Izzy’s toe – recovery and enrichment

It’s been quiet on the blog – more so than usual – over the last few weeks because it’s been a bit chaotic here.  You see, Izzy dislocated a toe on an evening walk and her rehab has been my priority.

The medical description of her injury was a ‘medial dislocation of the 5th digit.’  That’s the outside toe for those laypeople out there and it meant that the toe decided to go towards the centre of her body and at one point was completely tucked under the pads of the toes on the foot.  Ouch!

The most immediate concern was pain relief and I am grateful that we have an After Hours vet in our city.  Not all locations have this and you have to wait until morning to see a professional.

Home from the After Hours

Izzy had her toe padded and wrapped and was given a Metacam injection for pain relief. So tired I didn’t want to wake her to take her harness off

We were back out at our vet in the morning for an exam and they agreed with me to treat it conservatively which meant putting the toe back into place under anesthesia, restricted exercise (going to the toilet only) and NSAIDs for pain relief.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of enrichment activities for a dog that must rest.  Boredom can quickly set in and enrichment keeps their minds active so they are less likely to want to exercise and, in Izzy’s case, do zoomies in the house.

She taught a massage workshop with me on 27th October just 2 days after having her toe re-aligned; she simply had to sit out the gait analysis part of the agenda.  Otherwise, she was my perfect demo dog as usual and the change of scene was good for her.  She came home happy and tired.

Teaching Massage

Izzy was happy to rest on the massage table during class

And later in the week, my hairdresser allowed her to come with me so she could have another change of scene and enrichment.

At the Hairdressers with Therapaw Bootie

Izzy at the hairdresser’s who gave her a sheepskin to lay on. She’s wearing a Therapaws bootie to help protect her paw

After my hair was done, Izzy had her short toilet walk in a new neighborhood with new and different smells – also enrichment.

I’ve been taking her for short toilet breaks to other parks, too.  And rides in the car are also stimulating activities for her.

In between, I’m lucky that I had a friend who looked after her for two days while I was working and during this time she also had the company of another greyhound.   It really helps to have friends who understand and can help out when you dog is injured.

I’ve been lasering Izzy’s toe daily to help with blood flow and tissue healing and she is back to walking, although I am increasing the distance of her walks slowly to ensure we don’t over do it.  Also, after a period of rest, the physical condition of a dog declines.  So it’s wise to manage the re-introduction of exercise to avoid other strains and injuries.

Izzy has arthritis in her carpus (wrist) and toes, and so this injury is probably also a sign of the vulnerabilities that we will need to manage as she gets older.

The good news is that she is on the mend and we haven’t had any set back so far.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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