Tag Archives: post-surgery

In odd circumstances…

Yesterday, I pulled into the service station to fill the tank.  I also asked for help because I was filling a gas canister for the first time and didn’t want the nasty stuff splashing all over me.

I have advertising on my car.  In fact, it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  Because of the advertising, I find myself in some odd circumstances explaining what I do.

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The Balanced Dog’s car

This time, it was the station attendant.  “I suppose they do that a lot in America,” he said as an opening statement.

I then replied with something of a stock-standard explanation, “for the same reasons people get massage, dogs benefit, too.  I work on dogs of all ages – those who have arthritis, some are recovering from surgery and injuries and I even help with dogs that are suffering from anxiety and stress.  Some of my clients are only young puppies to help them become calmer and used to handling.”

“Oh, I met a dog at my in-law’s holiday home who is afraid of men.  I only had to say something and the dog ran away.”

Me:  “That’s definitely a stress response.  I use massage combined with behavioral training techniques to work with dogs who have stress problems.  Last week, I started work with a puppy who gets so stressed at the thought of going in the car that she vomits.”

“Wow”

Wow indeed.

I consider every conversation an opportunity to educate people about the wellness impacts and multiple benefits of dog massage.  It isn’t just about ‘rehabbing’ from injuries – it’s a lot more!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Teddy’s journey starts

Teddy is an almost 8-year old Beagle.  We’ve known each other for 4 years now because Teddy is a regular customer of my dog massage, nutrition and rehabilitation practice.

Teddy

Teddy

Teddy suffers from bilateral hip dysplasia and his owner, Jill Gordon, has been successfully managing this condition for years by giving Teddy good nutrition, massage and laser therapy, and regular osteopathic adjustments.

But Teddy wasn’t so lucky on Friday, 22nd August 2014.

On this morning, which started like so many others, Teddy was riding in his father’s van in the front seat to go to work.  When the van came to a sudden stop in traffic, Teddy slid off the front seat into the foot well.   The force of his fall and the angle in which he fell caused him to severely fracture his right front leg.

The veterinary term for Teddy’s compound fracture is a comminuted open right intracondylar elbow fracture.

Teddy’s dad rushed him to their local veterinary practice at Lincoln Village Vets where the staff there stabilised him and Alex, the vet nurse, accompanied Jill and Teddy to the local specialist surgery practice, Vet Specs.   At Vet Specs the lead surgeon, Helen Milner, assessed Teddy.  She said she might be able to save his leg through a complicated 5-hour surgery.  Jill authorised the surgery.

However, once Helen got Teddy onto the operating table, she saw in more detail than the x-rays allowed her to just how badly broken Teddy’s leg was.  It was shattered and she didn’t have enough bone fragments to successfully attempt a repair.   The only choice was amputation.

Amputation has been a devastating outcome for Jill.  We know that Teddy has a challenging journey ahead not only to recover from his amputation but also to adapt his lifestyle and surroundings so he doesn’t aggravate his hip dysplasia.

Quality of life is paramount.

Jill has chosen a healthcare team including Sarah Wisson, his osteopath, Dr Susanne Anderson, a veterinary acupuncture specialist, and me to see Teddy through this new journey.

Jill wants other owners to learn from Teddy’s experience about the need to restrain their dogs when traveling in vehicles.  And she wants owners to share in Teddy’s journey to recovery.  She has given her permission for Teddy’s story to be told here.  You will see the new category on the blog:  Teddy’s journey post-amputation.

Teddy has just been released from hospital and is recovering at home.  Jill says he’s still her handsome boy as seen here:

Teddy, before his discharge from hospital

Teddy, before his discharge from hospital

Join us for Teddy’s journey in future blog posts.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Developing methods in pain management and osteoarthritis

Researchers at Kansas State University are devoting their time to the study of improvements in pain management and the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs.   (For more information on pain management, see my June 2012 blog)

The projects are led by James Roush, a professor of clinical sciences.

In one study, the research team determined that the maximum effective time for using hot and cold packs for pain management is 10 minutes.   The researchers studied how packing affects tissue temperature in beagles and beagle-sized dogs after surgery because hot and cold packing is a common technique for reducing swelling.   After 10 minutes, the maximum change in tissue temperature has been reached.

In another study, a special mat is being used to study lameness in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.  When dogs step on the mat, it measures the pressure in their step and the study team can determine in which leg the lameness is worse.

“We’ve designed the study to help improve osteoarthritis treatment,” Roush said. “We will also use it to measure clinical patients when they come in for regular checkups. We can measure their recovery and a variety of other aspects: how they respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, how they respond to narcotics or how they respond to a surgical procedure that is designed to take that pressure off the joint.”

And in a third study,  Roush is collaborating with researchers to study the effectiveness of a painkiller used to treat dogs to identify potential alternatives.

“To achieve the drug’s effect, the dosage in dogs is much higher than in people,” Roush said. “It also may not be a very good analgesic in dogs. We want to see if there is an alternative that requires smaller doses and does not have not as much of a discrepancy for patients.”

Source:  Kansas State University media release