Laurie's Blogs.


Aug 2022

An Under-dosing of Education

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT


Subsequent to my blog post – Proper Dosing of Your Therapies: 

My brain has been on fire thinking of case examples!


The next case example is one where the surgeon under-dosed the education component for a client.  In this case, the dog had had an elbow surgery.  The post-op recommendation was to take it easy for a while and then gradually let the dog get back to normal.  “Use your gut.  It’s common sense.”  


Here's the thing.  It might be common sense to a medical practitioner, but to someone with-out that background, it sounds like they are being thrown to the wolves to fend for themselves.


So, this client came to me a tad bit distressed.  He didn’t want to hurt his dog, who was now 6-weeks post-op  He was afraid of doing too much.  He didn’t know when to allow the post-operative dog to interact with his other dog.  Basically, he was upset at the lack of formal advise he was given and afraid to do anything wrong.


The surgeon had under-dosed the education component.


What did I do?


First, I listened.   I knew this dog from pre-op, so I knew the owners, I knew about the other dog at home, and I knew about their property and what sort of a set up they had at home.  I asked what they had been doing so far:  Leash walks, flat terrain leash walks.  I asked about how the two dogs tended to interact together:  Wrestling and zoomies in the back yard.  I asked about how the post-op dog behaved on his own (in the back yard… would he play tug… how does he look on a walk, and so on.)


Then I formulated my plan for education and advice.


I began with, “Let’s talk about, what’s the worst that can happen if you over do it now (barring a crash and bash injury)?  Inflammation.  That is most likely the worst that could happen.  So, if you walk too far or if he runs too much, his elbow will get inflamed.  BUT, then we know how much was too much.  So we need to select exercises or activities that can safely test his capacity.”


My advice consisted of:


Try some different terrain or some hills on the leash walk.  See how it goes. 

Try playing tug of war with him.  See how it goes.

Allow short bouts of tug play with the other dog INSIDE the house.  See how it goes.  

Allow 1 minute of off leash in the back yard ALONE after a walk.  See how it goes.


Start with these things to begin with.  If they go well, wait a few days or a week to add a new challenge (i.e. more difficult terrain, longer ‘alone’ off leash time, longer play times in the house with the other dog.)  The last thing we will be allowing is off leash in the back yard with the other dog, as from the information gathered in my interview, this will be the biggest cause for concern. 


All in all, this client just needed more guidance, more reassurance, and more education.  


Tell me your thoughts on this case!


Until next time… Cheers!  Laurie