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  • Writer's pictureAureate

Rest and Recovery after Injuries?

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

We've discussed the risks of soft tissue injuries from speed related accidents in other posts ("How Healthy is the Whippet Breed"). We've also outlined the importance of making sure you have the correct diagnosis from your vet. Not to insult their clinical expertise, but sometimes the exact source of the problem is not always clear even in the most competent of hands and requires a repeat assessment to arrive at the correct diagnosis. Additionally, we've shared the value of looping your Breeder in when these sort of things happen. Remember, your Breeder will always be your first and best advocate aside from you for your dog!
Our expen setup when we are home

Fleur's midshaft Fracture of D4 (nondisplaced)
One area we feel is often overlooked or if we can be candid, managed rather lackadaisical, is the approach to rest and recovery both by some vets and especially some pet owners. Based on our personal experience both in equestrian sports and dogs, we've found many clinicians lack an extensive understanding when it comes rehabilitating an injured athlete. Often we have doubled the time our vets have suggested to manage a problem. So if they suggest a week of crate rest, we've done two. Why? Well unlike people, whippets simply don't know to take it easy. We've had whippets run on fractures showing NO lameness! Not exactly something most us would be capable of! So when your vet advises crate rest, ask some questions! Do they mean complete rest? If so that means crated! See why crate training is SO important! If your vet advises rest, explore if that means no walks and when and how you can return your dog to gradual physical activity. If your dog is on complete crate rest, that means they can't be loose in the house even when you are home. They shouldn't be jumping on or off the couch or chairs. Instead, setup an expen area indoors that they can spend time in when you're home. Cushion the area with beds as shown above. Crate rest also means when it comes time to potty your dog they should do so on leash! They shouldn't be doing stairs even a couple if they're on rest.

When it comes to rehab, connect with a vet who has a particular interest in rehab and sports medicine. Inquire whether your dog could benefit from acupuncture or massage therapy. Depending on the injury and the severity sometimes vets will offer cold laser therapy as well.

***One thing that cannot be emphasized enough is the dangers of splinting and casting on a sighthound's limbs! If you're dealing with a fracture that can be pinned and plated, please seek an orthopedic specialist referral! Whippets do far better when fractures are treated surgically. Why? Splints and casts even in the most competent of hands can result in horrific compression sores, muscle wasting and nerve damage. Personally, we've even had dog's suffer from compression wounds post-op from bandaged limbs. If in doubt leave it uncovered and consult with your veterinarian!

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