Dogs don’t always bounce back 100% after an injury or surgery. Like humans, they don’t necessarily return to good movement without some help. We tend to not weight bear properly, we lean off the newly repaired leg, put too much weight on other structures, limp and twist through our spines… talking about all species here!
We compensate… especially 4 leggeds. They have 4 legs so they would prefer to use 3 and forget about the injured or newly repaired limb and soon the brain recognises abnormal movement as normal. An example with humans, we think we are straight or not limping until we see a video, a picture or see our reflection in glass (“who is that person walking strangely?”).
Owners often ask why their dog is still not walking well a few months after surgery or when an injury is supposedly healed. There could be many reasons, and maybe you need to revisit your vet, but often it is habit. Physio/rehab is great for correcting this. We analyse movement patterns, stretch, strengthen, massage, give balance exercises, change the walk/run routine, and add swimming etc etc.
We also show owners how to incorporate easy techniques into a daily routine. Sooner rather than later, so bad habits don’t set in, but it is also never too late. Many animals do well with intervention years after the trauma.