awesome agility hound back, you're so calm and patient with her.

And she's clearly very comfortable with handling -- which is fantastic to see, as well. :)