Veterinary Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy

Aloxi Guhl – forelimb fractures

History

Aloxi, a seven-year-old Weimaraner bitch, presented with right forelimb lameness following a road-traffic collision on a shoot. On x-ray, she had a fractured dislocation of the elbow and a fractured lower radius. As the accident took place in Germany, she had surgery there to pin and plate the elbow fracture; the whole limb was put in a cast and the radial fracture was managed conservatively. She was referred to Kennel & Paddock.

Assessment

Aloxi stayed in Germany for two weeks after surgery as she was unfit to travel. We saw her six weeks post-surgery, as soon as her cast had been removed. She had a follow-up x-ray in the UK to confirm fracture healing. On assessment, there was noticeable muscle wastage and general stiffness in all joints of the limb (shoulder, elbow and wrist). She had learned to walk on three legs, which was causing postural complications.

Treatment

Aloxi had electrotherapy for pain relief and to enhance tissue healing. She had lots of soft-tissue massage, passive range-of-movement exercises to reduce joint stiffness and passive stretches to relieve the muscle tightness. We taught her owners simple treatment and massage techniques to aid her recovery. Early functional exercises included sit-to-stand practice/weight-transference exercises; these progressed to pole-stepping and weave activities. These exercises were made more challenging by being performed on an unstable surface. Once she was consistently weight-bearing with no head-nod, she progressed to hydrotherapy exercises.

Outcome

Aloxi returned to full fitness after five months of rehabilitation and has had no complications since. She was ready to return to full work the next shooting season.

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