Dann gently reminded me that I have been entirely remiss on the Angus updates. This will probably be the next to last post on this topic, providing we experience no unexpected complications. We are right at 5 months from the date of the accident.
The short answer to how he's doing is this:
If you look closely at that second picture you'll see three legs off the ground with the right front leg, the one he broke, firmly on the ground. No pain, no favoring, just joyful running fun.
Angus still at times favors that leg but overall he walks and runs on it without any difficulties. It seems that when we push him, and rehab is all about safely pushing him physically, he gets a bit sore. In reading and researching the issue of broken legs in active dogs it seems apparent to us that one year is the generally accepted time frame for a complete recovery. When the Surgeon released Angus back to full duty what he was in effect telling us was that the leg was healed to the point that serious strength building running, swimming and walking could be done without fear of a re-break. He only limps after a hard exercise session.
What we've done is watch him closely and carefully plan his rehab so we can allow him to push his limits with the least amount of pain possible. What that means is that we intersperse short leash walks and pool swims with free runs, long walks and open water swims. The former keep him loose, limber and toned while the latter allow him to experience the muscle building exercise he must have if he's going to recover completely and get back to one hundred percent.
There is simply no way to rehab from such a badly broken leg without some lingering pain as the wound completes the healing process and the muscles rebuild to their pre-injury state. It's our job to know his limits, allow him to push those limits and watch him for signs that those limits have been reached so we can allow his muscles the rest time they need to rebuild and bring him back the where he was before the accident.
We're now at the point in his rehab where the improvement we're seeing is slower than at the beginning. That's actually a very good thing as it means that he's getting ever closer to full recovery. The closer we get the less daily improvement he'll experience. His right shoulder now feels almost like the other. The leg has regained most of it's muscle mass. We even put the frame back on the bed last Sunday.
We are content with his progress. He runs and plays hard every day and when he's getting that off leash freedom shows zero signs of ever having had a broken leg. It's after the fun is over and the long hike is nearing it's end that he'll show a slight favoring of the leg. We're continuing the massages (and man, does he ever love his leg massage time!) and give him a Rimadyl occasionally when he seems to be in greater discomfort.
When I discussed Angus' long term prognosis with his surgeon he assured me that he'd make a complete recovery, even for a Field Trial Lab. At the time I was a little apprehensive and doubtful. No longer. I am absolutely confident Angus will make a complete recovery. He's already so close right now that I can almost forget that horrible day ever occurred.
Absent some catastrophic happenstance I don't want to even consider we will continue down the path we're currently on. In my mind we have another 7 months before the final result will be known but I no longer stay up late at night worried.
Angus is Angus again and all is right in our little world. That makes me happier than I can adequately convey.
Thank you again for all your prayers, knowledge, experiences and support. We love you all. Now, I'm going to go and play frisbee with my dog and isn't that just the best thing we could have ever hoped for 5 long months ago.