By Dr. Jessica H. Waldman, VMD, CVA, CCRT
Huckleberry is a 4-year-old Yellow Labrador, whose full time job outside of playing and hanging out with mom, is working as a magazine model for a doggie door company.
About two months ago Huck was suddenly hardly able to put down his left front leg. After a thorough exam by his regular vet, Dr. Hiatt, Huck and Mom were referred to California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE ) for suspected arthritis in his elbow.
When he arrived at CARE, Huck was hardly using his left front leg at all. Dr. Oxford examined him and found that he had severe range of motion deficits in his left elbow with pain (meaning Huck couldn’t bend or straighten it normally) and she also suspected arthritis was at play.
Elbow arthritis is common both older and in younger dogs when their elbow shape isn’t normal from birth (like Huck). So, as they age, it can become quite painful.
Dr. Oxford also found that Huck was dealing with some back pain along the mid-spine, likely from compensating for his front leg limp. Then Dr. Oxford had to break the news that our fashion model was also overweight – in her file notes she wrote: “weight loss!!!”
That day, Huck’s mom was given a detailed home exercise program aimed at increasing the range of motion of his elbow, for back pain management and strengthening. A new eating regime was created for Huck that included supplements and a full nutrition plan (since mom likes to cook!), with strict
weight loss goals.
Huck was put on an 8-week therapy program and started coming to CARE twice a week where the therapist team gave him a workout of active exercises, therapeutic laser, PST, manual work, strengthening, underwater treadmill and acupuncture.
Just shy of wrapping his 8-week program, today, our star model, Huckleberry is limp free! He has also lost 15 pounds and is bursting with energy! Mom says, “Thanks for getting Huckleberry his job back!” We are so excited for him because Huck is a great example of how weight loss in conjunction with therapy is often the key to overcoming chronic problems. Check out his “before” and “after” pictures!
Dr. Jessica H. Waldman, VMD, CVA, CCRT, is a founding partner, veterinarian, certified veterinary acupuncturist, certified canine rehabilitation expert, and medical director at California Animal Rehabilitation. Dr. Waldman is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. She is also a faculty member at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and one of the founding members of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians.