Saturday, May 21, 2011

We're off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Paws

We're off to see the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Paws.
You'll find she is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz! there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz! there was The Wizard of Paws is one because,
Because, because, because, because, because.
Because of the wonderful things she does!

Chandler has been slowly recovering from his strained muscle. About three weeks ago, I decided that simple rest was not doing enough to help him recover, so I made an appointment with Chandler's physical therapist, Debbie Gross Saunders. Her business is known as the Wizard of Paws. To summarize the outcome, Chandler and I visited her new facility and my suspicions that he had strained his iliopsoas were confirmed. We were told to start a regimen of gentle exercise and stretches involving leash walking, ball work, and perhaps some treadmill time.

More information about iliopsoas strains and tears can be found in the following links:
Non-responsive Hind-limb Lameness in Agility Dogs: Iliopsoas Strains
Iliopsoas Muscle Tears
The Canine Athletes Blog (Not iliopsoas specific, but a good source for canine rehabilitation and conditioning links.)

Wednesday was our second appointment with the Wizard of Paws, and this time I brought along my smaller camera to try and get some photos. However, getting there turned out to be a bit less routine than I had imagined, as we experienced some delays on the Yellow Brick Road, aka Route 2 between Glastonbury and Colchester. Fortunately the problem was not witches or flying monkeys; instead it was this:

Don't ask me, I was in the cargo area of the car trying to be a good passenger.

Yes, it turns out that the President was giving the graduation address at the Coast Guard Academy. The weather was not good enough for him to take a helicopter as had been planned, so instead his motorcade was traveling down Route 2. A motorcycle cop calmly blocking the entrance ramp to the highway was the first hint that I got that something unusual was going on. I was starting to worry that some horrific accident had totally blocked the highway when about eight more police motorcycles zipped by on the highway, followed by numerous unmarked vehicles flashing red and blue, two limousines flying American flags, an ambulance, press vans, more black vehicles with red and blue lights, followed by more police motorcycles. We were finally allowed on the highway after the convoy had passed, and as we traveled at 5 to 10 mph under the speed limit, I had an excellent view of how all the entrances and emergency turn areas on the highway were being systematically blocked.

Despite the delay, we managed to only be three minutes late for Chandler's appointment. Immediately upon arrival, Chandler was greeted by Bogart, who was filling in as the resident munchkin that day.

Aren't Clumber Spaniels a bit large to be munchkins?

Chandler's treatment started with cold laser therapy and some massage. The strain in his right iliopsoas is also causing soreness in the muscles on the dorsal side of his pelvis, so Debbie made sure to treat all the affected areas. Chandler was not thrilled with being on the hydraulic table at first, but he did finally settle down for treatment.

Sore hips. Not fun.

After that, we moved on to ball work with the office's giant inflatable peanut. Chandler's job was to stand on it and keep his balance while Debbie and her assistant steadied it.

It's all about balance control.

This sort of exercise is supposed to gently work Chan's muscles and strengthen them. Chan had spent the last week at home doing this for 5-10 minute periods once or twice a day on his egg shaped exercise ball. At home I had noticed that Chandler had trouble standing for more than a minute or two. He kept trying to lie down or sit down. The previous year he had been able to stand on the egg for an seemingly unlimited amounts of time, so it was quite obvious that his leg was now giving him trouble. Chan was not in a cooperative mood, perhaps because the peanut was not egg shaped, perhaps because he hates going to the doctor, or perhaps because it was pressed up against the dreaded treadmill. He had to be lifted onto the peanut, and later tried to stealthily slide off one end of it.

Do you think they'll notice if I casually slide off this end?

Chandler preferred standing on an exercise disc while Bonnie massaged his hips again.

This is more like it!

But unfortunately, Chandler still had to face his nemesis, the treadmill. His first experience with a treadmill had happened the previous week during his therapy session. At the time it seemed to me that Chandler was of the opinion that floors that moved were just plain wrong. His opinion had not changed during the week when he had been using my mother's treadmill. Despite blatant bribery, getting him onto the contraption had required some pulling on his lead while he was trying to keep all four paws planted. Debbie's treadmill is built specifically for dogs of all sizes, so it is longer. I can't say Chandler enjoyed his treadmill time, but he did survive it in one piece. He also immediately forgave us for loading him onto such a heinous instrument of canine torture, having wags and kisses for us afterward.

Why do I have to walk on the treadmill? Why?!?

The good news is that Chan is slowly improving. He is now allowed to climb stairs as long as he is not being a wild maniac about it. His muscle tone is coming back after his weeks of rest. However, recovery is going to take time. I don't know when he'll be able to do more than leashed exercise. I can still see him favoring his right hind leg a little. Chandler has another appointment with the Wizard of Paws next week. He may get to try the underwater treadmill. I wonder if he'll like it better if water is involved?

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