An unlikely journey towards happiness
03 Oct 2018
During the months of May and June this year (2018), we were privileged to spend time with Carmen, a lovely two-year old terrier from Mazatlán, Mexico, fostered by clinic co-owner Amalia while she underwent rehabilitation at The Canine Fitness Centre (CFC) for a fractured front leg. Carmen’s Journey began in Mazatlán in February of 2018, when she was rescued by the Mazatlán Animal Rescue group (MAR) after being hit by a car and left for dead. She was taken to a local veterinarian, who placed her broken arm in a device to immobilize the bone while it healed. This device involved pins which penetrated her fractured bone through the outside (skin). Carmen was then transported to Calgary and fostered by MAR volunteers. In May, she had surgery to remove the pins from her arm, allowing her to begin rehabilitation.
When Carmen was seen for her initial assessment at CFC, she was in rough shape after 4 months of limited mobility. The consequences of the way she had been moving to compensate for her injuries were very evident. She was markedly lame on the injured leg, while her opposite front leg and foot were rotated outwards, and her back, shoulders, ribs, and neck were sore, tight, and not moving properly. The muscles of Carmen’s front legs were also atrophied due to lack of proper use. There was scar tissue and adhesions attaching the affected bones to skin and muscles where the pins had penetrated through.
Treatment to aid in pain control and bone, joint, and muscle healing was applied once to twice weekly for five weeks to her injured elbow and arm, as well as all compensatory issues affecting her neck, spine, ribs, and left shoulder. Treatment consisted of manual therapy techniques, laser, pulsed electromagnetic therapy, and hydrotherapy. Furthermore, targeted exercises designed to improve leg function and increase overall muscle strength and proprioception were carried out four times a week. Carmen swam in our resistance pool for 7 weeks to increase conditioning and improve muscle mass.
Response to treatment was evident almost immediately. Her lameness improved remarkably, her muscle strength and bulk came back, adhesions binding the skin to the bone disappeared, and her back and neck issues resolved completely. As Carmen’s level of activity increased, she exploded from the docile, quiet dog we all knew to a happy, funny, cheeky, and at times rambunctious dog.
Fast forward to July, and Carmen successfully graduated from her rehabilitation program!! She has been adopted into a loving home, and for the first time in her short life, has a forever family to call her own, including a new canine brother. She is now pain free and able to play all she wants with her brother. Ironically, Carmen’s life was drastically changed for the better on that fateful day when she was hit by a car. Acts of kindness involving a long list of people made her recovery a reality. Along the path to recovery, Carmen touched all of us who helped her with her with her kind, soft eyes, gentle demeanor, and willingness to do everything we asked of her to help her get her better. The greatest reward for us was seeing her go from an unwanted and neglected dog in the streets of Mazatlán to a happy and healthy cherished family member in Canada.