Knee injury rehab advice

Posted by danjbright
Aug 17, 2009
Dear KOP Administrator and Forum members,

I posted this info yesterday as part of a thread to an initial posting I had made a month ago. I wasn't sure it would get the readership I hoped for in doing so which is why I have restated it here as a new submission. I read the rules and understand the policy about resubmissions. I hope this isn't a breach of those rules in this case. If so, I apologize.

Dan Bright

Shiba Inu Update
Akira, 8 mos. old, 20 lbs

My vet did a drawer test on Akira 4 weeks ago and found some movement in his right knee. The severity of the injury could not be determined; only that there was movement. He prescribed and I have since been using Conservative Management practices including rest, limited activity, continued proper nutrition with Innova Evo kibble, supplements including Ligaplex I and Ligaplex II, Tuna Omega-3, Cosequin, and Traumeel (a homeopathic anti-inflammatory). I will begin using Dasuquin MSM in about a week.

Akira has never displayed any limping or observable "favoring" of his leg. It was only after observing Akira stop and nibble at his right leg during walks over about a 2 week period that prompted me to check with the vet.

We are 4 weeks into the healing process and things seem to be going well. He sits squarely on his haunches, stands on his back legs without hesitation and on those occasions when he gets a "wild hair" and begins racing around on the carpet before we quickly bring him to a state of calm, he doesn't show any signs of discomfort or irritation. His only "irritation" seems to be that we have made him cool his jets!

He is not "protective" of his knee when massaging or brushing the area. On the short walks we have taken in the past couple of days he has not displayed the "fussing" with his right hind quarter that he did before we started the treatment. I am encouraged by these observations but remain cautiously optimistic.

I would greatly appreciate any comments, success stories, considerations, tips in regards to helping a young pup back to full or nearly full throttle following a positive "drawer test."

Thanks for your thoughts.

Dan Bright
Posted by KOPsarah
Aug 18, 2009
Hi Dan, and thanks for your post.
It sounds like you are doing all the right things with your dog right now. As I'm sure your vet will have explained to you, a positive cranial draw test is usually a sign that some damage has been done to the cranial cruciate ligament, as your dog is not in a lot of pain or lame it is likely that he has only damaged it a little rather than rupturing it. When dogs damage their cruciate ligament care needs to be taken to protect the joint to prevent joint disease and to allow the body to generate better support for the knee joint again. It is also important to prevent the tear becoming a rupture as ruptures almost always require surgery. All of the conservative therapies your vet has prescribed will be aimed at achieving these things. Ligaments can take an extremely long time to heal so you will have to keep up your therapies and limit strenuous activity on the joint for a long time.

Having reduced activity can be really hard for many dogs so you may have to get a little creative with ways to keep your dog challenged. Swimming is an excellent exercise for this sort of condition as it is very low resistance, your vet may even know of an animal hydrotherapy pool in your area which is a great place to start. Also try keeping your dog occupied with tricky toys such as treat balls and kongs. All of the mental exercise required to get the food out will help use up some of that extra energy.

Make sure you also take your dog back to the vet clinic every now and then for a recheck of your dogs joints. This is important because not only may your dogs joint have improved or require different therapies but it is also common for the opposite leg to become affected so this needs to be monitored also.

I hope this helps and if you have any further questions don't hesitate to ask.
All the best,