Physical Therapy of the Four-Legged Variety

Hi Griffin. Good to see you. Look at this. This is very fancy. Let’s get going. So we’re trying to get his legs underneath him a little better. He’s definitely holding them in a better position. There you go. Good boy. Man, he can truck. Griffin had a serious neck injury and
came out of the surgery paralyzed in all legs. And so when I first met Griffin,
he couldn’t even hold his head up. The progress, while it’s very slow,
is pretty dramatic for us. Because we know what he was like before. With neurological dogs that don’t have
any use of their extremities, we used techniques that promote the
nervous system to facilitate muscle contractions. I do a lot of range of motion and stretching to
make sure his muscles and his joints stay mobile. There you go. That’s the right motion. Good boy. Physical therapy for dogs has blossomed
over the last few years. Our typical patients are very similar to orthopedic and
neurologic patients in the human world. So I see a lot of sprains and strains.
I see post-surgical patients. And it’s intriguing with dogs, because unlike
humans, dogs don’t have a right and left brain. So dogs respond faster than
humans to physical therapy. And it may have something to do with the simplicity
of the brain. They’ll try to do almost anything for a good treat. So using treats is critical to rehab. And it’s more
difficult when you have a dog that is not treat-motivated. So I tend to use high-end or high-valued treats,
so the dog will really work for me. So if we keep the treat up high, that will shift his
weight back onto his back legs. And then you can actually take the treat side-to-side, so you can
strengthen different muscles according to where we put the treat. So some of the challenges of working with a dog
is first of all they can’t talk to you. So we spend a lot of time
learning about their signals. And their signal for pain may be simply yawning, or starting to breathe a little faster. So for instance, Morgan today was giving me a number
of signals about bending his knee. I know. OK. OK, you told me. So the higher they are, the longer
she has to spend time on her right leg. Willow had hip surgery where actually
the whole head of her femur bone was removed. And let’s see how she does over these. Oh, what was that? No hopping allowed. Physical therapy has been important, because
I think if she didn’t have the physical therapy, she wouldn’t be using her leg at all. And it would have wasted away. I wouldn’t have known what to do with
her post-surgically, to be honest with you. After I had the exercises, it was wonderful to be
able to have that to take home with me, and continue to work on her, so she can
continue with this progress. Come on Willow, let’s go. Man, Patti, she’s so much better. Yah, Willow, good job! So, I’m using a laser. If there’s some inflammation
in this joint, we can reduce that. Physical therapy for Morgan is essential,
because for Morgan to be an active dog is really his life. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Good boy, Morgan. Good job.

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