Condition: Stroke

Rehab categories: Cavaletti Exercises,Swims,Therapeutic Exercises,UWTM

"Mid-morning Friday, the 20th of May, our 11-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, Rita, suffered a stroke. She was walking from the kitchen into the family room and suddenly dropped to the floor. Her left legs became rigid and she thrashed about, trying to regain her footing. Fortunately, both my wife and myself were home. I lifted her in my arms and carried her to the car and placed her in the backseat, where my wife sat with her. …. we drove from our home in Moss Beach to a clinic in Half Moon Bay.

The sequence of events from here until our return home around 7:00PM that evening were mostly hellacious. Rita is very fearful of being separated from her family and she became frantic from being hospitalized- so much so that from her panic and stress she may have triggered a seizure while hospitalized..… We were then referred to a neurologist who recommended that she have an MRI. We drove on to Redwood City for the MRI which thankfully was negative for a brain tumor. The neurologist’s explanation of the MRI implied that she’d most likely suffered a Vascular Accident or “stroke” on the left side of her brain in the region of the cerebellum. This also fit with Rita’s sudden loss of balance and ability to stand on her left side of her body. They wanted to keep Rita for observation but we decided to take her home where she would feel most secure. We were instructed to massage her legs and then seek a physical therapist after a couple of weeks but did not have a recommendation for where to take her.

Rita finally began to settle, rest and relax, that Sunday afternoon. My wife called our dog's groomer Monday to see if she knew of a physical therapist. She returned her call that evening and told her about A Well Adjusted Pet and Dr. Ilana and we were able to get an appointment with Dr. Ilana that week. She fitted Rita with a Help Em Up harness and was then able to help Rita to stand. She worked with her some more and Rita walked a short distance. It was heart-lifting for all of us, we could see the change in Rita's demeanor; hope and determination had replaced panic and depression. Because it was so hard for Rita to stand up and take a few steps initially Dr. Ilana recommended we first start with assisted swim therapy sessions before adding on the underwater treadmill and other walking exercises. The very next day Rita started swimming twice a week at the Rex Center and the benefit of these sessions was enormous, nearly miraculous. Rita improved immensely, both physically and mentally, with each session. She now stands (without aid) to eat and drink, takes short, supervised walks, and climbs (unaided) a short set of stairs. She is now walking over cavaletti poles and walking in the underwater treadmill to strengthen her walking pattern and coordination. We would never have thought that Rita would have accomplished this much in less than three weeks. We have gone from despair to elation. The Rex Center, A Well Adjusted Pet, and the people associated with it have been a godsend."

Richard & Dolores 9 June 2016

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