Saturday, April 6, 2013

TTA Surgery Weeks 14-16

You might think that after 4 months of recovery from knee surgery, Holly would be totally healed. Well, sort of. Holly's knee looks great. Her range of motion feels the same as her non-surgical leg. Her stride is strong and even, and she's never lame. Her balance is wonderful and she has totally regained her rear foot awareness on that side. 

But I'm frustrated. Holly still relies too much on the non-surgical leg while sitting and lying down. She's crooked and still pokes her toe and hock outwards. And despite serious efforts on my part, I can't get her to stop doing it. Occasionally if I ask for a fast sit to stand, she'll sit evenly on both hocks. I can also get her to sit evenly when she's on a surface that requires her balance disk. I'd tried using a wall-sit to reteach her how to sit properly again...but she cheats. A wall-sit is where I make her sit with her surgical side against the wall to prevent her from sticking the surgical leg out sideways.She cheats by sticking the leg out in front of her instead. Arrgh.

At this point I can't tell if she's doing it out of habit, or because she's too uncomfortable to sit evenly. 

I was allowing her to jump in to the car...which is a short jump and the physical therapist okay'd it. But recently I caught her using just her non-surgical leg for the jump. So, that's out and I'm back to lifting her in and out again.

In addition, she's sore most nights in her back, gluteal and shoulder muscles...but not always in the same muscle groups from night to night. So, is it the discomfort in her back that's causing the crooked sits? I seriously don't know. 

Anyone have any suggestions?

Holly's funky sit

I'm hoping that as I continue her PT and exercise, her whole right side will get stronger and she’ll compensate with other parts of her body less and less. 

At this point, my primary concern with her recovery isn’t the surgical’s the other knee. I’m worried that with all the time she’s spent (and continues to spend) over-using her left leg, that it will increase the possibility that she will end up tearing the left ACL. I don't think either of us could go through ACL surgery again AND retain our sanity.

So what am I doing with her and what is she allowed to do? Even though she’s 4 months post surgery, I believe that it’s really important I continue to monitor her activity until she’s 100% fit ever long that takes. I want to prevent jumping, tight turns and spins and generally leaping around like an idiot (which she's really good at), but still increase her fitness level. It is not an easy balancing act.

Massage: I'm doing my best at massaging her sore muscles 3x per week, but she doesn't really care for having hands on her body like that.

Chiro and Acupuncture: we were going every 2-3 weeks, but we bumped it to every 4-6 weeks to see how she does.

Walking: we do lots of on-leash walking...2+ hours a day on all kinds of surfaces and on hills. Unfortunately after spending the better part of the last 9 months on a leash, her recall pretty much sucks. So letting her off leash without the worry of her going bonkers, taking off or overtaxing herself is a problem.

Running: she can run free in the yard and flat running zoomies are okay as long as she’s warmed up and it doesn’t last too long. I still will not allow her to wrestle with other dogs, that’ll have to wait at least another month. I want to increase her stamina and overall fitness, but prevent tight turns and twisting of the knee.

Physical Therapy: she still does therapy exercises nearly every night for about 15 min. I vary her exercises from day to day, and skip them on days that she’s had more than enough regular exercise.

Treibball: I'm finally allowing her to play Treibball again. Just 5-10 min at a time with mostly practicing her out runs, moving from place to place without pushing a ball, and driving the ball directly to me (she tends to push to her left).

Brain Games: we're still playing with tricks, but not the more physical ones we used to do, like teaching her a handstand. Although since Danee arrived I haven't attempted to teach Holly anything new...I'll have to work on that.

Agility: No agility, and I'm not sure I'll ever let her go back to it. And if I do, it won't be until she can show me she's no longer shifting her weight off the surgical leg.

Onto some good's SPRING! Now that the valley snow is finally gone, I'm loving all the new places I can take the dogs for walks again. And I'm loving all the signs of spring I'm seeing :)

Trumpeter Swans

Bighorn Sheep ewes and last years lambs

Beautiful spring buds


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I have no suggestions but wanted to say that I'm sorry. I know how hard it must be on both of you.

Kim said...

At this point I think it's only hard on me. Fortunately, she's a pretty happy girl right now :) I'm still hopeful that she'll continue to progress over the next 2 months.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Oh boy... what a long journey. Happy to hear that at least she's happy though.

And hey, getting to play treibball again is pretty cool!