With the help of the fabulous team at Aqua Dog Rehabilitation, Feta and I have been working hard to improve her flexibility, range of motion, and strength.
(Coincidentally, Feta’s fabulous physical therapist, Petra, is competing with her dog at the AKC National Obedience Championship this weekend – wish them luck!!!)
I’ve uploaded some videos to show what we’re doing at PT. Essentially, we are working at re-training her (both mind and body) to use her leg correctly, or at least a bit more correctly. We are also working to relax her muscles and stretch her out in ways that will improve her flexibility and range of motion. We’re still not certain we can ever get her stifle/knee joint to really bend properly – it’s still awfully stiff – but if we can strengthen her core muscles and get her hip moving better then she should be able to hop around pretty well!
Here are some videos from last week’s work:
Yesterday, 3-22, we went back again! This time we started with massage and laser therapy to try and get things loose and moving.
She didn’t mind the laser treatment itself, but she wasn’t thrilled at having to hold still!
Also, unfortunately, some of the massage was a bit uncomfortable as our therapist, Anita, worked to get out some of the tight knots in the muscles. As always, Feta cat was a tremendously good sport, but she certainly let her opinions of the whole process be known!
Next, we moved on to the REALLY hard stuff – practicing our proper posture! And using that darn leg! The bumpy disc is to help with her “proprioception,” or her ability to feel her body and know where its parts are. Since we’re dealing with neurological issues, it is particularly important that we make sure her brain is getting the signals telling her what her leg and foot are doing.
This type of “gait training” is our attempt to re-teach her how to walk, with the hopes that her leg and body will start to better “remember” what to do. It’s kind of like trying to re-direct a river, only the river is the electrical impulses going through her body, and the “riverbed” is the nerve pathways. By essentially forcing her to walk correctly, you can think of it as “pouring a bit of water down the proper riverbed” so it makes it more likely the “river” of nerve signals will eventually flow naturally where we want it to (to get that leg moving!). Obviously, this helps get her muscle strength back, too!
Feta absolutely rocked it today at therapy! She is standing better already!
Posted by Aqua Paws Rehabilitation, LLC on Wednesday, March 22, 2017
<I will add more videos here if I am ever able to get them uploaded!>
I thank our lucky stars every day that Feta is so food-motivated. It makes me a little sad, since it surely is a result of her being starving while she was on the streets, but it sure comes in handy now! The hard part is making sure her normal meals are balanced out with the number of treats she gets. It’s very important to make sure our Tripawd friends stay lithe and lean so they’re not putting too much strain on their remaining limbs, especially when, as with Feta, there are problems with more than just the missing leg.
So, we’ll keep at it, even though it’s slow and frustrating! I do think we’re making progress, and I am hoping that the progress will lead to many more happy years of a mobile kitty cat 🙂