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Crate rest is over: Now what?
updated February  2017

A dog coming off of 6 weeks post op or 8 weeks of conservative treatment crate rest needs to gradually build up muscles and stamina.

1. Building up muscles:
We recommend you GRADUALLY reintroduce the pup back to activity. The IDEAL would be to go to a certified canine rehabilitation therapist and get a schedule on how to do this, plus specific exercises to rebuild muscle and coordination.
Below are some GENERAL ideas, but always check with your vet or physical therapist if this schedule is right for your pup, or if some modifications should be done. In that case, follow their advice.
Easing back into walking or using a wheel chair.
After weeks of crate rest, especially with 8 weeks of conservative treatment, you will need to slowly build up your dog's muscles and stamina. Always observe and restrict movement if there is soreness. Always use a leash and harness to control your dog and not put stress on the neck and back. No more collars. If your dog is still wobbly, add a sling to help stabilize the rear and prevent flopping or falling over.

If you allow too much exercise it may be hard to tell the difference between sore muscles from too much exercise or a relapse of  IVDD. If you see any signs of the IVDD worsening, crate and contact the vet right away.
NOTE: A hallway is a general term for a distance of 4-8 yards. It doesn't have to be the hallway. The ideal is actually a non slippery surface, so if your hallway's floor is slippery, it is preferred to take the dog outside and walk it on grass, soil or on an old carpet.
Surgery dogs will likely be more advanced in their condition such as walking to and from the potty place, hydrotherapy, etc. Always check with your vet/surgeon on their recommendation.

A general program to ease dog back into walking or using a cart after 6-8 weeks of crate rest:

1st week.
Mon-Tues- 1 min up and down hallway 1x back in crate observe, no signs of soreness?


then:...
Wed 1 min up and down hallway 3x a day
Thurs-Sat 1 min up and down hallway 4-5x a day.


2nd week.
Can move about the house under supervision for 5-10 minute periods 3x day, no rough housing, running, jumping. Your dog will feel good as new and may want to do too much. If you can't supervise, then back in crate.


5 min walk outside 1x a day early in the week building to 3x a day later in the week

3rd week.
10 mins walk outside 1x a day, building to 3x a day plus crate free time: 10-20 mins. 3x a day.


4th week.
By now the dog will have good muscle tone and should be on an almost back to normal schedule. We still recommend that from now on you crate him or her whenever you are leaving the house.

Always use common sense If you think your dog might have overdone it, then rest the dog in the crate and observe. Call the vet if you have concerns. Do not rush your dog back into activity: the risk of overdoing is not worth taking, it is better to go slowly for a few weeks.

2. Water Therapy (check with vet before trying this).
http://www.dodgerslist.com/literature/watertherapy.htm

3. Physical Therapy (check with vet before trying this).
http://www.dodgerslist.com/literature/massagepassiveexercises.htm

4. Acupuncture directories:
http://www.holisticvetlist.com [holistic vets]
http://www.aava.org/php/aava_blog/aava-directory/  [AAVA -American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture]
http://www.ivas.org/  [IVAS - International Veterinary Acupuncture Society]

5. Caring for incontinent dog:
http://www.dodgerslist.com/literature/IncontinentDown.htm

6. Garment Protection for scooters:

Sew and no-sew options:
Ollie's scooter cape
Clark's BumPad
Tandy's No-sew butt protection
Charlie Bear's no-sew scoot shirt
Indoor Scootie overalls
Outdoor Scootie overalls
Barbara Techel's boots http://youtu.be/9vRstz6Ayyk
Toe grips for traction http://www.toegrips.com/
7. Making your home back friendly
             
8. IVDD friendly and never again activities:
IVDD friendly activities may help insure your dog does not herniate another degenerating disc. Yet do you still struggle with the fear of IVDD, wanting to keep your dog forever in bubble wrap? This essay may help you approach life with a different perspective:  http://dodgerslist.boards.net/thread/410/living-fear-ivdd

Never again activities:
  1. No more stairs or steps. Use ramps indoors with furniture and on outdoor steps to help decrease impact on the spine. How to build your own ramps
  2.  No more jumping up or down, those activities increase impact on the spine.  Teach your dog to use a ramp: http://www.dodgerslist.com/literature/ramptrain.htm
  3. No tug-o-war, pulling games.
  4. No killing the prey, via shaking toys.
  5. No zig zag running.
  6. No rambunctious playing with other dogs.
  7. Teach your dog to not pull on the leash
  8. No sitting up or standing on back legs.  Teach your dog to sit down rather than jump  http://youtu.be/tok3hgrOyAk  AND keep all four feet on the ground  http://youtu.be/XX58DLLLZF8
Friendly:


  1. Keep weight down to reduce stress on back.
  2. Keep nails trimmed to help with proper gait and for scooters better traction. Trims equal treats and Training to enjoy nail trims  and article on nail trimming: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/trimming-your-dogs-toenails/
  3. Build up to daily 30 minute walks, good exercise to strengthen core and back muscles
  4. Hide and seek games involving nose work are good and can be played inside or outdoors (hide yourself behind a door, hide kibble pieces on a bottom shelf, under edge of rug, sink treats in a saucer of water, or a muffin tin)
  5. Swimming, water therapy is good exercise.
  6. Fetching a gently rolled tennis ball along the ground is good exercise. Avoid dog pouncing or stopping suddenly.
  7. Obedience training for mind stimulation, teach a new word or command.
 
Disclaimer:
This information is presented for educational purposes and as a resource for the Dachshund community. The coordinators are not veterinarians or health care professionals. Nothing herein should be interpreted as medical advice and all should contact their pet care professionals for advice. The coordinators are not responsible for the substance and content contained herein and do not advocate any particular product, item or position contained herein.

 

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