Friday, March 4, 2011

Physical Therapy

Bug had physical therapy last night. Currently Bug is on a once every three weeks schedule - just to make sure everything is copacetic. This is particularly important for my long-backed boy during the winter (especially this winter) when every thing is ice. Bug has much more consideration for his body than a lot of dogs I know, but he isn’t human. He still makes some crazy choices when something smells super good.

Going to Sterling for physical therapy is possibly one of Bug’s favorite things to do. He loves all the women that work there, he loves the attention and he loves that he feels so good afterward.

Physical therapy starts with a hot pack on his lower back and hips and a massage by Cathy to see where we stand. Sterling has these very nice raised wood beds with doggie mattresses in the exam rooms. Bug trots into the room and immediately lies down on the bed. Hot pack goes on and he dozes while a tech checks him out and pets him before Cathy comes in.

Last night he was guarded about his left hip. He thinks he is so clever and that we don’t know he’s being guarded. Example: Stephanie, the tech, asks him to switch sides so she can check out his left hip. Bug willingly does that. As she is lightly massaging his left hip we see some lip licks and slight vesticulation in the leg. Suddenly Bug is up and switching sides, lying on his left side (so his right side is face up), smiling and hamming it up. As I said to Stephanie, he forgets I have treats. Back onto the right side we go. This happened a few times so we knew Cathy needs to pay a bit more attention to the left hip when she comes in.

The right hip is the hip Bug has had a lot of issues with, but we now know the left hip is worse radiographically so we aren’t totally surprised he is being guarded about it. Cathy comes in and massages and stretches Bug. There is no tightness in his iliopsoas on either side (hooray!). Right hip extends and stretches easy-peasy. Left hip take a bit more work but Cathy is able to get him into extension and work out the kinks.

I mentioned to Cathy that Jan Wesen commented when I mentioned Bug’s iliopsoas injury. Jan commented that it was the injury du joir, and wondered what it was called before – didn’t it happen before? Cathy said that when she first started as a vet tech, before she got into physical therapy, if a dog came in limping or sore they did x-rays. If nothing showed on the x-rays there was nothing wrong and they prescribed NSAIDs. She said they never-ever diagnosed soft tissue injuries; it was as if that wasn’t a possibility. With more knowledge more accurate diagnoses have become available.

We also talked a bit about the performance community’s denial about injuries and the chronic nature of some injuries (like the iliopsoas injury). It is really frustrating for Cathy and her staff that people aren’t willing to take the time off required to really heal. I think part of it is a lot of agility people are really Type A personalities and are driven to compete and return as soon as is possible.

After hot pack, massage, and stretching Bug goes into the under water treadmill where he does 20 minutes of walking. The techs have commented that Bug is one of their best dogs in the UWTM. He loves it. Once it starts he will walk until it stops, however long that is, with no cajoling or treats necessary. The techs have hypothesized that because he is a herding dog he has more of a work ethic than other dogs. I think he just likes it.

After 20 minutes in the UWTM we do 14 laps in the swimming pool. Bug has become a very strong and fast swimmer, but he hates it with a passion. Last night he was doing what we call “angry swimming.” He was trying to cheat and cut his laps and would not look at Stephanie or me. He was pissed he had to swim!

One of Bug’s favorite things about physical therapy does occur after swimming – getting toweled off! He LOVES being toweled off. Depending on how Bug’s hips/iliopsoas felt before UWTM and swimming, we ice after toweling off. Last night we iced Bug’s left hip when we were done.

That is a typical PT appointment for Bug. Given all the undivided attention from multiple women you can see why he enjoys it!


Taryn said...

That sounds like a BIG evening! Bug must be really tired (in a good way) after all that activity.

Sarah said...

sounds like a great place

... ya Gyp is on her 4th month being off right now doing physio and getting her stronger than before (because we need too) with her psoas injury ... it annoys me when people say "she looks fine and isn't limping, why are you running her"

anyway .. good for you taking such care of him :)

Red Dog Mom said...

Grandpa Sam would also love all that undivided attention and loving.

Sam said...

I totally know what you mean about people not wanting to take time off. I've heard of people giving their dogs Rimadyl to finish out a season instead of give the dog the rest it needs. You're doing such a service to Bug by getting him healthy before training again.

Alex said...

I think what you're doing to keep Bug healthy is really admirable and I only wished more dog owners could find the time and patience to care for their dogs the same way.

In response to some of the other comments mentioning the use of NSAIDs like Rimadyl I would urge everyone to be very careful as the side effects of these drugs often are very serious and there are many documented cases of dogs dying while they were on Rimadyl, for example see there are over 300 real life stories of people losing their dogs to Rimadyl