Ask a vet what breed of dog you should get that is free of the risk of hereditary (breed related) health issues developing during the pets life, they may scoff and say, ‘There is no such thing’. If we were solely logical creatures and only purchased items that are completely risk free then no person would have a car, house or of course a pet.
Luckily for most pets our heads don’t rule our hearts and that is certainly true for Asko, a German Shephard with hip problems. Asko’s start to life was not easy. Parenting doesn’t always come naturally in the animal world either and he lost two right hind limb toes at birth due to his doggy mum chewing them off!
He met his new parents shortly after, and thankfully they were there for him when at one year of age, he was diagnosed with severe arthritis in his hips. He then underwent much needed hip surgery on his left back leg to remove the rubbing bone parts inside the hip joint which would allow him to walk pain free. He took this all onboard in his usual calm, stoic manner.
After doing so well for years, Paws in Motion was called in to evaluate Asko after his gait or walk became increasingly abnormal. He had developed a ‘hitch’ in his step along with an exaggerated lift of his right hind leg. The good leg! After years of compensating for his missing digits and less than perfect hips, his muscles supporting his hind limb movement and core had become overtight in all the wrong places and painful. It was obvious to us that Asko’s owners were not going to let anything get in the way of him receiving the therapy and care he needed to live a life as free from pain and discomfort as possible.
Video: Initial assessment shows a marked ‘hitch’ and lameness of Right Hind Leg
Asko had laser therapy, massage therapy, stretching and range of motion to help his hips and hind leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteals). Some of the muscles in his hamstring group had shortened and were causing this strange walk. His dedicated owners continued massaging him at home too. After 3 physiotherapy sessions over 2 weeks, there was a massive improvement and Asko was walking so much more comfortably and smoothly. Over the following treatments, he became more flexible and his muscles could relax. Always a gentle man, it was a joy to see him come and lay down immediately ready for his physiotherapy sessions. Asko continues to be doing great and his physiotherapy sessions are now monthly as we continue to work on both the back inner leg muscles as needed.
Video: Two weeks in and after just 3 treatments Asko is already showing significant improvements his walk.
Owning a pet requires dedication, money, time and above all, love- most especially when caring for a pet that may not be problem free. At just 6 years of age, Asko has many years of love ahead of him and this is clearly what he will continue to have long into his senior years, and beyond. With his gentle demeanor and loving nature he now has recently applied to become therapy dog! It’s just his way of paying it forward.