We have always hoped that eventually Eddie’s Wheels would offer on-site animal rehabilitation services, and we are pleased to say that day has come! Erika McElwey, formerly of Rivermeadow Farm Animal Rehabilitation Center, is joining us on Wednesdays every week to see rehab clients. Erika was our first rehab practitioner for Sweet Pea, our beloved pitbull who came to us in 2006 (and passed in 2012). We took Sweet Pea down to Rivermeadow for a couple of years for massage, e-stim, and hydro-therapy, and were impressed with the results she and her team got – building muscle mass and strength. To learn more about Erika, visit her personal website: www.changeyourrange.com.
Erika came to us last summer after a professional hiatus to care for her twins. She was interested in our land-based rehab system, which consists of an adjustable therapy stand designed to be used over a PetZen Dogtreadmill. She appreciated that there are inherent problems with rehab that relies heavily on hydrotherapy – some dogs just don’t like being in water. The adjustable stand accomplishes what the bouyancy of the water does in helping dogs to stand up, but being land-based, the dog and the therapist don’t have to deal with being wet. Potty accidents are no longer a sanitary disaster. The therapist has access to all four legs – so she can work whatever limbs require attention with ease. And small dogs who have wheelchairs can just use their carts on the Dogtread.
Erika has been working with us for the past several months to come up with protocols for our new equipment. She’s worked with Webster, our chi-weiner born with deformed dactylic forelimbs to improve his gait, re-balance his posture to help him become evenly weight-bearing on his only legs, and build strength. She has worked with Albert, a French bulldog, who after 18 months of hydrotherapy and cart use, still was not using his rear legs in his wheelchair. After the course of 6 weeks, he no longer relies on his cart and is using his rear legs again, having needed the purposeful gait re-training she did on the land treadmill. She is working with Beau, our newest pitbull who had a broken back, to get him successfully walking again.
Some of the techniques Erika employs are:
- trigger-point massage, myotherapy
- EMS – electrical muscular stimulation
- LLLT – cold laser – low level light therapy
- gait training using the PetZen Dogtread – a dog-safe treadmill with low speed capabilities – visit www.dogtread.com
Erika enjoys working with your veterinarian to come up with a strengthening plan that matches your pet’s disabilities. She strategizes in home therapy programs to best allow the owners to implement daily routines that will improve your pets function. To schedule an appointment with her, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.