Amber - Mid-diaphyseal fracture of the left femur

Written by: Damon Plasencia

Michigan State University

College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2022

Name: Amber

Signalment: 14 months, intact female, Goldendoodle

Diagnosis: Left mid-diaphyseal femur fracture


Mid-diaphyseal fracture of the left femur

Amber's Femur

Normal femur

 Amber's normal femur


 Assessment: Amber had originally presented to Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine for evaluation of a left hind limb deformity secondary to a prior femur fracture that healed in an abnormal conformation. At the time of initial presentation, Amber had some changes in her range of motion in her left hock, stifle, and hip which were all likely related to her prior fracture and how it healed. At that time, it was elected to increase Amber’s use of her left hindlimb through rehabilitation therapy and allow for her to reach her full adult size before pursuing an orthotic/prosthetic device. She was then fitted for an orthotic/prosthetic device a few months later, once she reached skeletal maturity, to help with proper ambulation and weight bearing. Over the past few months, Amber has done very well with the device.

Reason for presentation:

  • Traumatic left hind limb deformity
  • General shortening of left femur

Client’s initial rehab goals:

  • Strengthen muscle in the leg
  • Avoid amputation

Initial exam:

  • Gait analysis (no device): Partial weight-bearing, left hindlimb lameness grade 3/5, right hindlimb positioned medially and tucked under pelvis and takes short choppy steps, tends to tip pelvis to left to partially bear weight on left hindlimb
  • Posture analysis: Hunched back with pelvis tucked

Client’s rehab goals with device:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Promote use of left hind limb in a low impact and controlled fashion
  • Strengthen core muscles to support spine
  • Improve left hind limb lameness

Follow-up exam:

  • Gait analysis (with device): Partial weight-bearing with some left hindlimb lameness, good flexion of the left knee
  • Posture analysis: Slightly hunched back, pelvis will tip to the left occasionally

Modalities utilized:

  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Underwater treadmill
  • Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy (VSMT)

Homework exercises:

  • Paw shake
  • Lateral walking
  • Hill climb/descend, cross, weave
  • Spin left/right
  • Figure 8’s
  • Cookie side bends and stretches
  • Short, frequent slow leash walks

Plan: Amber’s rehab therapy sessions were initially designed to improve weight bearing of the left hindlimb. After the fitting of her device, Amber’s rehab sessions are currently every four weeks. Rehab sessions have included therapeutic physical exercises, development of an individualized home exercise program, underwater treadmill and/or land treadmill.

More information about Amber can be found at her Pet of the Month page here.



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