June 18, 2012

Healing and Re-Conditioning

It's been 2 months since the accident and we are finally starting to see Riley using her leg completely again with minimal limping. I purchased a harness ($5 on sale at Petco) and we are having a Springer bike hookup delivered from Amazon today. I've decided to start out her re-conditioning with daily walks and then after about a week I will transition to the bike. Yesterday, we went on two walks and she did really well. It goes against everything in me, but I'm forcing her to pull against me in the harness when she walks so it will build up her leg. She doesn't quite understand why I am making her pull, as we have worked on NOT pulling during walks ever since she was a baby. She kept giving me looks yesterday like "Can you PLEASE walk faster?" and "Why do you slow down every time I speed up???" Haha... the poor girl was so confused. This morning we did a nice, brisk 20 minute walk and she pulled HARD almost the entire time. It was great because we both ended up getting an awesome workout. She hardly limped at all, which made me really happy.

As you can see in the picture below, her right leg is massive - extremely muscular from all the time she compensated for the bad left leg. I like to call this her "hulk" leg! :)

I affectionately refer to her left leg as her "gimpy" leg. The muscle is visibly smaller and she tries to keep weight off it as much as possible. We're not sure if it still hurts or if this is just a habit from when she was really in pain and not walking on it. As you can see in the picture, she doesn't put much weight on it when in a resting stand and it always looks like she's on tip-toe. Our goal with re-conditioning is to get her to use her left leg more and build the muscle to compensate for whatever weakness she now has in the knee.

We will be scheduling a vet appointment for either the end of this month or the beginning of July at Davis to have her checked out and to make sure that there isn't any other underlying damage that needs to be treated. I am contemplating requesting an MRI to make sure that there isn't something else going on with the joint that they can't see through x-ray. There has been a sizable lump on the inside of her left knee ever since the accident and I'm hoping it's just scar tissue and not something worse.

In other news, I grew so tired of her boring leather collar that I heated up my soldering iron and made it pretty! She is an excellent model! :D