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Tripawd Kitten Gust Gets Rehab Evaluation and Exercise Regimen

Yes, tri-kitties get rehab too! Tripawd kitten Gust benefits from rehab evaluation and at-home exercises thanks to Tripawds Foundation Rehab Grant #163. Gust’s free consultation and personalized exercise plan helps him love life on three legs. Read his story, and learn how you can get a free veterinary rehab evaluation for your dog or cat.

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Rehab for Tripawd Kitten Gust

My Tripawd kitten, Gust, is a silver and white short-haired tabby kitten. He is 5 months old and either has a congenital defect or had trauma to his left back leg during his birth. He is missing his lower leg and foot on his left back leg. I adopted him and his sister, Stormcloud, from the Sharonville SPCA located in a suburb of Cincinnati, OH on 8/14/2023.

On 9/7/2023, I took Gust to Integrative Medicine Services (which includes rehab) at the Care Center. They have several rehab specialists on staff. Gust was seen by Ginger Jones, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) trained at the University of Tennessee. Aspeyn Langhals, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant (CCRA) certification from Canine Rehabilitation Institute in 2023, was present as well and assisted with part of Gust’s evaluation.

Ginger and Aspeyn performed the following play exercises with Gust:

  1. They attempted to get him onto a balance disk using a churro treat as an incentive, but he was not interested in the treat enough to cooperate.
  2. They set up 3 cavaletti poles a few inches off the ground close together to see how he would do stepping over each one in sequence. Ginger used a laser pointer to guide him to through the poles.
  3. Next, they added a balance disk in between the poles to make it a little more challenging.
  4. Ginger demonstrated using the laser pointer to have Gust move in a circle repeatedly (the slower the better) in both directions.
  5. A 3rd rehab assistant demonstrated putting her pointer finger and thumb over his hips (while he was standing still) and gently moving his but side to side a little. This makes Tripawd kitten Gust engage his core muscles to stay stabilized.
  6. They explained and demonstrated that having him walk on a soft surface such as a mattress topper folded in half is another helpful exercise.
  7. Lastly, they wanted to see if he would tolerate the water therapy tank, which Gus wanted no part of when they turned on the noisy part.

How Rehab Helps Tripawd Kitten Gust

These exercises are to help Gust build core strength and encourage more even weight distribution between the 3 legs. It was recommended at a minimum to perform some of these exercises with him twice a week. They also evaluated him by putting him on a mat to see how he currently distributed his weight between his 3 legs.

During this visit, Gust tried to jump up the glass walls of the water therapy tank to get out. Once he was released from the tank, he was holding the stump leg very high and kind of twisting his torso. Ginger’s assessment was that he hit a nerve on the stump while jumping. This is his way of trying to shake off and ease the pain, such as when we hit our funny bone. I was glad that she was able to observe this behavior. She said I could work on desensitizing the stump by rubbing it gently with something very soft and slowly work up to using something rougher, such as a rough washcloth.

What I gained most from this experience is an overall peace of mind of mind that Gust is doing well as a tripawd kitten. It is very helpful to know what I can do to help Gust have the healthiest and best cat life as he grows into an adult cat and beyond. I found out about the Tripawd’s website by performing a Google search.

~ Sara & Ozzie

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