Jen and Sophie live in Yorktown, VA and are volunteer members of Greater Atlantic K9 Search and Rescue (GARD K9SAR), based out of the Hampton Roads area. Sophie is a 4 yr old german shepherd, who is only 2 tests away from completing her certification for the Commonwealth of Virginia/Virginia Department of Emergency management as a Live-find Wilderness Search and Rescue dog. Testing is currently on hold while Sophie undergoes physical therapy and treatment for fibrotic myopathy. Jen has been a K9 search and rescue handler since 1993 (for teams in Utah, Arizona, and now Virginia). Sophie is her 4th german shepherd.

Sophie’s initial injury was noted during a training in July of 2016. She was completing a training exercise, and while running up a hill to find someone, Jen and a teammate noticed she was limping. Jen took Sophie to her vet, who did x-rays and diagnosed the injury as a soft tissue injury. Jen had Sophie rest for a few weeks, which produced some improvement. While Sophie wasn’t limping anymore, Jen still noticed what appear to be a “funny” gait, almost looked like a mild limp, but not quite. After weeks of Rimadyl and rest, Sophie didn’t appear to be in any pain or discomfort, but her gait remained unchanged. Jen finally made the decision to take Sophie to see Dr. Patterson at PAWS for Rehabilitation in Virginia Beach, VA. After in-depth diagnostic testing which included physical examination, range of motion testing, and gait analysis, it was concluded that Sophie had fibrotic myopathy. Treatment plan included: massage, stretching, therapeutic ultrasound, K-laser, and shockwave therapy. With limited options available to improve Sophie’s condition, a referral to Dr. Sherman Canapp was given to explore any possible options for treatment.

Jen and Sophie met with Dr. Canapp on October 13, 2016. More diagnostic testing was performed; more gait analysis, and a diagnostic ultrasound, to see how much scar tissue was actually present. After Dr. Canapp had more of a chance to review Sophie’s case, it was determined that collagenase injections would be the best course of treatment.