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Discussion Starter #1
I know we have some people way more experienced in rescue than I am, so I have a question for you all. How much physical change do you usually see in an adult rescue?

Kabota is 3 or 4. He came to me with a light gold/cream coat, his right back leg smaller than the left and the right side of his rib cage flattened while the left was bowed out. (The leg and the ribs were likely caused by laying on his side in his crate 24/7.)

Five months later, his coat is the "spicy" golden retriever color and bright white, his ribs have evened out and his hind right leg is bigger. Still smaller than the left, but bigger than it was. I'm not the only person to have noticed this. My husband, my SIL, my groomer, they all noticed it.

Is that normal for an adult rescue, or is Kabota significantly younger than we all thought?
 

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I don't have much experience with rescues, but it doesn't surprise me that you'd notice those kinds of physical changes.

First, coat color changes based on time of year and coat quality in many dogs. If you're feeding him and grooming him better than his previous owner, it makes good sense that his colors would become more vibrant.

Bones and soft tissue both change with use, etc. Just as he could flatten his ribs by lying on them too much, they likely do have a tendency to come back to where they're supposed to be when not being forced down anymore. Similar concept to how women can "corset train" and end up with extreme hourglass figures. Bones are mobile, can bend and reshape--and are constantly being torn down and rebuilt by the body.

The leg is probably mainly muscular, etc. Even the muscle attachments on bones develop more with use and exercise, as the body starts to need a better attachment. If he's getting more exercise and so on, his leg ought to develop closer to normal. It may eventually -become- normal, provided there isn't another underlying issue.
 

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If you take better care of a dog than the previous owners did, then you're bound to see some changes. Here's Kit. The pic on the left was the petfinder pic: overweight and understimulated. The pic on the right is after I had had her for around a year.

 

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Kit can Fly !!! I taught my dog to do many things, but never thought about teaching him to fly :)

Clearly a remarkable change through love, exercise, and care....

It's a shame you don't have pictures of yourself, during the rescue and after a couple of years....I imagine some positive changes :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow. I wouldn't have believed he was the same dog, GLM. He is lovely in that second picture.

I didn't know bones on adults could warp/straighten out like that. I know children's bones are fairly malleable, in both humans and dogs, but I thought with adults, they were too calcified for that.

I do wonder if his leg isn't a muscle/ligament thing. I've been forcing him to use that leg since I got him, and he's gone from acting like a 3 legged dog to having a high standing jump. If you don't use them, muscles waste and ligaments shrink, so maybe that's all it was. Which would be nice.
 

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I know when my Mother was on life support from pneumonia and in the hospital for a month ... she had to learn to walk again. The doctor said that for every day one is down ... it takes three days worth of exercise to gain back the strength from muscle loss. May be true in all living creatures?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I know when my Mother was on life support from pneumonia and in the hospital for a month ... she had to learn to walk again. The doctor said that for every day one is down ... it takes three days worth of exercise to gain back the strength from muscle loss. May be true in all living creatures?
I knew a kid who slammed his car into a telephone pole and slipped into a coma shortly after reaching the hospital. He was comatose for 8 months, but due to the insurance company's attempt to save money, he didn't go to a rehab hospital until 6 months in. By that point, his muscles were wasted and his ligaments had shortened to the point where he needed surgery on basically every ligament to fix the damage. Poor kid woke up from the coma screaming in pain.

So, yeah, basically "use it or lose it" is good medical advice.
 

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I want to make sure I'm interpreting those pictures correctly: Before, it looks like she has a bit of deformation in her front legs. Could she even walk or did she have to hobble around on her elbows? After, is she normal or almost normal in the way she walks? If I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing, that's pretty darned amazing! Do you know her story?
 

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Yes; its a little boy who was pulled from the city shelter. He scooted around on his elbows. The two "before" photos show him "standing" as much as he could. One of his leg joints was disjointed and there was no real muscle to keep it in place. Both legs were basically deformed and unusable. He was also fairly thin or underfed.
3 months of hydrotherapy, good nutrition and exercise routines (slowly building up his muscles as his legs improved) and he can walk and play fairly normally. His one leg is still wonky but he should heal some more still.

He found an adoptive home last month.
 

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Awwwe ... what a great rescue story! I am so glad he found a home ... he is precious! :)
 

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Aww! *He, sorry, it was hard to see in the photos ;) Amazing rescue story.
 

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Kit can Fly !!! I taught my dog to do many things, but never thought about teaching him to fly :)

Clearly a remarkable change through love, exercise, and care....

It's a shame you don't have pictures of yourself, during the rescue and after a couple of years....I imagine some positive changes :)
Yes, Kit can fly.




I have one pic taken the day that I got Kit:


You wouldn't see many physical changes in me since adopting Kit. I might have lost a couple of pounds, but I put them back on as muscle. Most of the changes in me have been mental: I'm less lonely, and I have a better grip on work-life balance.
 

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I think in extreme cases yes, Miko there was a drastic change. But Ava was not, she was only in the shelter for 5 days before I took her home though. Miko was severly underweight when we got him and he had kennel cough pretty bad.


Here is the before, clearly you can see his ribs and his "tuck" is far more tucked than healthy standards. You can also see his thy muscles are next to nothing and are pretty sunk in. If you could see his hip bones they were protruding as well. Apparently he was a stray for quite some time.


This is him last summer. Full and yet still not overweight, this is my ideal Miko =)
 

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Ladybug, 12 years old when I took her in, underweight, matted, no muscle and howled in pain when she tried to move, she could only stand or lay down:


after I groomed her up, and cleaned up the mats


2 weeks later




2.5 years later


she was put down last novmenber at 15 years old, we didnt think she would live one year the shape she was in when I got her.
 

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Rusty, 4 years old when I got him, eating old roy, intact etc..




1 year later






and now, 9 years old


 

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Lucy - left by her owners in a vacant house to fend for herself for three months before the rescue found her. She had a bleeding and bare tail and back from a flea infestation, starving, and severe kennel cough which she required hospitalization and sub-q fluids at home. She was spayed twice. :/

The first day home ....



2 months later .... Happy and healthy and actually playing ... no longer looking like a deer in headlights ...

 

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Magpie was probably the most drastic. Jonas was scrawny and had a dull eaten up coat when I first got him, but he has since become a little muscle man.

Before:


After:


Elsa before:



After:



Magpie before, which breaks my heart:



After:



I'll dig up Smalls later.
 

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I would agree with Trzcina. Deformity will be more muscle and ligament than actual bone deformity, although, if his crate was too small and he was permanently cramped, bones may have deformed. Xrays will tell you that.

Muscle/ligament development can be helped by running him on an underwater treadmill and straight swimming. If you do not have access to an underwater treadmill, then straight swimming is a great exercise for building and toning muscle.

You could also run him in circles on a long line, rather like lunging with horses. Run him with the bad leg on the inside three times more than with the good leg on the inside.
 
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