How to Rehab a Neglected German Shepherd Dog

 |  Jul 28th 2011  |   0 Contributions


Desiree, my rescued German Shepherd dog, has been an absolute pleasure to have around. Housetrained after a few short days, she responds eagerly to her new name. But on visits to the dog park, she would just lie down on the gravel. She was even lying down on the sidewalk when she got too tired to stand.

She's exhausted, the poor thing. Sheappears to havepulled one too many all-nighters.

In recent days, however,I'm very happy to report that a mischievous friskiness has informed Desiree's demeanor. She actually trots down the street with her head and ears held high, and the smile on her face is so contagious that it very often causes passersby to smile back.

Still, it's going totake some time forthis dogto fully bounce back from the physical neglect she sufferedwith her previous caretaker.

Desiree is seriously skinny and desperately needs to put on weight, yet she maintains the high standards of a food critic when it comes to her diet. She won't eat just anything that's put in her bowl; it must meet with her approval or she has no problem leaving it there untouched.

One variety of food Desiree actuallydeigns to inhaleis Wellness Duck and Sweet Potato, soshe now getsa can of this stuff twice daily, combined with dry food.

Daily doses of coconut oil and Omega 3s are helping to conditionDesiree's desert-dry coat, which, sadly,is bald in large patches due to demodectic mange. Even more concerning, Desireehad beenwalking with a limp and favoring her right forepaw, which would pronate dramaticallyeach timeit made contact with the ground.

So we paid a visit to Dr. Babette Gladstein, VMD, whose practice gives new meaning to the term alternative therapies. Assisted by her "nurse," a Mexican Hairless(a.k.a. Xolo)named Chiquita, the vet practiced not one but several different alternative therapies to help Desiree feel better.

Among the healing techniques used was acupuncture - note the needle poking out of the top of Desiree's head, inserted at the "calming point" -plus something I'd never heard of before: Aquapuncture, in which a liquid solution of Vitamin B-12 is injected subcutaneously at several different acupuncture points along Desiree's body, to give her a much-needed boost of energy.

As mange is an unfortunate result of an immune-system breakdown, Dr. Gladstein also prescribed a supplement called Transfer Factor Canine Complete. Its potent combination of colostrum, eggs, amino acids, probiotics, and essential fatty acidsis just what Desiree needs to grow inthe glorious haircoat that's her breed's birthright.

Then it was time for the doc and I to don protective eyewear forthe K-Laser part of the program, in which Desiree is flashed with Class 4 laserbeams at very close range, to promote healing of her inflamed elbow joint and mangey skin.

Finally, to help Desiree achieveoptimum urinarycontinence - the poor thing has had some difficulty holdingit in longer than 4 hours, which has necessitated frequent outings (and cost me a lot of sleep) - Dr. Gladstein also demonstrated how I can help Desiree do her, ahem, kegel exercises.

Did I mention thatthis vetgives new meaning to the term alternative therapies?

K9 kegels happen when a human gentlyinserts the tip of one rubber-gloved index finger intoa dog'sanus, approaching from the top of the opening and pointing down and in. Asmy dog's sphincter muscle responds to the presence of thefingertip, it instinctively contracts - and those contractions give the muscle a workout that tones it right up.

Have you had experience with helping adog do her kegels, or any of the other alternative therapies mentioned above? What's the wackiest-sounding therapy you've ever tried on your K9, and how did it work? Pleasetell allin the comments!

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