In humans, geriatric physical therapy covers a wide area of issues addressing normal adult aging. Canine aging is much the same as in humans. Many conditions affect dogs as they age and include but are not limited to: Arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, hip and joint replacement, balance disorders, incontinence and more.
Geriatric physical therapy helps by developing a specialized program to help restore mobility, reduce pain, increase fitness levels and more.
Dottie is an 11-year-old FS black lab that was originally purchased as a puppy a decade ago. Her family relinquished her to the local lab rescue last year because they “didn’t want to own an old dog.” The family had never walked Dottie so she was overweight and under-socialized. As a black lab in a shelter, she had the least likely chance of being adopted. Fortunately for Dottie, a volunteer at the time decided to foster her, which quickly turned into a foster failure, and Dottie now has a loving and healthy home. With regular walks and a strict diet, Dottie reached a healthy weight, but it became very apparent that she had bad hips.
Weekly acupuncture and laser therapy helps control Dottie’s pain from arthritis. We built up strength in her hindlimbs in the underwater treadmill twice a week. After starting at only 4 minutes, Dottie can now walk for 12 minutes! We recently introduced her to the variable current pool to help vary her strengthening regimen while also encouraging greater hip range of motion.
Dottie is much more mobile compared to when we first saw her last year. While we don’t expect Dottie to hike Pike’s Peak at any point, we hope to keep her as comfortable and independent as possible in her new home. She enjoys walks with her “sister,” Tessa, and if she needs a rest, Dottie’s owners push her in a cart for a time. As long as Dottie’s spirit stays strong, we will be here to help!