When we adopted Stella in 2010, we weren’t looking for a young dog. We had our hearts set on a 9-year old female from German Shepherd Rescue who could be a companion to our 9.5-year-old male, Ezra. The 9-year-old female did not want to live in a house with other dogs, so the rescue steered us to Stella, a 2.5-year-old that had been surrendered by her family. We feel in love with Stella’s sweet personality and playfulness immediately. Stella and Ezra were running around and playing like old friends shortly after meeting so we knew she was the dog for us.
Stella had a femoral head and neck osteotomy performed on her left hip when she was 6-months old after x-rays showed hip dysplasia. Despite this early setback, Stella is an extremely active dog who loves to play fetch and Frisbee. Occasionally we noticed that Stella was stiff after her playtimes. We brought her in for Physical Rehabilitation and Pain Management at the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY. Dr. Fleckenstein and Lis Conarton had worked wonders on our old shepherd, Ezra’s issues through the end of his life so we knew they would come up with a plan to keep Stella active. We immediately saw a decrease in Stella’s stiffness and recovery once we added physical rehabilitation. We have kept Stella on a 4 to 6-week rotation of chiropractic care and hydrotherapy and followed a regiment of home exercise and stretches.
When we adopted Stella we knew she had anxiety issues. Having a strong male role model around helps with Stella’s anxiety but it is still a problem. Stella’s greatest problems occur during thunderstorms. We have frequently come home or woken up to find Stella wedged into a space that is too small for her. Stella has cut herself during these episodes but never caused an injury that required medical care. In early July, Stella panicked during a thunderstorm and wedged herself under our bed. The bedframe is very close to the ground. The only way Stella was able to get herself under the bed was to unnaturally contort her body. Stella was wedged in so tight that we could not pull her out. I was able to pull Stella out after my husband lifted the bed. It looked like she had rotated her hips at a strange angle so we weren’t surprised that she was a little stiff when she started walking around.
Aside from the stiffness, she acted like her normal, playful self. The next morning when we took her out to play fetch it was obvious that something was wrong. She was not putting weight on her left hind leg. We brought Stella to the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY for evaluation and found out that she had ruptured her cruciate ligament. Dr. Robinson and the surgical team assured us that this was a common injury in active dogs and that Stella would be back to her playful self about 12 weeks after surgery if we followed a strict rest and recovery program.
One week after Stella’s surgery we started Acupuncture. Stella had a lot of bruising and swelling around her knee and ankle and her leg was extremely hot to the touch. A few hours after her first Acupuncture treatment, the bruising and swelling had decreased significantly. We continued with treatments every two weeks through Stella’s 6-week post op x-rays. Once we got the all-clear that she was healing well, we were able to add Physical Rehabilitation with Lis. Visits with Lis for laser therapy were already part of Stella’s recovery but we were happy that now she was going to be able to do something active to burn off some of that nervous energy.
At this point, we are almost 11 weeks post-surgery and Stella is doing great. Stella now comes in twice a month for her treatments with Dr. Polly and Lis and we follow our home exercise and mobility regiment. Stella is doing better than we expected at this point and is basically back to her old self. Even though some parts of the recovery process have been difficult, things would have been much worse without the great care and support that we receive from the VMC. You never want anything bad to happen to your pet but when it does, it is great to have such a great resource close by that embraces both traditional and non-traditional approaches to veterinary care.
~The Sliwiak Family
- History of Left Femoral Head & Neck Osteotomy
- Left Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture corrected with TPLO repair
- Noise Phobia
- Separation Anxiety
- Secondary Compensatory Muscle Pain
- Laser Therapy
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Alprazolam (for anxiety)
- Shen Calmer (Chinese Herbs for Anxiety)
- Pain Management Perioperatively (and as needed)
- Tendon Ligament Formula Chinese Herbs