Ninha was 5 years old when we met. She had jumped off a second storey balcony because she thought the other dogs were going for a walk and she was being left behind. She landed on a concrete pot and fractured her humerus. It was a severe intra-articular fracture and specialists recommended amputation. Ninha’s parents were devastated but determined to save the leg. Specialist veterinary surgeons stabilised the fracture using an external fixator. For 6 weeks Ninha was nursed and carefully moved. It was during this time - February - that Ninha became a patient at Animal Health and Hydro.
Our goals, at this stage, were to assist with Ninha’s comfort - especially the rest of the body. She was compensating for being non-weight bearing on her right front leg which created many areas of stiffness and muscular pain. It was also important to ensure that the unaffected joints in the fractured limb stayed mobile. Because Ninha was not walking on the leg, flexor tendon contracture began to occur. This had to be counteracted. It was essential to monitor for any infection around the pins which would move into the joint. There were
only a limited number of options that Ninha would tolerate. These were heat and massage. Any attempts at range of motion exercises or electrotherapy were met with great resistance.
Six weeks after the surgery, the ex-fix was removed. Due to inactivity, the muscles of the right leg had noticeably atrophied. The difference between left and right was nearly 10 cms at its worst. The elbow joint was stiff in both flexion and extension. Our aims now became to improve the mobility of the elbow, increase muscle mass and to regain use of the leg.
Massage continued and we added hydrotherapy. Because of the lack of use of the leg, swimming was preferred as opposed to using the underwater treadmill. The first movements of the leg were tiny. Ninha visited the hydro 2 - 3 times a week depending on the family schedule. 2 months after receiving the go-ahead from the surgeon to start active exercise, disaster struck! Ninha developed osteomyelitis. After intensive intravenous antibiotics, the infection cleared and rehabilitation began again in earnest in June. With time, when Ninha started to gingerly use the leg and some muscle had developed around the shoulder girdle, Ninha progressed to the underwater treadmill
Through the dedication of Ninha’s owners, the knowledge and expertise of the vets and therapists and the sheer perseverance of Ninha, Ninha was rehabilitated in October of the same year. She was using the leg well and completely weaned off any medication.