Tripawds Community member @gordon4185 received grant #98 from the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab. Read about how a free Tripawd rehab helps Atlas stay strong, and learn how you can get a free veterinary rehab evaluation for your dog or cat.
From Limp to Loving Life, Free Tripawd Rehab Helps Atlas
In late March of 2020 our Black Lab (Atlas) started to limp. His veterinarian thought the leg was sprained, prescribed meds and rest, and sent us home. After a couple weeks of no improvement we took him back for an x-ray. Nothing could have prepared me for the news – bone cancer in his front left leg. It was so surreal. We were able to quickly get a follow up with an oncologist and surgery was scheduled soon after. Before the surgery I felt a bit lost even though I read lots of articles! I had contacted Ruffwear to order the Flagline harness (based on recommendations for a front amputee). Their representative was the one who told me about Tripawds and I am forever grateful for this community of support.
We Thought We were Active Enough
For us, the first 10 nights after surgery were incredibly difficult so my nearly 5 year old daughter and I camped out day and night in the living room just to be there with him. It was a struggle long after – rounds of meds all hours of the night, his anxiety and trying to adjust. Then chemotherapy started. Fortunately he responded pretty well to the treatments. We live over an hour from his treatment center so I always worried about his comfort in the car.
Post chemo we have followed up with x-rays every couple months. So far so good, no spread to the lungs! We had wanted to get Atlas in for a consultation much earlier than now but the facility could not accept new rehab patients due to virus and high risk staff. We also then thought we were active enough and he was doing great! We spent lots of time in the mountains, playing outside in the yard, always mindful of what he was doing (even built him special steps to get in and out of our camp trailer).
I Did Not Realize He Was Overcompensating
During his most recent xray visit we scheduled a consultation. I am so glad we did. I did not realize he was overcompensating with his hips so much and that his range of motion was so limited. He got around but now that I look back it was stiff, more like a hop. He is now in hydro therapy to lose some weight, gain muscle, and regain his smooth stride! Our at home exercises from the rehabilitation therapist have been helping too. We take a few slow, short walks per day as recommended by the therapist as opposed to our long, periodic play times. We also do some bicycling exercises of the front and hind legs (5 reps, 2 or 3 times per day).
We have several other exercises to build in as he loses weight but that has been challenging for him even with reduced calorie intake. We have adjusted his diet and changed his supplements through this process as well. Whatever we can do to help strengthen his mountain legs!! He is now 6 1/2 with lots of adventures ahead!