McLoughlin Middle School Sends Get-Well Wishes: March 3, 2008
The Life Skills class at McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco, WA sent Chocolate a care package. The class has been reading daily updates on Chocolate and as a class decided to make him a get well banner and poster.
March 7, 2008: Chocolate goes on a walkabout!
A surprise visitor roamed the halls of WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine this week. Chocolate, an 18-month old Chesapeake Retriever undergoing rehabilitation here was seen walking around, with plenty of smiles and friendly faces greeting him along the way.
"We needed to change up his routine," said Denise Waiting, a veterinary technician helping Chocolate through his rehabilitation.
Judging from the reception he received, the walk about may be just what the doctor ordered. "You could tell he really fed off the attention," said Waiting, "but he still tires our fairly quickly.
Whenever Chocolate waivered the crew used his yellow ball to get him going again. Unfortunately, he tires out after just 10 minutes. Veterinarians here say it may be five to six weeks before he's able to be released.
Chocolate is continuing his daily therapy that includes stretching, walking, and spending time in the underwater treadmill here at WSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. While he works hard during the week, technicians say he's ready for a break when the weekend is here.
Starting next week, the team at WSU hopes to start using some new techniques to help him begin using his back legs properly. Chocolate had taught himself to balance, and to walk on the backs of his back legs, and needs some new techniques added to his regime to get him to use all four feet properly.
"We're going to try some different splints and maybe even some braces to see if we can't retrain Chocolate to walk on his toes again," said Lori Lutskas, certified rehabilitation technician at WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. "For him, it's about breaking some old habits as we move him down the road to recovery."
Chocolate's rehabilitation is expected to take another four to six weeks
Chocolate, the loveable Chesapeake Bay retriever, sent to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital a month ago to treat multiple, old fractures of his forelegs, continues to progress well in his rehabilitation. He is swim/walking in the underwater treadmill each day and has gotten to where he will bound up the steps into the tub if his yellow ball in thrown in first. He was featured in a news broadcast on Spokane's KHQ TV. See his clip in the top video section (video name: Underwater therapy for dog) on their website.
Chocolate is also wearing an orthoplast splint on his left foreleg. Orthoplast is a moldable-in-hot-water plastic that can conform to body contours to provide support. In Chocolate's case, the splint provides a little extra support for his left leg as it continues to heal and as he increases his activities.
Two days ago, Chocolate began working in a cart; a rolling sling device that lets him have partial weight bearing on his limbs outside of the underwater treadmill. He loves his new found freedom and is getting around the hospital quite well. Look for our next entry in Chocolate's file to have photos and video of him as he cruises the hallways.
Finally, Chocolate is going to be neutered tomorrow. Neutering is important for animal population control as well as the long-term health of companion animals. All expectations are he will tolerate the brief procedure well and return to his rehabilitation work next week.