In the same way humans have to go through rehabilitation after a big surgery or a broken bone, so too do dogs.
It can be tricky, because a dog’s survival instinct will kick in, so they will try to keep moving about. Fortunately at SASH we have Rebecca Harvey in our team, a highly skilled and dedicated rehabilitation nurse.
Rebecca has been helping the beautiful dachshund Ellie, who presented with a prolapsed intervertebral disc (also known as a ‘slipped disc’) – a spinal injury that was causing her paralysis in one leg and meant she could not jump like she normally would. Unfortunately slipped spinal discs are quite common in dachshunds and some other breeds of dogs, but with surgery the outcomes can be excellent.
Ellie had the surgery, which removed the disc material that was putting pressure on her spinal cord, and now needed time for some R&R (rest and rehabilitation in this case). But with her front legs working well, and her survival instinct kicking in, Ellie wanted none of this. She was quite happy attempting to drag herself around. This of course was a big no-no, because it could just cause her further damage. As with humans, Ellie’s rehabilitation journey had to begin with making sure her muscles and joints were in good health. Next we help her to stand. At first with assistance, then slowly without.
With Rebecca by her side, now Ellie is taking steps using a harness and soon will be doing so on her own.
Along with the other nurses at SASH, Rebecca does great work rehabilitating patients who have had spinal problems, orthopaedic injuries and surgery. She also helps older dogs with osteoarthritis, muscle wasting and general stiffness and tightness. On top of that, Rebecca teaches owners how to introduce their pet’s rehabilitation and exercise plan once they’re back home.