Bucky started a new chapter in his physical therapy today, and did very well. The last four weeks or so the focus was on pain relief, reduction of swelling – feeling better and healing in general. Today he got to start with the underwater treadmill which is about building back muscle tone and gain strength eight weeks after his surgery. I’d seen dogs do the treadmill on television shows in the past, but it was fun to watch the whole introduction process and how Bucky would manage it all. All in all, he got an A+ for his first session.
They start with just putting him in the tank and introducing him to the treadmill at a very slow speed. They used chicken and a lick mat with peanut butter on it to encourage him at this stage, and being so food motivated really helped. As he got more confident the lick mat just sticks to the door in front of him to keep him working. But you’ll see he was a little confused and concerned at the start. Not enough to skip the treats, however, which was great.
Step two was to add the water, and again, Bucky was a little concerned. The techs working with him were very encouraging – really like working with them. Luckily Bucky doesn’t mind water per se. He’s quite fine going out in the rain or getting a bath, and that helped with his getting acclimated pretty quickly. Chicken was a big help too!
Step three- put it all together. Water and treadmill. Bucky did three 2 minute sessions with breaks between and he was pretty tired by the end. They will work him up to 15 minute sessions by the end of 8 weeks, or at least that’s the goal. I bet he will get there.
By the third session he didn’t need any encouragement to plaster his face to the lick mat and enjoy the peanut butter while walking the treadmill. He did a very good job for his first time on the underwater treadmill. (There isn’t really a towel under his feet in the tank – that’s just a reflection of the towel on the ramp.
So onward and upward with Bucky. He has PT stretching exercises to do daily, and once he gets his hock brace (a week from this coming Friday) he can get more extensive exercises. He’ll go do the treadmill (I keep typing treatmill by mistake, but that’s probably the right word for it anyway!!) weekly for 8 weeks, along with continued laser and STEM treatments. Paws crossed that he’ll be ready for his forever home by that time…home for the holidays..my new motto for Bucky