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Posts Tagged ‘torn ligaments’

DSCN0001aIt’s been four months since Brownie, now almost 14 years old, started laser therapy for torn ligaments in her back right knee and pain from arthritis. The results have been excellent.

When we started, she could barely touch that paw to the ground, much less put any weight on it. Now she’s running around the yard, chasing the cats through the house (don’t worry, they all enjoy it), jumping up on the couch and bed and clambering up and down stairs unless I can head her off first.

It took longer than surgery would have and cost even more. It also required a demanding regimen of three visits a week for the first month, then two a week for the second month, then once a week. We’re now down to one visit about every three weeks. She’s also able to skip the twice-weekly injections of pain medicine prescribed initially, and needs a Rimadyl only occasionally.

Her first sessions were difficult. She was lifted onto a waist-high table and made to lay down while the technician moved the laser wand over her spine, knees, hips and shoulders. Being up on the table terrified her; she trembled the whole time and had to be held down. It was not fun for anybody.

Another technician discovered Brownie would cooperate happily if allowed to stretch out on a comforter laid on the floor (and bribed with lots of liver treats). After that, she was relaxed and content during each 40- to 50-minute session.

It’s not easy to find a vet who offers laser therapy. Brownie gets hers at Vale Park Animal Hospital in Valparaiso, Ind. They’ve also used it a couple of times on some slow-healing wounds acquired by one of my cats during a nighttime encounter with something hostile. The wounds shrank drastically and healed quickly after that.

If your pet is too old or not healthy enough for surgery, or if you simply prefer a gentler, non-invasive treatment, I highly recommend it. I started as a doubter, worrying that it was just some New-Agey alternative that had been marketed before its effectiveness was known. Watching Brownie trotting along on her walks, even pulling on the leash in her enthusiasm, has settled those doubts.

 

 

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Three times a week, my 83-year-old mother drives from a north Chicago neighborhood to Gary, Indiana so she can help me get my dog, Brownie, to the vet.

Brownie (with Mom, on the right) must go to a vet in Valparaiso for laser treatments on the torn ligaments of her back right knee. She’s an extremely nervous car passenger, insisting on standing the whole way no matter how long the trip. This is accompanied by panting and drooling on my shoulder.

With a bum leg, that’s a hazardous arrangement. The Thunder Shirt, touted for its calming ability, had no effect. She foiled attempts to secure her with a leash and halter, getting so twisted up in them I feared she’d lose a limb to constricted blood flow.

So Mom sits in the back seat with Brownie and holds her steady if she wants to stand, or soothes her with petting when Brownie deigns to sit or lie down. That she sits or lies at all is because of the tranquilizer she must take well before the trip.

It was Mom’s idea to lodge an enormous velvet-covered pillow back there, behind the gap between the two front seats, which gives Brownie a little more support when she insists on standing to drool on me.

All the way to Valpo and back I hear her alternating between cooing words of comfort at the dog and little exclamations of “Ouch” whenever Brownie manages to step on Mom’s leg or lap. At the end of each trip, Mom is covered in dog hair and wants immediately to wash her hands.

She doesn’t seem to want me to thank her, although I do. She likes being needed, and she certainly is. I couldn’t do this without such devoted, caring help – the kind often given by a mother, if you’re lucky.

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