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A Total Disaster at Rehab Today

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Star, my 2 year old border collie, has been seeing a ortho vet for sometime. She favors her right rear leg at times. This is the only ortho vet on the area that does Penn Hip and that is why I took her there. Her hips and knees are fine per xrays and the drawer test, ect. The ortho vet has been treating her for tight muscles with massage, chiro adjustment, and acupuncture with electric current. He comes very highly recommended by trainers at 2 different dog school/clubs in my town (I have posted before about Star's problems). Last month he said he wanted her to see the rehab doctor at the same practice. He had already conferred with her before on Star. So today we went. IT WAS A TOTAL DISASTER and I should never have done it. Star is a timid and fearful dog at times. I have been working with her on this and dog school is a great experience for her, she has been going since she was a puppy. I had concerns about leaving her so I talked to the rehab person who would be with her all day when I dropped her off. They had wanted her for the whole day. I explained she was timid, noise sensitive and afraid of larger dogs. I also said she hated water, so she said they might not use the water treadmill. I felt that she was in good hands when I left her. When I went to pick her up they said they had to muzzle her as she tried to bite them. It was fear biting, she was that scared of them, plus they said her trigger points on her bad leg were really sore. They also said she was scared when they put her in the water treadmill TWICE (after which they blew her dry - I asked when her trainer asked me). When they went to bring her out to me she was so scared that she was hugging the floor and did not want to move, clearly terrified. I went to her and sat on the floor with her until she calmed down. Her harness was very tight and I immediately released it. They said it had been on all day (I only use it to transport her when on leash as she pulls - also a fear response - something I told the rehab person). The rehab person had not changed it and had left it on all day, so I don't know what happened there, if it shrank in the water or what. Her trainer from dog school just happened to be there with her old calm dog for an appointment with the ortho vet Star normally sees. Star has known her and her calm and friendly dog since puppy classes. The trainer was also shocked at how Star acted when they brought her out. Once I had Star calmed and she wanted to stand, I let her and the trainer's dog sniff nose to nose and the trainer pet her and Star started to act more comfortable. We were very fortunate she was there. Now Star is in her kennel at home with the door open and is hiding in the back of it. Basically I paid $160 to have my dog's fears reinforced and now they have diagnosed her wth an Illiosoas strain. The ortho vet who referred her to rehab had not diagnosed that, but had said she had other muscles strained and tight at times. Truly a horrible experience for Star and I don't know how far they have set her back in her fearfulness. I feel terrible for allowing that to happen to her. I told them she will not be returning to rehab as it was obviously a mistake as Star was so terrified. This is the only Rehab facility in the area. It is actually out of town, but not too far. I did set up another appointment with the ortho vet when I said no more rehab. We have some stretches we do and she is on a herbal mix from the ortho vet to strengthen ligiments and tendons. She will be on Rymidal for the next week as well. When I asked about it they rehab person said that was a good idea. I just feel at a loss. She has been on restricted activities for a long time - no ball chasing, no tugging, no jumping. I have her in Rally, for fun, not competition, which is a calm activity for her and she likes the school. I had wanted to put her in agility, again for fun, but the ortho vet said not until this priblem is cleared up. She got bored with walking in circles in obedience class. Any suggestions? I live in Fargo ND and this was the ortho vet that was recommended to me.

 

An edition to the original post, she is now hopping on the leg again after squatting. So we are back where were were before the ortho vet was treating her (several visits and $$$$).

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I have had fearful dogs, adopting them because I feel I can make a difference for them. My heart breaks for you, you did everything possible to speak on your dog's behalf...everything in the best interest of Star. They failed you and some how did not understand what you communicated. I have no medical expertise so I cannot help there...but I just wanted you to know it was not your fault.

 

Sometimes inside games help to entertain. One I use is hide go seek in the house, I hide they find. My pups think it is great. Frozen peanut butter in kong. Another, I hide a treat under one of three cups...they put their paw on the cup with treat.

 

Hope Star is getting back to her old self. Good luck.

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Wow. All I can say is that my experience with a rehab therapist (not a rehab vet) has been totally the opposite. I never have been asked to "drop off" a dog for the day. I've always been present every step of the treatment. In fact, where our rehab therapist did her residency, they did have people drop off their dogs and all the treatment was done *without* the owner present to see what was being done and be an advocate for their dog. She felt that was a huge shortcoming as she's very much a hands-on person and feels that the more the owner knows, the better the owner can care for his/her dog.

 

Without an alternative source of treatment, I'm not sure what you can do unless you might be able to find a therapist who would allow you to submit a video of your dog and (hopefully) your dog's medical records, and he/she might be able to recommend exercises you could do at home with your dog yourself. I know that's not optimal and might not be feasible.

 

My one dog had an iliopsoas strain when he was rehabbing from TPLO surgery. We just continued with his normal rehab exercises (I have a long post here in Health and Genetics about what we did) and took it easy, and he recovered completely. Soft muscle injuries can take quite some time to heal and can be tricky.

 

I would certainly not want to take my dog back to anyone who blatantly disregarded anything I had said about the dog's issues and forced/pushed the dog into doing exercises that obviously terrified her.

 

Very best wishes to you both!

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Were you able to speak to the rehab vet, or did you speak to a technician or a receptionist when you picked her up?

 

I would definitely address this directly to the doctor, and question if they cannot do things with you present, because it may be that a dog like her would do much better with the owner present. Some dogs do better when they are with their owners, and some dogs do better away from their owners. So ask for a visit with the doctor to discuss the case and have her work up an Home Exercise Plan for you.

 

In terms of how she is, do your best to act like nothing is wrong and treat her as normal as you can, despite your own emotions. We all know how sensitive our dogs can be, and she needs you to be strong for her!

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I was not sure who I was talking to in the clinic until afterwards when I looked their photos up on their website. I was talking to the rehab tech. I have drafted an email to send them, with a few questions and concerns. One of the questions is if the rehab doctor examined her, since I only saw the tech. I did try to call back after I got home and thought about it, but they were already closed. I have gone from being upset (internally, calm around the dog) to being angry. The tone of my email to them is one of concern. I should have asked to see the rehab vet when I picked her up, but my main focus was getting Star calmed down, so I did not think of it at the time. It is a large practice for small and large animals and several vets and technicians. My previous experiences with the ortho vet and technicians there has been positive.

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I'm sorry that Star had such a horrible experience. My co-worker takes her Boxer to physical therapy and she has never had to drop the dog off. She is encouraged to bring family members along too and everything is explained to them (whether it is the doctor or the technician) and exercises demonstrated to be done at home. I don't understand doing PT without the owner present. There are Veterinarians who specialize in gait analysis, I think looking for one of them and sending a video would be a great idea. My co-worker submitted a video of her dog walking and jogging for another opinion.

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Wow. That really truly sux! I'm so sorry this happened to you and especially to Star.

You've just reinforced my life-long mode that 'you' (vets/techs) will *not* take my dog "to the back" for anything without me.

 

Check out Dr. Leslie Eide - www.thetotalcanine.net

She does agility, so is familiar with the sports medicine aspect of dogs. She'll also do long-distance consultations - send videos, and she'll comment. Since you've gotten a diagnosis (which hopefully is correct!), she can guide you through a home exercise program, with or without equipment.

 

I'm sure there are others out there with similar programs, but I love Leslie and if there's anything she can't do, or needs to know more, she will tell you!

 

Good luck.

diane

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I work with Dr Leslie Eide online, I live in Spain and do have access to a really great local physio for diagnostic work but he had no experience working with sports dogs and did not provide me with much guidance. My dog and I have had really great sucess working with Leslie and I recommend her. Everything is done slowly and at the dogs pace, she likes the dogs to learn the exercises rather than luring them and slowly build their strength.

 

If you have any questions about her, please message me.

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Sorry about everything that went on. I had one with an illio injury once, and I just kept her in a x pen for a good 6 weeks. Healed just fine. The ortho vet showed me some stretches to do with her prior to working thereafter. Mostly it was having her on her hind legs and "dancing" with her,

A

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I did email the clinic politely with my concerns last night I received an email back this evening from the Rehab doctor along with the ortho doctor. Here is the diagnoses.

 

"On examination of Star, we found that she had several "triggers", or knots within the muscle bellies of the right tensor fascia lata and the right Sartorius muscles. Upon testing the iliopsoas for pain, which is extending the right hindleg and then internally rotating the right knee, Star reacted in pain. This confirmed Dr. Bartholomay's previous diagnosis of a iliopsoas myopathy that he had commented on during your May 27th appointment". The rehab dr also exlain the purpose of the different treatments Star had. She did not mention the muzzle.

 

I did reply and thank her from the email and stated if Star needs more rehab I would like to be present, to help keep her calm and to learn about her condition and therapy. Not sure If I will get a reply. She does see the ortho doc at the same clinic in 1 month.

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Sorry to hear she's still that painful. I know you mentioned she's on Rimadyl - is she on anything else? How hard is it to keep her quiet at home?

 

Hopefully you are able to stay with her - and in the other thread (maybe more appropriate here, oops) I mentioned some drugs you can try to give her prior to the visit. It's hard going to the vet when you have a dog that hates being handled - as a vet, I always appreciate an owner who will warn me their dog won't be happy. It's also a fine line of the owner restraining and helping the dog versus getting in the way or sometimes making it worse. If the owner is going to be around, I really want them to be SUPER calm and relaxing for the dog, not amping their fears up.


When you go next time, if they won't be sedating her again consider skipping a meal and bringing her starving - take super great treats (not boring ones - bring out steak/chicken/cheese whatever she loves) so you can use that to work with her.

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It is hard keeping Star calm sometimes. She will not go on walks due to being fearful. If we could change that it would be very helpful. She likes to play in the house with her toys and is attached to me. We do participate/train in Rally at a local club, but not in competition (she is not registered with AKC, only ABCA and I do not think she would like the crowds at competition). While Rally is not as much fun as running through tunnels, it keeps her from getting "ramped up" and gives her something to do. She is only on Rimadyl and normal heartworm and tic preventatives. She normally allows handling and I work on that everyday with her. The only area she still balks at with me is her ears. She LOVES dog school and (normally) all people and most dogs.

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Something else to think about is why did they want her all day. When we visit the rehab physio (he is a vet) the appointment takes an hour for a full exam. At home our exercise program is never more than 15 minutes a day which is quite enough for even a fit border collie.

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I had asked about this, twice, before the appointment. The rehab tech told me they have have a session in the morning, let the dog rest, and then rehab session 2 in the afternoon. They also take them outside a bit. The clinic is located in the country, about 30 minutes by (fast) interstate, from Fargo, where most people in the area are employed. I dropped her off at 7:30 and picked her up at 3. This something I will ask about again. They did do several things with her: exam, water treadmill, ultrasound, massage, and cold laser. It was $155 for the day and that charge includes everything.

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I have had some animals stay precisely for that reason - they cannot do everything all at once. But if this is a muscle strain, certainly they can get you on a home exercise program and they can do just the laser +/- massage at the visit and skip the UWTM (especially if you don't think she will enjoy it).

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Until recently even human doctors did not take into consideration the emotional state of patients and treatment effects. Some now are very good at treating the Whole person, I think vets and their staff also are trained for the medical side but not so much for the emotional side of recovery. I do know a few that take into consideration. A few techs I have worked with are very good at bringing the animals emotional and mental state into the medical conversation. Hopefully if we approach things correctly we will see progress in this area at more clinics.

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