New veterinary care helps recovering dog
Sun, 24 Jun 2012 6:14p.m.
By Dan Parker
Animals that once may have been put down due to serious back injuries are being nursed back to health in Palmerston North thanks to a new underwater treadmill.
The $80,000 piece of equipment is proving priceless for dogs like Gizmo who owes her life to it.
Nine-year-old Gizmo is recovering from breaking a disc in her back.
For two months following spinal cord surgery, she was unable to use her back legs, but thanks to breakthroughs in pet aftercare she's leaning to walk once again.
An underwater treadmill aids recovery by taking the weight off the dog legs so she build strength and muscle memory.
“It can allow us to get the animal moving using its limbs in a warm water environment well before it would be able to significantly walk on land, taking its own weight,” says veterinarian Andrew Worth.
Once the sort of spinal injury Gimzo suffered fetching a ball would likely have resulted in her being put down.
It's now conceivable she'll eventually make a full recovery.
And other dogs with other conditions like arthritis are also taking advantage of the hydrotherapy tank.
Head nurse Victoria Tyson has overseen much of the treatment.
“She's exuberant and loves to play with water, so when she’s on the treadmill it slows her walking down enough that we can see what her legs are doing,” says Ms Tyson.
Gizmo's owner Jocelyn Craig says given how she looked following surgery it's remarkable her legs are doing anything.
“[It was] awful to see her dragging herself around. You think ‘have we done the right thing or not?’ But the end result was brilliant.”
After a few months of treatment Gizmo is almost supporting her own weight and is one happy dog.
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