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Sitting with Sunshine

Updated: May 13


Sunshine is a nearly 5 year old rescue dog. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with the debilitating condition of severe bilateral hip dysplasia, and was facing the possibility of needing both hips replaced. Her owner was very committed in giving Sunshine the best chance of a pain free life. Sunshine was started on a strong course of pain relief and anti-inflammatory, joint supports, and commenced a course of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy in the hope she would build enough muscle on her hind legs to be able to support herself better.


After a few months, Sunshine was comfortable enough to have her pain relief dropped to a lower dose. She continued with hydrotherapy every couple of weeks and physiotherapy assessments regularly. Eventually she received the brilliant news that she had enough muscle mass and was comfortable enough to not need her hip replacements.


Sunshine continued her regime of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy but her owner noticed she was never able to sit square, she always had her left leg held out to the side. Her owner decided to see if Sunshine would benefit from massage therapy to aid her limb placement even further.


Sunshine had her first massage in November 2021 with Dogapy Rehabilitation (www.dogapy.co.uk). Even though her pain was well controlled, Sunshine still shifted her weight slightly forward onto her front legs and had tight muscles over her hind legs and shoulders. Sunshine had weekly massage and by the end of her fourth massage her muscles were not as tight, and she was comfortable enough to be able to engage her muscles in her hind legs and sit square. This shows us that by releasing her tight muscles she is even more comfortable and is now able to sit properly, reducing her chance of compensatory issues even further.


Sunshine currently has massage every week but is on route to being able to have this reduced as her condition is so well controlled. She still visits her orthopaedic vets once a year to make sure she isn’t deteriorating, but thanks to her owner’s commitment with using a multi-modal approach to Sunshine’s care, she has been saved from having major surgery and is living a fun, active life.

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