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German Shepherd Injured During Auto Collision

July 21, 2010

Including: Ileopsoas Muscle Tear, How to Care for Your Dogs’ Fentanyl Patch, & All-Natural Class IV Laser Therapy

The Collision

“Doc, I was just stopped to aid another car that was pulled over on the side of the highway.  Thank goodness I wasn’t in the car, but Maxx was in his kennel in the back,” said Maxx’s dad.

“Next thing I knew, I heard car tires screeching from about 200 yards away.  Judging by the skid marks in daylight the next morning, he must’ve been going at least 100 mph.  He hit the back left tire.  The axle of his car stuck in my back tire and he just crushed the side of my car.  Would you believe the guy tried to run?”

A healthy six-year-old German Shepherd, Maxx was in the back passenger compartment of the car at the time.  He bounced around inside his vehicle as the forces of the oncoming car reverberated through the stopped car and through his German Shepherd body.

Just by looking at Maxx, you would not guess he had been through an excessive automobile trauma.  Until you saw him try to get up and walk.

The Injury

Maxx could not rise up from a sitting position into a standing position.  Radiographs (x-rays) showed no fractures.  The pelvis, femurs, hip joints, knees, hocks, feet: everything looked intact.  A neurologist declared him neurologically normal, so no apparent spinal cord injury.  Yet Maxx couldn’t stand up without help and he yelped in pain if you tried to abduct (move away from the body) his left leg at the level of the hip-joint.

“What’s that little bone chip inside the left hip-joint?” said Doc Truli.

A board-certified specialist in radiology interpretation looked a second time at the x-ray.

“Now that you mention it, that looks like a tiny piece of bone,” stated the specialist.

The car accident had ripped Maxx’s ileopsoas (pronounced eel-ee-oh-so-as) muscle right off its attachment to the femur.  That little muscle lives inside your hip area and helps hold everything together.  It hurts like crazy when it’s stretched, let alone suddenly ripped from its mooring.

That muscle will never grow back. The site deep inside the hip is not amenable to surgical repair. Maxx will have to learn to walk and move without the aid of that little muscle.

The Treatment

fentanyl patch on a dog

Maxx's fentanyl patch, correctly applied & labelled

Maxx needed strong painkillers.  But more importantly, he needed physical therapy to learn to walk with strength and confidence without the use of the ileopsoas muscle.  The nurses applied a fentanyl patch to a shaved patch of skin on Maxx’s side.

A fentanyl opioid pain relief patch applied to his shaved side provided 24 hour constant pain relief for at least 72 hours before it started to wear out and need replacement.

Fentanyl Patch Care and Tips for Dogs

If your dog requires ongoing opioid pain relief and mobility (i.e., not stuck on an i.v. in a kennel in an i.c.u. ward), your veterinarian may prescribe a fentanyl patch.  Originally designed for people, the patches are tricky to apply to dog skin because even the best shave job leaves some fuzz and fur that will block the stickiness and absorption of the medication.

If a dog (or a child, for that matter) licks or eats the patch, all the remaining medication will absorb into their system immediately and they experience an opioid overdose.  Without treatment, this is often deadly.  Some veterinarians will never send an animal to a home with children with a patch in place.  Some veterinarians will not send the pet home at all because of the risk that you will be unable to handle keeping your pet from chewing the patch.  Do not let anyone touch or eat the patch!

The patch needs to stay clean and dry and attached for about 72 hours.  After three days, it starts to become weaker and should be removed or replaced.

If a fentanyl patch accidentally falls off at home, do not touch the patch!  Delicately pick the patch up by a few millimeters on the corner and flush it down a toilet.  Flushing is considered a safe and proper disposal method in the US at this time.

Sometimes the skin under the patch develops a red rash.  This irritation subsides within a few days of patch removal.

Maxx’s patch itched a little, and some skin irritation developed.  His replacement patch went on his opposite side to allow the skin time to heal.

The Class IV Cold Laser Therapy

German shepherd dog with his back shaved to expose the skin for cold laser therapy

Maxx's "lawnmower job."

A CLass IV Cold Laser provided warmth, light energy, released natural endorphins for all-natural relaxation and pain relief, and provided sub-visible light energy for the mitochondrial energy factories in his cells to make more cellular ATP energy for healing and recuperation. In short, Maxx loved his Laser treatments!

A red guidance beam shows where the invisible energy wavelengths are being guided to heal this injured dog's back muscles.

Maxx receives his Laser treatment. The red light is just a guide; the actual healing energy is not in the visible spectrum for humans.

After a series of six laser treatments, several patches, some prescription oral painkillers, and a little R&R, Maxx was back to his normal happy self! It may be several more months before he can walk completely without a limp, but he’s adjusting very well to the torn muscle.

Cold Laser Therapy

Class Four Laser Therapy has been around for a while.  The Class Three Lasers, advertised by physicians in the 1980’s, created warmth and healing through relaxation.  Underpowered and over-promised, Laser therapy as an all natural pain and physical therapy tool fell out of favor.

The Class IV Lasers are stronger.  Class 1’s do things like guide CD players.  Class 5’s make surgical incisions.  The 4’s penetrate deeply enough to go clear through a German Shepherd Dog’s knee or into the hip area.

“The coolest thing about these newer generation Lasers is the laser energy is appetizing to the cellular energy factories called mitochondria.  Those little factories suck up the laser energy and actually produce more energy of life, called ATP, for healing and rebuilding purposes.  The Lasers are great for healing injuries, infections, and handling arthritis pain in dogs and cats,” says Doc Truli.

P.S. If you were paying attention, I’ll bet you have this question:

“Doc, if the Laser can penetrate through a dog’s knee, why does the fur need to be shaved?”  (Right?  You were kinda wondering, weren’t you?)

Answer: The dark pigments in the fur actually absorb the laser wavelengths and turn it into heat.  Maxx’s fur would heat up more than the Laser helps the muscles.  If Maxx were an Alsation (white shepherd), he would not need to be shaved!

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