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Case Study: Recovering from elbow dysplasia

Lucy, a PhD student in Leeds, is the proud paw-rent of Otis, a two-year-old Large Munsterlander. When Otis was just six months old, he was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. We spoke to Lucy to find out how PitPat has been an invaluable tool in Otis’ recovery and general health and wellbeing.

Why did Otis have surgery, and how was his recovery?

Otis was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia at 6 months old. He had three lots of surgery to try to resolve the issue, but his right elbow deteriorated further. This meant he needed a further operation at 18 months old to fit an implant in his joint to cover a hole in the cartilage. For the first 8 weeks he was limited to crate rest and very short lead walks. After this, he was allowed to resume ‘normal house activities’ and we could gradually build up his exercise.

Large Munsterlander wearing vet cone

What made you decide to get a PitPat?

Otis is a very active dog, even after multiple operations, and he has a tendency to do too much exercise unless he made to chill out. We wanted to make sure that he wasn’t doing too much, and PitPat allowed us to track his overall activity, and showed us the breakdown of different types of activity. This was crucial for his recovery, as even though his exercise was increasing, we needed to be very careful about the amount of off lead running he was doing in a day. It also showed us if he’d had a particularly busy day, so we could ensure that he did less the next day.

How do you use PitPat day-to-day?

After his morning walk we check his PitPat to see how much of each type of activity he has done, so that we can decide whether he needs more exercise that day and if so, what type of exercise, whether that be a short lead walk around the park, or a play in the garden. We also check his PitPat when he goes to bed for the night to see how his day has been, and plan appropriate exercise for the next day.

What improvements have you seen in Otis since you started using PitPat?

We think that PitPat has been invaluable for his recovery. It ensures he gets enough exercise to strengthen the muscles around his elbow, but also makes sure that he isn’t doing too much and potentially damaging the joint further which could have implications as he gets older. It also has given us peace of mind to know that we have built his exercise up gradually in line with his recovery plan. There is no need to second guess whether he’s had a busy day because we can check the app to see the distance he’s covered and how he’s achieved that. Because of this, his recovery has been smooth, and he’s built up the stamina to be able to do a couple of hours of hiking, which we wouldn’t have thought was possible when he first had his operation!

Large Munsterlander on a walk

How has PitPat helped Otis maintain a healthy weight?

The PitPat has been a great tool to help track his weight. After 8 weeks of crate rest Otis had put on a few extra kilos, which he is now losing due to being able to exercise more. Seeing how many calories he is burning in a day has allowed us to adjust his food accordingly dependent on the amount of exercise he does, and the type of exercise he does in a day.

Has PitPat helped you maintain a regular exercise routine for Otis?

Yes! As we have not had to second guess how much exercise he has done, we don’t need to worry that he has done too much. It has meant that we can ensure he is getting a similar amount of exercise each day – the exercise goals on the app have been really helpful with this.

Large Munsterlander at the beach wearing a PitPat

Do you use an activity tracker yourself?

Otis’ humans both use activity watches to track our activity. It has been really interesting for us to see how much further Otis walks compared to us on the same routes!

What have you learnt about Otis’ habits thanks to PitPat?

Otis likes to be on the go constantly! We knew he wandered in the house, but it has been enlightening to see just how much pottering he actually does, sometimes this can be up to 9 hours a day! It’s really helped us to know when to tell him to stop and go to sleep.

How is Otis doing now?

Otis is back to being the mischievous Munster he was pre-surgery! He is enjoying life again now that he is back to being able to explore the world. His recovery process continues but we couldn’t be happier with the progress he has made!

Large Munsterlander covered in leave lying in park

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The PitPat is a really well designed device, it is small, lightweight and fits really neatly on his collar. The app is really easy to use too. We would highly recommend it to anyone that has a dog recovering from surgery and needs to closely monitor exercise levels.

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