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Rehabbing the Canine Athlete: Into the Water, Week Two

Welcome back! Cadence achieved two weeks post-op major spinal surgery this past Tuesday. The day brought other milestones as well, like suture removal and her first rehab session. I can already tout this experience as humbling and educational. If you've ever brought your dog to me, it's likely I've given you homework. Maybe icing, maybe passive range of motion, maybe cookie stretches. I'm the one getting the homework these days, and I'm not immune to missing an assignment every now and then.

The transition from week one to week two included weaning Cadence off pain medication, increasing the use of sedatives and an attempt to take her for a ride in Brew's wagon on one of our walks. That went about how you would expect. Luckily, her vet appointments went much smoother. Her neurologist gave C the go ahead to start a few 5-10 minute walks per day, and she reported a normal neuro exam.


The most exciting moment so far (for me) was the water treadmill, as it signified the beginning of our new beginning. Cadence, a former water-loather, found her fins this summer and developed a love for playing fetch in the water. I had no clue what she would think of water in a small space. She surprised me with her willingness to try it out. And it helped that we gave her some choice in the process. For those who are new to water treadmill, the process went a little like this:

1. We opened both ends of the dry treadmill.

2. Let Cadence do a perimeter sweep of the room to check out the space.

3. Let her walk through it dry, and threw cookies.

4. We let her walk through there for a bit and closed the doors one by one as soon as she seemed cozy.

5. Filled with water!

6. Started the actual treadmill part.

At first, she wouldn't take any treats. A ball, though, was completely acceptable. She became more comfortable as the session went on, and now this will become a weekly part of our routine for the next eight weeks or so. Our rehab sessions will also include laser, acupuncture, and some strengthening exercises (that turn into my homework!).

And now, six weeks of strict rest remain. Lucky we have these sessions to keep us both occupied.

And if you're thinking, wow, this must all be fairly expensive, you'd be right. We're currently praising the genius who invented pet insurance, and we'll go more into this in next week's post. We'll talk more about the role massage plays in this process, too!

In the meantime, head over to Kinected Canine on Facebook with any questions!

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