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Siberian Husky Tripawd Bella Benefits from Free Canine Rehab

Siberian Husky Tripawd Bella benefits from free canine rehab evaluation and at-home therapy thanks to Tripawds Foundation Rehab Grant #188. The consultation, and rehab exercises help Bella stay strong and love life on three legs. Read her story, and learn how you can get a free veterinary rehab evaluation for your dog or cat.

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Yes! Tri-kitties qualify for free feline rehab too. See all Tripawds who have received free rehab sessions thanks to your support.

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Bella Koenig is an 8 year old spayed Siberian Husky Tripawd. She had her right front leg amputated, including the scapula, on 0ctober 30, 2023. We adopted Bella from an animal shelter in Lancaster, CA in 2019, and she fit in to our family so beautifully. We also have a 12 year old male Sibe named Mishka, who had been grieving the loss of our female Golden Retriever Sparkles, so when Bella joined us it was a huge celebration.

Siberian Husky Tripawd Bella
Bella with Her Wheels

Bella’s History

Bella and I were training in agility since we got her, and competed in FAST CAT. She loved to run and had boundless energy. She also had a strong prey drive, and would get squirrel brain when spotting any prey and run and run and run if she slipped out of her harness. That only happened a few times…I got wise and she calmed down a bit and our daily walks became slightly more serene.

Last October she came home from a rare grooming appointment with a slight limp. I thought it might be due to injuring herself at the groomer’s, but I watched back a video of the grooming and did not find anything to support that theory. Her limp became worse over the next few weeks. We saw three vets and had loads of biopsies and other screening tests, but no cancer was found.

At last, the orthopedic surgeon at ACCESS Animal Specialty Hospital in Culver City advised amputation, as she suspected a soft tissue sarcoma known as “weeping cancer”. The leg was hard and the mass was too close to the bone to remove, and Dr. Carey advised taking off the entire leg to have more hope of Bella living out her normal lifespan.

Bella’s Canine Rehab Exercises

The Animal PT at the Atlas Rehabilitation for Canines Center in Santa Barbara gave Siberian Husky Tripawd Bella two different exercises to do, several times daily:

Forward Lumbar Extensions: Standing on a raised platform, on her single front leg, lure Bella to move her body forward (by giving her a treat) and then back to upright, then repeat for about 30 seconds total.

Siberian Husky Tripawd Bella
Forward lumbar Extension

Side to Side Lumbar Extensions: Standing on a raised platform, on her single front leg, lure Bella to move her head side to side, with her nose pulling towards her shoulder blade as far as she can reach, then moving nose around to the other side of her body. Repeat for about 30 seconds total.

Siberian Husky Tripawd Bella
Side Lumbar Stretch

The benefit of both these exercises is to keep her spine flexible and strengthen the muscles she uses while performing these exercises. In addition, the exercises will help relieve tension in her neck and chest from being a front leg Siberian Husky Tripawd.

Lessons Learned from Rehab with Bella

The one thing I learned most from this experience? It’s hard to pick only one thing…it was such a warm and welcoming environment and seeing all the furbabies who came in and benefitted from physical therapy was so heartwarming and encouraging. After the visit I felt encouraged that Bella will live out her life with a very positive quality of life, not diminished by her loss of limb. We had Bella measured for the front two wheel cart made by Eddie’s Wheels, and I learned that Bella may not take to wheels as easily as I had thought, and that getting a cart can be hit or miss depending on whether or not it fits properly and the dog takes to it.

~ Kathi and Bella

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