Six weeks after Chickenbone's emergency back surgery and confinement recovery period, we got new directions from the surgeon: Time to focus less on rest and more on rehabilitation. Since then we have embarked on many adventures in doggie therapy. I thought I'd share them here, in case you ever find yourself nursing a feisty chugweenie back to neurological health. (But I really hope that never happens to you.)
I already mentioned the bathtub therapy. We fill it up with water up to about his chest, and then plunk him down and coax him to walk back and forth using treats. He really loves this. I try to break the Pupperoni down to the teensiest shreds possible so I can make the session last longer (he's already gained weight from having too many training treats, so it's two sticks only per session). I can't believe the effort he'll go to for one microscopic fiber of treat, but if it's at the other end of the tub, he'll clumsily make his way over there. He has not yet pooped in the water, but I have seen tiny bubbles float up from his rear, so I know this day is coming.
Another easy way to treat dogs with this kind of disk injury is to give them one sardine per day. There are lots of omegas and other things that help with spinal stuff. Oooh, see what an expert I am on this topic? THINGS THAT HELP WITH THE STUFF! Whatever. He thinks it is delicious, and I figure it can't hurt. Though it stinks to high heaven.
This tip we got from the rehabilitation person at the hospital: Put his dog food on a little riser. If it's higher up, then he's more likely to stand up when he eats, allowing him to work on his strength and balance. We also a put down cheap little rug down to help him with his traction.
This is the cool underwater treadmill they have at the animal hospital. It's a lot fancier than the pink bathtub! That girl in the tank is the rehab person, and Sal sat by the little window to cheer Chickens on. He did a great job and was walking on his own after just a couple of minutes. Everyone was very impressed.
OK, here's where we get a little ... you know. But we took Chickens to a holistic vet who does acupuncture treatments on animals. I wasn't sure if Sal would buy it - usually I'm the one in this family who gets into all the hippie crap - but he's a good husband and agreed we could at least try it. As you can see from the picture, Chickens was completely relaxed. Do you see the needles?! Crazy! He barely even noticed. She was so fast inserting them, and he just laid down on the cushion and waited patiently. Nutty dog. Anyway, who even knows if this will help, but as you know I'm quite desperate. I'll do just about anything to get this dog back to his old self again. Including...
... putting him on something called GREAT YANG RESTORATION. I had to try so hard not to look at Sal's you've-got-to-be-joking face as the holistic lady was prescribing this, along with another herbal supplement that supposedly helps restore neurological functions. I don't know much about Chickenbone's Great Yang, but if it needs restoring to get him peeing and walking again, well, here's my Visa!