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Broken Right Hock Rehab


Guest RoosMama
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Guest RoosMama

Hello! Last weekend I adopted a retired racer. She retired due to a broken right rear hock. Here are the details in case you need them: leg broke 1/13/15 surgery on 1/19/15. She got a plate and 7 screws. She had a splint on for approx. six weeks. Splint removed a couple days shy of six week mark approx. first week of March. she is not putting weight on the foot unless she absolutely has to. It does not appear to be painful. She doesn't indicate any pain when her foot is manipulated. This past week I took her back to the ortho doc that did the surgery. He took xrays and says it looks like the bone around the center screw is "backing off" a little bit. He said that might cause her some pain. He has suggested that we give it two more weeks to see if she improves any. Since she was crated the majority of the time until she was adopted by me last weekend she hasn't had a lot of opportunity to use the leg anyway. He wants to see if she makes any improvement over the next two weeks. If she doesn't show any improvement, then he would like to go in and remove that center screw.

 

My concern is that when she puts her foot down, she is basically just using her toes. She is not putting her foot down flat and the center pad does not really touch the ground. I have been doing passive range of motion exercises with her and have notices that when I manipulate her toes and her foot it doesn't function like her "good" leg. Her foot seems very tight and not as flexible as the other foot. I am wondering if there has been a bit of contraction since she hasn't been able to use the foot that much in the past. I am working on stretching exercises for her foot to try and stretch it out a bit (gently) and it seems to be helping some. It appears to be slightly more flexible now than when I started a few days ago, but that could also be my imagination and a bit of wishful thinking. She will occasionally use the foot when she walks but won't use it when she runs. If I hold a treat up in the air she will go up on her back legs to get it, but only for a second and won't do it a second time. She uses it when she backs up. She tries really hard not to use it when I walk her, no matter how slow I go. She won't use it when she gets on the couch or on the bed, she will just put her front paws up on the couch/bed and stand there on her good leg until someone picks her up and puts her on the couch/bed.

 

I have contacted a canine massage therapist and am thinking about doing a few sessions with her. I have had dogs my whole life but this is my first greyhound and my first broken leg so I'm trying to figure out what is best. I think the range of motion exercises are helpful and that some massage therapy would also help. Do you think swimming would be helpful as well (do greyhounds swim?) What about the hydro treadmill? Any other suggestions on what I can do to help her to start using the leg more? I know it can take some time. I want to give her every resource to heal and be the best she can be. I can try to post the x rays if you think it would be helpful. Any advice or information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

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Guest OPointyDog

Sounds like you are on the right track with an orthopedic specialist and also gentle encouragement. It does take time. Short leash walks and encouraging her to stretch are also good ideas.

 

I can share our experience with a broken hock - Zoe broke hers in late November of 2011, and when we got her in April 2012, she was still hopping and using 3 legs. Our vet did x-rays and thought the pin placement didn't look right, and sent us to an orthopedic specialist, who confirmed that the pin was misplaced and actually hitting her tendon every time she took a step. We had surgery to remove the pin and other hardware the next week. The recovery was pretty quick, but by June she was still hopping and limping. The orthopedist examined her and determined it was probably muscular from hopping so long, and he sent us to a physical therapist.

 

The physical therapist was awesome! She did a very thorough exam and recommended a course of treatment that included exercises, ultrasound, massage, underwater treadmill, and even time on a trampoline. It took several months and was not cheap, but by the end she was running and walking normally.

 

Here Zoe is in the underwater treadmill:

 

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If you have access to a vet that does physical therapy, I would suggest a consult - he/she can help you figure out what is going on and suggest exercises or other treatment.

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I second the water treadmill for physical therapy, and at least a consult with a therapist to get some exercises for her. The canine massage will help a lot too.

 

One of ours was in a splint for several months due to a broken toe amp. He also tripodded around for weeks after he got out of the splint. And it took several months for him to use the leg normally - this was with no PT intervention, so I think you should be ahead by trying at least passive modalities.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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There are plenty of exercises you can do at home, but I'd go see a veterinary physical therapist and/or an orthopedic specialist first. Also be aware that the hardware often eventually gets rejected, so keep an eye out for that.

 

I actually have a set of exercises for broken hock recovery given to me by a greyhound trainer, but looks like I can't access them from work. :(


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Guest RoosMama

I did take her to the orthopedic surgeon who did the surgery. I am going to take her to a vet PT and hopefully get some hydrotherapy too. What should I be looking for if she beings to reject the hardware?

Edited by RoosMama
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Guest normaandburrell

I wouldn't encourage her to run, jump, or stand on her hind legs. Our adoption group considers dogs with broken hocks to be special needs dogs, and recommends they not be allowed to run full out. What group did you get her from, and what was her nick name when you got her?

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Guest RoosMama

I asked about physical limitations and her ortho said let her do whatever she feels like doing. If she feels like running, let her run he said. I adopted her from Greyhound Pets of America. She didn't have a nick name but her racing name was Turbo Off White. She was a pretty good racer til she broke her leg. 69 races, I think she won 12 of them, came in 2nd in 8 if I remember correctly. I looked up all her stats. Even watched her run a couple races. I've only had her a little over a week but I am absolutely in love with her! She is so dang sweet!!!

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I did take her to the orthopedic surgeon who did the surgery. I am going to take her to a vet PT and hopefully get some hydrotherapy too. What should I be looking for if she beings to reject the hardware?

Lameness and skin lesions/ulceration if the screws start backing out.

Hydro therapy is great :)


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Wasabi303

My girl broke her hock last October and has a plate and screws as well. She had a TERRIBLE time healing from the surgery. I think it is because six weeks in a splint is just not enough for these injuries. I ended up with a terrified dog and three different vets who all disagreed, so I put her back in a full cast for another 3 1/2 weeks. Since she got that off, she has been perfect. Walking on all four legs a week later, and now two months later she runs and plays in the dog park no problem. If all else fails, I definitely recommend this method.

 

Good Luck!

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