Returning to Sport after an Injury

by Cathryn Adolph, LVT, CCRP, CCFT

Bella demonstrates great hip extension and core strength needed to perform well at dock diving.

Last month, we took a deep dive into the when and why we choose to graduate a patient from rehabilitation.  We briefly touched on the fact that canine athletes and working dogs require specialized conditioning before returning to their sport/s after rehabilitation.  Just like our pet dog examples from last month, rehabilitation begins with pain control, strengthening in a controlled manner, and finally increasing the stress on the limb.  With our pet dogs reaching this stage, it means graduation, but with our athletes, the real work begins!

*Please note that even with using the phrases “sport” and “return to sport”, these can be replaced with “job” and “return to work” for working dogs such as Police K9s, service dogs, etc.


Returning to Normal after an Injury

By Cathryn Adolph, LVT, CCRP, CCFT

Your dog has torn their cruciate ligament and had surgery to repair it.  They appear to be using their leg well but your rehabilitation team requests a few more weeks of appointments before graduation.  Why would your team request this or what makes us hold back a little bit?  Let’s dive into the “whys” behind returning a dog to normal activity. 

Shaved left hind limb a few weeks after stifle (knee) surgery. The left hind limb is placed wide and slightly in front of the right indicating he is off loading weight from the limb.