Week 9 – Holistic Vet

Was it worth going to the holistic vet?

You bet it was!  I waited until Darcy was through her first full eight weeks to go to the holistic vet.  I wanted to give her time for her body to heal itself.  But, I felt that I needed some guidance on how she’s doing.  I am so glad I went!

First, what a completely different experience than my last vet visit.  Just walking into the holistic vet’s office was great.  It was open and airy and Darcy had no fear walking right in.  Everyone was warm and welcoming.  They had a large room that Darcy could walk around in for the actual consultation and padding and a blanket on the floor for her comfort.  Darcy’s weight is perfect.  She is at 52 lbs. and the vet doesn’t want her to lose anymore weight.  We had a great 1 hour chat about my expectations and what should be the next steps.  We did try a natural sedative Nutricalm, but it didn’t work at all, so we’re sticking with Acepromazine.  She wanted us to try a 1/4 of a tablet a day, but that didn’t take the edge off and I was afraid Darcy would re-injure herself.  Darcy is doing awesome according to the vet.  She still has a limp and kind of walks a little tilted sometimes, but that is to be expected after this long.  The vet was supportive of my keeping Darcy on her walks in the backyard.  Actually she said to keep doing it for at least another month, so there isn’t a chance of her twisting or trying to chase when she’s not in a controlled environment.  She told me that Darcy’s days of backcountry skiing are probably over, but we expected that.  She is getting older and we have no problem taking her out on leash walks everyday when she is healed.  I think she will be happy just to get out into the woods again!  She got so many pets and cuddles there.  It was decided that doggy physical therapy would be a good next step.  So, I made that appointment for the next day and that completely sold me.

I think they call it rehabilitative therapy for dogs.  The therapist said they can’t call it physical therapy because that’s only for humans.  But, basically we had an hour and a half of doggy physical therapy.  They lady was very nice and friendly (and definitely a dog lover!).  She had already printed out a home exercise plan for Darcy after talking to the vet.  It had pictures and great instructions.  She went through every single exercise to show me hands on what needed to be done.  Darcy loved it.  I think she had been bored and this is something we can do at home everyday!  We are trying to build up her hamstring muscles to support the knee.  She did have quite a bit of muscle loss and is overcompensating with her quad.  The PT lady measured the difference between the two legs and they were about 3cm different.  She did muscle stimulation, joint compression, a magnetic ring thing and laser.  Darcy had a great time through it all.  We are using chopped up carrots for her treats during these exercises at home so she doesn’t gain any unnecessary weight.  She told me to lower the amount of times I take Darcy outside per day (we were up to about 10 walks in the backyard a day or more) because these exercises will wear her out.  And, it is true.  I’m going to give it about two weeks with the at home exercising and see how Darcy is doing.  There was no pressure to come every week, or anything.  She said to call her anytime.  It was a wonderful experience.  I will be using this holistic vet as my regular vet from now on.  They do all the regular stuff and extra.

I am so very glad that I went.  I felt great afterward about the choice for conservative management for Darcy’s knee injury.  I felt good about how far she has come in such a short time.  And, you can see the difference in her walking after only a couple of days of the at home program.  I believe in physical therapy for my own injuries over the years and can see why using the same technique on dogs is becoming more widespread.  Think about it, if a doctor told you that you had to have surgery for everything that happened to you, would you do it?  Why do we do it for our dogs?

Thanks for reading and take care!

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