Sierra has been holding steady and has improved from her physical status at her original evaluation. I have been especially careful to protect her from the heat and over exhaustion. I have had to make some very hard decisions about leaving her home rather then taking her on longer walks or hot car rides- walks and car rides have been some of her favorite activities. However, the physical toll these activities take on her requires a day or more of recovery time. I worry that much like human MS, these stressors could send her into an exacerbation.
I continue to do exercises with her a few times a week. These exercises address range of motion, strength and endurance, sensory stimulation and balance.
ROM, strength and endurance- stabilize metatarsal and distal to the stifle, bring hind leg through anterior/posterior range of motion while dog stabilizes with contralateral HL. I feel a significant amount of spasticity when doing range of motion with Sierra’s HL, this makes it harder for her to walk and clear her HL over rough terrain and contributes to knuckling
Strength and endurance- HL is held in dynamic flexion requiring co-contraction of trunk and contralateral hip, gluteal and biceps femoris stability, position is held until Sierra begins to fatigue
Sensory stimulation- HL is ranged to toe touch position in anterior/posterior plane, hind limb lifted to flexion and brought to floor with firm contact to increase proprioceptive input to joints, paw touching to contralateral HL, tail stroking. These exercises help Sierra recieve more information about her HL’s. Also use of Linda Tellington Jones “promise wrap” for 20 minutes twice a day when she is having increased difficulty. I have also noticed that Sierra does her own form of sensory stimulation when she goes down the three stairs to go outside. She does not walk down the steps with her HL, but instead bunny hops off with a significant concussion upon landing.
Balance- I provide balance challenges through pelvis at the ishium in an anterior direction and watch for co-contraction and stabilization through trunk and scapula. Balance challenges are provided laterally on point of hip to increase stabilization of latissimus dorsi and oblique abdominals. Sierra has a significant right and left difference on her reactions to balance challenges with difficulty stabilizing her left side when a balance stimulus is applies through R hip. I would like to use a header or handler with her for these exercises to help keep her straight and symmetrical, as she often likes to turn to look at me.
Hopefully I will get some pictures of Sierra doing her exercises soon. I re-stuffed her begs about two weeks ago and this has provided her with increased comfort. I have one additional measurement to call into Eddies’ Wheels to see if they might have a cart that would fit her. I want to have her transitioned onto a cart by fall before the weather gets too bad. I am still looking for a swimming option for her.