I met with the U.C. Davis surgeon on Monday. Now I have the full agreement of the three veterinarians I sought out. All three advise against any surgery. That's good news!
This orthopedic surgeon wants me to begin underwater treadmill at Davis. A package of 10 visits includes laser therapy, something the other vet doesn't include. I already purchased a package of 6 visits for their treadmill; I decided to do both. That would give her physical therapy 2 days a week (adequan injections are ongoing but tapering off).
Today we met the U.C. Davis physical therapist. She is a vet with extra training in PT. Physical therapy will soon be a board certified speciality; there is a tremendous need for vet rehab.
She did an evaluation, measurements of Chou Chou's muscles. Then, with an assistant, gave Chou laser therapy, which is supposed to increase circulation and thus healing.
After that, it was treadmill time. Her assistant had the leash, the doctor leaned over the tank with small treats ... what would happen? Chou moved forward to get the treats! This was working!
Was working. Chou found a way to cheat: there was room on the sides of the moving belt to get her paws on the stationary part of the treadmill. The treadmill was running, but she wasn't running. ("Clever, not cheating.")
They pried her off the sides, back onto the belt, and she ran. But only if there was a high value treat dangled in front of her. We learned that she can't chew and run at the same time: when she took the treat, she would wind up at the rear of the tank because she slowed down so much. So the treats had to be much smaller (no chewing) and there was a lot of teasing, with a treat there but staying in the hand.
Giving treats "sometimes but not always" is better training, anyway. Like the gambler with keeps playing because "next time" it will pay off, or the next time, Chou would keep chasing that treat, which she would sometimes get to eat.
After a few weeks of success here, we'll try the home treadmill again. This is all very good for her, but what a full weekly schedule I have now, managing all the puppy's appointments! So much driving. Nothing is nearby. And my savings is dwindling; pet insurance doesn't cover much of it.
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