Iliopsoas: Part 2

Here is the follow-up post to my post about Bear’s iliopspas injury way back in April.

Day 6 – Thursday

Today Bear seemed much improved. He is getting into the car by himself slowly, and he is walking upstairs on his own without having to put two hind feet on each step. He is also moving around a lot more when he has some time to stretch his legs at work. and, he is back to lifting a leg to pee in the yard and it seems like he’s using both legs equally for this purpose. These are all things he wasn’t doing at the beginning of the week. I have been continuing range of motion stretches after he’s been up and moving around a bit and he is significantly more stiff on the left side but his muscles seem more twitchy on the right. I’m certain this is a result of favoring one leg and over using the other do I have also been trying some light massage before the icing.

Day 10 – Monday

After a weekend of walking, tracking, stretching and alternating hot and cold packs, Bear appears to be feeling better. In fact, I know this because as I was reading in bed, I heard a growl downstairs the kind of growl that mean’s “it’s ON!” and that is usually followed by wild, puppy-like shenanigans. Sure enough the growl was followed by thump, thump, thump, up the stairs and thump thump thump down the hall then thump THUMP onto the bed!

And then back downstairs again to Sean who came upstairs and asked, “did you get the dog wound up?” in an accusatory voice (I gave strict instructions upon Sean’s return home that there was to be none of the typical play between of them.)

My answer was “No, but I think he’s feeling better”.

Day 11 – Tuesday

Warning! The following is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care or work with a qualified Canine Rehab Therapist. If your dog is injured – SEE A PROFESSIONAL!

We started our rehab work today. Basically the injury is more or less healed and I am not seeing or hearing any indication of pain. Now the job is to keep Bear strong and flexible. Aside from stretching, our exercises will include:

  • Beg
  • Beg & Jump Up
  • Paws up (say your prayers)
  • Walking with a theraband around his one back leg for resistance.
  • Side steps (both ways)
  • Front paws on balance disc/exercise ball
  • Back Paws on balance disc/exercise ball

This is gonna be fun!

Day 12-17

This week was fairly boring, mostly kept up with our walking stretching and exercises as listed above. Bear seems way more comfortable but his stretching is limited and he is much worse on the left rear leg than the right.

We are staying away from rally and agility for now as I have a feeling that too much running and jumping  on a leg with such restricted movement might cause some other injury.

Day 18

Today we (and by we I mean Bear) had a massage with Carolyn of Backstretch Equine & Canine Massage. Bear was the calmest he has ever been for Carolyn which says to me that the massage felt quite nice to him.  Carolyn said he was actually in very good condition with the exception of the obvious stiffness and a few tender points along the front of his rear leg (In a human I think this would be in the quadriceps and calf area – not sure). Post massage, Bear seemed to be sore but if you have ever had a massage post-injury, you know that sometimes the day of the massage your muscles may be sore but there’s a lot of relief the day after.

By Monday Bear was moving very nicely and was much more flexible during stretches – clearly massage is helping and we told Carolyn we’d like to see her again soon.

Day 19-24

I have been gradually increasing activity – some fetch after tracking or after we do some walking/heeling. and Bear seems very comfortable. not 100% but his flexibility is getting better.

Day 25

Today we returned to Agility class which happens to be a fun run. The advice from the rehab therapist was to go slow but to increase the type of exercises we do gradually, pay close attention to Bear’s body and see what happens. My plan was to do a good warm up, some stretching and then try a course to see how things went. The courses set were jumpers courses which was perfect. Jumpers courses do not include contact obstacles or weave poles. If Bear is ok after this course then we will try something more complex next week. If he seems sore, we’ll dial it back.

We did our warm up stretches and two runs (at a very short jump height of 10”) followed by some more stretches. Bear seemed to handle it well. I have a recording of our second run and Bear’s gait seems off but to be honest, I rarely get to see him running from a spectators viewpoint so I have nothing to compare it to.  Later in the evening we did some more stretches and all seemed well.

Day 26

Today we did some heeling and some stretching which all went well. Bear also has been wrestling for short periods with his friend Bella who is here for a weekend sleepover.

From here on in…

I think we will be ok if I stick with the rehab exercises and with the stretching. I find that our stretching routine is something that Bear just lays down and enjoys now – before he would be cooperative but I would have said he was only tolerating it. I also need to remember good warm up and cool down routines to keep him limber.

To be honest, I don’t see anyone around us do stretching, warm up and cool downs with your dogs – no wonder it was never part of my agility routine. I see people do “warm ups” but they seem to be more “focus” warm ups than body warm ups. I also see dogs in very expensive dog gear including coats to keep them warm and therapeutic coats – I don’t discount the value in keeping dogs warm between runs with regular or therapeutic coats but I doubt they actually replace a proper warm up and stretching.

3 thoughts on “Iliopsoas: Part 2

  1. Would love to know the exercises and stretches–number of times and frequency you did with your dog as my 13 year old lab mix has a hip flexor strain and he loves to run but can’t right now because of this strain. Thanks! Mike from Colorado

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