Tripawds member “nicoelh” is an avid follower of Tripawds on Twitter and the next recipient of the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab. Read on for details about her experience with Boss at Canine Fitness Centre in Calgary, Alberta.
History: About Boss
Boss is a Saint Bernard X Great Pyrenees that I adopted from a local rescue organization (AARCS) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is approximately 3 years old and we’ve had him for 1.5 years. Boss came to me as a tripawd once he was sufficiently healed, post amputation. Despite my best care and vigilance, Boss has sustained a few minor injuries mostly due to being a healthy, enthusiastic, three-legged dog (jumping onto the deck, sliding on ice, slipping into the doorway).
The most recent discovery has been a partially torn ACL on his remaining ‘good’ rear leg. I believe he came to me with this torn ACL, as it’s suspected that the reason for the amputation was due to a vehicle impact—no one knows for certain. After discussing non-surgical options with his veterinarian, I decided to pursue a referral for a consultation and treatment with the Canine Fitness Centre in Calgary, Alberta.
Our Rehab Experience
On Thursday January 7th, 2016, I took Boss into the Canine Fitness Centre in Calgary, Alberta. We were greeted by friendly staff and our appointment began on-time. We met Jo-Ann Scott-Noye, Boss’s therapist, and he was comfortable to lay on the mat in the middle of the room. Jo-Ann did an excellent job outlining her observations of his body and I felt very reassured and confident in her abilities to assess and treat a tripawd with a torn ACL. I appreciated when she explained that the joint stability comes from three aspects: bone, muscle and ligament. The bones are in excellent shape, so we are looking to build the muscle up.
There were parts of the treatment I could tell Boss felt a bit sensitive about—perhaps what could be best described as ‘deep tissue massage’. He seemed much more relaxed with the cold laser. Jo-Ann demonstrated the home-care techniques I would be doing, like tail pulls and joint compressions from multiple angles. Jo-Ann took Boss and I into a room with various equipment to demonstrate weave poles, using an incline to encourage him to sit/stand, and how to engage other muscles in his body by getting him to stand on a stool with his rear leg on a pillow. She had a nice inflatable bone for him to stand on, but we use a couch cushion at home. Once the appointment ended, Jo-Ann gave me a page with the exercises we discussed and I booked a follow-up appointment for a week later.
As far as home-care has been, some of the exercises are difficult to do without help from another person. Boss seems to enjoy the tail pulls and joint compressions. He weaves easily for me, but the incline sit/stands and stool/pillow exercises are much more difficult. To find a hill outside while it is snowy, icy and cold adds difficulty—so I’m exploring options to build a small ramp inside my house to continue the rehabilitation exercises on. I’m also critically evaluating my house to make it more ‘tripawd-friendly’, like installing no-slip mats outside near the doors and keeping the snow shoveled from entrances. I’m also focusing on keeping his weight down at the lowest, healthy level and watching that his nails are clipped short.