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Old 04-14-2014, 12:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question muscle atrophy from broken limb

At 13 weeks my youngest GSD suffered a broken tibia in one of her hind legs when my male (who is huge) crashed into her by accident. I knew it was broken the minute i picked her up and wasted no time getting her to the vet.

The vet said it was a complete fracture. She splinted it and said that it looked like it would have a great chance of having a good out come after it healed. It was completely healed after being splinted for 4 weeks, in that time she more than doubled in size and I made sure to keep up with getting her splint changed as she grew.

The new xray showed that her bone was healed but still a little "thin", as well as her muscles had suffered muscle atrophy. I give her a calcium supplement (from the vet) daily. She is on Purina Proplan chicken and rice puppy food. The vet is happy with her weight and the choice of food.

Her splint has been off for almost a week now. She will put a little weight on it but for the most part she still doesn't. (I'm not expecting her to be perfect right away...)

Does anyone have any experience with trying to build up muscle and help with a leg that has been injured? None of my dogs have ever suffered a broken anything before.

I was recommended by the vet to message it daily and try to take her on "slow" walks to get her to put weight on it, but it doesn't seem to make a difference...she still just holds it up.

Will her "thin" leg just catch up?

Any suggestions on adding anything to her diet?

I'm just looking for things to help her as she grows, she is still young and i'd kick myself if i didn't give her the best chance now and end up paying for it later in life!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have anywhere that can do rehab therapy on her. Underwater treadmill, strength building excersises, stuff like that will help her. Right now she is so used to not using it, and it feels weird to use, so she is not. A good rehab department will help get her on the right track.

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Old 04-14-2014, 01:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Many years ago I had a dog who had FHO surgery for HD. We discovered she loved swimming. This helped strengthen her leg and got her walking on it again.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would question the use of calcium supplement. The bone will gain density as the leg is rehabbed. Weight lifters have a higher bone density. So as you rehab the muscle and bone will come back. However, additional calcium above and beyond what is in a balanced food could cause joint issues in a growing large breed puppy.

I would rehab like an acl. Short walks, very short. And build duration.

Did you see an ortho? Or a regular vet?
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
I would question the use of calcium supplement. The bone will gain density as the leg is rehabbed. Weight lifters have a higher bone density. So as you rehab the muscle and bone will come back. However, additional calcium above and beyond what is in a balanced food could cause joint issues in a growing large breed puppy.

I would rehab like an acl. Short walks, very short. And build duration.

Did you see an ortho? Or a regular vet?
Around here there are just regular Vets. The vet gave us a "1 tablet a day for 30 days" So you are saying that it might actually hurt her joints?

We don't live in an area that provides any facility that provides any therapy type of treatment for animals. I'm even trying to think of a place that would let me take her in any water. We have "dog training" facilities but none that help with rehab.

I wonder if i could convince my husband to let me put up a pool this year? (even then it'll be a few months until it's warm enough to use)
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Any pond will do but start with short walks. 15 ft, 500 ft, 1000ft, add in hills. If the vet has laser therapy that might help the inflammation.

Yes, additional calcium can hurt joints. Talk to your vet about that. There must be a reason the vet gave it to you.
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Water/swimming/treadmill would be great, this is what ranger started in his rehab/physical therapy. We're about 3.5 months deep into recovering from a TPLO. They have us going up hills now, supposed to help build up strength in the rear legs. You might try calling around to different vets, someone may know of a place offering PT. We had to look, but ended up finding 3 within driving distance.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The vet recommendation of the "slow" walk is a good start. You want your pup to start to bear weight evenly on both sides. Did your vet give you any minimum or maximum times for walks during the day and number of walks per day? You typically would want to start walks slowly and over time built up to a trot. Did the vet recommend only controlled leash walks or can your pup play off leash?

Yes, your pup's muscle will come back to normal, you just don't want to push recovery time too fast. Keep trying the slow walk, or at leash trying to stand for a bit with an attempt to bear weight on the surgical side.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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agree with jax on the calcium supplement. do not be tempted to let your pup over do exercise. swimming and water sports would be best. if this were a child i would say 4 weeks is bit soon to be unsplinted.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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agree with jax on the calcium supplement. do not be tempted to let your pup over do exercise. swimming and water sports would be best. if this were a child i would say 4 weeks is bit soon to be unsplinted.
Wait! I missed that! That leg was broken only 5 weeks ago? It takes 6 weeks for a bone to heal. I would keep her rested and give her a little free rein around the house. Wait another week and then start short walks.

We have a dog that had a severely broken leg, crate for 8 weeks. The advice we got was exactly that, restricted walking in the house, then short walks.
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