Monday, October 29, 2007

Physical Therapy

Today was Katie's first day of physical therapy. Her therapist is Jonna Kanble of Atlanta Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness. She was super nice and knowledgeable. First of all, Katie totally impressed her with the progress she has made. She said that the quickest FCE recovery she had seen was in a lab who had made about the same amount of progress that Katie had, but in 6 weeks (42 days). Katie is on day 19. She said her weight was perfect (with exclamation points). Katie did really well on all of the reflex tests including the test that calls for turning the dog's foot so the knuckles are on the ground. Most dogs will fix this position immediately unless there is a neurological problem. Katie is normal except for on the left hind she took about 5 seconds to fix the position today...... much better than a few days ago. Katie's thighs were also measured and the left one has atrophied slightly. Jonna wants Katie to walk for 30 - 40 minutes a day with little scrunchie hair holders around her hind leg ankles. This encourages her to step higher and pick up her feet. I'm also suppose to set up 7 inch high jumps for her to step over one leg at a time for 15 minutes each day. This also encourages her to step really high and to pick up the left leg that she is dragging. Climbing stairs is also good. She wants Katie to do slow, weight bearing exercises that encourage her to pick up her feet. She doesn't want her to practice dragging her toes, so I'm really suppose to watch for that and shorten our walks if necessary. Lastly, she recommended the water treadmill once a week. The water treadmill is basically a treadmill inside of a tank that fills with warm water (92 degrees) to about the chest height of the dog. It lightens the dog's weight, but it really encourages the dog to exaggerate the walking motion and to really flex the joints. The speed of the treadmill can be changed and jets can be added to increase resistance. Katie was initially worried about this apparatus. It is actually the only time in her entire life with me that she wouldn't eat a treat.... and not just any treat... I had Swiss cheese. That lasted for maybe a minute or 2. As her comfort level increased, she started to eat the treats. In the pictures, you will notice the orange noodles. The 2 on her left side are keeping her rear end closer to the middle so her hind feet will actually be on the treadmill. Since Katie is in good shape, well behaved, and a quick study, Jonna was able to increase the speed. She walked for 15 minutes. In the future, she will do 20 minute sessions.