We met Bubba when Helen, the vet tech who has cared for him ever since he was dropped off at her animal hospital, brought him here to be measured for his wheelchair. His story was a heart-breaker. Hit by a car, taken to a shelter, then finally to Helen's care – Bubba had suffered a broken back and was completely twisted. At nine months, he was used to crawling across the floor, which resulted in front legs that splayed wide when we tried to hold him up to be measured for a cart. In fact, we had to use our therapy stand to hold him up and evaluate him for his wheels.
However, once we stood him up and supported him in a healthy normal stance, we could see that he was not paralyzed in his rear legs, and had lots of disorganized reflexes that we could build upon in his rehabilitation. As we discussed his case, it became clear to us that Bubba would be a great rehab candidate. That's why we offered to foster him.
On October 31, 20012 Erika McElwey came to meet Beau and evaluate him for rehab. Looking at his x-rays and medical records, and examining his body, she determined that his scoliosis was a result of his spinal injury at T-13 – L1. In order to compensate for his injury, he had rotated his pelvis to decompress the injury, which resulted in spastic movement of his rear legs. Because he locks his forelimbs under his chest and does alot of crawling, his upper body strength is exaggerated, but his chest (pectorals) muscles are underdeveloped. The plan is to create a custom cart with an adjustable height saddle that allows us to decompress the spine at the point of his injury and then build strength and muscle memory to teach him to walk again. This will accomplished with cart walking, therapeutic exercise with Erika on a land treadmill, laser therapy on the points of his lesion. Beau will also be given a different diet to help him gain weight – he's severely underweight. Here Erika explains his treatment plan while Beau is supported in the stand.
Here is Erika using the dogtread to re-train Beau's gait. We are hopeful with strength building and gait-retraining Beau may regain his ability to walk on his own. Only time will tell and we'll keep you uposted.