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Muscle Atrophy

Discussion in 'Senior Sheltie Health' started by Cindy, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    So after much research and looking back, It appears Gavin's issues all stem from muscle atrophy on his affected leg that had radiation therapy on it 2 years ago. I noticed that Gavin's 'stamina' never quite came back aster. And that was based on walks and hikes, where he was much slower going uphill (there aren't many hills here, so not many other examples),and as soon as we went downhill he was happy as a clam. I also attributed it to heat. I did not know that uphill walking is what really builds muscle, or that struggling uphill was a sign that he needed more muscle building work. I guess I walked and hiked him enough in the past that he never developed signs other than that. But this past year he did start to show slightly different gait when tired (like after a long beach trip). I did mention it to his vet, and had him take a look, but he did not notice anything amiss.

    So it is quite possible he had a slight muscle loss/imbalance starting middle of last year that contributed to his slipping on stairs and ending up with a Groin Pull. That just led to more and more disuse atrophy over time. He still limps, poor guy, and I am doing as much PT exercises as I can with him at home. As well as lots of heat and massages. He has no problems getting up or laying down, and his x-rays came back OK.

    This is going to be a LONG project..anyone have experience with something like this?
    Would an at home TENS machine or LLLT (low level laser) be good?
  2. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    I was just going to recommend laser. It’s great to speed up recovery and muscle strengthening. I know I mentioned on another thread that it has really helped Enzo’s back inflammation.

    I’d also look into the FitPaws type work if you haven’t already.
  3. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    What kind of laser? If I am looking at months of rehab, it won't be at a vet's so I need at home ideas.
    I found TENS and EMS at amazon pretty cheap, LLLT is a bit more but not to bad.
    I can't seem to find a consensus that one is better than the other, though. The PT vet has not used laser on his leg, just his toes. If it was so great for building muscle I would have thought she would have used it?
    I have a BOSU, woble disc, etc I use for at home exercises.
    we do lots of tripod stands and short walks, and I am hoping the massage helps him recover better
  4. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    Cold laser therapy.
  5. take4roll10

    take4roll10 Moderator

    Aug 31, 2009
    New York
    I wouldn't use an at home TENS on a dog. I've had TENS treatment at a dentist for my TMJ and I think a dog would be terrified of it. TENS is basically like little shocks.

    I've heard great things about LLLT.

    How's Gavin's bloodwork? Is his creatine kinase high? I believe a high CK is an indicator of muscle wasting.
  6. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    Bloodwork came back normal according to e-mail from vet. Haven't had weekly appt yet to discuss. I am thinking his atrophy is more due to disuse, so high CK might not be there.

    Gavin is super compliant, even lets me brush his teeth with an electric toothbrush. I got an EMS/TENS unit for $25 off of Amazon so we will see. Looks like cold laser is the same thing as LLLt :)
  7. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 11, 2015
    I think an elevation in CK is only there if the muscle is actively wasting. Once the atrophy has stopped (but not reversed) the elevated CK vanishes.
  8. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    I got FitPaws pods for Gavin..he hates them. He is OK with my BOSU though, and balance discs. I have noticed he is stronger on the elevated reaches/stretches than he was a few months ago.
    ghggp likes this.
  9. take4roll10

    take4roll10 Moderator

    Aug 31, 2009
    New York
    Happy to hear that Gavin is getting stronger! I have one of those exercise peanut shaped balls that I make Bailey balance on to maintain strength. She actually loves this exercise because she of course gets treats. And then when we're done, she likes to herd the ball around the house.
  10. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Premium Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Southern California
    I'm just so impressed by your willingness to try all the different approaches to help Gavin be the best he can be. Really happy to hear he is gaining in strength. Hope he continues improving!!

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