Free Rehab Evaluation for Cooper
Cooper is a 9.5 year old Westie terrier mix. He lost his front right leg to cancer 2 months ago but it hasn’t slowed him at all! We still aren’t sure what kind of cancer Cooper has, inconsistent pathology reports along with Cooper’s refusal to have normal symptoms (he’s always been a stubborn guy) has everyone guessing. For now, we’re just hoping he stays healthy as long as possible and we’re doing everything we can to make his life amazing on three legs.
Cooper was lucky enough to have a vet certified in physical therapy right in our very own veterinary practice! Although it’s not his regular vet, we’re happy Dr. Alicia Brown and her team at Village Veterinary Hospital can help get Cooper back into “buns of steel” shape. We met with Dr. Brown in late June and poor Cooper, who’s always been a great athlete, had lost a lot of muscle mass from being in so much pain and not moving around due to the tumor in his front leg.
Because he’s a front leg amputee, getting his back legs nice and strong and shifting some of his weight back is crucial for Cooper. We were given exercises to do at home every day that would strengthen his back end. Cooper’s favorite (because he already knew half of it) is a “beg” with a stand then sit, all on just his hind legs. He’s gotten so good at it that he can do a set of five without putting his front leg down in between! Show off! He also has balancing exercises where one back leg is lifted and he is forced to stand on the remaining two. Its good practice for him to learn to lift his leg to pee again – he’s almost there! And of course there’s hydrotherapy. Dr. Brown pointed out that his gait in the water is nearly normal. Not only is it a great workout but it lets everything work “as they were meant to”.
It was wonderful being able to go visit Dr. Brown and start Cooper on a physical therapy regimen. We’re continuing with our homework and with seeing Dr. Brown and her team. The thing I’ve learned is just how amazing dogs are and how we really should see them as great role models. Cooper sees his “PT treats” come out and he’s so happy – who do you know says, “YES! I can’t wait to do my physical therapy!” He’s adapted so well that it’s like he never had that leg. I was told by a lot of people that he’ll never be able to play fetch in the water again, something he absolutely loved. But it took him exactly two minutes to figure out how to use his tail as a rudder and, with the aid of a life vest, he happily plays fetch until you force him to quit so he doesn’t keel over from exhaustion. So, thank you Cooper, you’re a great role model for us all. “Three legs, no problems.”