Tag Archives: tripod

Mutual Rescue™ – Tracy and Jack

I blogged about Mutual Rescue™ last year; it’s a a trademarked initiative of the Humane Society Silicon Valley.  Aimed at changing the way people think of animal welfare and adoption, each year the Society asks for submissions from people to share their story about a special connection they have made with an animal.

The first story of 2017 has been released.  Meet Tracy and Jack.  Note that Jack is a tripod as well as having only one eye.  It doesn’t stop him from living a full life.

Note:  Tripods benefit from regular massage which helps to retain full range of motion in the remaining limbs.   Stretching and relieving tension in hard-working muscles helps to keep these special needs dogs moving.   I love working with tripods (I don’t live near Jack, so can’t work with him)!

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

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Teddy’s journey: house protection

Jill has been working to ‘Teddy-proof’ her home so that Teddy can be left alone in the house but without any hazards that could cause him harm.

Our biggest concern is Teddy jumping off of furniture (something he did regularly in his quadruped days).

The focus initially was on having soft landings for Teddy and furniture with very high seats has been removed/relocated.  But, in Teddy’s enthusiasm to be a good guard dog, he would often climb onto the back of the sofa and jump from that height.  This would be extremely dangerous for Teddy now that he has only one front leg and with arthritis forming in the paw of that leg, too.

Solution:  Jill purchased puppy fencing and has permanently attached it to the sofa.  Teddy can safely get up on the sofa (with padding on the floor for when he dismounts), but he can’t jump off the back because he’s effectively caged in.  (Jill’s husband says that the sofa fencing doesn’t make any difference to the comfort of the sofa.  Teddy agrees).

What do you think about her protection efforts?

Sofa protection 2

Sofa protection

Teddy continues to improve, although he requires more strengthening in his core, and Jill has made this their new priority.

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

Teddy’s journey: family life returns

Teddy (right) with sister, Verdi

Teddy (right) with sister, Verdi

It’s been a good weekend for Teddy.

Jill says family life is getting back to normal, with Teddy and his sister enjoying some time together on the sofa – the first opportunity they’ve had for a long time.

Jill has re-arranged the furniture to ensure that any areas where Teddy might be interested in jumping onto or off of are fenced off.  Her husband has built a ramp to the dog door which Teddy is handling beautifully (we will aim to get a photo of this up soon).

Jill says, “I read on the Tripawds site that if you were bonded to your special dog before, it’s nothing to the bond you have after amputation.  This is so very, very true.  When I took the two girl Beagles to the vet, Anneke and Alex (vet and vet nurse) wanted to come out to see Teddy.  He wasn’t interested in them at all – he only had eyes for me!”

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

Teddy’s journey: big improvement this week

Teddy 10_9_14Teddy, bright and alert, met me at the door this week.  He’s looking and feeling much better now that his pain is under control.  It is great to see him up on his feet again.  The mood in the entire household has lifted, too.

Teddy’s medication regime has been changed from Previcox to Rimadyl as the preferred NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) with Tramadol for added pain relief.  He’s also had a second acupuncture treatment which is clearly helping to improve his energy and pain levels.

Since last week’s osteopathic adjustment, the compression in Teddy’s back has been relieved and I have been able to use more massage and acupressure techniques on him because he is no longer in pain.  I’m still using laser on Teddy, but the ability to manipulate his muscles and limbs is essential to help with the movement of blood and lymphatic fluids.

Yesterday, I gave Teddy a full body massage with emphasis on lengthening and stretching important muscles.   I did a lot of work on the latissimus dorsi – one of the major muscles that supports the back.   All of Teddy’s remaining legs have good range of motion, although some of the muscles in them need a little help to be warmed and stretched.

Teddy slept through most of his massage – another great sign that he is able to tolerate rehabilitation and that his body is able relax, which will support recovery.

The right hind leg, which has arthritis and is affected by hip dysplasia, is causing us some concern.  Teddy is noticeable wobbling on this leg and so we’re focusing on giving this leg extra attention with lasering and acupressure points.

Jill says, “To hear Teddy’s cries and whimpers was distressing for all of us.  I’m so happy that Teddy’s condition has improved.  I feel like we have turned a corner.”

The floor layout in the main living area has been improved, too.  Baby gates still restrict Teddy to a small area.  Jill has installed rugs with a foam underlay in the areas where Teddy walks.  These will help with shock absorption.

A couch with a very low seat is now Teddy’s preferred sleeping place – he can watch the garden from this position.  A foam mattress crash pad is below the sofa to ensure Teddy doesn’t do any damage to his remaining foreleg when he decides gets down.

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

Teddy’s journey: pain and anxiety come to the fore

The past week has been a tough one for Teddy and for Jill.

When Teddy first came home from the hospital, he seemed to be adjusting quickly.  He’s always been an independent boy and so he has rejected any support such as a strap or harness when taken out for toileting.

However, this week, Teddy became noticeably withdrawn.  For much of the time, he was restless and would whimper frequently.  We were sure he was in pain.  Because he was so out of sorts, we also felt that he was suffering from anxiety.

When I saw Teddy on Monday, Jill was stressed and Teddy was clearly not himself.  We introduced a hot water bottle (or ‘hottie’ as they are known here) on his back which seemed to provide relief and comfort.  I also gave Jill a CD from the Through a Dog’s Ear range.  This music is designed specifically for dogs to help calm and treat anxiety.  These seemed to assist Teddy in the short term to relax and rest.

But Teddy needed better pain management…

Teddy and his 'hottie'

Teddy and his ‘hottie’

Jill took Teddy back to his vet several times this week to discuss pain relief.  She freely admits, “I didn’t feel that I was being listened to as the owner.  I knew Teddy better than anyone.  Persistence, in my case, finally paid off.”

We seemed to agree on Monday that he was taken off his pain medication too quickly – he was taking only Previcox at the time –  and his body had been left vulnerable.  A Fentanyl patch was re-introduced on Monday and replaced again on Thursday.  Jill also started Teddy on Tramadol on Thursday and Teddy received a ketamine injection, too.

Meanwhile, I could tell that Teddy’s back muscles were stiff; his top line did not seem normal, and he was clearly distressed at being handled along the withers and the back.  Thankfully, since Teddy was too uncomfortable for deep massage, I was able to use the low level laser along his spine and muscles to help with blood flow and pain relief.  I know I want to passively stretch Teddy’s spine but we agreed to wait until Teddy was more comfortable before attempting this.  I was able to do passive range of motion stretching on Teddy’s legs.

Armed with this information Jill took Teddy for acupuncture on Tuesday and an osteopathic adjustment on Friday.  Both his acupuncture vet and his osteopath agreed that Teddy was in pain and that support with traditional veterinary medicines were needed.  The osteopath used gentle traction on Teddy’s back since she found his spine has become compressed.

With his pain properly managed, we can do more to help Teddy’s muscles, tendons and ligaments to adjust to his new gait.  And then true rehabilitation and exercise can begin including a greater focus on core muscle strength.

During this stressful week, Jill took to the Internet for help with Teddy’s condition.  She found a wonderful site – Tripawds Blogs – for owners of amputee dogs.  Owners soon responded with news that helped to assure Jill she had made the right decision for Teddy and gave her information to help her discuss pain management with her vet.

Owners who have been through similar adjustments with their dogs said:

  • Amputees go through an initial ‘good’ period after coming home, only to suffer because they do too much, too soon
  • The muscles of the body are under incredible strain because the body’s mechanics have changed rapidly
  • In Teddy’s case, his amputation was not preceded by a period of pain or dysfunction in the front leg – so his body had no time to adjust (such as would be the case for an osteosarcoma patient, for example)
  • Pain management medication is critical; the switch from Fentanyl to Tramadol was recommended
  • Teddy’s size is a big advantage – he’s a lot smaller than, say, a Labrador with the same conditions
  • Every dog is different and it takes a little time to find the right balance of therapies

Jill says, “In hindsight, we really took things too quickly and allowed Teddy to move around the garden area with enthusiasm.  I wish I had thought of this sooner and we may have avoided him seizing up so badly.  The Tripawds site has been a fabulous resource for me  knowing that there are others who have been through this before us.

I do feel that vets should listen to owners when it comes to understanding their animal.  And if you are not happy with your vet, you need to find someone who you are more comfortable with.  The vet can’t have all the answers when they are not with the dog as often as the owner is.  This proves that vets are not the final word in recovery – and I’m grateful that complementary practitioners are part of Teddy’s healthcare team”

It’s a new week – and we are all hopeful that Teddy is back on track to recovery.  He’s booked for massage and acupuncture this week.

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